prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

au bon pain
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prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby au bon pain » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:55 pm

I'm gearing up for the October test - I purchased all of the former tests and I have the power score books but I don't have the funds to take a prep course - at least not one of the good ones.

I'm pretty focused when it comes to studying, so I don't need the class for babysitting purposes but I'm wondering if there is any useful information/strategies that I'll miss out on if I don't take one?

Thanks for the input!

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cardinalandgold
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby cardinalandgold » Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:03 pm

Didn't take a prep course for the LSAT, and looking back I don't regret it at all. In my opinion, all that's needed to do well is the PowerScore Bibles, all the PT's you can get your hands on, and practice, practice, and more practice!

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Atlas LSAT Teacher
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby Atlas LSAT Teacher » Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:17 pm

I'd say that cardinalgold has identified something that's necessary -- lots of practice, but it may not be sufficient. Some people do better with a course, but many are able to succeed with a self-study program. However, I'd say the majority of people go the self-study route.

If you know how to study and are motivated (and the importance of your score should be motivating!), then getting some books and preptests can do the trick (but don't simply do preptest after preptest, instead learn some strategies and apply them). Getting a buddy to study with can be helpful.

If you think you're disorganized, you can check out the various guided self-study programs -- they'll keep you on track. Ours offer videos as well(and Blueprint - I don't know about other companies). For those on a budget, this can be a sensible option (though the price differences are stark).

If you feel you'll learn better by being in a class -- either because of the instruction or the motivation -- try out different courses by attending trial classes to find a teacher and program that you think is good. (Or, post "which prep company is best?" and initiate that age old debate!)

Good luck!

au bon pain
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby au bon pain » Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:46 pm

Thanks for the input!

Is there a magical number (diagnostic) that dictates if I'm above or below it, then a prep course is necessary?

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cardinalandgold
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby cardinalandgold » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:04 pm

au bon pain wrote:Thanks for the input!

Is there a magical number (diagnostic) that dictates if I'm above or below it, then a prep course is necessary?

Unfortunately, there is no magic number. If I had taken a true diagnostic, I'm sure my score would not have been pretty. It all depends on what kind of learner you are, and your level of discipline. I have always learned best by self-study, and never needed the structure of an actual class for any standardized test. I knew how important the LSAT was, and devoted enough time and energy studying, taking PT's, and reviewing my tests to get the results I wanted. If you think you can keep yourself to a schedule, self-study will probably be fine. If you find you need the structure of a class to keep yourself on task, perhaps a class or even a study group will be enough to keep you motivated. Either way, good luck!

Sere
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby Sere » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:35 pm

I agree with cardinalgold. I remember how "freaked" for lack of a better word I was about my LSAT score. I bought every previous test book I could find and did them exactly as they outlined time wise, over and over again. I was really bad at the logic portions so I went to the Philosophy department head at my school and asked for a tutor. Wish granted yet I still couldn't (and to this day have a hard time with them) understand logic problems, I'm a crossword person, soduko baffles me, logic vs intuitive.

So what I did was made sure I was absolutely certain how to answer the portions I was strongest in correctly and then on LSAT test day looked at the logic problems tried for a very few minutes to figure them out answered the ones I "thought" I knew then guessed on the rest. You should have seen the rest of the room when I closed the book and put my pencil down, priceless and very disconcerting for those who thought they were all that and more. . .remember at times attorneys are great bluffers :)

Guess what, scored 17 correct out of I believe 35 or 36 questions.

Bottom line to my advice is I don't think prep courses are worth it for the LSAT, prep courses for the Bar, yes and start saving now.

Good luck and remember to eat foods rich in protein before you go into the LSAT, protein is a long lasting brain food, not good for the cholesterol but for a day, what the heck (for me it was driving to the test site then wolfing a couple of hard boiled eggs before going in then on break another one, ugh didn't want to see any type of egg for months :)

Never forget that the LSAT is only a part of the entire application, grades yes, but honors, invitation societies, community work, life experience, solid and sincere recommendations and what you can bring to a law school are also factors.

You will be fine, believe in yourself and do what you can to maximize your strengths and do whatever it takes to decimate the competition with whatever tools you can.

fiathebia
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby fiathebia » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:21 pm

I have trouble concentrating in class...usually I am only half listening to the professor and half reading the newspaper or texting, etc. I learn a lot better by using the textbook and teaching myself. Does this mean a prep course will probably not be for me? Are prep courses typically similar to college courses, or are they more engaging?

tomwatts
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby tomwatts » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:17 am

Many courses are taught in a Socratic style. In the ones I teach (Princeton Review classes), I will lecture for no more than about 10 or 15 minutes at a time most of the time, and the next 30-60 minutes we'll spend working through a game/passage/set of arguments together. Given that the classes typically have 15-25 people in them and I'm typically calling on 7 people per question (one for the stem, one for a bit of work in doing the question, one for each answer choice), the students are forced to talk pretty regularly. In larger classes (which some companies in some locations have), the same may not be true.

You can always ask to see a sample class (or a mock sample class — we call them Strategy Sessions) to see what you think. Or self-study or tutoring might be more your style.

LSATclincher
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby LSATclincher » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:29 am

Looking back on it, here's what I say about prep courses. I took Testmasters. My initial diagnostic was 136. After Testmasters, my diagnostic was 156. I'd say, for me, Testmasters was worth it. If you take a diagnostic, and score much higher than I did, I don't see the value in a course. When I scored 136, I was bad at everything. I had no idea where to begin studying, and I was overwhelmed when I looked at sample questions online. I really needed a fundamental background of the entire test (every section). I feel I received that. Now, as I am peaked at around the 155-157 range, I feel only self-study is going to help me break this level. Or perhaps, this is the level in which I am capped.

The thing with a course is that it's catered to every student. So the instructor must teach the same material to a person who is scoring in the 140's and a person scoring in the 150s or 160s (though I cant imagine someone scoring in the 160s would take a course). This leads to wasted time and money to someone already scoring well.

Overall, I'd say if your initial diagnostic is in the 140's, consider a prep course. If you are in the 150's, I think self-study would be sufficient. The bibles, alone, should improve your score a good 5 points.

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doinmybest
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby doinmybest » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:14 pm

I still feel like taking a prep course was an utter waste. I took a Kaplan course and then got some Kaplan tutoring (for a huge discount). I showed little to no improvment. It actually hurt me because I was wasting valuable material practicing a method that didn't work for me.

Once I switched to self study I went up about 20 points. Best decision I've made in a while.

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stintez
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby stintez » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:27 pm

if your already studying now for the October test I would highly highly recommend you get some sort of personal tutor the two months before. That's what I am doing now my lsat is in June. Originally I was signed up for the Kaplan course. However after talking to a few people whom have taking the lsat and some consultants they told me to get a refund and get a personal tutor. The reasons were because the prep course has a majority of students most of whom have not studied that much whereas I started 4-5 days a week 2 hours a day since the last week in January. I only need about 5-10 more points to be where I want and the tutor is working with me specifically on what I need to do not what everyone else needs to work on. Just some words of advice.

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HazelEyes
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Re: prep course - will i miss out if i don't take one

Postby HazelEyes » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:33 pm

I took a PowerScore class and really do not have good things to say about it.

I studied with a Kaplan tutor after, and raised my score close to 10 points... but everyone's different. Try to sit in on one class before plunking down your money.




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