Choosing LSAT Prep Materials

My first tutoring priority with any new LSAT student is to conduct an “LSAT Inventory” to figure out that student’s unique goals, resources, strengths, and challenges so that we can develop a personal study plan. LSAT prep materials are key components of this personal plan.

Most of the companies that offer LSAT classes and/or curriculum vendors claim to be the “best” for some reason or another. As a tutor, I’m increasingly aware that what is “best” for one kind of student is just awful for another.  Some LSAT books concentrate on memorizing every single kind of logical reasoning question and every type of answer so that every student can (in theory) get every question right. Other vendors focus on helping students skip the hard questions so they can focus on the ones that are left. I’ve had students who are trying to get their scores up from 130 and others who are shooting for 170. It would be tutorial malpractice for me to recommend the same materials to both groups!

So the first question I ask a new student is, “What are you shooting for? What law schools are on your list?” I’m convinced that the average student can achieve above-average results on the LSAT if they are willing to work at it, so the question is not “what law school can you get into” but “what law school do you want to get into?” Some students name a local school with modest median LSAT scores. Others dream about the Ivy League. I may recommend a “skip the hard questions” LSAT curriculum for the first group and a much more rigorous program for the others.

The second question I ask a new student is, “How much time do you have? How many months (or weeks) (or days) until the test? How many hours a week can you devote to studying?” Some LSAT materials are short. Others are long–some are very long. The PowerScore LSAT Trilogy is a three volume set with over 40 very long chapters. LSAT for Dummies is a lot shorter. For a student with a limited attention span or a super-short study window, LSAT for Dummies is the better choice.

Another important question is, “How do you learn best?” You can get your LSAT materials as paperbacks, ebooks, or even in multimedia. I’m a speed reader who can’t stand the slow pace of an audiobook. My youngest daughter is an artist who can’t stand to read words on paper when her hands could be busy making something beautiful.  Most LSAT materials are paper-based, but an increasing number of new products were born on the Internet. If a student learns best through audiovisuals or interactive modules, I want to set them free from books.

That leaves one more key question–what’s your budget? I grew up very poor (we got running water when I was 17).  One of my main goals with each new student is to help them avoid wasting money so they can put it where it really matters.  Some LSAT materials cost a lot. Others are all but free.  Some students can get great results using just a library and open source materials. Others get lost without the structured approach of the more comprehensive–and expensive–programs.

You’ve almost reached the end of this post without an answer to the question that got you here: how do I choose my LSAT materials? The answer (as it so often is with anything involving the law) is, “It depends.” In this case, it depends on you: your goals, your budget, your schedule, your learning style.

I can’t write a post that tells everybody which curriculum to choose, but I am eager to help you figure out what is best for you. That is why I conduct LSAT inventories, one student at a time.  Click my tutoring link and let’s talk about your future!

World’s Best LSAT Tutors: How Do I Choose?

Search for “best LSAT tutor” and you’ll get page after page of hits. There are the “promoted” sites at the top, followed by one LSAT company after another. If you’ve been looking for an LSAT tutor for a while, the names are all familiar. If you’ve just started, they’re all a blur. How can a person who doesn’t even know what they’re looking for find what they need? has a post that offers some objective criteria for choosing a great tutor. The entire article is worth reading but here’s the short version if you’re in a hurry:

Try to find a tutor who scored at the 99th percentile.  Your tutor should be better at this than you are!

Get someone with a good reputation. Check reviews, ratings, word of mouth.

Experience is helpful, but it isn’t everything. A lot of younger tutors just took the LSAT themselves.

If you’re going to spend money on a tutor, spend enough to get a good one.

Try before you buy. If the tutoring company doesn’t offer some kind of “good fit guarantee” (where you only pay for your first session if the tutor is right for you), then only sign up for an hour or two for starters.

The Lawschooli article assumes people are looking for in-person tutoring in a local area. The LSAT, however, is a perfect fit for online tutoring. Everything a tutor and a student really need to do together can easily be accomplished on an interactive whiteboard.

WyzAnt (the tutoring service I use) currently has more than 300 self-employed online LSAT tutors. Unlike some of the big LSAT companies, which select their reviews, WyzAnt posts every rating and every review, whether it is flattering or embarassing. You can sort prospective tutors by price, rating, or “best match.” You may have to scroll down a bit to find me (I’m still fairly new to WyzAnt, and if you’re sorting from highest price to lowest, I’m way down the list), but you’ll find other people in this series right up at the top.