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Posted June 7, 2011
Where to start your LSAT self-preparation
To be a Supreme Court justice you pretty much have to go to Yale Law School (or only a couple other schools, if you look at current and recent justices). To get one of those $160,000 a year to start law firm associate positions you need to attend a top tier school. It really is where you go, more than what you learn. So more important than four years of undergraduate finals, any particular law school exam, and even the bar exam is your LSAT score.
Thus, for the vast majority of aspiring lawyers, an LSAT preparation course really is a no-brainer investment. However, there definitely are some people that don't need a course and some people that can't afford a course. I was both over twenty years ago when I got my 99th percentile score that allowed me to go to George Washington University Law School with a significant merit scholarship. And if you want to go into a public interest law career, the greatest advice I can give you is get your law degree with as little debt burden as possible.
After a twelve-year career as a lawyer, I now teach LSAT courses for Kaplan and am offering my clearly biased recommendation that if you don't feel you need a course or can't afford it, that you start your preparation with my colleague and friend Dr. Deborah Katz's book "Kaplan LSAT Logical Reasoning Strategies and Tactics." It tells you everything you need to know about the LSAT, relates it to real life situations and the practice of law, and provides critical strategies for the logical reasoning sections, which really drive your score. Dr. Katz has reached into her many years of LSAT teaching, as well as incorporated the ideas of many of her colleagues, in creating this comprehensive guide to the logical reasoning section of the LSAT.
When students ask me based on their first diagnostic test or a prior official score whether they can attain a certain goal score, I tell them it depends on how well they pick up logical reasoning. If you can routinely get 90% correct on logical reasoning sections then you have a great shot at 170 level scores (80% on LR likely gets you into the 160s) regardless of how you are currently performing on the other sections.
So, if you have the time to experiment and want to give it a go on your own, start your preparation with this logical reasoning book. If you can get your LR percentages where they need to be then move on to Games and Reading Comprehension preparation books; you probably won't need a course. If you are unable on your own to master the LR section, then you will need a course or tutor.
John Fritschie, Esq.
Kaplan LSAT Faculty
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