In order to apply for admission to law school, you must first pass the LSAT. If you're scheduled to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) anytime soon, you may want to give some thought to selecting and purchasing a study guide to aid you get ready (see LSAT preparation). While a guide isn't entirely necessary, it can add value by seriously increasing the effectiveness of your preparation time.
Besides general review questions, the study guide can help you identify and focus on specific areas where knowledge is weak or lacking. And finally, a study guide can help you tailor your strategy for the test and improve efficiency. But with all the various titles on the market, how do you know which one to select? Which study guide is best for you? Take this list to the bookstore when deciding how to choose an LSAT study guide:
- Choose three to five guides from the shelves. Don't over-think it - you'll be looking at all contenders eventually - but merely take the first five titles on the shelf. If there are only three titles available, put them all back and pick another store with more variety!
- Take the first set to a table and spread them out before you (or sit on the floor). Flip all titles open to the table of contents. Does one title cover more material than another? Are the contents of each logically laid out, or do the chapters skip from test-taking strategies to specific how-to sections to sample questions and back again? Does each guide cover each of the sections on the LSAT as well as strategies and practice tests (most important)? Which organization makes the most sense to you, the reader?
- Count the number of practice tests in the book, or sample sections. Which book offers more opportunities to test your approach?
- Flip open to a random chapter in the first title, then select a similar chapter in each of the remaining titles (example: the chapter on "The Analytical Reasoning Section"). Read the first paragraph of each chapter. Which one conveys the material most clearly?
Given these three factors - the table of contents, the number of practice tests or sample questions, and the quality of the writing - which title leads the rest? Keep that one out, and put the rest aside.
- Go back to the shelves, and pick out another two to four titles. Repeat the process with this group, but this time, compare the winner from this group with the winner from the first group, and select the better of those two titles. Put the rest back.
- Repeat until you have gone through each of the study guides available.
- Purchase your winning title.
- Go home and start working!
See other articles on this site for tips on preparing for the LSAT and for applying and getting into law school. Good luck!