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How do I Choose the Best LSAT® Review Books?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell

LSAT® review books can help with test preparation, but choosing the right ones can be daunting. Generally, it is a good idea to start with a basic prep book that covers the whole exam. Then, when you have a sense of your weaknesses, look for books that will strengthen those areas specifically.

If you are not enrolled in an LSAT® prep course that provides a review book, the choice of which books to buy will be yours alone. The test prep section of your neighborhood bookstore may sport a shelf or more of LSAT® review books, and an online search is likely to turn up dozens, if not hundreds, of possible purchases. It can be tempting to buy a sampling of books, or to buy the ones that look the densest or otherwise seem the most professional. Selecting the best LSAT® review books usually requires a more reasoned decision, however.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

For the most part, basic LSAT® review books are comparable from one publisher to the next in terms of the information they provide. The main differences are in layout, format, and teaching style. Usually, the best place to start the decision-making process is in the introduction. Read about the publisher’s exam prep strategy, and flip through the layout of the book. You want to make sure that the pages are well-organized, that there seems to be a balance of practice problems and explanations, and that you could see yourself spending a great deal of time reading and working with the book.

Another thing to consider is your own time line. Some books are designed around a 10- or 12-week course of study, while others are more self-paced. Many LSAT® review books also come with CD-ROM programs or online tutorial study companions. If technological help interests you, look out for a book that includes these features in its purchase price.

Generally, it is not advisable to buy more than one general LSAT® prep book when you are just getting started with your studies. Too many different exam prep strategies run the risk of confusing you more than helping you. Once you are finished with one book’s prescribed course of study, however, it may make sense to selectively choose a few more targeted books.

The LSAT® is made up of three sections: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical games. Most students struggle more with one than with the others. If you felt particularly challenged by a certain section during your initial preparation, it may be a good idea to look for LSAT® review books on that section specifically. Subject-area reviews offer more chances for practice and fresh takes on study strategies and approaches.

Another good source of practice materials is books that provide nothing but practice exams. Books of this variety can be purchased directly from the LSAT® administrators, and many other publishers have versions, as well. Like most standardized tests, the LSAT® is designed around a compressed time frame, which makes practicing your test-taking strategies under pressure just as important as learning those strategies in the first place. Once you have mastered an exam attack plan, the best thing to do is to practice sections over and over.

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