Several months ago we posted on LSAT prep book anti-recommendations. In short, just don’t buy a book that doesn’t use real LSAT questions or that for any reason takes you too far from doing real LSAT sections with pencil and paper. Here now are our recommendations for what books you should use.
- Preptests 40-60. These are currently available only as one-off’s and are a bit on the expensive side. However, the most recent LSATs will provide the very best preparation. Get at least 4-5 of these and use them for full-test practice towards the end of your practice cycle.
- 10 Real series. These are books of 10 actual LSATs published by the LSAC. Specifically, you should definitely get 10 Next and 10 More. The tests are relatively recent. These are also the great bargain of the LSAT prep world, 10 tests for around $20 on Amazon.
- Next Step’s Recent LSAT’s Explained. One major challenge for students self-studying for the LSAT is lack of in-depth explanations for many questions from real past tests. This book provides detailed explanations for every question in the LSAC’s 10 New Actual LSATs book (which you should purchase separately).
- Powerscore Logic Games Bible. Yes, everyone recommends this book and we have little reason to disagree. It includes tons of licensed LSAT questions and first-rate methodologies for attacking the games.
Recommended with reservation
- 10 Actual Official Preptests. This is the first set of tests put out by LSAC. While the test hasn’t changed dramatically since these tests were administered in the 90’s, there have been many smaller changes that make these the least-desirable tests to use for practice. In particular, you’ll find that there are many logic game types that appear very rarely on the modern test (pattern and mapping in particular).
- Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible. Lots of our students have used this book, and some of our tutors recommend it highly. What’s great about it is what’s great about every Bible — lots of real LSAT questions arranged in thoughtful ways, with good explanations. However, at a fundamental level it’s extremely hard to advance your thinking on LR by using a book. That said, Powerscore does it as well as any other book, so if you’re not seeking any other professional help on the LSAT, you might want to pick it up.
- Powerscore Reading Comprehension Bible. This is a decent book, I just don’t think students really need hundreds of pages of explanations for RC. But, again, it’s probably worth it to have some direction for this section, and Powerscore has tons of real questions.
- Any off-the-shelf prep book by Kaplan, Princeton Review or others that do not use real LSAT questions. (Caveat: Kaplan and TPR materials given to their classes use real LSAT questions, but those materials are very different from the $15 books available at Barnes & Noble). While I have specific gripes about the methodologies of these two companies, the overriding concern is that their books just don’t publish real LSAT questions. With ample real Preptests available, there’s just no reason to spend time on fake questions, and there are not any fantastic methodologies you’ll miss out on.
- Exam Krackers books. Sorry to single these guys out since their books look really great, but the only timed practice sections are 25 minutes/15 questions. There’s just no excuse for not doing timed practice under the actual constraints of the exam (35 minute sections). The back cover says that this is what they do in their classes; that just means the classes are also doing things the wrong way.
- Any book or web service or class that relies on working with tons of questions online. The LSAT is a paper test, and you really really need to practice doing it on paper — jotting notes, scratching out answers, etc. Yes, this really makes a big difference. Until the LSAT goes paperless, the best way to practice is completing and reviewing real practice tests.
A great advantage to being a small prep company is that our tutors aren’t beholden to any one methodology or curriculum. There’s no way around it — a good LSAT study plan will include lots and lots of real Preptests.
Next Step Test Preparation provides complete courses of one-on-one tutoring with an LSAT expert for less than the price of a commercial prep course. Email us or call 888-530-NEXT (6398) for a complimentary consultation.