Magoosh’s online LSAT course includes video lessons, practice questions, and video explanations to some of the official LSAT PrepTests. It also provides students with access to our amazing, friendly, and talented team of online coaches that are here to answer any questions you have as you work through the course. Used in conjunction with books from the Actual, Official LSAT Preptests series, the Magoosh LSAT course can provide you with everything you need to prepare for the exam.
Step 1: Purchase Your Materials
- Sign up for a premium subscription to Magoosh’s online LSAT course (or sign up for a free trial)
- Get your hands on some real LSAT PrepTests*
*I strongly recommend that you buy at least three volumes of the Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests series to start out. I know that may sound excessive, but if you want comprehensive preparation for the LSAT, you’ll need at least that many tests’ worth of practice questions.
Can’t I just buy more PrepTests when I need them?
Sure, if you want, but here’s why I discourage that. You’re going to need PrepTests for three different purposes: full-length practice tests, timed practice sections, and untimed skill-building. If you try to do all three of those out of one book, you’re going to end up with a ton of partially completed PrepTests that can’t be used for practice tests. That’s frustrating and ultimately a waste of money and precious practice material.
So buy three books. Reserve the first one (Volume V, containing PrepTests 62-71) for full-length practice tests and nothing else. Use the second one (containing PrepTests 52-61) for timed practice sections. Finally, use the third one for untimed, targeted skill building (it doesn’t really matter which volume you use for this).
If you want to use more recent PrepTests for your untimed, targeted practice, purchase some of the individual PrepTests that have been released over the past few years (PrepTests 72–77). They are a bit more expensive to purchase individually, but they have the benefit of containing Comparative Reading, which you won’t find in the three older volumes of the Actual, Official PrepTests series.
Step 2: Take a Practice Test
Use PrepTest 62, which is the first test in the most recent volume of the series. Find a quiet place where you can concentrate, but try to avoid your bedroom or even your own house. It’s best to take your practice tests in a library or classroom where there are some distractions, but it’s mostly quiet. That will be the most realistic setting compared to test day.
Time yourself and don’t cheat! Force yourself to use the full 35 minutes for each section, but not a second longer. The more you bend the rules with your timing, the less accurate your practice score is going to be. Also, don’t eat or drink during the practice test, unless it’s during the one break you’re allowed. In other words, do everything you can to make your practice test as much like the real thing as possible.
Step 3: Score Your Practice Test, Set Goals, and Start Your Error Log
After every practice test, you want to do three things:
- Grade your test and determine your scaled score using the answer key and conversion table provided at the back of each PrepTest
- (Re)assess your goals for your LSAT prep. Read Setting LSAT Prep Goals and How Much Can I Improve My LSAT Score? for tips on how to set reasonable goals.
- Update your error log by adding all the questions you answered incorrectly. More on this to follow.
Step 4: The Error Log
An error log determines success in LSAT preparation more than any other single factor. Those who build an error log early, maintain it consistently, and study it regularly see large score gains more frequently than those who do not. In fact, I would say that the error log is the key to hitting the 170 mark for almost everyone who doesn’t start out there.
What is it?
It’s just a spreadsheet (or even a handwritten list will do) of the questions you have answered incorrectly in practice tests, practice sections, or untimed skill-building. However, the information that you provide along with each of those questions is what makes the error log so valuable.
What’s in it?
For each question you enter into your error log, record all of the following:
- the Date
- the PrepTest, Section, and Question Number (for example: PrepTest 62, Section 3, Question 14)
- the Question Type and/or Game Type (for example: Sequencing Game, Local Question, Must Be True)
- the Correct Answer (you don’t have to write it out; just list the letter)
- the Answer You Chose (again, just the letter)
- the Error You Made/Trap Answer Choice You Fell For (for example: picked the opposite of what I needed, or didn’t negate when forming the contrapositive)
The benefit to building your error log as a spreadsheet is that you can then sort it by question type, game type, or error type when you want to pinpoint areas where you need to focus. However, you can do this by hand if necessary.
How do you use it?
At the start of each week, take a look at your error log and assess your strengths and weaknesses from the past week. Pick out one or two areas that need the most work and dedicate the week to practicing those question types or skill sets. Also pick out one or two areas where you excel and dedicate at least one practice session to reinforcing that strength and trying to apply it to one or two very difficult questions that require it. This way, you’ll be improving upon your weaknesses while also exploiting your strengths. Furthermore, the time you spend working on your strengths is a confidence booster and a stress-reliever–two things you’ll likely appreciate when you’re deep in the mire of LSAT prep.
Is that all?
Almost. After each timed, full-length practice test, record your incorrect answers in your error log and then assess your strengths and weaknesses over the entire period of your LSAT prep, rather than just the past week. This way, you’ll be looking at both short-term and long-term trends in your strengths and weaknesses. That provides you with a better perspective to make sure you don’t overlook any areas of need or opportunities to excel.
Step Five: Weekly Practice and Skill-Building
Divide each week of LSAT prep into two main components: timed practice sections and untimed, targeted skill-building. Ideally, you should devote at least 2-3 days to each of these areas, and then take at least 1 day off from studying.
Magoosh LSAT Lessons
Magoosh’s LSAT video lessons provide an introduction to all the content and question types on the LSAT, as well as an overview of the skills tested on the LSAT and the strategies you’ll need to ace it. Start each day of untimed, targeted skill-building by watching a few of the videos most closely related to the skill you’re targeting. Almost all of the videos will feature at least one practice question to illustrate how to apply the relevant skills and strategies for the given question type.
After watching the videos, visit the LSAT blog and search for a table that will show you where to find the question type you’re targeting among the real LSAT PrepTests. For example, if you’re working on Grouping Logic Games, you can search the blog for “Where to Find Grouping Logic Games” and that will give you a couple articles pointing you to where all the Grouping Logic Games are in the official LSAT PrepTests. Then, grab the volume of Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests that you’ve devoted to untimed practice and get to work on those Grouping Games!
Magoosh LSAT Practice
If you ever run out of real LSAT PrepTests, or if you just want some targeted question type practice without burning through your official materials, we’ve got you covered. Click on “Practice” at the top of the page and you can select specific types or numbers of questions to drill. I recommend using these early in your prep period when you’re just learning the major question types and are getting used to the strategies presented in the lessons.
Magoosh LSAT PrepTest Explanations
For the days that you’re doing timed practice sections or untimed practice from the real PrepTests, we have explanations of many of those questions. If you find a question that you answered incorrectly and you just can’t figure out what you did wrong, click on “Explanations” in the LSAT product for a list of videos that will walk you through specific questions from the real PrepTests.
Step Six: Rinse and Repeat
Every couple of weeks, it’s time for another practice test. Pull out Volume V of the Actual, Official PrepTests series, set aside a few hours, find a quiet place, and get to work. When you’re done, score it, assess your progress, update your error log, and set targets for the upcoming week.
I recommend that most people plan to complete all ten practice tests from Volume V before taking the LSAT for the first time. Admittedly, that’s a very comprehensive prep program and lots of people will do just fine with less prep. But, it’s better to be fully prepared the first time around. If you give yourself a week or two in between each practice test, that means you’ll need 10-20 weeks to fully prepare for the exam.
Be Part of the Magoosh Community!
The best thing about Magoosh is its students. You are all awesome, dedicated people who help us make our courses better every day. Give us feedback, rate our lessons and questions, and email us with your questions. Our online tutors LOVE helping you, and they will bend over backwards to make sure you have all the guidance you need to kick the LSAT’s butt. So, use us! Become our friend! Check back often for new lessons, practice questions, and video explanations, and if there’s something you want and you can’t find, tell us about it. We’re here to help you in any and every way we can.
Happy studying, and I hope to hear from you soon!
Your friendly neighborhood LSAT Expert,