The Official LSAT Handbook by LSAC | Review

LSAT Blog Official LSAT HandbookLSAC recently came out with a new LSAT prep book called The Official LSAT Handbook.

Despite the come-on subtitle ("Get to know the LSAT" bed), this book is worth getting if you have trouble with Comparative Reading passages.

Previously, the best source of info about how LSAC views the exam was the introduction to LSAC's SuperPrep and the explanations for the 3 PrepTests contained within it.

The Official LSAT Handbook is a minor expansion to SuperPrep's detailed LSAT introduction. It might not be the most exciting piece of writing you've ever read, but there's a great deal of value in a breakdown of the LSAT from the test-makers themselves.

So, if most of the Handbook is similar to SuperPrep's introduction, what's new?

Logic Games:
It has about 1 page of material about "replacing a condition with a substitute condition." This is an update to cover a question-type used in PrepTests 57, 58, and 59 that had never previously appeared. Perhaps we'll be seeing this type of question again in the future.

Logical Reasoning:
About 1.5 pages of material about "a test for necessary assumptions." You may already know this as the "Negation Test" or "Denial Test."

Reading Comprehension:
About 11.5 pages worth of material constituting a detailed discussion of Comparative Reading passages.


The Appendices:

The book also contains 3 appendices. Only Appendix A contains new material not found in other books from LSAC:

Appendix A: Using Diagrams in Answering Analytical Reasoning Questions
Contains 10 pages of material about simple Logic Games diagramming tips you probably already know. May be useful for beginners, though.

Appendix B: Logical Reasoning Questions
The same 23 LR questions from older LSAT exams used earlier in the book as examples. Sure, they provide some practice, but you've already seen them when looking at the book's introduction.

Appendix C: Reading Comprehension Passages and Questions
Contains 13 RC passages from older LSAT exams, as well as 8 Comparative Reading dual passages from recent LSAT exams. The same passages referenced earlier in the book's introduction.

What baffles me here is that none of these passages is accompanied by the complete set of associated questions, so while they might provide for bathroom reading, they don't properly allow you to practice what you learned earlier in the book.


I highly recommend that you read the relevant part of the Handbook/SuperPrep before drilling particular types of questions in your books of PrepTests.

The Handbook contains a detailed approach to diagramming Logic Games, and it also contains discussion of sample Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension questions - most importantly, discussion of the (relatively-new) Comparative Reading passages.

While this stuff won't be earth-shattering for all you good folks reading my blog and using the recommended books and study schedules, it'll serve as a good very basic introduction.

Still, the Handbook definitely isn't enough - you'll also need to work through several dozen LSAT PrepTests, both timed and untimed, and get more detailed strategies for the various sections of the exam.

So, should you get this book?

If money's really tight, probably not. There are already free downloads from LSAC containing much of the same information (linked in my book recs), and SuperPrep is a better deal (more material per dollar because it contains full-length practice exams with explanations).

If you've already done a bit of prep, probably not. You'll already know much of what the book explains.

The main reason to get this book would be for its super-detailed tips on Comparative Reading passages, which you won't be able to find anywhere else.

(Final note: Amazon says the book is 200 pages, but it's only 111 pages.)


Here's a description of the book, direct from LSAC:
The LSAT is a test of analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, and reading comprehension, including comparative reading.

What's the best way to learn how to approach these types of questions before you encounter them on the day of the test?

There's no better way than The Official LSAT Handbook, published by the Law School Admission Council. Use this inexpensive guide to become familiar with every type of LSAT question so that you can make the most of the rest of your test preparation and do your best on the test.

(Note: this handbook contains information that is also included in The Official LSAT SuperPrep. The information in The Official LSAT Handbook has been expanded and updated.)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Steve. Your book reviews have been so helpful in helping me pick my study materials!

    Thanks for pointing out the new trend about "substitute questions" on recent LGs. I haven't worked my way up to those PTs yet but I'll work closely on those when I get there. Any tips would be very welcome!