Kaplan or TestMasters?

goingforgold2
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Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby goingforgold2 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:58 am

Can anyone offer some advice as to which of these two test preps is the best? I am also open to others as well. I've heard that Princeton Review is not very good, which is why I am not considering it, but if anyone has some information about it that might change my mind, please let me know! Also, what do you all think about taking courses online rather than in the classroom? Thanks!

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sundance95
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby sundance95 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:01 am

I took TestMasters and improved quite a bit (disclaimer-I won't receive my LSAT score until June 28, but felt that I did well largely as a result of the course).

I hear Kaplan teaches methods that will not get you the best possible score (i.e., avoiding difficult questions) but a Kaplan person can tell you better.

Finally, be sure you need/want an actual class. The classes are long and can move slowly sometimes, which irritates some people who feel they could have saved money and time just doing the LSAC PTs.

am060459
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby am060459 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:04 am

testmasters with powerscore bibles as a supplement

mst
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby mst » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:19 am

Off the bat, I took a Kaplan course this Spring. Here's the pros and cons for each.

Kaplan:
Pro - AWESOME Book Materials
Pro - Online "SmartReports" system is to DIE for. It tracks your performance amazingly to the last details, and offers you awesome resources.
Pro - Plenty of centers everywhere so you can always find somewhere in the country to have them proctor a test for you.
Pro - Cheapest course (with the coupons). Do NOT sign up without one of these. They roll around every once a month or two, and are usually worth 200 dollars or so.
Pro - Higher score guarantee (not really that great of a pro, but if you feel unprepared come test day you can tell them and they'll extend your access to their systems for another x months and let you take the classes again... and if you're completely an idiot and don't improve at all, you get your money back assuming you did all the required shit).
Con - Teacher requirements are relatively low (top 10%) .... you can still have awesome teachers though. Look into this personally to see if you will have an experienced teacher with plenty of classes behind him. If you don't feel comfortable with him by the first class, cancel and get your money back. But honestly, the materials & discipline a course provides is going to be the greatest pro, not the ability of the teacher to preach what Kaplan tells you to. Also, Kaplan lets you rewatch all classes online with their top teacher, so this is nice come test week and you want to review stuff)
Con - Some of their methods are just plain useless IMO. They loooove acronyms, and you can tell they try and make up methods for things that their methods can't be used for.
Con - Faarrrr less hours with the standard class (although its cheaper) than testmasters. Honestly though, a lot of TM's hours are proctored tests, which I personally would be doing on my own time anyways. When you compare the Kaplan Extreme with testmasters, they cost the same and offer the same hours, so you might prefer that if hours in class is a concern.
Con - (And this may be true for TM too) Even though I had a great teacher, a lot of the kids in my class were, for a lack of a better word, "logically challenged." This means a lot of dumb questions and a lot of wasted time. For a busy, impatient person, this could be the dealbreaker for Kaplan, or any course for that matter.

Testmasters
Pro - Better teachers (Top 3% requirement I think)
Pro - More hours
Pro - OK Online support system for materials
Pro - Usually regarded as more effective, but this is subjective and not really comparable.
Pro - More in class proctored tests
Con - More expensive by a couple hundred over the basic kaplan course
Con - Less locations (although still quite a lot)
Con - Book materials/answer system not as great as Kaplans

Finally, consider the dates offered for each class. Some people take a certain course just because that's the days they can do it. Some people just can't spend that extra 300 dollars for testmasters. Some people like the less intensive class load of Kaplan. Some people are better suited for Kaplans methods, and some people are better suited towards Testmasters. Honestly, Kaplan is probably more catered towards the 150 range and TM towards the 160 range when it comes to base diagnostic scores. But I started at 159 with Kaplan and ended up doing 171 consistently in my PTs by exam time. Honestly, it just comes down to how much time your willing to put in on your own between the time the course ends and the time the exam begins.

1991
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby 1991 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:34 am

I recommend Princeton Review, actually. I took a course and found it immensely helpful. My score didn't improve while I was taking the course because I didn't do any of the homework, but I studied for a month after the course ended by doing all the homework and taking extra real exams. The method works. Time-saving tactics and everything. I highly recommend it.

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MURPH
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby MURPH » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:50 am

I tutored students for about a year. (independantly and through GetPrepped!) I got a lot of Kaplan's leftovers - students who took a kaplan course and then didn't do well on the test. Kaplan's methods are really inferior to Testmaster/Blueprint/Powerscore.
Kaplan also has a hotline you can call for help. I called twice. I was kept on hold for 30 minutes each time before hanging up. I never got help.
Sometimes they use real LSAT questions, sometimes they don't. Their own questions are crap and will do harm harm then good. Only use real LSAT questions to study.

I also used Kaplan to study for the GRE. Their GRE course sucks too.
I took a Testmasters course and it was great. The guy who owns it is weird and his employees seem nutty but the stuff he teaches is great. I always told my students to buy the Powerscore books and we used them when I was tutoring independantly (I couldn't tell my GetPrepped! students to use them, unfortunately.) I've seen some of the Bllueprint material and it is very good. Basically it is the same as Powerscore and Testmasters.

Kaplans course is designed for mass marketing. It caters to students who are scoreing 130 - 150 and who have no self confidence. It teaches bad habits and stupid tricks that will help you to get a few points if you are seriously scoring very low. In the long run it builds false confidence in students and prevents them from maximizing their score. If you want to score above 160 you have to unlearn all the nonsense that Kaplan taught you.

goingforgold2
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby goingforgold2 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:24 pm

Thank you so much to everyone for all of your advice. It has really helped me out!

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3|ink
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby 3|ink » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:01 pm

goingforgold2 wrote:Thank you so much to everyone for all of your advice. It has really helped me out!


What'd you pick?

Aggiegrad2011
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:17 pm

I remember reading that Kaplan does NOT require its instructors to have any specific LSAT score to qualify to each. In fact, one of the "instructors" on the promotional video on their website is listed as having an M.A., and not even a J.D.

I don't know if Test Masters would be allowed to lie, but on their site, they say expressly that Princeton Review and Kaplan instructors have "no requirement."

Food for thought. I'm going with Test Masters.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby Patriot1208 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:23 pm

Aggiegrad2011 wrote:I remember reading that Kaplan does NOT require its instructors to have any specific LSAT score to qualify to each. In fact, one of the "instructors" on the promotional video on their website is listed as having an M.A., and not even a J.D.

I don't know if Test Masters would be allowed to lie, but on their site, they say expressly that Princeton Review and Kaplan instructors have "no requirement."

Food for thought. I'm going with Test Masters.


I'm taking the kaplan lsat advanced class (more for convenience than anything else) but it explicitly states on the website, and I asked my instructor, that they must have scored in the 99th percentile on the LSAT

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clintonius
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby clintonius » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:48 pm

To clear up confusion, all TestMasters instructors must have scored a 170 or above, and that is non-negotiable in the hiring process (fact as of my applying four months ago).

I believe the 99th percentile requirement is unique for the advanced Kaplan course -- I think their cutoff for the regular classes is somewhere in the 160s (hazy memory).

Aggiegrad2011
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:10 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:
Aggiegrad2011 wrote:I remember reading that Kaplan does NOT require its instructors to have any specific LSAT score to qualify to each. In fact, one of the "instructors" on the promotional video on their website is listed as having an M.A., and not even a J.D.

I don't know if Test Masters would be allowed to lie, but on their site, they say expressly that Princeton Review and Kaplan instructors have "no requirement."

Food for thought. I'm going with Test Masters.


I'm taking the kaplan lsat advanced class (more for convenience than anything else) but it explicitly states on the website, and I asked my instructor, that they must have scored in the 99th percentile on the LSAT


It could be unique to the Kaplan Advanced, though.

http://www.testmasters.net/lsat/Course/Compare.aspx

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Grizz
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby Grizz » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:15 pm

I took Kaplan. The materials and online stuff was really good, but the in class wasn't that helpful. Like others have said, it's more helpful for people trying to hit 160ish. It was good to be able to go and get tests proctored whenever though. If you can check on the quality of the teacher, be sure to do that.

mst
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby mst » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:58 pm

To the guy who was pissed his instructor had an MA and not a JD... who the hell as a JD and is wasting it teaching LSAT courses for 10 dollars an hour? And even if people are doing it, why would you expect that to be the norm? Or even an advantage??? From what I've seen, most teachers I've seen in every course at every place are usually people who do great on LSATs and choose to postpone law school.

Kaplans standard class requirement is 90th percentile (aka 164. Yes, it's low.)
Testmasters I think is 97.
Kaplan advanced is really high too.

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3|ink
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby 3|ink » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:11 am

mst wrote:To the guy who was pissed his instructor had an MA and not a JD... who the hell as a JD and is wasting it teaching LSAT courses for 10 dollars an hour? And even if people are doing it, why would you expect that to be the norm? Or even an advantage??? From what I've seen, most teachers I've seen in every course at every place are usually people who do great on LSATs and choose to postpone law school.

Kaplans standard class requirement is 90th percentile (aka 164. Yes, it's low.)
Testmasters I think is 97.
Kaplan advanced is really high too.



To add to this, many LSAT instructors are law school students. I have no problem taking a class from someone without a JD so long as that person knows how to teach.

To my knowledge, Testmasters pays their instructors a lot more than $10.00 hourly.

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clintonius
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby clintonius » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:16 am

$50/hour. Blueprint is $60/hour. This is info you can get from their website.

Currently TestMasters requires "98th percentile or above (170 or higher on the current scale)" as per their site.

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MURPH
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby MURPH » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:10 am

Testmasters also has a terrific training course for instructors that Kaplan and others do not have. It is a very intensive 5 day course 14 - 16 hours per day and Robin drops students who don't perform well each day of the course. It is competitive and excellent training, according to instructors that I have spoken to. Other companies like GetPrepped! just accept anyone with a good score and do little if any training. Kaplan trains people to use the Kaplan method, which sucks, but I don't know how much training they get.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:08 pm

MURPH wrote:Testmasters also has a terrific training course for instructors that Kaplan and others do not have. It is a very intensive 5 day course 14 - 16 hours per day and Robin drops students who don't perform well each day of the course. It is competitive and excellent training, according to instructors that I have spoken to. Other companies like GetPrepped! just accept anyone with a good score and do little if any training. Kaplan trains people to use the Kaplan method, which sucks, but I don't know how much training they get.


Kaplan has training that can go from anywhere from 1 week to 2 weeks. I think only around half the teachers make it through training, but that might have been a number that was just true in regards to my area.

Curious on what specific kaplan methods you think suck. I have no problem with the assertion that powerscore/testmasters/blue print are the top companies in LSAT prep, but after teaching with Kaplan for a while now, besides having personal preferences in teaching things a little differently at times, I really don't know how any Kaplan methods are actually detrimental.

I actually used a combination of powerscore and kaplan methods to finally get to 174 from the mid 160's.

goingforgold2
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby goingforgold2 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm

3|ink wrote:
goingforgold2 wrote:Thank you so much to everyone for all of your advice. It has really helped me out!


What'd you pick?



I think I'm going with TestMasters. It seems like most are pointing in that direction. I also already did some solo practice using a combo of Powerscore and Kaplan, and I don't feel like I got too much out of it. LB is really good though, so not trying to knock the Powerscore thing.

Veritaffle
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby Veritaffle » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:59 pm

POWERSCORE

eltennis9
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Re: Kaplan or TestMasters?

Postby eltennis9 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:14 am

How big is a TestMasters course? What's the cap?




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