IN GENERAL

When choosing an LSAT course, instead of trying to determine which test prep course is “best,” you should be concerned with which course is best for you. Determine what is important to you: lots of practice material with explanations and computer grading? Many hours of class? Small classes with personalized attention? Easy to learn stuff? Once you’ve determined your needs, review each company to see which one best meets your needs.

TEACHERS

What should a good LSAT teacher possess? Experience with teaching proof and enthusiasm. When choosing a course, contact companies directly and ask who specifically will be teaching your course, rather than assuming that all instructors at a company are necessarily the same. When evaluating teachers, many students assume that a higher score equals a better teacher. This is not necessarily true. What is the difference between someone who scored in the 95th percentile (about 167) and someone who scored in the 99.1 percentile (about 172)? Bit. In fact, above the 95th percentile, a higher LSAT score often simply reflects how fast the test taker is reading, not necessarily how much LSAT knowledge they have. As such, someone who scored in the 99th percentile would likely read slightly faster than someone who scored in the 95th percentile. Thus, the difference between a teacher who scored in the 95th percentile versus the 99th percentile means very little. What does count is how well the teacher can teach you how to get good scores. What about the teacher’s experience with law school or law? This is a nice advantage, but for teaching the LSAT, it doesn’t matter much. The LSAT tests logic and reading, as such, no knowledge of the law is required. If you have questions about law, law school, or admissions, consult your law school’s undergraduate law advisor or other source (many test preparation companies also offer law school admissions consulting).

METHODS

Focus on how a company teaches you methods rather than which company has the “best” methods. Many focus on the analytical reasoning methods (logical games) of a course, as this section often turns out to be the most difficult and unfamiliar for many test takers. This is certainly an important section, but note that the Logical Reasoning section consists of two full sections, compared to one Analytical Reasoning section. As such, be sure to check out a company’s logical reasoning methods (and how they teach those methods).

BOOKS/OTHER MATERIALS

This is one aspect in which courses vary. Check out each company to see what you get in addition to the class. Most prep companies offer several LSAT prep tests as part of the course. If you take a course that does not offer LSAT prep tests, you must purchase them yourself.

SHOULD I TAKE AN ONLINE COURSE?

If you think a prep book isn’t enough, but a live course is too expensive, consider taking an online course, which essentially provides the same content as a live course, but over the Internet. Many online course options give you email contact if you get stuck too, a huge advantage over a book. If you’re fine without a teacher but want a lot more support than that in a book, consider online options.

WHAT COURSE SHOULD I TAKE? Follow these steps:

Step 1 – Decide what is important to you: flexibility or structure? Lots of class time or lots of practice material? Serious or relaxed atmosphere? Small classes? Online course?

Step 2 – Contact the companies and get details about the experience and enthusiasm of your local teacher.

Step 3- Choose a course. Optional: If you haven’t taken a logic course, consider taking one before your LSAT class or purchase Richard Feldman’s Reason & Argument, a great introduction to logic basics.