Fairness of LSAT Prep?

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Pricer
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Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Pricer » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:39 pm

Let me preface this by saying I did prepare. I took about three weeks to do PTs and read through some of the LRB. This definitely improved my score from my diagnostic at the beginning. But...

The LSAT is supposed to predict how well you will do in law school, correct? My question is, then, why are we allowed to prepare for it? The questions seems to go from "Who thinks the most like a lawyer/law school student?" to "Who can pay enough money to learn how to ace this test?". I understand that this could easily catch up with someone, as getting into a school you should not be admitted to will quickly place you in the bottom quartile of your class. Still, that person should not have had a chance to even go to that school.

I understand capitalism, survival of the fittest, etc., etc. I do not understand, however, how LSAC can justify releasing previous tests to study with or allowing numerous companies to teach classes and publish guides. Not only does it take away the fairness (I know the world isn't fair), but it also produces results other than what the LSAT claims to test. Can this be justified by claiming that people who are serious about law school will find a way to secure these advantages? This is definitely false, and I can prove that using a real life example. My friend and I are equally set on going to law school, but our parents are on different fronts. Her parents are paying for a $3,000 one-on-one prep course, whereas my parents told me I should get a job after graduation and they do not support me going to law school. It isn't that I am jealous, I just don't know how well this represents our true abilities. Her eventual goal is lower than my diagnostic, so it isn't like she is aiming very high. Still, it seems like that is an unfair advantage. The utter ridiculousness of URM status guaranteeing admission with mediocre GPAs and LSAT scores is discouraging enough for a white male trying to secure a spot at a good law school, but the fact that one can pretty much pay for his LSAT score seems to go against the whole point of the test.

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kittenmittons
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby kittenmittons » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:40 pm

IBTL and the proles

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Kohinoor
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Kohinoor » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:41 pm

You're allowed to prepare for law school exams. The real question should be why you get to retake the LSAT.

nycparalegal
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby nycparalegal » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:45 pm

It's totally unfair; but, those are the rules we have to play by for now. It comes down to sacrifice. What will you sacrifice to get to the same level as some rich kid.

Are you willing to work for a year, save up for a course, take the course, and then the test?

Are you willing to buy the powerscore bibles, and a bunch of tests, and practice on your own?

What are you willing to sacrifice?

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Pricer
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Pricer » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:49 pm

nycparalegal wrote:It's totally unfair; but, those are the rules we have to play by for now. It comes down to sacrifice. What will you sacrifice to get to the same level as some rich kid.

Are you willing to work for a year, save up for a course, take the course, and then the test?

Are you willing to buy the powerscore bibles, and a bunch of tests, and practice on your own?

What are you willing to sacrifice?


I like that answer a lot. I am actually considering taking next year off and working. My friend scored a 170 this year, so he is considering teaching a test prep course next year instead of going to law school, then retaking to score a higher score and get money at the schools that would barely admit him with a 3.3 170. If I do not go to law school next year, I will be living with him, so I will have access to a lot of materials for free. That may be my sacrifice: working for a year in between undergrad and law school.

savesthedayajb
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby savesthedayajb » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:50 pm

nycparalegal wrote:It's totally unfair; but, those are the rules we have to play by for now. It comes down to sacrifice. What will you sacrifice to get to the same level as some rich kid.

Are you willing to work for a year, save up for a course, take the course, and then the test?

Are you willing to buy the powerscore bibles, and a bunch of tests, and practice on your own?

What are you willing to sacrifice?


What's fair? Some people have to work harder than others for whatever reason. Why do these rich kids get to take these expensive programs? maybe their parents were poor and worked their asses off to get the kids a better life. Maybe they hit big in the lotto.. whatever it is, it doesn't matter. You have to do the best you can with what you have regardless of other people. Get over it!

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splat
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby splat » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:52 pm

you're expected to prepare. If you don't do everything you need to do to be ready, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage. There's a limit to how much someone can improve at these kind of tests, so I think it's assumed that if everyone prepares adequately then the scores will give a pretty accurate read of natural ability. Obviously it would be nice to have $3,000 1 on 1 test prep, but it's not going to give such an extreme boost that it would be fundamentally unfair. The real question is - why would anyone go into a test this important without doing everything in their power to do the best they can?

nycparalegal
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby nycparalegal » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:53 pm

Pricer wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:It's totally unfair; but, those are the rules we have to play by for now. It comes down to sacrifice. What will you sacrifice to get to the same level as some rich kid.

Are you willing to work for a year, save up for a course, take the course, and then the test?

Are you willing to buy the powerscore bibles, and a bunch of tests, and practice on your own?

What are you willing to sacrifice?


I like that answer a lot. I am actually considering taking next year off and working. My friend scored a 170 this year, so he is considering teaching a test prep course next year instead of going to law school, then retaking to score a higher score and get money at the schools that would barely admit him with a 3.3 170. If I do not go to law school next year, I will be living with him, so I will have access to a lot of materials for free. That may be my sacrifice: working for a year in between undergrad and law school.


Truth be told: the very best way to practice for the LSAT is to take real tests under test conditions (they costs 8 dollars a test, and there's 59 tests). F**k prep classes. They are a waste of money. All you need is the power score bibles, and loads of time to take the tests.

And you have an advantage in that you can get your friend to help you out with some of the questions you have problems with and for free.

e: now who has an unfair advantage?
Last edited by nycparalegal on Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:54 pm

Self-study can be just as effective, it not more, as taking a class.

And if a person can train their mind how to think effectively for law school, why not? The one section I think this doesn't really hold true for is the games section. Games are closer to an IQ than the rest of the test, and prepping for games is something that anyone can do and I think warps the intent behind the section a bit.

letsdoit1982
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby letsdoit1982 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:54 pm

I think you're overstating the importance of prep companies. I think there are a lot of people on TLS who could have afforded to take a course but didn't, because it has been demonstrated that high scores can be just as easily achieved with the Bibles.

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autarkh
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby autarkh » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:55 pm

Kohinoor wrote:You're allowed to prepare for law school exams. The real question should be why you get to retake the LSAT.


Because shit happens. People get sick, lose sleep, run late, break up with their girlfriends, watch their parents die. Nothing so high stakes should ever be a one shot affair. As it stands, there are limits to the number of retakes.

As for prep, anyone can do it. You don't need a course. One theory that I've heard and sounds plausible is that the process of preparing for the LSAT mirrors final prep in law school -- or more precisely, the test screens for the sort of people that can devote themselves single-mindedly to something, or are so naturally gifted, that they will tend to do well in law school.

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Nom Sawyer
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Nom Sawyer » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:56 pm

Pricer wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:It's totally unfair; but, those are the rules we have to play by for now. It comes down to sacrifice. What will you sacrifice to get to the same level as some rich kid.

Are you willing to work for a year, save up for a course, take the course, and then the test?

Are you willing to buy the powerscore bibles, and a bunch of tests, and practice on your own?

What are you willing to sacrifice?


I like that answer a lot. I am actually considering taking next year off and working. My friend scored a 170 this year, so he is considering teaching a test prep course next year instead of going to law school, then retaking to score a higher score and get money at the schools that would barely admit him with a 3.3 170. If I do not go to law school next year, I will be living with him, so I will have access to a lot of materials for free. That may be my sacrifice: working for a year in between undergrad and law school.


Basically what it comes down to... expensive classes and private tutors don't grant any benefit if the person doesn't put any effort into it. I had a friend who was considering law school, paid $1500 for a course, but never kept up with the work and ended up barely improving his score from a 150 diagnostic.

I mean as long as you dedicate the time and concentration you can study for the LSAT without spending any money at all... I just used study guides and PTs from my school store and Borders, writing on my own paper, and then putting it back when I was done. Spent maybe $25 buying the last couple newest PTs online.

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bees
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby bees » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:57 pm

autarkh wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:You're allowed to prepare for law school exams. The real question should be why you get to retake the LSAT.


Because shit happens. People get sick, lose sleep, run late, break up with their girlfriends, watch their parents die. Nothing so high stakes should ever be a one shot affair. As it stands, there are limits to the number of retakes.

As for prep, anyone can do it. You don't need a course. One theory that I've heard and sounds plausible is that the process of preparing for the LSAT mirrors final prep in law school -- or more precisely, the test screens for the sort of people that can devote themselves single-mindedly to something, or are so naturally gifted, that they will tend to do well in law school.


That got heavy pretty fast.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:01 pm

IMO taking a course or even having a private tutor for the LSAT doesn't necessarily translate into a higher score. Someone who pays for 4 or 5 LSAC book compilations of previous LSATs and does serious self-study can likely compete with someone who has taken a course or had tutoring (all other things, such as test-domain intelligence and education, being equal). That being said, money does seem to be a factor in the prep, application, and admission process: I think someone who is "well-off" is in a much better position with regard to these pre-law necessities, though, as has been shared, I think hard work can sufficiently level the field.

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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Bruiser » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:08 pm

Its the same thing with the SAT in high school. I went to a moderately wealthy school (many parents were doctors, lawyers, owned businesses) and many of my classmates took the expensive Princeton review courses and if they didn't do well enough the first time, they got more tutoring and took it again. I just took it and did fine, I really didn't stress over it. This kids were cutthroat and so were their parents (tried to get a teacher fired because her daughter got a B on an AP English assignment). Its pretty much the way of the world. I teach American Gov't. and explain that we have "equality of opportunity" but some opportunities are easier to gain with money but the opportunity is still available, you just have to work harder.

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Pricer
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Pricer » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:20 pm

Bruiser wrote:Its the same thing with the SAT in high school. I went to a moderately wealthy school (many parents were doctors, lawyers, owned businesses) and many of my classmates took the expensive Princeton review courses and if they didn't do well enough the first time, they got more tutoring and took it again. I just took it and did fine, I really didn't stress over it. This kids were cutthroat and so were their parents (tried to get a teacher fired because her daughter got a B on an AP English assignment). Its pretty much the way of the world. I teach American Gov't. and explain that we have "equality of opportunity" but some opportunities are easier to gain with money but the opportunity is still available, you just have to work harder.


Unless you are URM, then you only have to work half as hard.

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bees
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby bees » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:24 pm

Pricer wrote:Unless you are URM, then you only have to work half as hard.


/thread

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Mr. Matlock
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Mr. Matlock » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:26 pm

Pricer wrote:
Bruiser wrote:Its the same thing with the SAT in high school. I went to a moderately wealthy school (many parents were doctors, lawyers, owned businesses) and many of my classmates took the expensive Princeton review courses and if they didn't do well enough the first time, they got more tutoring and took it again. I just took it and did fine, I really didn't stress over it. This kids were cutthroat and so were their parents (tried to get a teacher fired because her daughter got a B on an AP English assignment). Its pretty much the way of the world. I teach American Gov't. and explain that we have "equality of opportunity" but some opportunities are easier to gain with money but the opportunity is still available, you just have to work harder.


Unless you are URM, then you only have to work half as hard.

:roll: Everything is going along fine and then the big shit explosion from the mouth.

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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby ddelmar » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:27 pm

Forgive me, but this post is somewhat naive. Law school requires a certain set of skills; the competency with which one can use those skills is measured by the lsat. Like all skills, they can be improved and honed through training. If a person works hard to develp those skills, and the perform well on the lsat, it is because they have learned to use the skills necessary to perform well in law school.

What is your point then? If they perform well, they have the right set of skills to do well in law school? Why SHOULDN'T you be able to practice them. BTW, I don't buy the stuff about money being important here. I am by no means rich; I have zero income and my family is in the hole financially, but I was able to amazon the books necessary to prepare for the test, photo copy logic games, and practice close reading. It is for these reasons I performed well on the lsat. Unless you are literally too poor to spend 50 bucks to buy 6 PT's or so, money is NOT a big deal when it comes to LSAT prep.

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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby ddelmar » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:28 pm

Pricer wrote:Let me preface this by saying I did prepare. I took about three weeks to do PTs and read through some of the LRB. This definitely improved my score from my diagnostic at the beginning. But...

The LSAT is supposed to predict how well you will do in law school, correct? My question is, then, why are we allowed to prepare for it? The questions seems to go from "Who thinks the most like a lawyer/law school student?" to "Who can pay enough money to learn how to ace this test?". I understand that this could easily catch up with someone, as getting into a school you should not be admitted to will quickly place you in the bottom quartile of your class. Still, that person should not have had a chance to even go to that school.

I understand capitalism, survival of the fittest, etc., etc. I do not understand, however, how LSAC can justify releasing previous tests to study with or allowing numerous companies to teach classes and publish guides. Not only does it take away the fairness (I know the world isn't fair), but it also produces results other than what the LSAT claims to test. Can this be justified by claiming that people who are serious about law school will find a way to secure these advantages? This is definitely false, and I can prove that using a real life example. My friend and I are equally set on going to law school, but our parents are on different fronts. Her parents are paying for a $3,000 one-on-one prep course, whereas my parents told me I should get a job after graduation and they do not support me going to law school. It isn't that I am jealous, I just don't know how well this represents our true abilities. Her eventual goal is lower than my diagnostic, so it isn't like she is aiming very high. Still, it seems like that is an unfair advantage. The utter ridiculousness of URM status guaranteeing admission with mediocre GPAs and LSAT scores is discouraging enough for a white male trying to secure a spot at a good law school, but the fact that one can pretty much pay for his LSAT score seems to go against the whole point of the test.


Dude, no one "pays" for their LSAT score. That is absurd. Quit whining.

AtticusFinch
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby AtticusFinch » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:32 pm

Pricer wrote:Let me preface this by saying I did prepare. I took about three weeks to do PTs and read through some of the LRB. This definitely improved my score from my diagnostic at the beginning. But...

The LSAT is supposed to predict how well you will do in law school, correct? My question is, then, why are we allowed to prepare for it? The questions seems to go from "Who thinks the most like a lawyer/law school student?" to "Who can pay enough money to learn how to ace this test?". I understand that this could easily catch up with someone, as getting into a school you should not be admitted to will quickly place you in the bottom quartile of your class. Still, that person should not have had a chance to even go to that school.

I understand capitalism, survival of the fittest, etc., etc. I do not understand, however, how LSAC can justify releasing previous tests to study with or allowing numerous companies to teach classes and publish guides. Not only does it take away the fairness (I know the world isn't fair), but it also produces results other than what the LSAT claims to test. Can this be justified by claiming that people who are serious about law school will find a way to secure these advantages? This is definitely false, and I can prove that using a real life example. My friend and I are equally set on going to law school, but our parents are on different fronts. Her parents are paying for a $3,000 one-on-one prep course, whereas my parents told me I should get a job after graduation and they do not support me going to law school. It isn't that I am jealous, I just don't know how well this represents our true abilities. Her eventual goal is lower than my diagnostic, so it isn't like she is aiming very high. Still, it seems like that is an unfair advantage. The utter ridiculousness of URM status guaranteeing admission with mediocre GPAs and LSAT scores is discouraging enough for a white male trying to secure a spot at a good law school, but the fact that one can pretty much pay for his LSAT score seems to go against the whole point of the test.


Three weeks doesn't not = Prepared

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:33 pm

Pricer wrote:
Bruiser wrote:Its the same thing with the SAT in high school. I went to a moderately wealthy school (many parents were doctors, lawyers, owned businesses) and many of my classmates took the expensive Princeton review courses and if they didn't do well enough the first time, they got more tutoring and took it again. I just took it and did fine, I really didn't stress over it. This kids were cutthroat and so were their parents (tried to get a teacher fired because her daughter got a B on an AP English assignment). Its pretty much the way of the world. I teach American Gov't. and explain that we have "equality of opportunity" but some opportunities are easier to gain with money but the opportunity is still available, you just have to work harder.


Unless you are URM, then you only have to work half as hard.


Some advice for you: Study more, whine less. Three weeks is not near enough time for the average person to significantly improve on this test.

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scribelaw
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby scribelaw » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:40 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:
Pricer wrote:
Bruiser wrote:Its the same thing with the SAT in high school. I went to a moderately wealthy school (many parents were doctors, lawyers, owned businesses) and many of my classmates took the expensive Princeton review courses and if they didn't do well enough the first time, they got more tutoring and took it again. I just took it and did fine, I really didn't stress over it. This kids were cutthroat and so were their parents (tried to get a teacher fired because her daughter got a B on an AP English assignment). Its pretty much the way of the world. I teach American Gov't. and explain that we have "equality of opportunity" but some opportunities are easier to gain with money but the opportunity is still available, you just have to work harder.


Unless you are URM, then you only have to work half as hard.


Some advice for you: Study more, whine less. Three weeks is not near enough time for the average person to make significant improvement on this test.


+1.

OP came into the test woefully unprepared, and now is complaining about the unfairness of it all. Spend 3 or 4 months studying hard for the test, and you can use the fact that it's a very learnable test to your advantage, rather than bemoaning it.

On the URM thing -- who cares? That is not preventing you from getting into your dream law school. The fact that you didn't prepare for the LSAT is. It's your fault, not the system's.

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phoenix323
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby phoenix323 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:43 pm

Unless you are URM, then you only have to work half as hard.


You know, making these kinds of remarks is not going to help you increase your LSAT score, nor do they have anything to do with whether or not LSAT prep is unfair, so why are you throwing them in at every opportunity? Did the URM's who scored in the 170's work half as hard to get those scores? What about URM's with 3.9 GPA's? Or what about URM's (or non-URM's for that matter) who have traditionally scored poorly on standardized tests but have excelled in their courses, contirbuted to their communities, and have been leaders on campus? Do they derserve to get into law school any less? Numbers are not everything. I think that making glaring generalizations does not serve you as you prepare for a career that requires precison of thought, logical arguments, and objectivity. Being bitter about what you consider to be an unfair advantage isn't going to make your cycle go any better.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby DoubleChecks » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:48 pm

wait wait wait, is OP complaining that ppl who have more money in life (for whatever reason) have an advantage in a lot of things?

oh man, my eyes were just opened. here i thought the world was fair.

but even ignoring that, as others have said, taking a prep class or getting a tutor isnt some magical way of scoring higher on the LSAT...self-study can yield the same results if you work at it. /thread




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