reading lists

The 6 Best LSAT Prep Books, According to Tutors and Lawyers

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Welcome to Reading Lists, comprehensive book guides from the Strategist designed to make you an expert in hyperspecific or newsworthy topics (or at least a fascinating dinner-party companion), from microdosing and psychedelic therapy to French cooking. Here, a selection of books about preparing for the LSAT.

For aspiring law students, there are lots of ways to study for the LSAT. You can take a class, hire a private tutor, or strike out on your own. Classes and tutors will provide you with learning materials, but if you choose to go it alone, you’re going to need a few good prep books.

Laura Damone, an LSAT instructor with Manhattan Prep and managing editor of the company’s 5 lb. Book of LSAT Practice Drills, suggests investing in at least three books: “A textbook-style book [that] is going to break down each section of the exam; a book released by the LSAC [or Law School Admissions Council, which administers the test] that is just prep tests; and a book of drills” to hone specific skills. Since the test includes three sections that test separate skill sets — logical reasoning, logic games, and reading comprehension — many test-prep companies offer a book for each section, so you may also want to buy a different one to study for each.

To find the best books that fit all of these needs, we asked for picks from a panel of experts, which included Damone; Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs at Kaplan; Brad, a tutor who goes by The LSAT Genius and asked that we not use his last name; Larkin Robson, an LSAT tutor and founder of 180 Degrees LSAT; LSAT tutor Jon Paul; and a practicing lawyer who asked to remain anonymous. As always, each book comes recommended by at least two experts.

Best textbook-style LSAT book

Photo: Adelson, Karen

For an overview of the test and explanation of how to think about each question type, tutors like this tome by LSAT teacher Mike Kim. Robson says it’s the “best one” out there because it’s based on “trying to teach the theory behind things, rather than just memorizing.” He likes to teach his students by asking them questions — like the Socratic method used in law schools — and says that although reading a book can’t replace a real dialogue, The LSAT Trainer is the book “that has come closest to it.” Paul is also a fan, and says that compared to other books that cover all three sections of the test, this one is “a little bit more digestible or easier to get through. It’s shorter, more concise, and to the point.” Even Brad, who doesn’t think it’s especially effective to use test-prep books on your own without a tutor, says The LSAT Trainer is “better than other materials that have been published in the past.”

Best book of LSAT practice tests

The LSAC regularly issues volumes containing ten of the most recent tests, according to Damone, and all the tutors we spoke with say these books are the best way to prep — because you’re taking real tests. Thomas calls them “extraordinary resources,” and Damone suggests going with this 2011 edition. There are more recent volumes available, but three tests in the newer books are offered online for free, so this older edition with ten unique tests is the most bang for your buck, she explains. (Damone also suggests taking the available online tests, too, as a way to adjust to the LSAT’s new digital format being introduced this year.) Other LSAT experts agree it’s fine to go with an older book because, as Brad says, “the LSAT hasn’t fundamentally changed” in years.

Best book of LSAT logic games

For the test’s logic-games section — a series of brainteaser-type puzzles asking test takers to analyze the order or grouping of items based on a given set of conditions — Paul says this book, by PowerScore CEO David M. Killoran, is “very, very comprehensive,” and offers “different types of approaches” for solving problems. The practicing lawyer we spoke with agrees, saying the PowerScore books were essential to her test prep because they “are designed to teach actual problem-solving techniques.”

Best LSAT logical-reasoning book

Robson agrees that PowerScore books are “a little bit more nuanced” than those by some competitors, and likes that its logical-reasoning volume doesn’t take such a formulaic approach to this section of the LSAT (which requires analyzing, describing, and critiquing a series of arguments). Paul adds that this book is “very detail-oriented,” which helps students prepare for the different types of questions they may encounter.

Best LSAT reading-comprehension book

Our experts say the LSAT’s reading-comprehension section — in which test takers read three passages and answer questions about each — is the most difficult one to learn from a book. As Robson puts it, “How do you teach reading in a book?” Of the prep books out there, though, Paul says the Manhattan Prep one is “pretty good” and “a little bit better than the others.” Like the Manhattan Prep book Damone edited, this one is broken down into specific drills, which she thinks is helpful because “students can identify an area of weakness where they lack one skill, and then drill that skill until the weakness becomes the strength.”

Best book to supplement the above LSAT prep books

While it won’t address LSAT questions directly, Paul recommends getting this introductory book on logic, which he says will help readers to better understand the principles that are the foundation of the test. Robson agrees a book like this would be helpful because “the test is testing formal logic in a lot of ways,” and Brad says understanding logic — and logical fallacies — is “a huge chunk of the test.”

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The 6 Best LSAT Prep Books, According to Tutors and Lawyers