The most expensive LSAT prep package I can find costs $8,750. HAHA, what??? That is… completely ridiculous. No. So my mission is to find a way to spend a MUCH smaller amount of money and still do well on the LSAT.
There are a few harsh realities which need to be cleared up before diving into a full on cost-benefit analysis of different prep options:
- You will have to spend some money. Unless you are frustratingly gifted in the art of self discipline and are able to conjure textbooks and prep material out of thin air, you will need to drop some cash on this test.
- The amount of said cash you will need to drop in order to achieve your desired score is a largely personalized number. Do you have a history of success on standardized tests? Are you good at structuring your own study schedule over a long period of time and sticking to it? Do you “think” the way the LSAT wants you to think? The people who answered yes to these questions don’t need to spend as much money as those of us who aren’t perfectly cut out for this test. People learn differently and, luckily, the LSAT is one of the most “learnable” standardized tests out there.
There are two major routes of test prep that can be combined in various ways to achieve a study plan that works for you. The first method is paying for a course. First, if you’re currently in college, I would suggest talking to a career services advisor about programs offered by, or through, your university. Sometimes schools will have much cheaper courses than you will find anywhere else. If you do not have this option, you can choose between buying an online course in the form of webinars, paying for an in-person class somewhere near you, or paying for a private tutor. Also, there is a consensus that certain LSAT prep companies should be avoided. DO NOT go through Kaplan, Princeton Review, Barron’s, or McGraw-Hill. The good guy companies to shop around from are Powerscore, Manhattan LSAT, Blueprint, Fox LSAT.
The crème de la crème are expensive. PowerScore’s Live Full-Length LSAT Preparation Course ($1395), Blueprint’s Full-Length LSAT Preparation Course ($1699), and Manhattan’s Full-Length LSAT Course ($1499) are regarded as the complete package – in my opinion, this is the most you should ever spend on a prep course.
This can be a great option because you will usually get the same amount of instruction time, but you get to go through the course at your own pace. All of the companies listed above offer this option, and oftentimes courses are tailored to specific section of the LSAT. Online courses kind of breach the divide between live courses and self-study, which can help naturally integrate the self-motivated side of LSAT prep. Also, this option is considerably cheaper: PowerScore = $995, Blueprint = $850, Manhattan = $799, Fox LSAT = $995.
Again, all of the good guy companies listed above offer in-person tutoring services. They charge between $100-$200 per hour, so this option is about six times more expensive than taking one of the Live Classes I’ve suggested (by hourly rate). That being said, maybe you only need five to ten hours of very individualized instruction. But before dropping half a grand on a few hours of tutoring I would be absolutely sure that this is the most useful option for you.
The second major test-prep route is self led studying. Self-study can be just as effective as taking a class. But you should be honest with yourself: if you know yourself to be a very self-motivated person who is good at assigning yourself work and following through with a self-directed plan, then self-study could be the best option for you. This is a much less expensive route, but it certainly comes with pros and cons.
Test Prep Material:
If your plan is to study on your own you will need a few things: Practice Tests and a few Study Guides. You can also buy study schedules which map out a 10 week – 6-month plan, very helpful for people who need some structure ($20 each).
You should go through as many official LSAT preptests as possible – as crazy as this sounds, I would take between 20-35 tests over the course of your studying. This isn’t the SAT, people. Lawschooli provides a great chart of LSAT preptests and where to buy them online. A set of 10 tests costs about $20, sometime less, so I would anticipate spending about $60 on practice tests.
According to the consensus of the internet, the best Study Guides are the PowerScore Logical Reasoning Bible ($42.35) and Logic Games Bible. The PowerScore Logical Reasoning Bible teaches you how to understand logical argumentation, recognize the various question types, approach the answers, and apply other general strategies. If you really want to go the extra mile with this one I would buy the PowerScore LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible Workbook ($29.40) which provides real Logical Reasoning sections from the LSAT and gives answer keys with full explanations of each problem. The Logic Games Bible ($40.63) is essentially just what it sounds like: a guide for logic games on the LSAT. All in all, I would expect to spend between $100 and $150 on Study Guides.
Combining these two main methods of studying (paying for a course and self-study) should get anyone on track to ace the LSAT while on a budget. The cost of studying generally should range between $200 and $1700 – combining any of the options outlined above can easily get you within that range. And, again, this is a very individualized process so take time to be honest with yourself about your study habits, work ethic, and the amount of time you have to study for this test.
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