According to data from the Law School Admission Council, only about 40% of aspiring law students take LSAT prep courses. This is not a surprising figure in general, but it is, indeed, interesting because the LSAT is unlike many other standardized exams. Unlike other exams, the LSAT does not require you to memorize information and then get tested on it. Rather, it requires that you understand certain logical principles, and then it tests you on those principles.
The nature of the LSAT is such that many people are simply unfamiliar with it and, overall, have never seen anything like it. Therefore, taking an LSAT prep course is strongly advised for the following six reasons.
1) Familiarity: Without a doubt, taking a course will help you become more familiar with the exam. Familiarity makes it much easier to prepare for and take the exam.
2) Expert LSAT instructors: The right course will also expose you to experienced, qualified instructors who scored high on the exam themselves and can, in turn, impart their own knowledge to you. This feature of LSAT prep courses is something you will never be able to acquire through self-study.
3) Past LSAT exams: Certain courses will provide you with actual, officially-released LSAT exams. Using past exams in your preparation is crucial because it is the only way to familiarize yourself with elements of the exam such as question types, the writing, confusing answer choices, etc.
4) Structure: An LSAT prep course will provide you with a structured schedule for preparation, studying, and practice exams. This is not to say that someone cannot self-study and stick to a strict schedule. Rather, it is merely to say that a very structured option exists and is very helpful for organizing information and proceeding through one's preparation in a logical manner.
5) Logical Principles: As stated above, the LSAT tests you on logical principles. For a lot of people, these principles will appear very foreign and often confusing. Students who use self-study will find it difficult to learn these principles (which are numerous) on their own. Sometimes, an expert who can teach them is needed, and that expert can explain the nuances and applications of such principles. Only a course can provide that.
6) LSAT explanations: Some LSAT prep courses not only cover the exam very comprehensively, they also provide detailed explanations of questions on past exams. This service is very helpful for students who need guidance on why certain answers are correct or incorrect. Simply buying past exams and reviewing answer choices will not cut it. Sometimes, you need an expert to provide a comprehensive explanation.
These six reasons for why students should consider LSAT prep courses are well-documented, and they provide a compelling account of why students should take the plunge.