In Part I of this blog, I discussed why we use cover medallions on our books to indicate the year of release. The short answer is that they exist in order to help students identify the most up-to-date versions of each book and to avoid accidentally buying a book that might be years out of date. In this continuation, I'm going to discuss each book individually and provide an overview of some of the changes through the years, compare the 2016 versions to the 2014 and 2015 editions, and also discuss when the 2017 editions will come out.
The 2016 Bibles have each been updated to varying degrees from the 2014 versions, with the extent of the changes depending on which of the three Bibles you reference. In general, when I get this question, it’s usually comparing the current year with the prior year, and unless the book has had extensive or notable content changes, I’ll typically say that it’s ok to keep the version you have (and I'm always conscious that these books aren't cheap, so I won't just make a blanket recommendation that you buy the newest ones!). With two years in between versions, there’s often more extensive changes, including some that aren’t immediately evident. Often, the biggest changes to the books aren't fundamental conceptual overhauls, but rather expansions of drills and discussions, refinements of explanations, and cover-to-cover adjustments to account for small test trends and recent points of emphasis. Here’s a book-by-book examination of what I mean:
The first LGB came out around 2001, and clocked in at 232 pages. By comparison, the 2016 version spans 698 pages.
What changed over time? A lot of things, including new, refined, and expanded discussions of many critical Logic Games concepts, expanded discussions of question types and solution strategies, multiple new and expanded drills, added and changed LSAT Logic Games, a glossary/index which defines each term in the book, and a ReChallenge section dividing all of the games in the book into Challenge sections. There was even multiple upgrades to the book website, where we ultimately presented dozens of pages of supplementary drills and online presentations on challenging concepts and questions for free. I list these changes here because we made similar upgrades to each book, and this gives you a sense of the dimension of the additions, and thus I won't list them out for the other books.
If you have an older version of the LSAT Logic Games Bible, do you need to upgrade to the current 2016 edition? The short answer is yes. Between 2015 and 2016 we completely redesigned our Sequencing Diagramming system, which makes trading up to the new LGB somewhat essential. Dozens of pages and diagrams were altered to account for the new approach, which we think is easier to use and slightly more intuitive. If you have old versions of all three LSAT Bibles, this is the one that you should upgrade first.
The first LRB came out around 2003, and was 541 pages in length. By comparison, the 2016 version spans 682 pages.
Similar to how the LGB has improved, we have added to and refined almost all areas of the LRB over the years. This has been especially important because the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT has at times made small changes that impacted argument evaluation and answer choice selection, and as we anticipated and identified those changes, we were able to keep the LRB on the cutting edge of preparation.
Over the past two years, we’ve added an Advanced Causal Reasoning section, revised the section on Parallel Flaw questions, expanded the Question Identifiers section, clarified sufficient and necessary condition operation in Justify and Assumption questions, and added important content in the Numbers/Percentages section. Several of those changes were caused by new questions that LSAC has released, so we were making sure we accounted for the most up-to-date information (which is why we update them every year in the first place). As one example of what those changes are like, there was some information about Justify questions that I wanted to reference. In another case, I wanted to discuss how speaker identifiers can be helpful to determining argument direction, so I added several pages on that. This increased the page count from 654 in 2014 to 682 in 2016.
What if you have an older version? Anything prior to 2013 needs to be upgraded, and if you have a 2014 or 2015 version, you should consider trading up. While the 2014 edition was a strong improvement over earlier editions, even now it's a generation behind our current version. Thus, obtaining the 2016 version would be second on the upgrade priority list, after the LGB.
The first RCB came out in 2008, and was 360 pages in length. By comparison, the 2016 version is 456 pages long.
Over the past two years, we revised much of our discussion of passage diagramming and RC Comparative Reasoning question types. We've added a full section on Inferences and Assumptions, and expanded a large number of the book's drill sets (meaning that we would take a pre-existing drill and make it longer and more comprehensive), and expanded a number of other areas and discussions to make them clearer and more useful. The page count in this case grew from 401 pages in 2014 to 455 in 2016.
What’s the overall verdict if you have an older RCB? If it's 2013 or earlier, you need a new edition. If it's 2014 or 2015, it's more of a judgment call. The good news is that there’s nothing incorrect in any of the 2014 or 2015 versions, it’s just that the 2016 versions are better.
The last question we get concerns when we release new editions. The timing can change based on changes in the LSAT, but the 2017 LSAT Bibles are currently slated to be released in early December of this year. Thus, if you are preparing for the September 2016 or December 2016 LSAT, the 2016 LSAT Bibles are the ones to use.
Please let me know if that helps, or if you have any other questions. Thanks!