The LSAT scoring is a notoriously weird thing.
Some years you can miss 12 questions and get a 170.
Others, you might miss 9 questions and not reach that coveted score.
The exam difficulty varies across years and to make it "fair" they adjust the scores to standardize them across the years.
The problem with this is that you might take the exam feeling like you did really well because it was easy...
And get a 160 because it was easy for everyone else also.
There are a total of ~100 questions and each correct answer adds 1 point to your raw score. (You're not penalized for guessing.)
On the right you can see an example of the conversion graph that might be used.
The one on the right is for the June 2007 exam.
However, the numbers can change which is why it's so hard to say how many questions you can miss and still get the score you want.
The LSAT is not much longer than most other "entry" exams you've probably taken in your life.
It has six 35 minute questions and a 15 minute break between the third and fourth sections.
That totals up to 3 hours and 45 minutes of total time, or 3 hours and 30 minutes of testing time.
This may not seem like a lot, but if you haven't prepared properly and/or are not well-rested, hydrated, etc, your performance can quickly get worse throughout the exam.
Since you get a break after the 3rd section, which means you get a break after 1 hour and 45 minutes of testing, you should find a fine balance between being hydrated, but not so hydrated that you have to go to the bathroom during the exam.
Every minute counts, and while this level of obsession may not be necessary for most, if you want to be the best you have to commit like the best.
Keep in mind: you are only allowed to eat or drink during the 15 minute break! This is why the balance of hydration is crucial.
We've mentioned that the exam has six 35 minute questions, but you might be wondering: what are the actual sections?
And the rest period, of course.
Most prep companies recommend 150-300 hours of prep before the LSAT, but is that actually necessary?
Or can you get a good score while prepping much less?
Find out here.
First of all: there is a large variety of people that take the LSAT and there is on "one size fits all" approach.
Some people study like crazy for 3-5 months.
Some people spread out their studying over a year.
And some people lightly study for about a month.
First of all: what is the score you want?
And second: how far away are you from your score?
At this point you should have already taken, or be preparing to take a practice test from one of our recommended books.
This should give you a general idea of how you would do on the exam.
From there, you should take at what your weakest section is.
Is it something that can be easily improved like the Logic Games section?
Or is it something harder like the Reading section?
You can say you'll study 40 hours per week and create a complete and perfect schedule.
But will you actually?
Life will come up.
Parties, events, friends, family emergencies, work, etc.
You might get close to burn out and watch all 5 seasons of some show of Netflix and there goes your 40 hour "study-week."
And even if you can do 40 hours for a couple weeks, can you really maintain that same study schedule for however long you need to study for?
There is none.
Study until you're happy with your practice score (we recommend taking 1 full practice exam every 2 weeks or so).
This might take you 2 weeks.
Might take you a year.
Might take you 3 months.
No one can just give you a number unless they're completely making it up.
The LSAT is a notoriously hard exam.
And if you're here you want to know what the 80/20 of the LSAT is.
The biggest points of improvement.
The most important areas to focus on.
Let's dive right into it.
First of all, you should already have some prep books with sample questions. These are a must.
But we're sure you already knew that.
The Logic Games section is notoriously the hardest section to figure out, but the easiest one to improve on with lots of practice.
There is a limited number of question formats they can have, so if you do enough practice problems you should see the patterns and know how to solve each one.
However, just seeing those patterns isn't enough.
You have to be able to:
Easy, right? 😉
We recommend focusing on finding the patterns first and then focusing on speed. Trying to focus on both at the same time is a bit much.
Reading faster can greatly help you on the Reading section, but there's only one problem: learning how to speed-read well takes quite a while (1-5 months) and with legitimate methods you'll peak at around 650-800 words per minute.
If you're taking the LSAT your reading speed is probably around 350 words per minute. Maybe 500-600.
So learning to speedread properly will likely have a neglible impact on your score and speed.
What we recommend instead is:
Before you read each passage, do a quick preview of it.
See what jumps out at you, what you can expect, etc.
This will not only speed up your reading when you do end up reading it, but will also make it easy to understand the structure of the problem while you're reading.
You can compare previewing to putting together a puzzle.
You can either dive right in and try to start with the middle (no previewing), or create the frame of the puzzle and go outside in (using previewing.)
Some people say you should only take the LSAT once.
We say, that some people are wrong.
There are numerous cases where re-taking the LSAT is the logical decision.
These are all valid reasons for retaking the LSAT.
However, most people do not improve a ton from one LSAT test to another.
On average, the performance only improves by 2.7 points.
That's the average though.
If you're here, your goal is to beat the average.
If you're not happy with your scores and you are ready to dedicate a ton of time to studying, then go for it.
However, if you underestimated the LSAT the first time and will use the same strategy to retake it, you might as well not waste your time.
Be honest with yourself.
Did you prepare enough for the LSAT?
There's a reason why we have an entire page dedicated to the best LSAT prep materials.
Many people greatly underestimate the exam and hope to skate by on their natural abilities.
While most people can figure out most, if not all, questions on the exam, the problem is limited time.
The exam isn't just about figuring it out, but figuring out very fast.
At about 1.5 minutes per question, you need to understand the potential question formats you might encounter, know what steps to take to solve them, and do it quickly.
If you have to spend too much time on each question on the Logic Games section, you probably didn't study enough.
There are legitimate external problems and excuses.
Did you get sick? Did you have a killer headache? Did you not get enough sleep?
All of those are legitimate and can be fixed.
However, problems like someone tapping their foot in front of you, sniffling constantly, or feeling anxious about the exam are not problems you're likely to fix.
So be honest with yourself.
Is your score due to legitimate problems or are you just making up excuses?
The LSAT isn't designed to test your law knowledge.
It's designed to test your knowledge and reasoning.
In fact, one guy took it with no preparation and got a 158.
Of course that's not an amazing score, and we recommend you use practice materials to prep for the exam, but it shows that you don't have to worry about it too much.
The section most students struggle with the most is the Logic Games/Analytical Reasoning section.
Just like what it sounds like, you basically have to solve a bunch of logic puzzles under big time constraints.
The good news though is: while this is the hardest section at first, it's also the easiest section to improve on because there is a limited number of question patterns you can encounter.
At first it might take you 5, 10, or even 20 minutes to figure out how to organize a problem and solve it, but once you know what methods to use, your score will quickly improve.
The experimental section that you get can break you if you're not careful.
If you get an easier Reading Comprehension section, you might feel better about yourself and your overall chances than if you get the harder Logic Games section.
Don't let it get to your head.
Do your best, make sure you're well-rested and hydrated, and take it one section at a time.
Worrying about previous sections means you're not focusing on the section in front of you and that's never good.
The overall LSAT difficulty varies from year to year and test to test.
If you want to get a 170+, some years you might be able to get there while missing 8 questions, and other years you might be able to squeeze in by missing up to 14 questions (if the exam was significantly more difficulty than on average.)
They "curve" the test to standardize the scores from year to year so while the test might feel harder or easier than the practice tests you took, the only thing that actually matters is how well you do.
I'm sure you've had many times you thought you did poorly and the exam was hard, but you scored well.
The LSAT is the biggest factor in your law school application. It will determine where you can go and how much aid you get, so studying hard is a must.
You already know that of course. That's why you're here.
Whether you want to increase your score by 20 points or you just want some extra prep to guarantee you're ready for the exam, we got your back.
P.S.- Be careful with reading reviews on Amazon or other sites. Many of them are purchased, fake, and it's as if people haven't read the book they're recommending.
# of Pages
# of practice Tests
Cell 5 / 3
Cell 6 / 3
The LSAT isn't an exam you can take after using one book to prep. (If you want a good score.)
You'll have to spend hours on studying, doing practice tests, and figuring out where you went wrong.
That's why you shouldn't just purchase one of the books on our list, but all of them. (If you have the time to use all of them.)
There's some debate around this book, but from our experience, it's the best starting point for getting ready for the LSAT.
It should give you a very solid foundation to build upon for all of the sections, and for some students this book combined with 1 or 2 other books might even be enough to score 165+!
It's about as big as each of the PowerScore books listed below, but it covers more material because it doesn't have to be as in-depth about everything as PowerScore.
If you're feeling pretty confident about the logical reasoning section, you can skim it and spend your time on the other sections. However, make sure that you do skim the sections you fell good about because Mike has some great tips and ways of doing things that are different from other prep books.
His model for logic games is very different from Kaplan and other books, and most of the students we've worked with found his way more efficient, effective, and fun!
His explanations are also great. Many people have issues with exam timing, but no amount of "timing practice" will help you if you don't understand the different patterns of thinking and solving problems on the exam.
After all, you might finish quickly and have 3 unfinished questions, but have no idea how to approach them at all. Many of our students who have used Kaplan and other prep books who focus on "improving timing" without improving understanding suffered the same fate.
This book helps you focus on understanding the material and important thinking patterns, so you don't get stuck on a question that you've never seen before.
It's not perfect however. Mike left a couple spelling errors in the book, and the formatting of the answers is somewhat inconsistent at times.
However, it is still the best book to start with!
This book and the next two PowerScore books are must have for anyone serious about getting 165 or higher on the LSAT.
All of the PowerScore books are important, but we rated the logical reasoning one higher because it counts for 50% of your score instead of 25% like the other two books.
What's so great about this book?
With nearly 700 pages and 22 chapters, this book is an absolute monster designed to annihilate any doubts you have about the logical reasoning section.
Not everything in this book will be of use to you as you'll know some of the strategies, methods, and ways of thinking about the different questions, but there will also be plenty that you don't know.
Since the book is so comprehensive, you won't be able to keep all of the information in your head after reading it (you'll have 2 more books to go through anyway!) so we recommend taking notes of the most important points, methods, and question types as you go.
Since this book is so big you might be thinking about quickly skimming it, but don't do that! The biggest benefit will come from practicing the methods in the book until they become second nature, and if you just skim it and try one or two problems it won't work.
This PowerScore book is also a must have if you're aiming for a great score on the exam.
While the problems in this book are a bit easier than on the actual exam, the process behind solving them is what's important. Once you understand the process you can try harder problems in the other books listed below.
The book is structured in multiple sections with each section focused on a specific type of game.
It will give you an example game, show you how to do it and how to think about it, and provide sample questions to practice and make sure you understand it.
The diagrams are helpful, but we prefer Mike Kim's methods for this section.
This last PowerScore book has the secret to achieving immortality and ruling the world.
Well, no, it doesn't. However, it does have everything you need to know to score well on the reading section of the exam!
It will help you deconstruct the passages more effectively, figure out how to attack each different question type, and how to avoid the most popular traps that test-makers love to use.
Most of the provided drills in this book are highly effective, and while some of them are a bit weird and maybe even pointless, they're still worth doing if you have time.
Taking real tests is the best way to prepare for the LSAT (once you know the basics).
While the books above might provide some practice, you should still take at least 10 (preferably 20) practice tests from the books below.
We recommend starting with the last book in the list because it's the most recent, and going backwards as you need more practice.
These books contain 10 previously administered exams, answer keys, and answer sheets. It's everything you could ever need to feel like you're taking the real thing!
However, just taking these exams won't be an effective way to study. You have to go through, figure out what you got wrong, and see what you got right, but weren't sure about.
Flip back to the PowerScore and Mike Kim's book as needed, and keep taking these practice exams until you're close to the score you want at least 2 times in a row.
For the first couple tests you take, feel free to go slow and take your time on each question to get used to the exam format. You can even do them in batches of 5 to give you instant feedback on what you're doing wrong and what you're doing right. (This is surprisingly effective!)
It helps you see errors earlier and more often which means that you can learn more in a shorter period of time.
Then you can start taking the exams as if they're the real thing and seeing how the timing works. If you're having issues with the timing, figure out what problems take you the longest and see if there are better strategies you could be using to figure them out.
We love the LSAT Trainer, but we've had some students that couldn't force themselves to use that book no matter how hard they tried.
When that happens, we always recommend using this official SuperPrep book.
In our opinion it's not as good as the Mike Kim one, but it should still give you an effective base of knowledge before you can start with the PowerScore books and real tests.
It has some tips for each section of the exam, and it also includes 3 practice tests.
We recommend taking 1 test to see how you do, and keeping the rest for practice later on because there's no point in taking all of these without getting the strategies from the PowerScore books.
This book will provide you with some tips and general information about the sections, but you'll definitely need to do some more in-depth studying before getting the score you want.
It's sad that we have to have this section, but there's plenty of books out there that have blatantly fake reviews or terrible advice.
We're here to help you avoid them so you don't have to waste more of your hard-earned money. (You can spend it on sending out law school applications!)
This is the worst offender in this category because it's ranked #1 in Law School Guides!
Because they have great SEO, keywords, and reviews from people who got the book for free and didn't actually take the exam.
It states that it's a comprehensive study guide, but is less than 150 pages. If you want comprehensive, get the SuperScore books!
While they do have some general tips that will be useful for the exam, you're better off not wasting your money here and buying another pack of 10 practice exams or a PowerScore book.
While the book is pretty hefty and has some general strategies, they tend to focus on the wrong things that won't help you succeed on the exam.
Taking the same exams over and over and over won't help you improve your timing if you have no idea how to approach a certain problem. (And they don't help that much with that.)
They only provide 1 online practice exam, and with everything that's included in this book you're better off buying Mike Kim's book to prepare.
This book doesn't always cover why the wrong answer is wrong and why the right answer is right, jumps back in forth while "explaining," and it will force strategies upon you without telling you why they're effective and how you should use them.
Avoid at all cost!
We've heard that the 2015 version is better, but we don't have any experience with it, so buy at your own risk!
While this book doesn't suffer from as many issues as the two above, it's still not a great buy.
It's generally okay for getting your feet wet and building an okay foundation of knowledge, but why waste your money on something that's just "okay" when you can get something better?
You've got questions about the LSAT, and we got your answers!
The LSAT has 4 scored sections of 35 minutes each, and 2 unscored sections of 35 minutes each for a total of 210 minutes or 3.5 hours. However, there's also some "administrative work" you have to do so you can expect the exam to last for 4-4.5 hours.
The max score is 180, and the minimum score is 120.
There are about 100 questions on the exam and each correct answer gives you 1 point to your "raw score" which is then converted to the 120-180 scale.
The higher the better.
A score of 165+ is quite good, but with a score of 175 or higher you will have your pick of top universities giving you solid financial aid.
You don't lose points for the wrong answer, but with all the practice you do before the exam, you probably won't have to do a lot of that on the real exam.