The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) exam remains the national standard in assessing a student’s critical reading, analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, and writing skills. To ensure your utmost preparedness, you will need to know precisely what to expect before exam day. Below are specific details of the test itself, study tips, and the best online resources for preparation.
First, a basic overview of the test sections:
What’s on the LSAT?
The LSAT consists of four 35-minute sections with multiple choice questions:
- Logical Reasoning (2 sections): This portion tests your ability to analyze, critically evaluate, and complete arguments
- Analytical Reasoning (1 section): This portion exists in the form of four “Logic Games”: The logic games test your ability to articulate conceptual relationships, analyze scenarios, and create logic out of ambiguity.
- Reading Comprehension (1 section, 4 passages): This portion tests your ability to articulate the main ideas and inferences from dense, scholar-level writing.
In addition to the sections above, there are two unscored sections, one being a 35-minute variable section derivative of the aforementioned test parts; the other is a writing sample that tests your ability to express arguments and facts in a compelling fashion.
What Makes a Good Online LSAT Course?
Among the most important parts of your LSAT prep are being self-aware of your learning style and gaining mastery over the test itself. The LSAT requires a specialized skill set in strategy, i.e. how to pace yourself, maintain mental stamina, and other methods that maximize your score. Fortunately, online LSAT courses are an increasingly popular offering with several advantages over traditional, in-class delivery. Below are some specs to keep in mind when you’re choosing which course fits your needs:
Self-Paced and Personalized: The better LSAT prep companies will provide flexibility for your needs. Self-paced online classes are best suited for those who need adaptability, be it for work schedule, learning style, or other relevant reasons. The LSAT is among the most demanding post-graduate exams, so it is especially important for prep students to identify their needs for success.
Practice Practice Practice: If an LSAT online course is going to be worth your time and money, there need to be ample opportunities for practice exams. LSAT practice tests are essential in your preparation, not only for content but for building the stamina required to complete the 4.5 hour test. A better choice for an online LSAT course will provide further guidance on incorrect answers.
Strong Educators: The best LSAT prep courses are led by instructors who scored a minimum 170 on their own exam. In addition to a great exam score, the instructors should be well-reviewed by former students, seasoned, and resourceful. These instructors are going to be the most confident and willing to offer personalized attention.
Our Picks for Best Online LSAT Courses
- Kaplan : A recognized and respected name in education, Kaplan has a long history in academics. Kaplan has built an enormous wealth of resources that include all LSAT questions ever distributed by LSAC and hundreds of hours of accessible videos. While Kaplan is comparatively a little more expensive, they do have financial aid to qualifying students. Kaplan has over 80 previous LSAT exams with self-proctoring tools.
- alphascore: Founded in 2003, alphascore has over 50 video lessons covering all sections and questions on the LSAT exam. For each correct or incorrect question, there is a detailed explanation provided. Alphascore courses are unique in their level of specialty, covering each specific LSAT concept you need to master. You may try an online class for free before you commit to purchasing.
- Blueprint: In preparation for the LSAT exam, this company has plentiful, top-notch learning resources. All of Blueprint’s instructors have 170+ LSAT scores and are extensively trained in best teaching practices.
What’s the Best Way to Self-Prep Online for the LSAT?
Regardless of which sources you decide to incorporate into your LSAT exam prep, there will inevitably be many hours of studying on your own. If you want to raise that exam score, you will need to make decisions that work best for your learning style. Below are a few tips to support productive studying habits and a rundown of some of the best self-prep resources in the field.
- Create a Study Plan…and Stick to It: LSAT exam preparation is typically a 2-3 month endeavor. This span of time requires a strategy that creates value for each day of this study interim. The online resources we’ve suggested have tools to help you with time management. Effective time management is an invaluable skill, and it is positively essential in executing your study plan productively.
- Practice and Practice Some More: We can’t stress it enough: Learning how to take the LSAT is a skill in and of itself, and you must learn how to anticipate common challenges. Everyone’s challenges with the LSAT will differ; the more you take your practice exams, the more you will know how to navigate your challenges without panicking. All of our recommended LSAT prep sources provide in-depth exploration of incorrect answers; take advantage of these useful tools to learn from what prove to be your areas of needed improvement.
- Diversify your study resources: Studying for the LSAT exam is known to be an intense process. One of the ways to prevent burnout is to frequently change your study methods and content. For example, as you devise your short and long-term study plans, make certain you aren’t devoting three straight days of strategic reasoning prep; change to reading comprehension or another section to keep yourself engaged. In doing so, you are keeping your brain fresh and motivated to retain more of these complex LSAT concepts.
Our Picks for the Best Online Resources in LSAT Self-Prep
- LSAC: The Law School Admission Council is an excellent source for LSAT prep materials, especially since it is the entity that administers the LSAT exam itself. LSAC has an extensive library of prep materials, including free sample questions with explanations. In addition, LSAC provides generous discounts on official LSAT exam preparation books. As indicated below, LSAC and Khan Academy have partnered in providing LSAT exam preparation tools.
- Khan Academy: A highly popular learning resource, Khan Academy partnered with the LSAC to provide 100% free LSAT prep courses. Khan’s offerings include a diagnostic test to determine which skills require more focus than others. Khan’s innovative practice plan is highly personalized and you can see your progress on a graph. Khan students praised the company for its results-oriented study plans and highly-motivating instructors.
- Magoosh: Magoosh has a wide spectrum of LSAT prep tools for ¼ of the price of competitors. Along with expansive LSAT video lessons, Magoosh provides LSAT flashcards and study-plans with multiple timeline options. Former Magoosh students shared that the LSAT exam question explanations were particularly effective in meeting their needs. In addition, Magoosh is one of the few LSAT prep companies that offer a 7-day money-back guarantee.
- Velocity: Velocity is another popular choice with LSAT prep students, as it has plentiful free resources in addition to its paid membership plans. Depending on the specific needs of your LSAT study plan, the expansive LSAT video explanations may be enough for you as a supplement with other online sources. Former students have praised Velocity for its straight-forward, conversational approach to complex LSAT concepts.
How Long Will It Take to Prepare for the LSAT?
There is no number of hours or months that will guarantee your success on the LSAT. That said, the average amount of time students take is at minimum, 2-3 months. If you have different needs that require a longer study timeline, 6-9 months is not unheard of. LSAT exam experts do advise that there should be at least 15-20 hours per-week allotted to study. Take stock of your own needs and make certain you can make the commitment you need.
A recent change to the delivery of the LSAT may affect your preparation methods and efficiency: in September of 2019, the digital format became available. Much like online coursework, the digital version taken on a tablet appears to be parallel to the paper and pencil products, but with its own benefits and disadvantages.