prep course vs. studying on my own

smt1199
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prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby smt1199 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:55 am

I am preparing to take the LSAT in October and am debating whether or not I should enroll in a prep course or study on my own. Currently I work full time and feel like the structure of the class would be benifical in order to keep me on track.

I am curious to know how others feel about this.

Thanks!

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Atlas LSAT Teacher
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby Atlas LSAT Teacher » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:44 pm

You're about to get a variety of responses:

1. Courses are scams.

2. X, Y, Z course really helped me.

3. It depends on you.

I would go with the final response, and would suggest you sit-in on a course to see what it's like. That way you can figure out if it feels right, and you can check out the teacher. I know a few companies allow for trial students.

Also, there are some self-study courses that split the middle. We do one where you get recordings of a class, and you follow along with them in the HW and practice tests too. That way you've structured your studies, but you can move at your own pace (and if you're far from a classroom, or on the move, or simply hate sitting next to other human beings, it fits the bill). That sort of thing works well for lots of folks, and is less expensive than a course. But, you'll have to be disciplined, and from your post, it sounds like you're worried about staying on track...

Good luck!

shoop
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby shoop » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:46 pm

Can you make yourself study for 2-3 hours each night? If no, a prep class may be for you, assuming that having $1,000 invested in prep is sufficient to compel you to study for 2-3 hours every night.

I work full time and am self-studying for the June test. I've been hitting low 170s. A prep course is not strictly necessary for today's full-time worker aspiring to law school.

am060459
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby am060459 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:54 pm

smt1199 wrote:I am preparing to take the LSAT in October and am debating whether or not I should enroll in a prep course or study on my own. Currently I work full time and feel like the structure of the class would be benifical in order to keep me on track.

I am curious to know how others feel about this.

Thanks!

smt1199
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby smt1199 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:04 pm

I agree that the courses are scams and ridiculously expensive, I just find the classroom environment to be somewhat helpful. I think I'll stick with studying on my own - I can definitely dedicate 2-3 hours per night studying. For now I have the LR and LG bible as well as the LSAT 10 prep tests book...

Thanks for your input :)

xqhp82
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby xqhp82 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:22 pm

same here...I'm struggling between two options, but for me it's more like complete self-study/ self-study with an online course....

somehow I feel that if I can spend a certain number of hours per day practicing on my own I will be able to do well, but at the same time, i feel like i should not miss any chance that could raise even just 1 point/ miss out something that those who take prep course would know. and of course $$ is the big issue here...

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neimanmarxist
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby neimanmarxist » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:25 pm

I took a course and wished I'd saved the money. I was doing just as well on my PTs when studying on my own as I did after the course. I felt like the course gave a lot of busywork problems that didn't help with some of the most crucial aspects of the LSAT, timing in particular. And it's such a gamble re. the instructors you get. Save your money and use the bibles plus all the prior PT's as detailed in the pithypike LSAT study thread. Make up a schedule for when you're going to cover what and then stick to it like glue- the structure of the $1,500 class for free.

somehow I feel that if I can spend a certain number of hours per day practicing on my own I will be able to do well, but at the same time, i feel like i should not miss any chance that could raise even just 1 point/ miss out something that those who take prep course would know. and of course $$ is the big issue here...


If you are studying faithfully on your own you won't miss the extra point. That was my fear and that's why I paid for the course. I seriously wish I hadn't . If you're not getting the kind of improvements you want after 10 or 15 pts and going through the bibles, re-evaluate. but otherwise, save your money.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby KibblesAndVick » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:35 pm

What you get out of a class depends on what you put into it. The same is true for self study. I don't believe there are any silver bullets for learning the LSAT. You just have to put a lot of time into it and take a lot of practice tests. Because of this I don't see the value of taking a course unless it will force you to study more. However, I would argue that if you need an outside motivation to study more for the LSAT then you're probably doing it wrong. They're not going to tell you anything you can't find in a Powerscore book or on TLS. I'm in the overrated and overpriced camp. For what it's worth, I never took a course.

Also, if you (or your parents) are loaded, disregard my advice and hire a private tutor.

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IAFG
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby IAFG » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:37 pm

i was too dumb for self-study. never would have happened for me. diag. in the upper 150s -> 17X with powerscore.

tomwatts
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby tomwatts » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:46 pm

neimanmarxist wrote:And it's such a gamble re. the instructors you get.

Not if you do your homework on this (which is the most important factor in a class) ahead of time. You can call the company and ask about the instructor. You can find out the name, a little bit of the person's background — you should even be able to sit in on part of a class or a mock sample class (we call 'em Strategy Sessions at Princeton Review). So you can find out about the instructor ahead of time.

If you think that a class would be useful in structuring your studying, giving you all the materials that you need, and guiding how to go about your studying — how to approach the various questions, etc. — as well as, in the classes that are not huge, providing you with individual feedback and specific guidance, and if you think that the instructor that you'll get will be good, then go for it. If not, don't.

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jpSartre
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby jpSartre » Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:19 pm

Atlas LSAT Teacher wrote:Courses are scams.


Straight from the source!

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Atlas LSAT Teacher
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby Atlas LSAT Teacher » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:44 pm

jpSartre wrote:
Atlas LSAT Teacher wrote:Courses are scams.


Straight from the source!

:D

But, I do have a great set of knives...

psteele99
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby psteele99 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:31 pm

I work full time and am preparing to take the LSAT for the second time. I opted for Blueprint: t he Movie. The combination of hearing and seeing the examples/solutions and then having a chance to work through the questions has been invaluable to me and I am seeing an improvment. I've been pretty happy with Blueprint.

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jpSartre
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby jpSartre » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:02 pm

Atlas LSAT Teacher wrote:
jpSartre wrote:
Atlas LSAT Teacher wrote:Courses are scams.


Straight from the source!

:D

But, I do have a great set of knives...


Thanks for the sense of humor!

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Atlas LSAT Teacher
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby Atlas LSAT Teacher » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:31 pm

jpSartre wrote:
Atlas LSAT Teacher wrote:
jpSartre wrote:
Atlas LSAT Teacher wrote:Courses are scams.


Straight from the source!

:D

But, I do have a great set of knives...


Thanks for the sense of humor!

That was nothing. Just wait till you start getting lawyer jokes coming your way!

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autarkh
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby autarkh » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:15 pm

A course can be great if you are incapable of studying on your own. Most will give you a good method and baseline of practice.

It will still be up to you to internalize that method and adapt it to your own use -- but you'll have someone holding your hand, and the background mental pressure from having sunk $1200+ into something that you'd better use to its fullest.

If you're capable of studying on your own, it may be a waste of money. If your main issue is that you want to discuss questions with someone else to help you spot issues that you might have missed, get a study buddy or a tutor instead. Or post questions on TLS.

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Bert
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby Bert » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:24 pm

autarkh wrote:A course can be great if you are incapable of studying on your own. Most will give you a good method and baseline of practice.

It will still be up to you to internalize that method and adapt it to your own use -- but you'll have someone holding your hand, and the background mental pressure from having sunk $1200+ into something that you'd better use to its fullest.

If you're capable of studying on your own, it may be a waste of money. If your main issue is that you want to discuss questions with someone else to help you spot issues that you might have missed, get a study buddy or a tutor instead. Or post questions on TLS.


I agree with ^^^

jpSartre wrote:Straight from the source!


and totally disagree with the thought that you should lend any more weight to an opinion coming from somebody whose screen name is "Atlas LSAT Teacher" than you should to anybody else's opinion. Not intending to start any fights over that statement so take it at face value.

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jpSartre
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby jpSartre » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Bert wrote:
jpSartre wrote:Straight from the source!


and totally disagree with the thought that you should lend any more weight to an opinion coming from somebody whose screen name is "Atlas LSAT Teacher" than you should to anybody else's opinion. Not intending to start any fights over that statement so take it at face value.


It was a joke, because I was obviously twisting his statement to support an extreme version of my point of view.


Atlas LSAT Teacher wrote:That was nothing. Just wait till you start getting lawyer jokes coming your way!


Lol.

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gilagarta
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Re: prep course vs. studying on my own

Postby gilagarta » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:37 pm

IAFG wrote:i was too dumb for self-study. never would have happened for me. diag. in the upper 150s -> 17X with powerscore.


I basically agree with this. I work full time (often over 50 hours a week) and without a class (I took Princeton Review) I would have been far too overwhelmed and unstructured to do well studying on my own. I took the class that was 10-2 on Sat and 10-6 on Sun, and then in addition I would study for 3 hours each night when I got home form work. It sucked giving up my weekends for two months, but it was absolutely worth it. With that said, I don't think following the structure of the class alone will necessarily be your best bet - I did the assigned homework only in areas where I felt I needed more practice (LG and some types of arguments, but no RC) and then did extra diags that I purchased during the rest of my time. I also felt like having the interaction with my instructor and classmates helped reaffirm for me the areas where I was really excelling (because I could see where others were confused and I wasn't) and also the areas where I was behind in comparison.

My first diag (not taken cold - I had read the Princeton Review book the month before the class) was a 157, and my official score 10 weeks later was a 171. I don't think there's any way I would have gotten that score without the structure of the class to help me.




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