LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

ErikC25
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LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby ErikC25 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:50 pm

Hello everyone,

Let me preface this message by stating that this is my first time posting on this forum. Although, I have been reading it for quite some time. I am interested in taking an LSAT prep class for the June 2011 test. The problem is that I do not know where to begin. The general consensus that I have been hearing is that Kaplan and Princeton Review are garbage. Is this true? I don't want to sound contradictory but I am looking for a program that I will not have to break the bank for as well as one that produces positive results. Any suggestions? Please!! Also, I am EXTREMELY open to any feedback people can give me regarding the admissions process in general. Possible tips? Things to be aware of? Anything!!

p.s.

I am a junior in college. My school is located in Western Mass.

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Beast15
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby Beast15 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:54 pm

Info to answer to all of your questions is easily accessible via the Search function. There is no "right" answer to anything you asked.

It all depends...

albanach
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby albanach » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:55 pm

ErikC25 wrote:Hello everyone,

Let me preface this message by stating that this is my first time posting on this forum. Although, I have been reading it for quite some time. I am interested in taking an LSAT prep class for the June 2011 test.


Have you done any prep yet to establish if you need a course? Do you have a cold PT score?

If not, get the bibles and start working on them. Then take a PT and assess your progress. Then decide on a course.

If you're taking a course for June, take it sooner over later. Leave yourself plenty of time for PTs afterwards.

ErikC25
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby ErikC25 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:57 pm

What are the bibles? Where can I acquire a practice test?

albanach
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby albanach » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:21 pm

ErikC25 wrote:What are the bibles? Where can I acquire a practice test?


The first three on this page:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... le&x=0&y=0

I think LSAC have a couple of past tests available on their website. If not you can buy paper copies from Amazon or get them online from Cambridge LSAT - google them.

You're going to want to do just about every past test before the exam. If you do a full course, like the powerscore one, I believe they'll supply you with these as part of the fee. So don't run out and buy them all now. If you decide to self study you can buy them then.

I'd recommend Cambridge LSAT for the newer tests as you can print them several times. There are three books, each with ten older tests.

Please read this thread and then make study plans:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41657

tomwatts
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby tomwatts » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:25 pm

ErikC25 wrote:I don't want to sound contradictory but I am looking for a program that I will not have to break the bank for as well as one that produces positive results.

Virtually all LSAT courses produce "positive results." You'll have some difficulty choosing on the basis of this. If you just follow any method produced by any of the major companies and do most of the released PrepTests (which is the homework for all of the major courses), your score will improve, especially if you spend 80+ hours in class and devote 100+ hours to homework, which is standard in LSAT courses.

They're not radically different in price, either, though there can be a few hundred dollars of a swing in either direction. Watch for discounts, since test prep prices are like airline prices.
ErikC25 wrote:Any suggestions?

In Western Mass, your options for an in-person class may be somewhat limited. I don't believe any major LSAT prep companies except Princeton Review and maybe Kaplan are in the area. You could take an online course (the options get somewhat complicated in that case), but if you want an in-person course, you may have only two options.

I know we (Princeton Review) have a strong office out there — one of my favorite teachers is in Western Mass, so I could probably look into any PR particular course you might be interested in and find out about the teacher, etc. The teacher (not the company) is the biggest deciding factor in choosing a course. Other factors include the obvious, such as location and price, and the somewhat less obvious, such as online resources, policies for extra help outside of class, guarantees, class size (this one's pretty important), and so forth.

If you'd like to know anything more about Princeton Review, feel free to ask.

Oh, and I would strongly discourage doing a lot of practice before a course. (A practice test is one thing; the PS Bibles are another.) Courses are designed so that you can productively do a lot of practice after, not a before; if you learn a bunch of PS stuff and then take a course with a different company, you'll spend a bunch of time unlearning everything you learned from PS. However, complete self-study is certainly an option.

NYker
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby NYker » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:39 pm

I think the best thing you can do if you are trying to pick a test-prep company is try to meet the person who would teach the class you are looking at taking. There are good and bad teachers at every company. I had a great teacher at Kaplan but I know plenty of people who didn't. A good way to check teachers out is to sit in on sample classes that they give at the centers or in the area. You can get a pretty good idea on whether or not you'll click with a teacher in a short period of time.

albanach
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby albanach » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:49 pm

tomwatts wrote:Oh, and I would strongly discourage doing a lot of practice before a course. (A practice test is one thing; the PS Bibles are another.) Courses are designed so that you can productively do a lot of practice after, not a before; if you learn a bunch of PS stuff and then take a course with a different company, you'll spend a bunch of time unlearning everything you learned from PS. However, complete self-study is certainly an option.


The trouble with not seriously trying self study and the bibles first is that you can't establish if self-study will work for you.

Plenty of folk here have started self study and then done a course with non powerscore prep companies. Many have also combined strategies, using some methods from the bibles and others from their choice of prep company.

I do agree that you should save the prep tests until later. If I were planning now for a June test, I'd try a month of self study. If I wasn't seeing a good improvement, I'd then look to quickly start a prep course that is finished in time to leave six to eight weeks free for PTs before test day.

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Pleasye
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby Pleasye » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:54 pm

If you look around the LSAT forum there is SO MUCH information and a million tips that you will find.

Basic summary:

1) It's not completely necessary to take a prep course. Self-study can be just as effective. However, if you have the funds and lack the discipline to study on your own take a course. Kaplan and Princeton Review are generally not recommended on these boards (I took a Kaplan course and it did not help me so I would not recommend it). I would recommend Blueprint or Testmasters (I personally took the Blueprint online course and it helped me a lot).

2) The Powerscore Logical Reasoning and Logic Games Bibles are frequently recommended and are great.

3) Check out Pithypike's study guide that is stickied in this forum and visit http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/ for study guides and lots of great tips.

hth.

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby crumpetsandtea » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:09 am

tomwatts wrote:Oh, and I would strongly discourage doing a lot of practice before a course. (A practice test is one thing; the PS Bibles are another.) Courses are designed so that you can productively do a lot of practice after, not a before; if you learn a bunch of PS stuff and then take a course with a different company, you'll spend a bunch of time unlearning everything you learned from PS. However, complete self-study is certainly an option.


I personally happen to disagree with this--by mixing and matching self study tools and a course, you can figure out which tactics work best for YOU. Maybe PS tells you to do X but you have better speed and accuracy with PR's tactics, or vice versa. Just because you read a book or take a course doesn't mean you're obligated to follow that method. To be fair, though, if you're having trouble grasping the basics of a section this could potentially confuse you.

With that said--it's very hard to give specific advice on studying for the lsat, IMO. Everyone is different, and you want to tailor your study sched to your own weak spots. On top of that, just taking a course will NOT help you (I speak from experience). You need to put in work on your own in order to improve as well. I would recommend doing this:

1) Take a timed practice test before continuing. Make it as close to the real test as possible. This way you know where you need to improve the most/least, and where you stand.

2) Based on the results of your practice test, consider buying the PS bibles/taking a prep course. Definitely invest in some real LSAT practice tests. I think right now Kaplan is the only prep course that gives you access to all past LSATs.

3) If you have the time/motivation to self study, take a look at LSAT Blog's 5 Month Weekly Study Guide as a potential starting block.

If you have the ability to motivate yourself and you have a pretty decent starting score, I suggest self-study. If you have issues with self-motivation or work better in a structured environment, I suggest taking a prep course.

I took Testmasters and I had a pretty good experience--they gave me a lot of materials and structure, which was good for me. However, I'll repeat that you get what you give in terms of studying vs results. I just took the class and didn't do too much self study, and I got the same score as my first blind diagnostic on the day of the test (168).

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Pleasye
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby Pleasye » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:12 am

crumpetsandtea wrote:2) Based on the results of your practice test, consider buying the PS bibles/taking a prep course. Definitely invest in some real LSAT practice tests. I think right now Kaplan is the only prep course that gives you access to all past LSATs.

I believe course gives you every LSAT question ever, just not in the form of a test. The questions are used for lessons/hw and then some tests are left intact for practice tests.

tomwatts
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby tomwatts » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:03 am

LSpleaseee wrote:
crumpetsandtea wrote:2) Based on the results of your practice test, consider buying the PS bibles/taking a prep course. Definitely invest in some real LSAT practice tests. I think right now Kaplan is the only prep course that gives you access to all past LSATs.

I believe course gives you every LSAT question ever, just not in the form of a test. The questions are used for lessons/hw and then some tests are left intact for practice tests.

That is correct. Every LSAT course offered by a major company gives you all released tests and assigns most of them for in-class work or homework.

It is true (in response to some of the above) that it may in some cases be hard to tell whether you need a course or can just self-study until you try self-studying, but I think that most people (if they're honest with themselves) really already know this. How do you learn best? What have been your most successful experiences learning skills (not facts)? (That is, learning how to do things, rather than just memorizing a bunch of stuff.) If you learn best on your own, you probably already know; if not, you probably already know. I do agree, though, that for some people it isn't particularly clear.

albanach
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby albanach » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:11 am

tomwatts wrote:
LSpleaseee wrote:That is correct. Every LSAT course offered by a major company gives you all released tests and assigns most of them for in-class work or homework.


I think this is only for the full length courses.

At least in the past, PowerScore did not give all questions for their online course.

JohnLawrence
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Re: LSAT Prep!! Please help with suggestions

Postby JohnLawrence » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:59 pm

I agree that there isn't a simple answer to which prep course is best since so much can depend on your individual instructor.

If you are looking strictly at price, I just ranked the five cheapest LSAT courses here: http://www.SPAM.com/, and you can check for a full listing of course providers in Western Mass at the LSAT Course Finder: http://www.SPAM.com/.




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