Courtroom drama. Subpoenas. Pleading the fifth.
These recurring themes may seem like jargon that TV series and reality shows throw around very easily, but there’s more to the justice system than we realize. Of course, we cannot deny the fact that media and other artistic outlets may have sparked an interest in a lot of students pursuing law.
It’s a lucrative career option that you may want to consider – according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 median salary for lawyers was almost $123,000 (or roughly $60 an hour). It’s a top choice if you’re looking to exercise your communication skills daily, have great attention to detail, or if you get a certain high when you problem-solve or analyze chunks of information to score a win.
Before you get to the nitty-gritty details of the job (or even get to enter law school), you must first pass the LSATs, and of course, take the necessary steps to ace the said examination. Today, we will be diving into the world of standardized tests and help you choose the best prep courses to help you prepare for your law school journey.
Use these page-jumps to navigate the sections easily!
The LSATs: Your First Step in a Career in Law
The LSAT Format
Changes related to COVID-19: LSAT-Flex
15 Best Online LSAT Prep Courses
* LSAT Prep (by LSAC)
* Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep
* LSAT Center Free Prep Course
* QS LEAP LSAT Platform
* Nova’s LSAT Prep Course by Udemy
* 7Sage LSAT Course
* Magoosh LSAT Review Course
* AlphaScore LSAT Review Course
* Kaplan LSAT Prep
* Blueprint LSAT Online Prep Program
* LSATMax Prep Course
* The Princeton Review LSAT Prep
* LSAT Demon Prep Course
* PowerScore LSAT Course
* Manhattan Prep LSAT Course
Final Note: Additional Tips for LSAT Success
The LSATs: Your First Step in a Career in Law
The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is a standardized examination that is developed and administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). For those who are aspiring to have a career in law, this may be one of the most important steps that would forge ahead of their path and make (or break) any future opportunities.
In a nutshell, the LSAT is a tool that helps admission officers (in schools in the US, Canada, and other countries) review prospective law school candidates, focusing on key areas such as reading comprehension, analytical and logical reasoning, and verbal proficiency. You can think of it as an important gauge for reviewers on whether or not the candidate can succeed in law school, taking the skill sets above into consideration.
The examination is administered six times a year, with scheduled dates in various months. As of the academic year 2018-2019, there have been over 60,000 applicants who have taken the test. These numbers can fluctuate this year, with various changes implemented in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The LSAT Format
In the LSAT, test-takers are expected to find five main sections composed of multiple-choice questions and one section where students are expected to produce a writing sample. Upon computation of the test scores, the writing sample will not be included in the grading, although the results will be included in reports sent to your prospective schools.
Here is a breakdown of the graded sections:
- Logical Reasoning or “Arguments” Section (24-26 questions): Composed of two distinct parts, this section aims to test the taker’s ability to deconstruct arguments and make sense of the data – either by detecting any inconsistencies or omissions, choosing parallel statements, selecting alternate responses, or by selecting statements that would make or break the argument.
- Reading Comprehension Section (26-28 questions): This section tests the taker’s ability to extensively read complex texts (which are usually dense and argumentative), extracting important pieces of information, analyzing the gist, and applying these ideas accordingly.
- Analytical Reasoning or “Logic Games” Section (22-24 questions): This section is used to determine one’s ability to find relationships between concepts and analyzing different sets of data to find order, connections, or commonality. It also tests reasoning abilities and allows test-takers to make inferences about the facts presented.
- Writing Sample Section (LSAT Writing): This section is the last part of the examination. It can be compared to other standardized examinations, starting with a decision prompt – a problem, and two choices. Test-takers must choose from one of two options and formulate their argument with supporting details. Subjects usually vary but typically shy away from highly controversial topics. Note that there is no right or wrong answer to this and that this won’t be part of the final grade. This will be sent to the admission offices for their assessment.
Note that there is an Unscored Variable section in the examination, which comprises questions that are tested for future examinations. Like any standardized test, this section is usually not declared beforehand, to prevent data skewing and any influences that may affect how well the test-takers respond to them.
Changes related to COVID-19: LSAT-Flex
The world has truly entered different times. Because of health and safety protocols in place, the LSAC is now offering the LSAT-Flex. It is a version of the exam that can be taken in the comfort of your own home. This version will replace in-person examinations scheduled for August and October.
This will be taken under the supervision of a remote proctor. Test takers from the US and Canada will have this option or may opt-out and take a coupon that can be applied to other test dates until April 2021.
The LSAT-Flex takes the takers’ convenience and flexibility into account – you can choose the schedule that would work best on a first-come, first-served basis. Depending on the outcome and progression of the pandemic, the LSAC will be announcing additional test dates in the following months, which can be done virtually.
15 Best Online LSAT Prep Courses
To help you gain confidence and be prepared on test day, here are 15 of the best online LSAT prep courses. You can choose from a variety of free resources and paid programs, depending on your budget, target score, preparation level, and pace:
Price: Free; with paid version at $99/1 year access
The official LSAT Prep (and LSAT Prep Plus as the paid version) is a good place to start in terms of preparation courses. Not only is it built on the turf of the originators (offered by none other than the LSAC), it’s one of the best investments that you could ever make! The free version comes with two free official LSAT PrepTests, with self-paced and simulated modes to choose from. You can avail of free unlimited practice attempts using the actual test interface, making your experience a breeze. The paid version comes with 60 full exam sets that you can access on any device. Now that’s a great investment!
Khan Academy has teamed up with LSAC to bring you their Official LSAT Prep Course. The best part about this? It’s 100% free! If you’re looking for a springboard in LSAT prep or need of supplementary courses for your study, you can rely on Khan Academy’s personalized program, which offers a practice plan that you can change up according to your schedule, target score, and skill level. It is filled with interactive sessions, timed and self-paced problem sets and practice tests, tips, how-to videos, and more! It’s real progress, guaranteed, helping you focus on weak points and gain momentum up to the big day.
LSAT Center’s no-nonsense prep course is as comprehensive as it can get. If you’re currently on a budget right now (especially in the middle of a pandemic) but still would like to get ahead on exam prep, this is one of the best resources that you can find out there. It is composed of more than 65 mini-lessons that cover a great section of the examination, arranged in a logical and easy-to-follow manner. You can even take their practice LSAT test with diagnostics, tutor support, and other partner tools. It also contains more than 200 test questions with corresponding video explanations. It’s more than you could ever ask for!
Dubbed as the “Best Online Test-Prep Platform of the Year 2017” by EdTechReview, QS LEAP (Learn and Prepare with Friends) is another free social platform for LSAT test-takers around the world. By creating a free account on their website, you will be able to meet different aspirants and discover online meetups that discuss important information about the examination. Most importantly, you will be able to gain access to more than 700 LSAT test questions and more than 400 blogs and tutorials on different parts of the examination. It’s more than just a community – it’s your practice field and support system in one!
Price: $19.99; through their special offer you can get it for only $9.99
Nova’s LSAT Prep Course by Udemy is another special offer that you can get for half the price this season! Applicants spend more than a thousand dollars each year for test prep expenses, which doesn’t include the actual exam. For way less, you can get a comprehensive preparation course, equal to a 50-hour course (projected to run for two months). It is a highly analytical approach that aims to deconstruct the LSAT, featuring hours upon hours of game lectures, generating formulas, analyzing pathways and charts, and other important aspects of the examination. It may be a bit lengthy, but it’s worth completing.
Price: Free trial available; starts at $69/month ($599/year) for the Ultimate+ course; add-on LSAT Prep ($99/year) available
Do you seek to step up your LSAT game, without having to fish out more than a thousand grand per exam cycle? It’s feasible with the 7Sage LSAT Course. Especially when you’ve already been exposed to the basics (finishing the core curriculum), 7Sage’s Practice Tests and Video Explanations gives applicants a chance to identify any problem areas that they may have. You will learn different techniques that will help you deconstruct and tackle curve-breaker questions. With their method, test-takers have seen a remarkable improvement in their LSAT scores – an average of 11 points from previous scores.
Price: $229/1 month access for Premium; $249/12 months for their special LSAT Premium offer
Face it – it’s just too much to spend over one grand a year for LSAT prep, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Magoosh’s LSAT Review Course offers a much more cost-effective way to keep you prepared for your exam: they are now offering a year-long Premium course for less than $250! It features over 7,000 official test questions with corresponding video explanations. It also has over 90 comprehensive videos that tackle different test-taking strategies, as well as more than 200 Logic Game explanations. Not only is the package noteworthy – you can even avail of the email assistance feature from their expert tutors!
Price: Free trial available; starts at $389/year for a Complete course; $789/year for their Premium course
AlphaScore is another name that you can trust when it comes to LSAT review courses. They offer a free trial for test-takers who are still in-between programs, which is good for a month. Additionally, their most popular program is their Complete LSAT course, inclusive of 50+ HD Video tutorials, ten official LSAT examinations (featuring more than 1,000 test questions), practice quizzes, extensive explanations, and assistance by qualified personal instructors. Their Premium course, on the other hand, features everything from the Complete course, with more than 60 official LSAT exams (and 6,000+ test questions).
Price: Starts at $700 for the self-paced version that you can access for four months; starts at $1200-$1600 for live online lectures worth more than 180 hours
Kaplan is another strong contender when it comes to standardized exam prep. Their LSAT Prep program guarantees strategies that raise scores, targeting areas for improvement, and moderated by instructors who are the best at what they do. Before you decide to push through with enrolling in their programs, you can schedule a free consultation where you can ask questions about their methods, as well as how these techniques and classes may fit with your schedule, target score, and preparation level. You can choose between their self-paced program, live online lectures, or small group virtual sessions.
Price: $233/month (billed as $699/3 months); $166/month (billed as $999/6 months); $125/month (billed as $1,499/year)
Are you an overachiever, or an applicant with higher law school aspirations? If it’s your first law school choice you’re after, Blueprint may be the perfect review tool for you. Created and developed by 99th percentile scorers, you can trust Blueprint for helping you accomplish the best possible LSAT score that you can get. With their practice tests and detailed score reporting system, you will be able to identify all of your strengths and weaknesses in one place (plus it’s super easy to navigate and see your history). Their 3, 6, and 12-month plans guarantee unlimited access to live, virtually-proctored examinations, simulating test day.
Price: App free to download; $799.99 for LSATMax Pro; $999.99 for LSATMax Premium and LSATMax Intensive for $1,299.99 (lifetime access for all plans)
The LSATMax Prep Course takes the cake when it comes to program access – aside from developing a free app filled with so much learning content, their study courses are one of the most comprehensive resources out there. The LSATMax Pro features 20 Prep Tests, the LSATMax Premium features 90 Prep Tests, while the LSATMax Intensive is throwing in an additional 3 hours worth of private tutoring sessions for your convenience. All courses offer the LSATMax Full course, with more than 100 hours of video tutorials, personalized chat and message board support, detailed analytics, textbooks, and instant lifetime access.
Price: Starts at $799 for the self-paced program; $1,099 for the fundamentals (30-hour) program; $1,499 for the LSAT 165+ program; $1,800 for the private tutoring option
If you’re looking to boost your LSAT game, the Princeton Review LSAT Prep program may be one of the best in the market today. The price range varies, starting at $799 for a self-paced class that gives you 1-year access to 60 official prep tests, including new materials, digital testing resources, and analytics. If you feel that you may need a bit more help, you can sign up for their fundamentals course or private tutoring session. Additionally, if you’re looking to achieve a certain target score, you may opt to enroll in their LSAT 165+ course, which is especially helpful if you’re planning to enroll in one of the top 25 law schools.
Price: $95/month for the Demon program; $195/month for the Premium program and $295/month for the Live program
The problem with LSAT programs is the repetitive and boring sessions that lead to a great deal of burnout and stress. Additionally, it’s like a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t make sense for different types of learners. With LSAT Demon’s Prep Course, you will be able to choose the perfect type of program for your learning style. They have a Demon program that features Smart Drilling, Timed Sections, and Tests (determined by AI). Their Premium program includes the same features, with additional proctored exams, video lessons, and help sessions. The live feature includes both, with live timed sections and reviews daily.
Price: $1,116/year for the Live Online course; $195/month for the On-Demand course
PowerScore is another authority when it comes to LSAT test prep courses. Because of the COVID-19 precautions, it’s better to make use of this time to enroll in one of their online programs today. The PowerScore LSAT Course has an on-demand service good for an entire month. It is packed with key features, such as pre-recorded versions of live discussions, flexible study arrangements, comprehensive course materials, and accessible 24/7 – perfect for students who may need a refresher course. You can also go ahead with the Live Online plan, with live instruction and reviewable lesson recordings that you can access.
Price: Starts at $49-$1,400+ per course; free trial courses and add-ons available
Do you want to guarantee your future in the dreaded LSATs, and perhaps be all in and invest in great training modules, Manhattan Prep should be your best bet. Manhattan Prep prides itself on the quality of its instructors who are passionate about what they do. If you want to explore their classes first, they have free trial classes listed on their website. Once enrolled, you have the option to move forward with different interactive courses depending on your strengths and weaknesses. There is even a Live LSAT Course led by 99th-percentile tutors, so if you’re all about hands-on training, you can count on Manhattan Prep for it.
Final Note: Additional Tips for LSAT Success
Lastly, we can’t send you off without giving you a few tips on how to ace the LSATs first:
- If possible, take up a few more units that can help you with LSAT Prep. For example, you can zero in on Formal Logic concepts if you have more time. Courses related to philosophy, political science, and other humanities subjects will give you some training in the reading comprehension aspect of LSAT.
- Preparation is key. It may seem like a no-brainer – test-takers must prepare months and months before exam day. You need to get a feel for it, be acquainted with the exam format, and get a taste of the ticking clock. It’s so easy to dismiss practice tests, especially when you’re juggling multiple things at once, but it helps to dedicate a certain time for drills even with a busy schedule.
- Try to incorporate strategy-based, logic-oriented games into your free time. To prevent burnout, you must know when to rest and refresh your brain. If you still have time, it’s good to destress with logic games. Try out a few puzzles, and exercise those neurons – these tiny changes in routine are worth trying.
- Simulate test day with every practice test. Of course, this isn’t always a luxury that most of us have, considering the changes brought about by the pandemic. But if you’re taking it at home (via LSAT-Flex), it’s easier for you to get more comfortable with your testing space. Try to make your surroundings more exam-friendly – set aside all distractions, and act as if you’re going to take the actual test every time you finish practice tests.
- Manage your time wisely during the exam. The beauty of the LSATs? You can decide which section you can answer first. Depending on your strengths and weaknesses, you must be able to come up with the right order for you. Save all of the harder sections for last, and try to bring in as many points on the first parts.
- Keep on moving. Sometimes, we’re hardheaded enough to cost ourselves more points had we skipped a few items. Every question is worth the same point, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Focus – you must divide and conquer and prevent any time wasters during your exam (and that includes trying too hard).
- Additionally, don’t leave anything blank. If you’re pressed for time and still have unanswered blanks, don’t leave them unanswered. Instead, fill them in – statistically speaking, you’ll probably get 2-3 items right just by guessing. This will give your final scores a boost, too.
- Take note of the high-yield stuff. Being familiar with the exam format is one thing, but taking note of the bigger fish is another. As we’ve mentioned, the Logical Reasoning portion makes up two of the five LSAT sections, so don’t take it for granted. Always try to polish and perfect your logical reasoning skills – it will make or break your test results.
- Don’t take the LSAT Writing Sample for granted. Yes, we know by this point, you’re going to be super exhausted. You’ll think: “Hey, this part isn’t graded, so it may be safe to screw this up,” but it’s a bad idea to do so. Depending on the school, they may choose to take a peek at your Writing Sample (or even put great weight on it). Do your part, practice a few writing samples, and face it head-on.
- Relax and enjoy the ride. Take a deep breath. Let the nerves subside before starting anything. Don’t let your expectations get the best of you. You don’t need to get all answers perfect – you need to do your best. Even if you theoretically get 2-3 questions wrong, you will still have the chance to snag a full 180. You got this!