LSAT advice for prep books, courses

tummi
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LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby tummi » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:54 pm

Hello all,

I am new to this site so I don't really know how to use it very well. sorry if this thread is already posted somewhere, you can close it if you'd like and PM me the link instead.

goal = 160+ to go to any law school in Texas (dont want to move far from home, but if the school was that good then why not!)

situation = planning to take lsat in june 2010

questions
1. what are the best prep books for the lsat?
I went to B&N the other day and WOW there were a lot of different types and styles of books. (kaplan, powerscore, examcrackers, etc) so I was wondering what type of books did people use that scored a 160++++

2. is it better to study alone or taking a lsat course?
IF you said course, what kind of course did you take and how long were the sessions and meeting days in a week or weekend?

3. when would you start studying for the June lsat? starting today? Feb?, March?
i just graduated in fall 2009 so i have been relaxing quite a bit and feel like my study habits have left my mind and body haha but i normally go to the nearest schools library or study at B&N for less distractions so i should be fine hopping back into that mindset.

4. how many hours in a day would you consider studying and how many days in a week?
i know i sound like a 10 year old but im basically asking for a studying schedule that worked for people that scored a pretty decent lsat score. (try to take into consideration of working 3 days a week, you can choose any 3 days in a weekday and i just graduated from college so i wont have to worry about classes while studying for this test) thank gooodness!!!! "example = is it better to study one day, work the next and study the next again, or is it better to work M,TU,WEDS then study Thurs thru Sun, or studying that many days in a week is to overwhelming" FYI = i work about 7 hours in a day ranging between 8am to 6pm (anytime i wake up) as well so if yall think i should study on work days as well feel free to come up with a test schedule for me please!

5. any tips on how to improve on the reading comprehension?
(i have always had a hard time with reading passages from the PSAT and SAT test, and was lucky to have math as a back up to cover the losses in the reading section. this time i have the logic games that i find very fun and entertaining to back me up, but i was told that it can only help cover so many mistakes compared to the SAT)

6. how often should i take a practice test in a week?
(should i study all 3 sections in one day but a little at a time, or 1 section a day and the next section tomorrow, or 1 section a week and focus the next section next week, etc.)

7. how many hours should one sleep or what kind of sleep schedule should I start utilizing?
(ex = go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 9am?)

thanks for all the help in advance, once again sorry if this is posted somewhere else.
if anybody has additional comments or questions that could possibily be important that i left out please feel free to post up, i take any advice into consideration and who knows it could help out greatly, but please no harsh comments if i made a simple mistake of not looking throughly enough on this forum.

Tummi

PoliticalJunkie
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:43 pm

1. Best books for self-prep are Powerscore bibles. I also liked the Kaplan 180.
2. Varies. I took a course because I like the structured nature of it. I also didn't have to do the legwork with filtering out question-types. This helps greatly if you have a problem with specific question types and being able to drill yourself with hundreds of all the same type. However, If you are the kind of person who can dedicate the time and have a fair amount of self-control, you could do self-study.
3. Never too early to start. If you decide on taking a course, find out when it starts and start reading some informal logic books.
4. Depends on when you start studying. I started studying for the Dec LSAT in September and did about 3-4 hrs/day for 5 days/wk (total studying which includes time reading informal logic and difficult prose)
5. Read difficult prose - biography's economist (lengthy articles not the short snippets),
6. Depends on how you study. You should take a diag, couple tests in the middle of your prep, and more as you near the end of your prep. I took a PT/day for 2-3 weeks before the exam.
7. Depends on how far the test center is and how long it take for you to wake up. I starting sleeping early (10p) and waking at (5a) and doing some testing/questions before work to build my cognitive skills in the morning.

tummi
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby tummi » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:39 pm

Thank you so much for the advice Junkie!

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algren
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby algren » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:46 pm

PoliticalJunkie wrote:1. Best books for self-prep are Powerscore bibles.


I completely and totally agree with this. The LG Bible and the LR Bible were both very helpful to me.

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abbas123
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby abbas123 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:57 pm

I love the bibles but princeton review's logic games workout really helped me also.

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algren
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby algren » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:30 pm

abbas123 wrote:I love the bibles but princeton review's logic games workout really helped me also.


Really? I had a version of this that was a couple years old (2007 I think) and it had a lot errors in it. Perhaps they've corrected it in more recent versions. Mine was secondhand and free so I didn't complain to much.

Even so, I'd still recommend the Powerscore series over PR materials because they use actual LSAT problems that have been on previous tests.

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chewdak
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby chewdak » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:26 pm

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Last edited by chewdak on Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tomwatts
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby tomwatts » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:12 pm

algren wrote:Really? I had a version of this that was a couple years old (2007 I think) and it had a lot errors in it. Perhaps they've corrected it in more recent versions. Mine was secondhand and free so I didn't complain to much.

Man, I hope so. A little bit of chaos happened in our development and publishing departments in 2007, and I think some errors crept into materials that year that we've ironed out since. I've never really looked at LSAT Workout, so I can't speak to this book specifically, but it would make sense if the new ones (2009, 2010) were improved.

algren wrote:Even so, I'd still recommend the Powerscore series over PR materials because they use actual LSAT problems that have been on previous tests.

You know, I think I finally get why I had such a good experience with our Cracking the LSAT when other people downplay the book so much. I used Cracking the LSAT correctly: I read it as an explanation of the methods and concepts, but I did my actual practice in released tests. If people want to read about technique and method in the same book as they do practice, they need the Bibles. But if you're willing to get two books, and read about strategy in one and do your practice in the other, then I think that Cracking the LSAT and released tests are as good as anything else out there (maybe better — haven't compared).

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chewdak
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby chewdak » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:22 pm

tomwatts wrote:You know, I think I finally get why I had such a good experience with our Cracking the LSAT when other people downplay the book so much. I used Cracking the LSAT correctly: I read it as an explanation of the methods and concepts, but I did my actual practice in released tests. If people want to read about technique and method in the same book as they do practice, they need the Bibles. But if you're willing to get two books, and read about strategy in one and do your practice in the other, then I think that Cracking the LSAT and released tests are as good as anything else out there (maybe better — haven't compared).

Can you briefly summarize the PR approach?

tomwatts
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby tomwatts » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:18 am

chewdak wrote:Can you briefly summarize the PR approach?

That would be shockingly hard for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that any halfway decent approach to the LSAT is more complicated than can easily summed up in a paragraph or two (that's why the books exist). The other reason is that I used Cracking the LSAT back in 2006, and I haven't really looked at it since. It framed my entire approach to the test, but I'm sure that I've developed my own variations in three and a half years of teaching. (Teaching for PR, true, but according to our course materials, not the Cracking book, which may be somewhat different.)

However, some things that I like about our approach that I don't always see from other companies:
* Our names for things are often very natural. You won't see any "Type 7c" terminology or any of that garbage from us. If it says, "Which of the following most strengthens the argument?", we call it a Strengthen question. If you're putting things in order, we call it an Order Game. There are no arbitrary terms to memorize, just what you'd most normally call things.
* Our techniques are very consistent. You draw more or less the same sort of diagram for an In/Out Game or a 1D Order Game or anything else: columns with elements in them. You follow more or less the same procedure on every reading passage, every time. You don't have to sit there and wonder if you should draw a Picking and Choosing diagram or a Pushing and Pulling diagram or a Happy and Sad diagram. Just drawn the columns and put what makes sense across the top (and of course there's a whole bunch of guidance on "what makes sense").

This means, by the way, that when people talk about "hybrid" games or "new" game types, I don't even know what they're talking about. If the game has order, it's an Order Game. If not, it's a Group Game. There is no room in this classification system for hybrids of any kind. I didn't even notice that the dinos were a little different than any other game that had previously been offered because to me they were just a 2D In/Out Game that happened to have indeterminate categories (that is, we didn't know what colors the dinosaurs were). I like not being surprised by the test, and with this method, I'm rarely surprised.

Frankly, I haven't spent a lot of time comparing us to TM/PS/BP (or to Kaplan), so I can't say for sure what all the differences are. But every time I come across a difference between us and them, I have a reason that I like our way more.

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chewdak
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby chewdak » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:36 am

tomwatts wrote:However, some things that I like about our approach that I don't always see from other companies:
* Our names for things are often very natural. You won't see any "Type 7c" terminology or any of that garbage from us. If it says, "Which of the following most strengthens the argument?", we call it a Strengthen question. If you're putting things in order, we call it an Order Game. There are no arbitrary terms to memorize, just what you'd most normally call things.
* Our techniques are very consistent. You draw more or less the same sort of diagram for an In/Out Game or a 1D Order Game or anything else: columns with elements in them. You follow more or less the same procedure on every reading passage, every time. You don't have to sit there and wonder if you should draw a Picking and Choosing diagram or a Pushing and Pulling diagram or a Happy and Sad diagram. Just drawn the columns and put what makes sense across the top (and of course there's a whole bunch of guidance on "what makes sense").

This means, by the way, that when people talk about "hybrid" games or "new" game types, I don't even know what they're talking about. If the game has order, it's an Order Game. If not, it's a Group Game. There is no room in this classification system for hybrids of any kind. I didn't even notice that the dinos were a little different than any other game that had previously been offered because to me they were just a 2D In/Out Game that happened to have indeterminate categories (that is, we didn't know what colors the dinosaurs were). I like not being surprised by the test, and with this method, I'm rarely surprised.

Frankly, I haven't spent a lot of time comparing us to TM/PS/BP (or to Kaplan), so I can't say for sure what all the differences are. But every time I come across a difference between us and them, I have a reason that I like our way more.


Thank you!

I also heard about the games from another PR instructor, JazzOne, that he will setup any game as a table you described.
I would love to be able to be do any game in an organized fashion, right now I have a really haphazard approach to anything and everything.
Can't imagine using a table with certain mapping games, f.e. train stations, or airports, or sequencing games, such as beads, or the games where certain rules apply, such as color mixing or tournament ranking. In these cases, I would draw a physical map with connecting lines, or do a bunch of hypos.
About LR, what do you read first, stimulus or question stem? And how important is it to have a classification system in place for various questions? Some are obvious, but how important is it to recognize each question as a type on the test?

tummi
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby tummi » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:29 pm

(chewdak = your question about reading the stem or stimulus, in the bible it says to read stimulus and then the stem but when i came across other books like kaplan and princeton review, they all said to read the stem first then the stimulus. id follow the bible only bc i just bought them.)


so i have decided to purchase the LR and LG bibles thanks to all the comments!!

BUT im still missing the reading comprehension section. i heard powescore has finally come out with a new edition for the RC section but i also heard that examkrackers which breaks down MCAT stuff has come out with LSAT books as well.

anybody hear anything good or bad about examkrackers? or should i just stick with the new bible?

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chewdak
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby chewdak » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:57 pm

tummi wrote:im still missing the reading comprehension section. i heard powescore has finally come out with a new edition for the RC section but i also heard that examkrackers which breaks down MCAT stuff has come out with LSAT books as well.

anybody hear anything good or bad about examkrackers? or should i just stick with the new bible?

How are you doing in RC right now?
I read parts of PS RC Bible and glanced at the examcrackers RC book.
The Bible was well written, and I did not find any fault with the EK books.
If you need a book, just pick one and see if it helps you.
Neither did much for me because I did not find much use in diagramming the passages.
I was generally doing well (0 to -2) in RC in practice but was always pressed for time.

tomwatts
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby tomwatts » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:39 pm

chewdak wrote:Can't imagine using a table with certain mapping games, f.e. train stations, or airports, or sequencing games, such as beads, or the games where certain rules apply, such as color mixing or tournament ranking. In these cases, I would draw a physical map with connecting lines, or do a bunch of hypos.

There's an occasional pure map game, but those are exclusively old. They haven't done those in many years. But putting things in a "sequence" is the same as putting them in order.
chewdak wrote:About LR, what do you read first, stimulus or question stem? And how important is it to have a classification system in place for various questions? Some are obvious, but how important is it to recognize each question as a type on the test?

Stem first. I continue to think that reading the argument ("stimulus") first is silly. You read an Inference question totally differently than you read a Strengthen question. And everything proceeds differently depending on the question type, from start to finish, so I think that knowing the question type is fundamental to doing the arguments ("LR").

tummi
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Re: LSAT advice for prep books, courses

Postby tummi » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:49 pm

How are you doing in RC right now?
I read parts of PS RC Bible and glanced at the examcrackers RC book.
The Bible was well written, and I did not find any fault with the EK books.
If you need a book, just pick one and see if it helps you.
Neither did much for me because I did not find much use in diagramming the passages.
I was generally doing well (0 to -2) in RC in practice but was always pressed for time.


lets just say RC is my worst section haha the time is just killing me i am a slow reader as it is so hwen i started getting better and faster in LR section i was very satisfied until i got to RC part..... basically killed all my motivation when i just improved it in LR.

But anyways... i was thinking of buying the examkrackers one just bc it was about $10 cheaper but thats what im stuck on... normally cheaper prices means crapier quality or in this case not much help from a book, thats why i asked for opinions of anybody that has used these books before.




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