Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

NYCgator
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Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby NYCgator » Wed May 12, 2010 2:22 pm

Of the many prep-courses out there (kaplan, test masters, princeton review, powerscore) whhich do you recommend and why?

I've been currently studying on my own and using the princeton review books. Their methodology seems fine, although I can't compare it to any other publisher since I've only used PR. I see that a lot of people are raving about powerscore and would definitely like to gain some insight on that.

Any guidance would be much appreciated.
Last edited by NYCgator on Wed May 12, 2010 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bceagles182
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Re: Which prep-course to take

Postby bceagles182 » Wed May 12, 2010 2:24 pm

I took powerscore and it definitely helped. I never tried the others so I don't have a means for comparison though.

tomwatts
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby tomwatts » Wed May 12, 2010 5:10 pm

NYCgator wrote:I've been currently studying on my own and using the princeton review books. Their methodology seems fine, although I can't compare it to any other publisher since I've only used PR.

I teach for Princeton Review, so if there's anything you want to know about our courses, let me know.
NYCgator wrote:I see that a lot of people are raving about powerscore and would definitely like to gain some insight on that.

The main thing is that the Powerscore Bibles are among the few test-prep books that you can get in bookstores that use real LSAT questions, whereas, say, Cracking the LSAT or any of the other PR books you might have looked at use simulated LSAT questions, which are not quite as realistic (but still good enough to convey the essential point of the example, just not enough by themselves for practice).

Basically any reputable LSAT course — as opposed to the books sold in bookstores — will use real LSAT questions, though, so if you're going to take a course, that doesn't differentiate between companies very much. Other factors include availability in your area, quality of the instructor (I always recommend checking up on who's going to be teaching), availability of extra help with your instructor outside of class (this is usually company policy), schedules, price (including any discounts you might get), and probably several other things.

NYCgator
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby NYCgator » Mon May 24, 2010 4:13 pm

bump

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HazelEyes
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby HazelEyes » Mon May 24, 2010 4:24 pm

I was not impressed with my PowerScore class; the teacher wasn't even a native English speaker and had a hard time explaining the concepts. But I know other people rave about it. I studied with a Kaplan tutor after the class and had much better luck.

sluguy14
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby sluguy14 » Mon May 24, 2010 4:27 pm

Kaplan doesn't have a very good reputation around here, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the Kaplan Advanced course I'm taking. And while I haven't sat for an official LSAT yet, I've learned a lot and have experienced quite an upward trend in practice test scores (now scoring around 170).

For what it's worth, I studied the Powerscore Logic Games Bible before taking the class and though it helped, the course has been more beneficial to my understanding of logic games.

I also have an excellent instructor, which I'm sure goes a long way in determining the quality of any prep course.

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Barolo
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby Barolo » Mon May 24, 2010 4:34 pm

Did Princeton Review -- bought me 11 points from the cold diagnostic. Helpful, yes. The best, who knows?

NYCgator
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby NYCgator » Mon May 24, 2010 4:36 pm

Thought it would help to clarify that I am looking to take a prep course in nyc (manhattan). Please let me know of any great instructors and anyone that wasn't too impressive.

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HazelEyes
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby HazelEyes » Mon May 24, 2010 4:40 pm

I took the Powerscore class in Manhattan.

I also studied with a Kaplan tutor in Manhattan.

PM me if you want info.

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david?
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby david? » Mon May 24, 2010 4:51 pm

Testmasters! --- if you put in the work to really learn and use their methodology, it will not fail you, IMO.

am060459
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby am060459 » Mon May 24, 2010 5:00 pm

took Testmasters in NYC and highly recommend it.

took Princeton and Testmasters and prefer Testmasters.

also i dont recommed taking Powerscore becuase why pay $1000 for a course when you can get their books (the bibles) and learn some of their strategies. i took Testmasters and used the Bibles to supplement the course.

good luck.

NYCgator
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby NYCgator » Tue May 25, 2010 10:09 am

It's looking like Testmasters might be a go for me. Just wanted to "bump" this post another time incase someone had thoughts to persuade me otherwise.

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HiLine
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby HiLine » Tue May 25, 2010 10:44 am

am060459 wrote:
also i dont recommed taking Powerscore becuase why pay $1000 for a course when you can get their books (the bibles) and learn some of their strategies.

good luck.


Because you want to learn most of their strategies, not just some of them.

I would recommend you take a Powerscore course, which elaborates on the helpful material in the Bibles. Of course if you can master the techniques by yourself, no prep course is necessary. If you want to learn Powerscore's techniques, take their course.

HBK
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby HBK » Tue May 25, 2010 10:52 am

What disappointed me about Princeton Review is that a lot of their teachers have never taken the actual LSAT.

NYCgator
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby NYCgator » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:33 am

bump

tomwatts
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby tomwatts » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:53 pm

HBK wrote:What disappointed me about Princeton Review is that a lot of their teachers have never taken the actual LSAT.

That's only if you take the Accelerated course, in which case you get what you sign up for: a brief (28-hour) introduction to the LSAT that is by no means intended to be comprehensive. If you take the Hyperlearning (84-hour) course, you get the same instructor qualifications (98th percentile or above on a real test) as everyone else has.

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cinefile 17
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby cinefile 17 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:07 pm

Strong recommendation for Testmasters.

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NoleinNY
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby NoleinNY » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:21 pm

I took an ultra-cheap LSAT course at my school, and it sucked. Took Testmasters and it definitely helped (almost 20 point jump). Only thing I'd say would be to take the course, save/print out all the material they give you access to with their online resource (because you lose access after the course is finished). In the off chance you need to retake after, it's good to have the spare materials.

If you can go to any formal logic courses from a local school ahead of time, it may help. Same with learning to read thick passages quickly (via reading the Economist, FP, etc.)

HBK
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby HBK » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:55 pm

tomwatts wrote:
HBK wrote:What disappointed me about Princeton Review is that a lot of their teachers have never taken the actual LSAT.

That's only if you take the Accelerated course, in which case you get what you sign up for: a brief (28-hour) introduction to the LSAT that is by no means intended to be comprehensive. If you take the Hyperlearning (84-hour) course, you get the same instructor qualifications (98th percentile or above on a real test) as everyone else has.


When you say "real test" do you mean an LSAC administered test, or a diagnostic administered by PR?

ohiodem
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby ohiodem » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:07 pm

I took TestMasters and loved it. Here is a rundown -


Format:

Class sessions -
*Twice a week, four hours each in the evening.
*15 total lessons, plus 2 "jams" (overarching reviews).
*Lessons basically consisted of instructor explaining a question type, then doing practice questions of that type under instructor's supervision, then repeating the process for another question type, and sometimes a third or fourth. This was especially good for logic games, but also worked really well for reading comprehension and logical reasoning.
*Usually, the question types in a given session all came from different sections of the test.

Practice tests -
*Three proctored exams on Saturday mornings.
*Proctored exams followed by a review of the exam, question-by-question. In my class the exam would be Saturday and then the review would be at the next weeknight session, but it looks like now they're doing the exam Saturday and the review Sunday.
*A dozen or so (maybe more?) self-serve practice exams. You can download them in PDF and print them out, and they look just like the real exam.
*Online analysis system for all of these exams. Usually proctored exam scores were online by the time I got home from the exam, and self-serve gives you your score as soon as you put in your answers.

Homework -
*Tons of previous LSAT questions cherrypicked to match the type we went over in class.
*Would probably get seasick if you attempted to do every homework question for every class, but that just means there are enough to leave deliberate leftovers to do when you get closer to the actual LSAT.

Materials -
*One book including very brief explanations of a question type, in-class questions, and homework questions, for each lesson.
*Online materials for "jams."
*Online practice question supplements, in case you don't get enough in the books (you'll get enough in the books). Conveniently, they're organized as "extra" test sections, so I was able to just print one out and add it into a practice test whenever I did one to get real test conditions (i.e., adding a 5th "experimental" section). Proctored exams come with the 5th section already, of course.
*Online "definitions" quiz to help learn the LSAT vernacular. Actually really helpful and quick to do.
*"Helpline" if you get stuck on a practice question and want an instructor to explain it to you.
*Online demos for selected questions.


Pros:

1. Prep materials with the course contain every real LSAT question since the test became its present format.
2. Materials were organized by question type, so basically you just pounded one kind of question until you built up the right instincts.
3. Instructor was a great teacher, very relatable, and willing to give advice on all kinds law school things (e.g., what LSAC does, application tips, etc.) during breaks and after class since she had basically just gone through the process (she was on a year's deferral because Northwestern wanted work experience).
4. On a related note, all instructors scored in the 98th percentile or higher (usually higher) on the actual LSAT.
5. TONS of extras - free online demos, online practice test analysis (for both proctored and self-serve practice tests), free hotline for if you get stuck on a practice question (practice questions, of course, being questions from previous tests). This was what really made me love the company - I felt like my tuition was being reinvested in their reputation, which meant constant support.
6. All of the extras mean missing a class is not a huge deal because between the helpline, the online materials, and the homework books, it wasn't particularly difficult to figure out the question types we would have gone over.
7. Very small class size, but that might depend on your location. Very, very, very personized attention though in my little 6-person class.
8. REALLY good about letting you switch locations if, for example, you have to move back to school halfway through the summer.
9. It worked.


Cons:

1. Sessions were intense - I worked 8-5, drove straight to class (45 minute trip) and class was 6-10, and was pretty burnt out by the end. Probably didn't learn very much during the last hour or so, just being in a complete daze. So, if you work during the day, it might not be your most fun summer. If you're working part time, I would recommend trying to schedule your days off for class days.
2. Alternately, sometimes classes moved too slowly and were just intense because they were so long. Just an occasional case of teaching to the least common denominator.
3. You kind of have to put yourself out there during the classes - my instructor at least used a semi-Socratic method when we did the in-class practice questions. This however did keep you on your toes.
4. Proctored exams were never available online, so missing one meant losing a practice test entirely. Not a huge deal (you get like 10 or 15 practice tests besides that), but still kind of annoying.
5. Smaller company, so locations were limited. For example, I worked in Akron, OH over the summer and had to drive straight to downtown Cleveland for the sessions, which is kind of a hike especially given that Akron is a relatively big city and has a large university (with a law school) where I'm guessing other companies offered courses.
6. Expensive.

forty-two
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby forty-two » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:25 pm

HBK wrote:
tomwatts wrote:
HBK wrote:What disappointed me about Princeton Review is that a lot of their teachers have never taken the actual LSAT.

That's only if you take the Accelerated course, in which case you get what you sign up for: a brief (28-hour) introduction to the LSAT that is by no means intended to be comprehensive. If you take the Hyperlearning (84-hour) course, you get the same instructor qualifications (98th percentile or above on a real test) as everyone else has.


When you say "real test" do you mean an LSAC administered test, or a diagnostic administered by PR?


He means an LSAC administered test. I took a PR class (tomwatts was actually my LSAT teacher), and it was awesome. The materials were very comprehensive and helpful, and tomwatts always arrived early and stayed late to answer additional questions.

I have friends who really liked Powerscore and Blueprint, but my friends who took Kaplan didn't recommend it. My friends were split on Testmasters. One really liked the class, but the other one only improved her score by four points and ended up in the mid 150s.

HBK
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby HBK » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:48 pm

forty-two wrote:
HBK wrote:
tomwatts wrote:
HBK wrote:What disappointed me about Princeton Review is that a lot of their teachers have never taken the actual LSAT.

That's only if you take the Accelerated course, in which case you get what you sign up for: a brief (28-hour) introduction to the LSAT that is by no means intended to be comprehensive. If you take the Hyperlearning (84-hour) course, you get the same instructor qualifications (98th percentile or above on a real test) as everyone else has.


When you say "real test" do you mean an LSAC administered test, or a diagnostic administered by PR?


He means an LSAC administered test. I took a PR class (tomwatts was actually my LSAT teacher), and it was awesome. The materials were very comprehensive and helpful, and tomwatts always arrived early and stayed late to answer additional questions.

I have friends who really liked Powerscore and Blueprint, but my friends who took Kaplan didn't recommend it. My friends were split on Testmasters. One really liked the class, but the other one only improved her score by four points and ended up in the mid 150s.


Why don't you let Tom Watts answer?

forty-two
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby forty-two » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:52 pm

HBK wrote:
Why don't you let Tom Watts answer?


He wasn't online and I knew the answer. I'm sorry if I offended you.

HBK
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby HBK » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:58 pm

forty-two wrote:
HBK wrote:
Why don't you let Tom Watts answer?


He wasn't online and I knew the answer. I'm sorry if I offended you.


Do you work for PR? It didn't offend me, I just don't believe you.

tomwatts
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Re: Which prep-course to take? Any recommendations?

Postby tomwatts » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:31 am

HBK wrote:
tomwatts wrote:If you take the Hyperlearning (84-hour) course, you get the same instructor qualifications (98th percentile or above on a real test) as everyone else has.

When you say "real test" do you mean an LSAC administered test, or a diagnostic administered by PR?

As "forty-two" indicated above, I mean the former. Back in the day (when Ken taught for us), we used to allow the latter as a qualification. I actually started in that era, so I didn't take the real test until I'd been teaching for a year and a half. But we changed the policy almost three years ago, and now all of our Hyperlearning teachers have to have real scores in the 98th percentile or above. The history is part of the reason for the confusion; if you talk to someone who took a Princeton Review class a long time ago, things were different.
HBK wrote:It didn't offend me, I just don't believe you.

I'm not sure why. It's all over our website. Instructor qualifications are a big deal to us now.




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