The LSAT bills itself as a test that does not require preparation. Technically, they’re correct. You don’t need to memorize math formulas or vocabulary words. The questions ask you to reason answers based on the information provided.
However, taking a prep course improved my score nearly 10 percentage points over the first time I took the test without a prep course. You can see why I’m convinced that preparation helps, from those who know the test. Here’s why:
1. Nearly everyone else gets help – If you’re striving for a competitive school, nearly every one else will be taking at least one prep class, if not more, and working with tutors.
One of the biggest advantages of working with someone who knows the test is confidence when approaching the day. You know what to expect. You have a strategy for each section, and a strategy for the whole day. You know what to do if you’re running out of time.
2. There are patterns to be learned - You don’t have to pay for the hideously expensive Kaplan, and you don’t have to stop working. I found a course atSan FranciscoState that ran four Saturdays while I worked full-time. Others like to choose private tutors to work on their weak areas or learn specific techniques.
Do find a teacher who has studied the LSATs. No one can predict the exact questions. But, e.g., in analytical reasoning, there are certain types of games that will be repeated. In reading comprehension, there are certain tricks the testers like to use. Certain kinds of logic questions reappear. You benefit from “insider’s knowledge” about test procedures.
3. Techniques for each section – Problem solving techniques are hard to teach yourself. This is where specialized classes and tutors excel. They have sophisticated techniques to solve the questions in each section, and they will help you develop a sub-strategy to approach each section.
If you can’t/don’t want to pay for private help, the single best way to prepare is to order the official old LSAT tests. Get at least four. You want to study the types of questions with some. You want to time yourself with others. With at least one, you want to take the full test under timed conditions exactly like test day.
Your goal should be to go into test day with a comfort level with that exam booklet.