Fairness of LSAT Prep?

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scribelaw
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby scribelaw » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:51 pm

DoubleChecks wrote: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


I think OP was going even further, saying it's unfair that people can study in any way, whether in a class or via self-prep.

Also, classes are worthless -- especially for anyone trying to score 170+.

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:52 pm

Honestly, during college I was pretty good at what the LSAT tested for. After three years, I had got quite rusty. After studying, not only did I get back in the swing of things but I found that through hard work my logic and reading skills were getting even better.

Think of it more as an aptitude test. It wants to know your absolute ceiling of what you are capable of doing that they think will relate to the study of law.

I think its a fair test. As far as prep goes, if you don't have time to do that you probably don't have time for LS.

(Note: I currently work a full time job that demands over the reg. 40hrs a week).

Also, people with money rarely have to work harder than those that don't. Shouldn't you be used to that by now? You're 20-some yrs old. If you don't have kids, then find a way. Everyone else did.
Last edited by Kobe_Teeth on Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby DoubleChecks » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:53 pm

scribelaw wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote: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


I think OP was going even further, saying it's unfair that people can study in any way, whether in a class or via self-prep.

Also, classes are worthless -- especially for anyone trying to score 170+.


i took a class and self-studied

i think classes are not worthless in getting the basic strategies down; they give you the materials you will need, broken into nice sections, give you a system, and explain basic strats

but after the first few weeks, it gets pointless - self-study and practice tests will be all one needs for 170+, imo

of course you could start self-studying from the start, but the class makes it more efficient and faster (albeit for $$$)

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LvingLegend
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby LvingLegend » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:54 pm

AtticusFinch wrote:
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


Three weeks is enough time to prepare. I only prepped for 3 weeks and I did ok.

itsfine
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby itsfine » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:55 pm

Pricer wrote:
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?"e





The fact that only the people who can afford to prep for this test are at an advantage, that really is capitalism at its essence, so that point doesnt seem worthy of any further discussion unless you want to change the way our economy and society operate (which i am not saying is a bad idea...) but, as far as ----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?--- my answer to that is, I would fully understand your complaint IF what we learned on the LSAT was simply facts. What i mean by that is if this test simply tested facts about the revolution and was basically a regurgitation of random facts (what year was WWI ended, how many O molecules are in a H2O etcetc.) then I would see your point, bc in the long run whoever can memorize those facts is not going to be the better lawyer. But i really dont not believe that is what the LSAT is, far be it from perfect, but the lsat is a test that tests thinking ability (once again, not even close to perfect but apparently it is as good an indicator that one single standardized test could be, and yes, a standarized test is also far from perfect but is probably as 'fair' as we can get). So if i am able to learn the LSAT, i deserve to get into a better school bc i have not simply learned facts that I will one day forget, I have learned to think...I truly believe that the score i achieved on the lsat is the same score i would achieve in 10 years, so i like to think of the LSAT experience as acquired knowledge, and since i am now smarter for it, I deserve to be considered a better candidate...the fact others cant prep as well as my means allow me to is just a product of this test being as fair as life is, which isnt very

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:56 pm

LvingLegend wrote:Three weeks is enough time to prepare. I only prepped for 3 weeks and I did ok.


Asinine. You know full well that wouldn't work for everyone. Congrats on your score and all but people vary.

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scribelaw
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby scribelaw » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:59 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
scribelaw wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote: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


I think OP was going even further, saying it's unfair that people can study in any way, whether in a class or via self-prep.

Also, classes are worthless -- especially for anyone trying to score 170+.


i took a class and self-studied

i think classes are not worthless in getting the basic strategies down; they give you the materials you will need, broken into nice sections, give you a system, and explain basic strats

but after the first few weeks, it gets pointless - self-study and practice tests will be all one needs for 170+, imo

of course you could start self-studying from the start, but the class makes it more efficient and faster (albeit for $$$)


Probably credited. I took a class after having self-studied for two or three months, and I didn't learn anything new. I don't think it hurt, but my class, at least, seemed designed to help people go from 152 to 158, rather than to help people push into the 99th percentile.

AtticusFinch
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby AtticusFinch » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:07 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:
LvingLegend wrote:Three weeks is enough time to prepare. I only prepped for 3 weeks and I did ok.


Asinine. You know full well that wouldn't work for everyone. Congrats on your score and all but people vary.


Most people need well over three weeks to prepare. If your goal is to do "ok" then fine, that wasn't my goal or shouldn't be most peoples goal.

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barry zuckerkorn
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby barry zuckerkorn » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:21 pm

AtticusFinch wrote:
Kobe_Teeth wrote:
LvingLegend wrote:Three weeks is enough time to prepare. I only prepped for 3 weeks and I did ok.


Asinine. You know full well that wouldn't work for everyone. Congrats on your score and all but people vary.


Most people need well over three weeks to prepare. If your goal is to do "ok" then fine, that wasn't my goal or shouldn't be most peoples goal.


Going to agree with Finch here.

I prepped for 6-7 wks, did two tests a week with Powerscore(LG and LR) self-study. Started around 158, peaked at 168, averaged 165. 161 on test day because I choked on an RC passage, a section I was banking on (nearly never below 23-24 on any PT). It was also my first section.

So, my theory is if I prepped for longer, I would have done better/felt more prepared for a section I assumed I was ready for, though clearly got into my head when it mattered.

But I also fit into the minority of people who could have done better, and could have taken the test again and decided not to with an "ok" score b/c the LSAT blows.

Good luck everyone!

keg411
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby keg411 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:25 pm

I spent my own personal $$$ on my tutoring. With my work schedule (not to mention I was taking a CE class), I needed to have structured time with my studying and while I knew the test was learn-able from my diagnostic work, I couldn't figure out how to answer the questions and knew I couldn't do it on my own. When I made the decision to go to law school, I wanted to make smart choices and not just take the LSAT with no prep on a whim.

OP, if you didn't do well, study more and re-take. Have your 170 friend tutor you. Don't whine.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Stringer Bell » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:29 pm

This thread is dumb and I feel dumb for posting in it, but here it goes. I got a 176 through self study. I know someone that took it for the third time trying to break 150 that took a prep class.

If law school allowed no prep for tests, or for trials the court made you just show up and "wing it", this argument might have some weight.

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gymboree
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby gymboree » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:32 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.


I prepped for 1.5 years (on and off), but fairly intensely. 3 weeks seems like nothing to me, and I don't really think you can complain when some people did self-prep for long periods of time and thought strategically about approaching the challenge of the LSAT.

See: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41657

All anyone needs is Pithypike's LSAT self-study guide. You can't blame anyone else if you don't live up to this standard. You don't get what you pay for, you get what you *work* for.

Even if someone pays for a prep course, if they don't work their butt off, they're not going to improve.

Moral: work work work, don't spend.

mhernton
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby mhernton » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:43 pm

Pricer, what is with the URM hate?? Life isn't fair, what are we 12??? It isn't fair that I as a URM have to listen to you snivel about how hard the world is. Its also isn't fair that I've had cops pull guns on me for no other reason than I was walking down the street, or that I've been deployed twice to the middle east, and lived outside of the US for 3.5 years to defend your freedom to whine about how hard your life has been. What are you going to do with your law degree whine when some attorney worth his salt embarrasses you, cry about how life is unfair. I'm a URM and got into a top 30 school with a 155 LSAT and crappy grades. Is it fair that I had to take the LSAT while working 16 hour days on deployment, and that I had to set up a special test center in order to do it? No, but that's life. The fact is we all have our cross to bear, most of us adults, especially those headed off to law school do it without bitching about how unfair life is. Grow up...

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Stringer Bell » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:48 pm

In before this blows up into a URM admissions boost debate that eventually gets locked.

OP reminds me of a quote I read by Lance Berkman one time saying that he wished all MLB players would agree that they wouldn't lift weights and just compete with their natural abilities because he doesn't like to lift. Seriously, quit whining and study.

pattymac
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby pattymac » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:51 pm

I agree with you but think about it this way.

The test is difficult, and sure there are some freaks out there that score 170+ on their disagnostics, but clearly this isn't the case for all of us. Really, are there a lot of people on here who get a 160 cold? Thus, not many people would really score well if the prep material wasn't out there. There'd be soooo few people that score as high as they do that admissions would be sooooo ultra competetive. Could they even really fill all 180+ schools? Look at the data on school average, most of them (minus the upper echelon) are around 145-155.

Keep in mind that prepping for this thing is a business, and I've personally already dumped about $200 bucks into it before I've even registered for the test itself.

I think studying for this thing is a worthy investment because it's surely to God taught me more than my piece of shit undergrad degree has over the last four years. I'll use more of the anaytical and critical skills I learned studying for the LSAT than anything my undergrad has given me, other than a piece of paper. I'm probably a little biased; prepping for the LSAT has been one of the most exciting times of my life I think.

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JordynAsh
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby JordynAsh » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:59 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.


Wah-wah.

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BigFatPanda
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby BigFatPanda » Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:40 pm

Pricer wrote: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.


Incorrect, LSAT is a tool use by law school admission to admit or deny applicants under an uniform standard. Before invention of LSAT, law school admission is highly subjective. Thus, the issue was never "Who thinks the most like a lawyer/law school student", the issue is "on what basis does an applicant, relative to other applicants, deserve an opportunity for admission?". Even the maker of LSAT made it very clear that LSAT does not measure "who thinks the most like a lawyer", it is just an universal standard for measuring applicants for admission. Sure, people with more money can afford to take Prep courses while people without money couldn't afford. It is not fair. BUT, this unfairness has nothing to do with one's ability or one's standing in class. Rather, one's character, strength, adaptation to new circumstances and determination for success will determine one's standing in law school.

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


Affirmative Action and URM boost is an evil and it is completely discriminatory. However, the Supreme Court, given its infinite wisdom and understanding of the reality on the ground (a trait completely lacked by at least the current majority justices who favored almost no regulation on campaign finance) has already decided that given the inherent unfairness and inequality faced by minority including blacks, mexican americans, and native indians, it is a compelling interest of the United States to afford the aforementioned minorities a certain boost. Thus, it is a necessary evil. Indeed, without URM boost, an entire generation of blacks, mexican americans, and native indians could be excluded from law school, substantially making the admission policy of these institution (base on non-race factors alone) a variant of racial segregation by denying these minorities a fair representation in term of student population.

but the fact that one can pretty much pay for his LSAT score seems to go against the whole point of the test


If only this is true, i would've sell my condo and pay LSAC to give me a 175. The truth is, many many people burn a huge pile of money into multiple LSAT prep courses and many failed to gain any meaningful LSAT score. So this claim is definitely not universal nor statistical.

I hate to sound like law school admission deans but you can blame no one but yourself for not scoring high enough on the LSAT. I am sorry you don't have the resources to take a prep course (trust me, you don't need to burn $1400 on these courses if you've study for at least three month) and i agree with you on the inherent unfairness of the system. The only option for you is to suck it up and move on.

tomwatts
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby tomwatts » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:02 am

I hold the following positions:
* Taking a prep course for the LSAT is not necessary to do well on the LSAT. You can study on your own and do fine.
* Taking a prep course for the LSAT can be very helpful if you take full advantage of it, but you don't buy your score; you have to put in the work, too.
* This doesn't make the test terribly unfair.

As test-making companies go, LSAC is clearly the best. Nobody else is even close. ACT and GMAC are distant ties for second, probably. The test that LSAC makes, the LSAT, is probably the best of the standardized admissions tests. It's still a rather arbitrary standardized test. But it's way better than all the other crap out there. I much prefer a test that they don't mind you studying for than a test that supposedly tests your innate abilities. Any test can be studied for. The fact that the LSAT is designed to be studied for and LSAC facilitates your studying for it puts it a notch above everything else. (Compare the College Board and the SAT: College Board continues to produce borderline fraudulent studies from time to time purporting to show that test prep doesn't work and simultaneously offers a $70 SAT online course on its website. Mixed messages/conflict of interest, much?)

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Muckduck
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Muckduck » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:13 am

Seems like you didn't study hard, didn't do as well as you would have liked, and are annoyed at those who out-performed you.

What's wrong with people taking a course and learning some of the skills that are needed to be a lawyer? Who says LSAC is looking for people who can naturally do it all?

I think that courses are simply a psychological safety net for some. I took one, it did me little or no good except that it helped settle my nerves about the LSAT. I got a 169 test day which was 4 points less than my PT average. Whatever, I got into my dream school. But my diagnostic was abysmal. I sure am glad I had time to drill myself and learn to think more like a law student ought to think by studying for more than three weeks...

rv11
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby rv11 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:24 pm

Muckduck wrote:Seems like you didn't study hard, didn't do as well as you would have liked, and are annoyed at those who out-performed you.


TITCR

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bceagles182
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby bceagles182 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:40 pm

The LSAT measures some combination of one's natural intelligence and one's willingness to dedicate time to study and effort into succeeding. Aren't these both good indicators of future succcess in law school? Why does it matter whether one relies more on natural ability or on superior work ethic to achieve their score?

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redraiderette
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby redraiderette » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:00 pm

Pricer- grow up, maybe you should have stayed in college that last semester instead of graduating early. Perhaps then you'd be more mature. I think this post from you sums it up for the real reasons you may find it difficult to get into a top law school this cycle:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=104722&p=2443989#p2443989

Your MIP, DUI and subsequent school probation will likely have SOME adverse effects...combined with your admittedly-late LSAT prep AND late applications at these top law schools.

So PLEASE stop whining and blaming it on LSAT prep and your non-URM status :roll: (which appears to be a very hot topic for you.)

/thread.

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moandersen
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby moandersen » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:02 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:In before this blows up into a URM admissions boost debate that eventually gets locked.

OP reminds me of a quote I read by Lance Berkman one time saying that he wished all MLB players would agree that they wouldn't lift weights and just compete with their natural abilities because he doesn't like to lift. Seriously, quit whining and study.


So thats why he is a fat blob?! Im never drafting him to my fantasy team again.....

But on topic, I needed some time to prep because I have been out of school for 4+ years, so I needed something to jump start my brain....

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blhblahblah
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby blhblahblah » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:28 pm

ddelmar wrote: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.


I liked this. Although, I will add that it would be naive to ignore the fact that many, many people do well on the test in part due to the skill-set acquired through practice, but also in part to learning to "game" the test, which helps these sorts of people shore up a number of extra points. LSAT gaming techniques, as we know, play no role in law school success.

In short, I believe that the fact that people are able to prepare for the test, albeit to more or less degrees, should not be an equitable issue with which we need worry ourselves, for practice materials are inexpensive and readily available to anyone, and investing 2-3 hours a day for 2-3 months is no big deal for even those who have to work to support themselves--and if it is a big deal, then perhaps a such person should reexamine his assumptions about succeeding in law school.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Fairness of LSAT Prep?

Postby Kohinoor » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:17 pm

Pricer wrote: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

It's even worse than you think. Since all URMs are offered full scholarships, there is little to prevent us from doubling or tripling up and thus taking multiple seats at different schools. I'm actually attending UVA and Georgetown and Fordham part-time.




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