TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

evolute
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TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby evolute » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:43 pm

I know this topic is rather redundant, however, I just feel like I need updated opinions our there about these two prep courses.
If you've taken LSAT prep courses from either of them... what is the student-teacher ratio like?? I've read that if you plan on taking Testmasters you should be prepared to take a lot of notes in class because the material primarily consists of questions, which is fine, but I do not consider myself a good note taker and I don't want to be stressed about it while in class. There's also the bit about the extra dough you have to be willing to shell out to take the Testmasters course, which I am willing to pay provided it really has something exceptional to offer compared to Powerscore.

So what do you think?? Are they comparatively the same??? Cause then I would just sign up for Powerscore and maybe buy books from Testmasters.

CanadianWolf
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:46 pm

From information shared by others, TestMasters classes can be very large while PowerScore classes tend to be much smaller. PowerScore has better materials, TestMasters works you harder. The variable, however, will always be the individual instructor.

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plenipotentiary
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby plenipotentiary » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:55 pm

I took Testmasters. I really enjoyed the class and got a lot out of it. I'm not a big note-taker, either, and I only remember taking notes a few times (the intro class, when the instructor outlined the reading comprehension techniques, when when we were talking about the essay section), and then only at the beginning of class. My class was pretty small, but that was just luck of the draw.

I don't know what the other poster means when he says that Powerscore has better materials -- Testmasters' material is the old LSAT tests/questions (that makes up the vast majority of their books), and their methods are great.

CanadianWolf
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:57 pm

How many students were in your TestMasters class ?

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sanetruth
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby sanetruth » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:02 pm

Testmasters is already really good, but they're also improving rapidly and adding tons of great resources. For example, there are already tons of videos on the website of Robin explaining questions and games. This essentially equates to extra classes at no extra cost. Also, they cover explanations in video format for a lot of questions they don't cover in class, so that when you're taking practice PTs and can't figure out why your answer to a question didn't work, you can get 15 minute video explanations on the website.

Two problems I had with Testmasters:

1. They prefer drilling you on question types rather than in test format. So at the end of the course, you only have had practice on less than 10 actual PTs. I think practicing in a real test format is crucial, so what I ended up doing was finding out where most of the questions in the final homework assignments were drawn from, and taking them in PT format instead. The downfall to this is that it required me to buy the actual tests, at extra cost.

2. They don't really focus on reading comprehension. Granted, I don't think any test prep company has come up with a proven, effective method of approaching RC, but it is frustrating that because of this they just kind of let it slip by the wayside.

CanadianWolf
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:04 pm

How many students were in your TestMasters course & when did you take it ?

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3|ink
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby 3|ink » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:07 pm

sanetruth wrote:Two problems I had with Testmasters:

1. They prefer drilling you on question types rather than in test format. So at the end of the course, you only have had practice on less than 10 actual PTs. I think practicing in a real test format is crucial, so what I ended up doing was finding out where most of the questions in the final homework assignments were drawn from, and taking them in PT format instead. The downfall to this is that it required me to buy the actual tests, at extra cost.

2. They don't really focus on reading comprehension. Granted, I don't think any test prep company has come up with a proven, effective method of approaching RC, but it is frustrating that because of this they just kind of let it slip by the wayside.


This is the truth. I think they should drastically reduce the number of homework questions and open more PTs for use. They only have 9 PT's available (plus 4 diagnostics). It's not that I have anything against a lot of homework. I just think it's more useful to allocate more preparation time toward PTs instead of individual questions.

The truth about RC is that there is very little strategy you can apply to RC. You either have RC or you don't.

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plenipotentiary
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby plenipotentiary » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:13 pm

<15. But, like I said, luck of the draw: I know that they have bigger classes, too, especially in big cities. Maybe OP can call and ask about the size of the particular class he's interested in before signing up. I'll add that Testmasters has a homework help hotline, and the instructors show up early/stick around for a while after to answer any law school admissions related questions. I certainly never felt like I wasn't getting enough individual attention.

In response to sanetruth, I think the reason that they don't focus on reading comprehension is that it's not something that it makes sense to practice in a group setting. Their method for approaching reading comprehension works pretty well, though, and they're great at explaining what you should be looking for. I know people who made a lot of improvement in RC, but it takes lots of focused, solo practice. And it's boring as hell.

I think you're right about the lack of PTs, but I'm guessing that will improve going forward: every year, they get 3 more PTs to add to their roster, right?

m3taphysician
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby m3taphysician » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:14 pm

I took the Manhattan class this summer. It had a TON of people in it. I improved 10 points from my first diagnostic to my third. My fourth diagnostic is in a couple of weeks. The materials they give you do not include any of the techniques - they're ALL discussed in class, so you really have to hope two things work out:
A) You get a good instructor who can teach these techniques so that they're clear and easy enough to apply.
B) You don't get 50+ kids in the class (my class had 60-70 I'd say). There will always be that kid who simply does not understand ANYTHING, but if there are 50+ kids there are likely going to be several of those kids, which is not a great situation.

sanetruth wrote:Testmasters is already really good, but they're also improving rapidly and adding tons of great resources. For example, there are already tons of videos on the website of Robin explaining questions and games. This essentially equates to extra classes at no extra cost. Also, they cover explanations in video format for a lot of questions they don't cover in class, so that when you're taking practice PTs and can't figure out why your answer to a question didn't work, you can get 15 minute video explanations on the website.

Robin has videos for very few questions. In fact, the vast majority of LR questions have no written or video explanations. All the games have written explanations, though, which is great.

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3|ink
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby 3|ink » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:15 pm

plenipotentiary wrote:<15. But, like I said, luck of the draw: I know that they have bigger classes, too, especially in big cities. Maybe OP can call and ask about the size of the particular class he's interested in before signing up. I'll add that Testmasters has a homework help hotline, and the instructors show up early/stick around for a while after to answer any law school admissions related questions. I certainly never felt like I wasn't getting enough individual attention.

In response to sanetruth, I think the reason that they don't focus on reading comprehension is that it's not something that it makes sense to practice in a group setting. Their method for approaching reading comprehension works pretty well, though, and they're great at explaining what you should be looking for. I know people who made a lot of improvement in RC, but it takes lots of focused, solo practice. And it's boring as hell.

I think you're right about the lack of PTs, but I'm guessing that will improve going forward: every year, they get 3 more PTs to add to their roster, right?


That depends. Will they apply those PT's to more homework?

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plenipotentiary
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby plenipotentiary » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:23 pm

3|ink wrote:
plenipotentiary wrote:<15. But, like I said, luck of the draw: I know that they have bigger classes, too, especially in big cities. Maybe OP can call and ask about the size of the particular class he's interested in before signing up. I'll add that Testmasters has a homework help hotline, and the instructors show up early/stick around for a while after to answer any law school admissions related questions. I certainly never felt like I wasn't getting enough individual attention.

In response to sanetruth, I think the reason that they don't focus on reading comprehension is that it's not something that it makes sense to practice in a group setting. Their method for approaching reading comprehension works pretty well, though, and they're great at explaining what you should be looking for. I know people who made a lot of improvement in RC, but it takes lots of focused, solo practice. And it's boring as hell.

I think you're right about the lack of PTs, but I'm guessing that will improve going forward: every year, they get 3 more PTs to add to their roster, right?


That depends. Will they apply those PT's to more homework?


I can't imagine them giving any more homework. It's a lot (or it was a lot for me, between work and school).

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sundance95
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby sundance95 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:27 pm

FWIW, the June 2010 LSAT was made available as another PT. We'll see if this trend continues.

tourdeforcex
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby tourdeforcex » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:30 pm

I took TM in Manhattan over the summer. We started off with 50-55 students. But halfway through attendance was down to maybe 60-70%. I never had problems asking any questions I had.

Overall review: I had a great instructor and that makes the whole difference. Structure of the course is based on 5 volumes of books that is every released LSAT from 1991 to 2005 cut apart and put into classwork and homework. Every question we did was from a real LSAT, which is good.

I am pleased with how the course went. My classes was good because everyone was engaged. Oh, about your comment about note-taking. I enjoy taking notes but didn't take more than 2 pages of notes per 4 hour lesson. I think a previous poster said that the poster wanted more PTs. I agree with that point. I would have preferred more PT to really learn to master time management and stress effectively.

Not sure of this but I don't think it's possible to buy TM books w/o enrolling. Let me know if that's not correct. I know I can buy PS books but I don't think you can buy TM books w/o being in a class.

Final comment, in the end it's you and how disciplined you can be in your own preparation. It's great if a course can build a schedule, develop a system for you to follow, maybe even inspire you, but it's all about you in the end.

HTH

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sundance95
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby sundance95 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:32 pm

tourdeforcex wrote:Not sure of this but I don't think it's possible to buy TM books w/o enrolling. Let me know if that's not correct. I know I can buy PS books but I don't think you can buy TM books w/o being in a class.


This is correct, TM books are only available with the course.

EDIT: They really would be useless without the course. The TM books are mostly just LSAT questions organized by question types; the instructors give you the strategies to tackle them.
Last edited by sundance95 on Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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3|ink
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby 3|ink » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:32 pm

sundance95 wrote:FWIW, the June 2010 LSAT was made available as another PT. We'll see if this trend continues.


As of December last year, they included December 2004- December 2005 PTs. Now the earliest they have is June 2006. I'd say they're losing PTs at the rate they're gaining them (or faster).

m3taphysician
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby m3taphysician » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:32 pm

tourdeforcex wrote:I took TM in Manhattan over the summer. We started off with 50-55 students. But halfway through attendance was down to maybe 60-70%. I never had problems asking any questions I had.

Overall review: I had a great instructor and that makes the whole difference. Structure of the course is based on 5 volumes of books that is every released LSAT from 1991 to 2005 cut apart and put into classwork and homework. Every question we did was from a real LSAT, which is good.

I am pleased with how the course went. My classes was good because everyone was engaged. Oh, about your comment about note-taking. I enjoy taking notes but didn't take more than 2 pages of notes per 4 hour lesson. I think a previous poster said that the poster wanted more PTs. I agree with that point. I would have preferred more PT to really learn to master time management and stress effectively.

Not sure of this but I don't think it's possible to buy TM books w/o enrolling. Let me know if that's not correct. I know I can buy PS books but I don't think you can buy TM books w/o being in a class.

Final comment, in the end it's you and how disciplined you can be in your own preparation. It's great if a course can build a schedule, develop a system for you to follow, maybe even inspire you, but it's all about you in the end.

HTH

I was in Manhattan too. Did you have Dan Koffmann? I thought he was solid.

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sundance95
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby sundance95 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:34 pm

3|ink wrote:
sundance95 wrote:FWIW, the June 2010 LSAT was made available as another PT. We'll see if this trend continues.


As of December last year, they included December 2004- December 2005 PTs. Now the earliest they have is June 2006. I'd say they're losing PTs at the rate they're gaining them (or faster).


I think the rationale behind this was the introduction of comparative reading RC passages (the ones organized into two sections) in 2007-they probably don't want to give PTs without these passages.

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plenipotentiary
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby plenipotentiary » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:35 pm

sundance95 wrote:
tourdeforcex wrote:Not sure of this but I don't think it's possible to buy TM books w/o enrolling. Let me know if that's not correct. I know I can buy PS books but I don't think you can buy TM books w/o being in a class.


This is correct, TM books are only available with the course.

EDIT: They really would be useless without the course. The TM books are mostly just LSAT questions organized by question types; the instructors give you the strategies to tackle them.


I think you can get the TM books if you take the online course, but it's almost as expensive as the live course.

CanadianWolf
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:19 pm

PowerScore classes are often in the 12-15 students range although the home office told me that they can enroll as high as 25 per class but that classrooms usually will not accommodate more than 15 students plus an instructor.
PowerScore instructors, according to their website, must have scored in the top one (1%) per cent on an actual LSAT test date sitting. I think that 173 equals the 99% on the LSAT.
Reviews have been very positive for both courses from several students.

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lakers3peat
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby lakers3peat » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:21 am

testmasters was not very useful for me. As you have already read above, they tend to give a TON of homework(100+ questions, 15+ reading passages, 15+ games) which is not a big deal, practice makes perfect BUT, they are taking these questions from ACTUAL practice tests. the downfall to this is that you are answering 100 straight "strengthen" "weaken" "flaw" etc. type questions and the actual LSAT, you get 25 different types of questions... Also, the robin videos are super useful but of 100 questions for homework, there will be explanations for like 3 lol. its kinda useless. my instructor wasn't very good either. she was new & was pretty indifferent to the material. robin, on the other hand, is the shit.. too bad he just chills in his bel-air mansion while hiring a bunch of scrubs to teach nowadays lol.

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lakers3peat
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby lakers3peat » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:23 am

o ya i forgot to say that the biggest problem with taking all 100 questions is that in the end, there is no new material for you to take ACTUAL practice tests on. the experience you get with 25 different questions thrown at you in 35 minutes is INVALUABLE relative to answering 100 of the same type of question for homework with however much time you want to take...

if i could do it over again, I would 100% not take the testmasters class and/or not do the homework because every practice test I take now, I recognize some of the questions from the homework and while i dont always remember them for 100% sure, on some of them, I do remember the answer choices thereby biasing my taking of the PT

jeremysen
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby jeremysen » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:18 am

I think lakers3peat's case deviates from the norm. I took the class, and everyone I knew who did all the problems ended up in the 170s.

lakers3peat repeated problems Only because he decided to take the old practice tests after having taken the course - the HW problems are based off of old tests (3+ years old) so if you retake some of the earlier PTs, obv you'll cycle through repeated questions.

I am sure that the HW doesn't coincide with the extra practice tests they give you or the proctored tests.

Note: I'm not a TM instructor btw

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FeelTheHeat
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby FeelTheHeat » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:33 am

Testmasters was fantastic. I had around 20 people in my class, but the teacher was fantastic. I can attest that they definitely do not give you a whole lot of practice tests, instead drilling you on individual questions. I loved this technique. There is an endless supply of problems they have for you to work on. I completed about 80% of it, and went from a 147 to 166 over the course of four months. I learned strictly within the parameters of the course (had not discovered TLS yet) and did not have any preconceived notions about approaching the test; my first diagnostic was a completely cold one. I know everyone says this, but I ran out of time on the RC of the test and had to guess about five questions. I had PT'd as high as 172 and feel confident I could have broken 170 had I not forgotten my watch. But I digress.

Testmasters is certainly question-type orientated. I like that. It allowed me to develop a singular focus on that particular type of question so that by the time the tests came I could instantly recognize and solve it, similar to a math test. HTH.

vamos
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby vamos » Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:17 pm

FeelTheHeat wrote:Testmasters was fantastic. I had around 20 people in my class, but the teacher was fantastic.

I'm considering taking TM for the June LSAT. Assuming you're from South Florida (Go Heat!), who was your teacher?

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FeelTheHeat
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Re: TESTMASTERS VS POWERSCORE???

Postby FeelTheHeat » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:27 pm

vamos wrote:
FeelTheHeat wrote:Testmasters was fantastic. I had around 20 people in my class, but the teacher was great.

I'm considering taking TM for the June LSAT. Assuming you're from South Florida (Go Heat!), who was your teacher?


Robert Watzel, I believe. Took the class in Broward county. The structure and method make the test almost mathematical, which I believed helped me in a big way.




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