Many students compensate for the stress of the LSAT by taking as many previous LSATs as possible. We think this is a great technique! However, there actually is a point of diminishing returns when taking previous LSAT questions. Below, we discuss why your LSAT prep should focus on new LSAT questions.
Why You Should Focus LSAT Prep on New LSAT Questions
First, we should define our terms. By new LSAT questions, I’m referring to LSAT PrepTests 52-79, or the September 2007 LSAT to the present. We’ll make further distinctions in our points below.
1. The Reading Comprehension section has changed.
In June 2007 LSAC introduced comparative reading to the Reading Comprehension section. Each administration, this section is now composed of three longer passages, and one comparative reading passage. So while older LSATs can help you prepare for three of the Reading Comprehension passages, they will not help with comparative reading. Use new LSAT questions to help you prepare for comparative reading. These passages will comprise roughly 25% of the points available in the Reading Comprehension section.
2. Logic Games come in and out of favor.
I always advise my students to focus on more recent Logic Games, since it gives you an idea of what direction LSAC is moving for their administration. Older LSATs, especially those before PrepTest 62, feature many older games that are now not in vogue. Pure sequencing and pure grouping games have not appeared in recent administrations. On newer LSATs, LSAC has opted to use grouping and sequencing elements in tandem with other types of games, creating hybrid games. So, focusing on newer LSAT questions will give you a better feel for how the test will be when you take it.
Note, I am NOT advising anyone to ignore sequencing and grouping games in your preparation. As we’ve seen recently with the reemergence of transpositional games, LSAC can always bring back an older type of game to give takers a new challenge. You should have a working knowledge of how to handle these games in case they reappear. However, the majority of your prep should focus on the games that are almost sure to appear: linear, advanced linear and imbalanced distribution/grouping games. The easiest way to do this is to focus on new LSAT questions given in the last 5-7 years.
3. The Logical Reasoning is also subject to change.
Logical Reasoning has been pretty steady over the years, with little variation in the questions. However, even these are subject to the whims of LSAC. They may decide, over the course of time, to slowly taper down a certain type of question and increase another one. Using new LSAT questions will allow you to see if a question type goes by the wayside. Although at this point it is unlikely that they would get rid of a question type altogether, they may ask fewer of them, allowing you to focus your studies on question types that you know will be asked eight or ten times over the two sections of Logical Reasoning.
In conclusion, using new LSAT questions will help you fully prepare for the current iteration of the LSAT. While you should not ignore the older PrepTests altogether, they become less valuable as time passes and the test changes. So if you are in a crunch for time, focus on more recent LSATs to get the most out of your studying.
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