One of the strangest but most effective techniques I used to prepare for the LSAT was to solve logic puzzles. I’m not talking about logic games (though I solved plenty of those too); I’m talking about the kind of puzzles you see featured in newspapers. These puzzles looked nothing like anything on the LSAT, but I am convinced that they helped me walk away with a 175.
The goal of LSAT training should not be to memorize how LSAC likes to present questions; rather, you should be training your brain to be able to handle any logic problem the LSAT can throw at you. The reality is that LSAC has been known to throw curve balls at test-takers. In February 2014, they used a circle game for the first time in over a decade. In June 2014, the LSAT featured a pattern game (a game type so rare that many test-takers reported guessing at every answer despite months of preparation). Pattern games were also featured in the December 2015 and September 2016 tests.
LSAC is under no obligation to use the same logic game types that it has used in the past. They can (and do!) bring back old game types and invent entirely new game types. Luckily, you don’t need to predict what games LSAC will use on the next exam. You just need to become the kind of person that can handle any logic puzzle thrown at you. I suggest working through the following books to help become that person.
USA Today Everyday Logic
This was my “free time” book for LSAT prep. I used Everyday Logic when riding on the bus, waiting for an appointment, and when I just had a few minutes to kill. There are multiple different kinds of puzzles in the book, most of which directly apply to the LSAT. In order to solve the puzzles, you need to learn to read the rules carefully, remember previous inferences, combine inferences, and think abstractly. Buy this book and actually use it. For the LSAT test-taker, the ability to make tough inferences quickly is invaluable.
USA Today Everyday Logic can be found here.
I made it a rule during preparation to complete at least one Sudoku puzzle every morning to warm up my brain. I found this to be very effective.
When solving the puzzles, attempt to make no extra markings. Holding the inferences in your head is part of what makes these puzzles so useful. Remember, the goal isn’t just to complete the puzzle; you are methodically increasing your mental capabilities.
If you need a book of Sudoku puzzles to use, I prepared for the test using Will Shortz. His Keep Calm and Sudoku On book allows you to move from easy puzzles to more difficult ones, which I think is perfect for future test takers. However, I can now also recommend my own book: Sudoku Puzzle Book: Easy to Hard. My book was written with my LSAT students in mind. The puzzles range from very easy to very hard and are grouped according to difficulty.
Unofficial Logic Games
Unofficial logic games have become incredibly useful over the past few years (since the LSAT has become more unpredictable). A good book of unofficial games will allow you to prepare for rare game types and incredibly difficult games. Ace the LSAT Logic Games (reviewed here) is a good book for this, although it has its flaws. I used Ace the LSAT Logic Games in my prep, and I think it helped a lot. You can also buy my Gainesville LSAT Logic Game Drills. The Gainesville LSAT book contains 115 logic games, with an entire section devoted to odd games (including three games like the virus game PrepTest 79). Although I am obviously partial to my own book, daily practice with either will certainly stretch your capabilities.