A lot of students ask us what makes for a good LSAT studying book. While we’re naturally keen on our own publications, here are some quick ways to tell if the book you are using is useless, out of date, or written by someone without a true understanding of the LSAT.
- The book uses simulated LSAT questions. Real questions are available from LSAC (producers of the test) for a fee. A book uses real LSAT questions only if the following notice appears in the copyrights: “All actual LSAT questions printed within this work are used with the permission of Law School Admission Council, Inc., Box 2000, Newtown, PA 18940, the copyright owner. LSAC does not review or endorse specific test preparation materials or services, and inclusion of licensed LSAT questions within this work does not imply the review or endorsement of LSAC. LSAT is a registered trademark of LSAC.” Authors who fail to use real LSAT questions are cutting corners. What does that say about their integrity and trustworthiness?
- The author talks more about “general test strategies” than the questions on the test. While strategy is certainly an essential part of taking the LSAT, a thorough knowledge of the different types of questions and logical concepts that appear on the LSAT will do more to alter your score than most “strategies.”
- The author spends a great deal of time on LSAT Writing. The writing portion is unscored and is not a significant factor in law school admissions. Only a brief discussion is appropriate.
Logical Reasoning Section
- The book doesn’t contain a discussion of sufficient and necessary conditions, also known as conditional reasoning. Conditional reasoning appears on both the Logical Reasoning section and the Logic Games section.
- The book doesn’t contain an extensive discussion of cause and effect reasoning, also known as causal reasoning.
- The author recommends using Venn Diagrams (overlapping circles) for solving certain problems. Venn is simply too time-consuming and contains inherent assumptions that can lead you to miss problems.
- The book uses a numerical system for classifying Logical Reasoning question types. Numerical classification systems force you to add two unnecessary levels of abstraction to your thinking process. For example, consider a question that asks you to “weaken” the argument. In a numerical question classification system, you must first recognize that the question asks you to weaken the argument, then you must classify that question into a numerical category (say, Type 10), and then you must translate Type 10 to mean “Weaken.” Literally, numerical classification systems force you to perform an abstract, circular translation of the meaning of the question, and the translation process is both time-consuming and valueless.
- There are less than 300 pages that cover the Logical Reasoning section (not including practice tests).
Logic Games Section (Analytical Reasoning)
- The book discusses Family Tree games (these haven’t appeared on the LSAT since the 1980s).
- The author recommends using a matrix of any sort. The matrix can be recognized because the author will recommend using checks, X’s, and O’s to fill in the grid. These games can be solved by more efficient methods.
- There are less than 200 pages that cover the Logic Games section (not including practice tests).
Reading Comprehension Section
- Recommends reading each question before reading the passage. This laughable strategy wastes entirely too much time.
- Recommends skimming the passage.
- Recommends reading only the first and last sentence of each paragraph.
If the book you are using contains any of the above features, you are using a book that is not on the cutting edge of LSAT knowledge. Give us a call soon! Or, if you’re ready to take the plunge on our publications you can find them here.