2) Princeton Review books and the real LSATs.
Simply the best source for taking and learning about the LSAT is to get as many real sample LSATs as you can. While other companies may seek to recreate the LSAT, they do not have the benefit of the experimental section which is utilized to weed out bad questions on the real LSATs. Order as many real LSATs booklets as you can. Try to learn from your mistakes by reviewing your errors.
The Powerscore books came out after I took the LSAT, but I have heard that they are excellent.
3) I taught the LSAT and GRE for Princeton Review. They needed a new LSAT instructor and they hired me based solely on my initial diagnostic. Thus, I was able to teach myself for free while teaching others.
While in my unbiased opinion, my classes were excellent, their effectiveness heavily varied by the quality of the instructor. Ask to sit in on 1 or 2 classes of all the test prep companies you are considering (they generally will let you in and there is certainly nothing to lose by asking). Evaluate whether the instructor is a great instructor or not and ask other students after the class if they are learning from the class and materials.
I recommend considering several test prep companies if possible. I have heard that Testmasters is one of the best test prep companies out there. (http://www.testmasters180.com
). Note that I get no benefit from recommending them.
4) I studied the LSAT for an entire summer. I simply told my parents that how I fared on the LSAT was more important or as important as my four years of college. Thus, it was essential that I have the time to properly prepare myself. I was somewhat rewarded, going from a 167 to a 173. While not everyone will have such indulgent parents, try to make the time to seriously focus upon preparing for the LSAT. Few things in your life will have more of an impact and this is time well spent.
5) I took over 40 prep tests. When I took the LSAT there were a lot fewer prep tests out there. Now I would likely take as many as I possibly could and not take any of the quasi ones Princeton Review and others have created.
6) Take more real prep tests. Study my mistakes more instead of just continually taking the quasi LSAT tests Princeton Review created. Now that more prep tests are available, I would focus solely on the real tests.
I would buy and learn from the Powerscore books. They seem designed for those who want to score in the upper echelon.
7) Any other misc comments/suggestions.
The LSAT is FUN!!! I am not kidding, but I really enjoyed the months I spent studying for the LSAT. I felt that by learning to master the test I was becoming more intelligent. It is the best standardized test out there and to become great at the logic games and argument sections will make you a better lawyer and smarter person. View it all as a game. Similar to a very complicated crossword puzzle. The excitement I had for studying allowed me to study for hours and resulted in my score.
Take a logical reasoning course while in college. It will likely be titled "Introduction to Critical Thinking" or with a similar title. This will greatly assist you in diagraming, which is essential to succeeding on the games section.
Speed is the name of the game. I had many students complain that if they had all day they could get every answer right, but because of the time constraints they had problems. Practice under rigid time limits to get your pacing down. If you are stuck on one problem and it is just one problem (not part of a many question game), just make your best guess and move on.
Guessing wisely. It is not so much about finding the right answer as eliminating the wrong ones. Try to quickly eliminate 3 of the choices and then hone in on which of the 2 is correct.
Find a personal system that works for you. While you can learn how to diagram from your LSAT course, also utilize symbols that work well for yourself. No one else has to understand your diagrams, just you.
Save time whenever possible. I used to first complete the entire section and only then fill in the bubbles in the answer sheet. I felt that by not having to go from the test booklet to the scantron for each question saved me a lot of time. You could do this on a smaller process and just fill in after completing each large section or page. Note there is a risk here that time could run out without your having filled in all the bubbles, so have your time management down before utilizing this tip.
Cancelling your score is not the end of the world. First, avoid cancelling if you can. There will be a natural tendency to think that you did worst that you actually did. And to put yourself through the torture of 3 more months of LSAT prep plus possibly delaying your applications is not a fun thing to do. That being said, if something occurred during the test that you not would not be repeated and if you really feel like you bombed, cancelling may be the best route. While multiple LSAT scores are averaged by most law schools, a cancelled score is viewed as a slight negative but will not bring your average score down. Cancelling is only an option to implement after much decision and perhaps consulting with others.
Do not panic during the test. I probably lost a few points because I panicked when I got an experimental games section that was harder than anything I had ever seen before. I kept on thinking back to that games section during the test and it was not until the last section, which was another games section, that I realized the first one was the experimental section. Just relax and be confident during the test. Mistakes happen. I missed 8 questions and still did amazingly well. You can miss 20 and still have an excellent score. The LSAT is a forgiving test, trust in your abilities while taking it.
Get a good nights rest the night before. I was sharing a hotel room with a fraternity brother (there is no way I could get a good night's sleep on a Friday night at the Fraternity house) and his idiotic girlfriend calls at 1 am from Germany wishing him good luck. I barely slept after that. Paying for my own hotel room would have been a good investment. Most students will not need to rent a hotel room if they live in a quiet area.
Relax the day before the test. When you wake up the morning of the test tackle a few problems to get in the mindset.
View where you will be taking the test ahead of time so there is no rushing around trying to find the lecture hall. Get there in plenty of time. Do not let others stress levels be contagious. You are primed and ready for battle after doing all of the above.
Definitely take a prep class as for most it is money well spent, but I do wish it were cheaper.
Overall, study hard but enjoy your time studying. This will be the most effective time you spend for how you fare on the LSAT is as important as your 4-5 years in college.