Over the weekend I tried to gather some feedback from this blog's Facebook members regarding some books for use as study aids while studying for the LSAT. I actually got quite a lot of feedback and decided to put together two separate articles: one which is being posted today (this one) and one to come at a later time about law school aids, such as hornbooks, outlines, websites etc.
My personal experience with LSAT study material comes from numerous aid sources. In this article there will be a link to purchase directly from Amazon.com for every book I discuss.
First things first, let me recap the sections on the LSAT (yes, I know everyone knows ... but just in case).
Logical Reasoning - will be referred to as LR from now on.
Analytical Reasoning (games) - will be referred as games from now on.
Reading Comprehension - will be referred to as RC from now on.
Written Sample - Will be referred to as WS from now on
There are at least two LR sections, at least one RC section and at least one Games section (not including the Experimental which could be any of the three above), and there is ONLY ONE WRITTEN SAMPLE ALWAYS AT THE END.
OK... lets get to it:
The PowerScore Logical Reasoning Bible - This book is a MUST HAVE whether you know logic or don't know, whether you have used other aids or not before. It's an organized book about formal logic, which is THE MEAT AND BONES OF THIS ENTIRE EXAM. It will teach and explain topics like: Identifying Question Types, Making Inferences, Time and Section Management, Assumption Identification, Causality, Conditional reasoning, and FORMAL LOGIC. This is one of the best guides available in my opinion. All questions are 100% real questions from the LSAT rather then simulations.
The PowerScore Games Bible - This guide by PowerScore is also a very valuable tool to have. The guide is for the Games section of the exam. Game types are explained in detail (LINEAR, PATTERN, GROUPING, HYBRIDS etc) and their respective setup guides are taught. The guide works with real (not simulated games) from previous exams.
The PowerScore Ultimate Setups Guide - This goes hand in hand with the Games Bible. It is the setups for every game from 1995 till 2002. Same techniques as in the Games Bible are applied here. Excellent source for the solidification of the games section.
ExamKrackers Reading Comprehension - This is in my opinion the better guide to Reading Comprehension. While nobody is going to teach you how to read, the ExamKrackers guide teaches you the types of Passages used (thesis, controversial, comparative,historical)and the types of question each one has and how to recognize, attack and succeed with them. Alternatively one could choose the PowerScore Reading Comprehension Bible which approaches the section of RC with almost the same steps of identification and attack, but doesn't get down to the details of types of questions and typical tricks and tips, which is something I have found important when attacking the RC section.
A NOTE ABOUT TESTMASTERS: The TestMasters material compares best to the PowerScore system of attack and I will evaluate it at the same level as the PowerScore study aids.
A NOTE ABOUT KAPLAN : While I purchased both the Kaplan 2009 Ultimate Lsat Premium and The LSAT 180, I felt that both use a technique I call the Reverse Answer Strategy which is not very detailed or explanatory. I feel they derive their explanations after viewing the answers as opposed to trying out a method of their own. The Premium Kaplan book uses a mix of simulated and real questions which are not the best ways of studying for the exam. The 180 sums up the "hardest" LSAT questions ever which (while real) still represent to little to be used on their own. I WILL CATEGORIZE THE KAPLAN GUIDES AS EXTRA, ADDITIONAL BUT NOT CRUCIAL STUDY MATERIAL WHICH COULD BE PURCHASED IF YOUR BUDGET ALLOWS.
OTHER BRANDS SUCH AS PRINCETON REVIEW, BARRON'S, MCGRAW HILL etc will not be reviewed as I have recieved too little or none information and student reviews on them.
The most important thing is to be comfortable with whatever guide you're using. I recommendthe PowerScore package because they are the most comprehensive. It's also highly reccomended that one purchase at least 10 real LSAT's from LSAC by clicking here.
There is no subsitute for real exams and one should not!
Practice on real exams and never simulated ones. THEY'RE NOT INDICATIVE OF WHERE YOU STAND.
Furthermore while timers are not allowed any longer in the LSAT, purchase or get used to an analog wrist watch for that is all you will have to measure your time. (more on that on the time management article).
I hope this article is helpful in putting together a introductory package of study aids for the LSAT taker. Best of luck to all.
This brands names in this article are property of their respective owners and subject to copyright. I do not support or dismiss any of the guides.