Students who are interested in going to law school have likely heard of the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test. This standardized test is designed to test the critical thinking skills that are needed to be a law student.
Since the test is customized for people who want to enter a specific career, the number of people who take this particular test is fairly low. About 100,000 to 150,000 people take it each year across the country, according to AdmissionsDean, compared to 2+ million who take the SAT annually.
The LSAT is an advanced exam, which is why many people take a prep course to get ready for it.
For those thinking about prep classes, we’ve created this guide that explores everything you should know about the process. We’ll cover:
- What’s on the LSAT?
- How is the LSAT scored?
- Why do you need an LSAT prep course?
- Who needs an LSAT prep course?
- Things to consider before selecting an LSAT prep course
- How to choose an LSAT prep course
- Frequently asked questions about the LSAT
- The best LSAT prep courses to consider
What’s on the LSAT?
Before diving into an LSAT prep course, students should have an idea of what the test structure is and what subjects are tested. Here’s a look at what’s on the LSAT and the weight each section has on your total score.
- Two Logical Reasoning sections, worth 50% of your total score
- Reading Comprehension, worth 27% of your total score
- Logic Games, worth 23% of your total score
- LSAT Experimental Section
- LSAT Writing Section
The Experimental Section is a section of experimental questions that test makers are trying out on students. While it helps shape the future of the exam, your responses to these questions aren’t scored.
The Writing Section of the LSAT isn’t scored either but it is sent to colleges and can be weighed during the admissions process. For that reason, students should work hard to create an essay that helps them stand out.
How is the LSAT scored?
LSAT scores range between 120-180. When scores are received, students will see their total score along with a percentage that tells them where they rank among other test-takers.
Why do you need an LSAT prep course?
For students considering an LSAT prep course, there are several reasons to go through with one. Here’s a look at why people opt for a prep course:
Getting into law school is no easy feat, and the admissions team looks heavily at LSAT scores. To make sure you have a score that helps gain access to the law school of your choice, a prep course can help.
See what the test looks and feels like
To take the LSAT without any knowledge of the test would be a mistake. A prep course can help students understand what the test consists of, what question types are in each section, and how it feels to take a timed-test like this.
With the help of a prep class, students can take practice tests and feel comfortable and ready on the exam day.
Test strategy skills
The test is timed, so people have to make the best use of the time given for each section. A course can help students use their time wisely, and also provide other helpful strategies like how to make educated guesses on challenging questions.
Who needs an LSAT prep course?
For students wondering if a prep course is right them, here’s who typically takes the courses:
Students looking to score well
Whether your dream school requires a certain test score or you just want to do well to have as many options as possible, a prep course is for you.
Students who struggle with tests
There are some students who simply aren’t good test-takers. Rather than shy away from this test, students who get test-day jitters say preparing for the exam calms their anxiety and gives them a chance to focus on the task at hand.
Students who are willing to do the work
Prep courses require students to set aside time to study. Attending classes is part of the process, but working at home is part of the process too.
Things to consider before selecting an LSAT prep course
When you’re ready to select an LSAT prep course, here’s what to consider:
To get the most out of a prep course, students have to put in the work. Going to class or attending an online course is just the start, students will have homework and will need to study.
A prep course takes time, so students with busy schedules may need to make changes to accommodate prep courses. It might mean better time management skills or it might mean eliminating an extracurricular activity.
In-person or online courses
There’s a variety of ACT/SAT prep courses available. Some are scheduled classroom courses with homework assignments that could last up to ten weeks, others are online and give students the chance to learn at their own pace. Students can also opt for private tutoring sessions as one of their prep options.
The cost of prep courses varies. There are some free online resources that students enjoy and there are professional companies that specialize in prep courses. Courses can be expensive, some up to $2000. However, the average cost is usually around $500.
How to choose an LSAT prep course
There’s a lot of test prep resources out there, but for those who are ready to commit to a prep course, here’s what you should look for:
A course that promises to raise your score
A test prep course that offers a score improvement guarantee shows the company’s confidence in its preparation materials. For anyone who’s looking to get into elite law schools or a school with a high score requirement, this kind of guarantee can help narrow down the right course for you.
Lessons in a format that works for you
Do you prefer on-demand video lessons or would you get more out of a class that’s taught in-person? LSAT classes have a wide variety of lesson formats. Before beginning your search, know what kind of teaching method you want.
Cost weighed against materials
What kind of course materials are you getting for the cost? As students research different prep courses, they’ll quickly realize that the cost of some of the courses are quite high. Courses can cost more than $1000. By contrast, there are LSAT preparation choices that are only a few hundred dollars. Students have to look at what kind of resources are available for the price.
Frequently Asked Questions About the LSAT
For those new to the world of GRE testing, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions:
When should students take the LSAT?
Many law schools have an application deadline in February, so the test should be taken before then. Some schools have an earlier deadline though, so it’s important to check individual schools of interest.
How much does it cost to take the LSAT?
The registration fee for the LSAT is $180.
How many times can the LSAT be taken?
Students can take the exam three times over the course of two years.
How much weight do law schools give to the LSAT?
The general rule of thumb for admission requirements to law school is that grades account for roughly 40% of their decision, the LSAT accounts for 50% of their decision, and the remaining 10% is left for recommendations and other personal achievements.
The best LSAT prep courses to consider
For students planning to take an LSAT prep course, there’s a lot of choices to sift through. To help narrow the search, here’s a list of the best LSAT prep courses to consider:
1. Alpha Score
- Price: Starting at $389
- Format: Video lessons
- Best for: Students on a budget
Alpha Score is an LSAT prep course that offers all of the necessary study tools and practice tests and combines them with 50+ video lessons. The videos have additional controls to speed them up or repeat parts, depending on the student’s aptitude for the lesson.
Practice tests are given with a virtual proctor to emulate the real thing. Study schedules and other resources are available to keep students motivated.
This prep course is a no-frills option for students who want to use a prep course to get ready for the exam but aren’t willing to break the bank.
Their most popular course is $389, which gives students access to all of the course materials for a year. The company offers a free trial as well.
2. The Princeton Review LSAT
- Price: Starting at $799
- Format: Live online classes, on-demand content
- Best for: Students who need a high score on the exam
The Princeton Review is the gold standard in the prep course industry. This company offers an LSAT prep course that guarantees a score of 165+, which would put a student in the top 90th percentile of test-takers. This kind of score guarantee is rare among LSAT test prep courses.
For those working hard to attend a law school of their dreams, this type of LSAT course is ideal. Their most popular package has scheduled, live online classes with 84 hours of instruction, six full-length practice exams, practice questions, and the most up-to-date LSAT study resources available. This package has it all, but it’s one of the more expensive courses on the market at $1199.
The downside to The Princeton Review is that it doesn’t work on mobile very well. There’s no mobile app to use, so if you like to study on your phone instead of your laptop, keep this in mind as you research test preparation options.
3. Kaplan LSAT
- Price: Starting at $699
- Format: Live online instruction or on-demand
- Best for: Students who wanted customized learning
Kaplan is another well-respected test prep company with a history of hiring expert instructors who can help students achieve higher scores on tests like the LSAT.
Kaplan’s courses are live online or on-demand and come with 32 hours of instruction and another 180 hours of student material available online. The program boasts “every official LSAT question ever released,” and tools to self-proctor a practice exam when students are ready.
The course also has a personalization component that focuses on a student’s weak areas and provides additional materials to improve that subject.
Kaplan’s programs aren’t the most expensive, but they’re not the most affordable either. Their main courses cost about $699.
4. Magoosh LSAT
- Price: Starting at $129
- Format: Video lessons
- Best for: Boot-strapped students
Magoosh LSAT prep courses are straightforward and simple to follow. The company only offers on-demand video lessons but combines them with study materials and remote tutors who can answer questions as needed. Students will find study guides, trusted prep materials, real LSAT questions, and many other helpful tools.
The company does offer a seven-day free trial with a money-back guarantee, so students can test-drive the course before they buy.
The company’s content is all accessible on mobile devices too, so studying on a tablet or smartphone is a viable option.
Magoosh courses are affordable. The three-month LSAT starter course, for example, is $129. The company’s more popular course, with access to materials for a year, is $249.
- Price: $1650
- Format: In-person course, online course
- Best for: Students who want in-person classes
Testmasters offers a variety of prep formats including in-person teaching, online courses, and private tutoring. The company excels at in-person classes and relies LSAT experts who scored in the 98th percentile on the exam to teach its students.
For students looking for in-person courses, Testmasters could be your solution. Students will sign up for 60 hours of instruction time and are able to access another 100 hours of content online. There are 20 practice tests, thousands of practice questions and messaging support to answer tough questions while students are studying at home.
The classes are held in 100 cities across the U.S. and cost $1650.
6. Powerscore LSAT
- Price: Starting at $195 a month
- Format: In-person, online classes, on-demand
- Best for: Students looking for flexibility
Powerscore offers classes of all kinds. Students can take in-person classes, online classes, or work with the on-demand classes.
The in-person courses are held in select cities throughout the U.S., but for those who aren’t close to a classroom setting, there are online options. The online courses create virtual classrooms with schedule meeting times and lesson plans, just as you’d find in a typical classroom environment.
An on-demand class is an option too, but some feedback suggests that the quality of the video lessons isn’t as good as competitors. The cost of the on-demand course is $195 a month. Use it when you need it and then cancel when you’re done. While this kind of payment plan makes the course more affordable, it is also something students can forget to cancel and pay more than originally expected.