Best LSAT prep school

anteater
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:41 am

Best LSAT prep school

Postby anteater » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:52 am

I am new to the forum and tried searching for a similar post but didn't come across anything, so sorry if this is a re-post.

I want to take my LSAT this coming October, but do not want to take it without taking the prep courses.
I've heard that Kaplan is pretty good but would like to hear some input on other schools.
Where have you guys taken your prep courses and how do you feel about them?
If you have taken courses in more than one school which do you recommend and what are the pros and cons of each?

Thank you in advance for your help!

User avatar
Marionberry
Posts: 1302
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:24 pm

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby Marionberry » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:37 am

There are really two reasons to take a prep course:

1) You don't have the discipline necessary to make yourself do test prep for at least a couple of hours a day in the months prior to the test.

2) For some reason the basic skill set that the LSAT tests is so far outside of your natural abilities that you actually need someone to explain it to you rather than just reading the preferred prep books and learning the test on your own.

If either of these is the case, I would try and figure out why that is. For most people I know the prep courses are a waste of money, though many people take them genuinely thinking that it will give them a leg up.

I would suggest buying the Powerscore logic games and logical reasoning bibles, and every prep test that LSAC has released. All three of the "10 actual, offical LSAT preptests" books, and all of the most recent test which are only available individually. There is a sticky on this forum for a study guide provided by pithypike, which is pretty solid and should give you a good idea of how to go about studying.

anteater
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:41 am

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby anteater » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:25 am

I am still and undergrad student, and this would be my first attempt at the LSAT. I do not intend to replace or substitute self-study with the class. I plan to study 2-3 hours a day 5-6 days of the week while taking the course. The way I see it taking a class taught by a professional can only help. The reason I feel this way is because everyone I know that has taken the LSAT has also taken a prep course. I feel as though if I were to solely study on my own I would be disadvantaged compared to those who have taken a course taught by a professional. But again, I do not have much experience with the LSAT and would appreciate anybody's input on the matter. Can some of you share some personal experiences with these courses and weigh out the pros and cons? Thank you in advance for any and all input and responses!

sharpnsmooth
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:41 pm

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby sharpnsmooth » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:33 am

anteater wrote:I am still and undergrad student, and this would be my first attempt at the LSAT. I do not intend to replace or substitute self-study with the class. I plan to study 2-3 hours a day 5-6 days of the week while taking the course. The way I see it taking a class taught by a professional can only help. The reason I feel this way is because everyone I know that has taken the LSAT has also taken a prep course. I feel as though if I were to solely study on my own I would be disadvantaged compared to those who have taken a course taught by a professional. But again, I do not have much experience with the LSAT and would appreciate anybody's input on the matter. Can some of you share some personal experiences with these courses and weigh out the pros and cons? Thank you in advance for any and all input and responses!


the role of the class is not to substitute self study. you could have a brilliant teacher, but s/he won't improve your score 10+ points. the classes are great predominately from a social standpoint as a lot of people (particularly college aged people) do better when they're doing something with a group. kaplan or powerscore might not go into detail about this, but if you have a good teacher, they'll tell you that improving on the LSAT is all about learning approaches, using them over and over and molding them to accommodate how you think. unlike something like the MCAT which is more fact based, there is never only one way to solve a question... just one right answer.

User avatar
holydonkey
Posts: 1184
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:40 pm

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby holydonkey » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:33 am

class is usually a waste of money.

User avatar
Dinho
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:59 pm

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby Dinho » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:29 pm

I'm currently taking a Kaplan course and I definitely think it's a good overall experience. That said, I think the most beneficial aspects of it are the materials (the mastery book, pacing, endurance) and online tools. They provide me with a much more detailed and insightful way to examine how my studying is progressing. The professional instruction is good reinforcement, but preparation comes down to your individual effort.

All in all, I would recommend Kaplan as a way to prepare. I'll qualify this by saying that I haven't experienced any of the other courses, nor have I taken the LSAT yet, but I am PTing between 173-178 generally.

tomwatts
Posts: 1551
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby tomwatts » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:32 pm

This question has been asked a million times. The most recent incarnation was here. I teach for Princeton Review, and I can answer whatever you'd like to know about us. Some useful features of a PR course: small class size (usually 15-25), good instructor qualifications (98th percentile or better on a real test, very thorough training), availability of the instructor for outside-of-class assistance (many offices have the instructor do 12 hours of office hours throughout the course, some fewer; check with your local branch), and probably other things I'm forgetting. Oh, access to all released LSAT questions, but you get that with everybody.

If you take a class, be sure to take one of the 80+ hour ones, not one of the abbreviated ones.

EDIT: I just noticed I forgot my usual caveat: it depends more on the teacher than the company. Do your homework on the local teachers, and that should inform your decision more than any one other factor.

anteater
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:41 am

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby anteater » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:13 pm

Researching the schools gave me the impression that PowerScore has the lowest pirce (about 200 less than what I am seeing), most hours offered, and their site claims all their professors ranked in the 99th percentile on the official LSAT. They offer all the material plus 80 hours of class lecture as well as over 40 online hours. They look amazing on paper. Any first hand experiences?

User avatar
Bert
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:37 pm

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby Bert » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:20 pm

OP, in what city are you? I think that some people are noticing that not all test prep services are available in their city, and that may help a little.

EDIT: my opinion is that a sit-down class is much better than an online class.

User avatar
stintez
Posts: 307
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:55 pm

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby stintez » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:29 pm

If your going to shell out the 1300 for classes your best bet is to study your ass off take timed 6-9 practice test during a two month period, then two months before the test go and get a private tutor once or twice a week.

anteater
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:41 am

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby anteater » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:42 pm

I am in Los Angeles, California...Other schools I came across only offer about 56-60 hours of lecture whereas the PowerScore classes offer 80 in-class lecture hours and 45 online lecture hours. Even though I would prefer 125 in-class lecture hours I haven't come across any course that offers more than 60 for about 1500. I have already started preping for the LSAT on my own with books my friends have given me who are already in law school. Like I said before I am not planning on substituting self-study with the course but rather as a re-enforcement, if you will. From what I personally came across offered in my area PowerScore looks the best on paper. I was just hoping to get some insight from first hand experience. I plan to take this course from august to October, and the LSAT in October as well.

bp colin
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:08 pm

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby bp colin » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:02 pm

anteater wrote:I am in Los Angeles, California...Other schools I came across only offer about 56-60 hours of lecture whereas the PowerScore classes offer 80 in-class lecture hours and 45 online lecture hours. Even though I would prefer 125 in-class lecture hours I haven't come across any course that offers more than 60 for about 1500. I have already started preping for the LSAT on my own with books my friends have given me who are already in law school. Like I said before I am not planning on substituting self-study with the course but rather as a re-enforcement, if you will. From what I personally came across offered in my area PowerScore looks the best on paper. I was just hoping to get some insight from first hand experience. I plan to take this course from august to October, and the LSAT in October as well.


Hey anteater, I work for Blueprint, and we do 100 hours (not counting practice exams). We've also got tons of online content. We have classes all over LA, and the cost is actually just $1199, which is cheaper, I believe. If you've got any questions, feel free to PM me. I know most of the LA instructors personally. There was a recent thread where a number of people gave their thoughts about our classes (interspersed within a drawn-out argument).

User avatar
Dinho
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:59 pm

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby Dinho » Sat May 01, 2010 9:38 am

BP also has the best blog on the whole of the internets... If it was in my area I probably would have gone with them.

Jason321123
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:41 am

Re: Best LSAT prep school

Postby Jason321123 » Sat May 01, 2010 11:24 am

I would agree. Self study is the best way to do this. However, I would not neglect the fact that you should get a good night's worth of sleep before the test...Grr...I was hitting around a 172-174, consistent, but the night before I was working a late night shift. So yeah...I got to take the test burnt out and drugged up on coffee! Yay! No worries though, even with a huge disadvantage like mine, my score didn't drop more than 8-10 points. :/

On a side note: I would suggest you work HARD on the LG section. It is the EASIEST place to improve your overall score. It will be a big confidence booster when you can go from missing like 3-4 to 0 CONSISTENT. (My LG section is the section I counted on to boost my score as by the time it was near the test, I was hitting pretty much 0-1 wrong on the section.) The only advice I would give you is practice your ass off on this section. I bought a book called the LSAT Logic Games (horrible book, a shitload of typos, and I ended up calling them like 6-7 times to tell them several of their problems are wrong/need to be edited/etc.) but they literally have hundreds of hypothetical LSAT games. If you can burn through these like nothing and get 0-1 wrong. You will be pretty solid on the LSAT LG. I would also suggest you use Powerscore.

The next section that is easiest to improve is LR.
The LR was the section that I was able to improve a decent amount. It's mostly how to think along the lines of the test. There are tips and tricks that help you breeze through this section faster. I suggest Powerscore's program. I would say a good amount of improvement is +2-5 questions.

The reading comp in my opinion is the hardest to improve on.
Simply because it's draining as hell and it's not nearly as interesting sometimes. It's very fickle. Unless you come from a very VERY reading intensive UG or you're just a natural born reader that can digest a crapload of material nearly flawlessly, you'll be seeing at best 1-3+ improvement here.

My schedule for studying was pretty much:
- First I went through the Powerscore prep course in full.
- Did all the homework.
- Bought any tests that the Powerscore prep book didn't have.
- Made a excel sheet on different question types.
- Took a prep exam after the prep course to find out my weakness (under completely timed conditions)
- Analyzed
- Took another prep test under untime conditions.
- Analyzed and crossed referenced the weaknesses of the two tests to see where I'm lacking.
- Focused heavily on LG the first month and a half. My goal was to get it down to missing 1-0.
- Took another prep test to see how I was doing on LG.
- Analyze
- Focus now on LR while practicing still my LG for another month and a half or so.
- Took another prep test.
- Analyze and focus now on which type of LR questions were hurting my score.
(This took about 4 months of prep on and off while working so you might be able to condense it tighter, but I wouldn't suggest it because you might go crazy prepping for this test.)

Afterward this is about 2 months before the test:
1) Take a practice tests nearly EVERYDAY (IN THE MORNING AT AROUND 8:00 AM).
2) Analyze the test.
3) Make sure it's under timed conditions (EXACTLY).
4) Make sure you go to a library or other place that is quiet but still a bit distracting.

1 month before the test:
1) Take a practice test (If you run out, you should retake the same tests starting from the ones you took at the beginning).
2) Analyze the test, and cross-reference them with what you missed prior. If you're still missing the same questions or types, you have a hole in your score you need to patch.
3) Start reducing your time a little bit on each section. (I suggest my staircase of -1 minute/-3 minutes/-5 minutes/-7 minutes).
4) The reason for this is some proctors are retarded and do not know how to give students the appropriate amount of time. Not to mention when you feel the time crunch a bit earlier, you'll feel less pressure on the actual test. I was able to get most of my sections done with at least 3-5 minutes to spare (this included bubbling) on the actual test.
5) Also start ripping/xeroxing some prep stuff out of the Powerscore books to add an additional section to your prep tests. Mix them and ask a friend to do them for you so that you are FORCED to take an additional section with each practice test. (Cannot stress this enough, if you don't build your endurance everyday with practice tests + you should be doing everything in your power to replicate the environment of the test you're taking.)
6) Analyze.
7) Go find a test center close to your area that you know is both comfortable and quiet. (There should be stuff on reputations on test-centers here and there I believe.)

1 week before the test:
1) You should be post-reviewing everything. You should have already analyzed why you got every question right and why you got every question wrong, and you should also understand why you thought like that, why it's the right/wrong answer, and how you should approach this question next time.
2) Skim and review.
3) Go to the test center (If you can, I got yelled at and kicked out when I was trying to take practice tests in the test center of my choice.) and take a practice exam there. Sometimes they post the room numbers as to where you will be taking the test or the general location. All the test rooms should be similar. You won't get the whole "HOLY CRAP" this is a new environment feeling which can contribute to your nervousness.

3 days before the test:
1) PLAY YOUR ASS OFF AS IF IT'S YOUR LAST DAY ALIVE! (If you followed the shit above, you definitely deserve it.)
2) If you're a regular sleeper (not me) I would suggest you try to maintain your sleep cycle. If not, and you work late/chronic insomnia/etc. I would seriously suggest you find some sleep aids and stay away from coffee and the like and try to stay up about 48 hours before the test and then just crash heavy.
3) Sleep as if your life depended on it.
4) Sharpen your pencils, and make your baggie of snacks and what not.

D-day:
1) Exercise your brain. I cannot stress this enough. Do a quick LG (1 game) about 5 LR questions and 1 RC. (DO NOT LOOK AT THE ANSWERS WHATSOEVER. THIS IS JUST TO REBOOT YOUR BRAIN FROM SLEEPING IN EXCESS TO KEEP YOUR BODY RESTED AND GET BACK INTO LSAT MODE.)
2) Eat a GOOD breakfast. That means you should have complex starches and carbs (Oatmeal is what I would suggest along with eggs. No heavy food or greasy food as food-comas aren't very useful on the LSAT)
3) I suggest you have someone drop you off and pick you up. (Eases the whole omfg where the hell do I find parking! OMFG I'M LATE! OMFG! I HAVE TO WALK THE ENTIRE DISTANCE OF THE PARKING LOT) Any stress-reduction is useful. ANY.
4) Listen to your ipod. (You should have something that will pump you up and make you want to crush this test. I suggest you mix it up with a bit of whatever you like and will get you energized and play it ALWAYS before you take an exam/prep or not).
5) Follow your weird ritual that you do before every test. (By now you will have a weird ritual before the test. Just follow it. Just do it. It will make you feel more comfortable. Mine was, align all the pencils with the tip end towards the left in length. Place my eraser. Position my test. Take off my watch to make it face me. Close my eyes. Breathe, and visualize success.)
6) Just consider it a practice test. The Xth number you did.

Other notes:
- Snacks shouldn't contain too much water. (Make sure if you like to drink something, you have something a bit salty. It will keep you from wanting to go pee because of the salt/water balance in your body. You should have a little bit more salt in your body than water so that you won't need to pee.) (Also make sure it's the same snack you've been consistently using while prep-testing.
- I don't suggest bringing anything that will get soggy. (Sandwiches are nice, but seriously, they get soggy and if you KNOW you don't like soggy sandwiches why the hell would you bring one to lower your morale?)
- Bring something that has a bit of sugar for a quick recharge.
- Bring a variety of snacks (2-3) so that you can eat what your brain might need. You might need some sugar to get awake again. You might need some salt because you feel like you might be needing to pee, etc.
- NOTE WHERE THE RESTROOMS ARE BEFOREHAND AND RACE THERE IMMEDIATELY. One time, I almost was late because I had to wait in line to take a piss. RUN THERE IF YOU HAVE TO the proctor might yell at you for running there, but seriously screw them if it means you don't have to take a piss mid-test or you start your test late because of it and miss 3-4 points due to feeling rushed and uneasy trying to settle back into the classroom/test room.
- Try to get back into the test room a bit earlier 1-2 minutes early (so you can calm down. Forget about the last sessions you took. LITERALLY. Just put it up to the LSAT gods and just forget about it. Do not let that last question in section 2 screw your section 3-4-5.
- Stretch your body before you go back into the classroom. I cannot stress this either. Most people just eat their snack, take a whiz, and think that sitting in 1-2 hours doesn't do jack to their body. Well, they'd be mistaken. Stretch your legs, arms, back, neck specifically, etc. Do it as part of your routine always.
- Do anything that will make you feel comfortable and will relax you a bit while taking the test and won't bother others. I shook my legs to keep awake and focused. It was just my thing. I like the movement and it keeps me alert. (But my legs were soooo tired after the test, think about shaking your legs vigorously for about 3 hours...haha...it felt like I ran up and down several flights of stairs.)
- After the test, you will come onto this forum no doubt and talk to others. Just whatever peace of mind you want. If you feel you did okay, keep the score, if you think you could do better, just cancel it and reprep. Sleep after you're done with your test and congratulate yourself for surviving.

That is my advice.




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: NavyNuke, wildquest8200 and 9 guests