Do-it-yourself guide for online LSAT prep

The LSAT score is a decisive factor in law school admissions. Achieving your best score doesn't require an expensive prep course or private tutor. You can study for LSAT by yourself, using the resources available to you online and in print.


Step-by-step, do-it-yourself LSAT prep

With this simple, five-step plan, you can get there. Here's how:

1. Get to know the test

Time is of the essence when taking the LSAT exam. Make the most of every minute by building familiarity with the LSAT long before exam day. Many LSAT test prep courses begin by explaining the format, instructions and type of questions you may encounter on the exam. Visit the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website, which features an About the LSAT presentation in text and video format, to get this information first hand.

Understanding the structure of the exam can help you develop strategies for studying and taking the exam.

The LSAT has five sections, which include analytical reasoning, two logical reasoning sections, reading comprehension and a writing section. Logical reasoning, which tests your ability to analyze arguments, accounts for half your score, so honing your performance in these two sections should have a significant impact.

Meanwhile, analytical reasoning contains the infamous logic games, reputed to be the most difficult aspect of the test. If you study for LSAT by yourself, make logical reasoning and games a priority. Practice makes perfect; they do get easier with repetition.

2. Take a diagnostic practice test

In addition to knowing the test, it's important to know yourself. Take an initial LSAT practice test before you begin your study regimen -- to identify specific strengths and weaknesses. Here's where do-it-yourself LSAT prep shines: While prep courses may take a one-size-fits-all approach, you have the flexibility to focus your study time where it counts.

The LSAC website features a downloadable practice test with answer key and scoring rubric. Manhattan LSAT also features LSAT Tracker, a free auto-scoring program that analyzes your performance and identifies areas for improvement.

3. Make the most of free LSAT prep resources

Do-it-yourself LSAT prep challenges you to find and take advantage of free print and online LSAT test prep resources. Examples include LSAC resources, including sample questions with explanations, and free LSAT practice questions from previous exams.  StudyGuideZone and PowerScore feature free reading comprehension passages from previous exams.

4. Access online LSAT test prep resources

The Internet is awash in online LSAT test prep resources, from full-featured courses to tools such as free timers. Since you can tailor these resources to precise needs, the cost is likely to be much lower than LSAT prep courses at a campus learning center. Options include the following:

  • LSAT lessons online. Targeted practice is available through individual lessons or downloadable software. For example, Kaplan offers LSAT Logic Games On Demand, a self-paced software program with focused instruction and practice questions. Subscription-based online LSAT test prep from sources like GrockIt also offer affordable access to targeted instruction and practice tests when you need it.

  • LSAT tutoring. The Internet can connect you with certified LSAT tutors. Look to sites like WyzAnt, a community board linking students with tutors; join live group tutoring sessions on GrockIt or find a private online tutor through a test prep company like Kaplan or The Princeton Review.

  • LSAT online course. Knewton has developed a complete, online LSAT prep course, available for a lower price than many face-to-face courses. They have tagged micro-concepts on the test, and home in on your weaknesses.

  • Mobile apps offer low-cost tools to help you study for LSAT by yourself, anywhere and anytime. Apps range from the full-featured LSAT ToolKit, which includes practice questions and explanations ($14.99) to free tools like Smart Vocab LSAT, a vocabulary flashcard app.

Another benefit of online LSAT prep resources for do-it-yourself LSAT prep is the ability to shop a la carte. You can access just what you need to bolster your preparation. For example, logic games are the toughest nut for most test-takers to crack. So, find an online tutor or study guide to learn specific strategies for solving these questions.

5. Practice

Once you've familiarized yourself with the exam and test-taking strategies, a great way to boost your score is tosimply drill yourself with practice questions. Download individual LSAT practice tests or buy LSAC's practice books, which together offer more than 40 complete, previously administered LSATs.

Study for LSAT by yourself, and you can make the most of each study hour. Do-it-yourself LSAT prep offers an affordable way to shine on LSAT exam day.

About the Author: