Testmasters Online

Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:14 pm

Testmasters Online

Postby kshaulis » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:18 pm

I've heard so many good things about Test Masters (and yes, I'm talking about the real TestMasters, not the fake one out of Texas). However, I'm taking the February test, and there aren't any live courses available near me (and when I say near me, I mean within a 100 mile radius). Is it worth it to take the online course or should I look into a different company? I'm aiming for a 170-175 on the test, so I need a prep test that will help me break into those higher scores. Thanks!


Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:28 am

Re: Testmasters Online

Postby allysca » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:14 pm

I'm in the same boat as you (nearest Testmasters course was 6 hours away and ended up being cancelled anyway). Bottom Line: don't do TM online or if you do, only sign up for extended online (if you are even eligible). This e-missive first explains TMs online options, followed by my comments on other online LSAT prep options namely Manhattan LSAT and Velocity.

TM Online Options
$950 Online Course--While their online resources are excellent, if you enroll for the $950 online course you will be subject to a time-release schedule for access to those resources (e.g. answer keys and explanations for the supplemental exercises and answer keys and explanations for the paper and proctored diagnostics and perhaps even answer keys and explanations for the homeworks and jams, I'm not 100% positive on the last two items though).

Online Lessons--Are ALL written (as in, you must read from the computer screen) with referral to pages in your book for certain concepts/drills.

Videos- While the video explanations are ok, I'd say more than half of their explanations are either audio or written. The video component is not nearly as comprehensive nor personalized as what Velocity LSAT offers, for example.

Extended Online Option-- If you sign up for the extended online option (which may only be available to repeater Testmaster students, I'm not sure) then you are not subject to the time release conditions and all materials are available to you at once up through the test date. As in the $950 official online course, the extended online is only offered through the administration of the next LSAT. For an additional fee of $700, you can extend the online option past the test date. Or, for free, Testmasters can provide you with all the answer keys (no explanations) to HW, supplementals, jams, and proctored Diags provided you are a TM alumna/alumnus.

Difference between Extended Online Option and $950 online course-- It really boils down to the time release issue and the telephonic tutoring access. In extended online you don't get access to telephonic tutoring whereas for the $950 fee you do. BUT, in my opinion, the telephonic tutoring schemes offered by Testmasters and Powerscore pales in comparison to what Manahattan LSAT provides (30 minute SCHEDULED office hours and SCHEDULED online review sessions, 7 days a week). I used caps on SCHEDULED for a reason: when you call in to Testmasters to take advantage of your telephonic tutoring, you can only do so from 10am-1pm PST M-F and you can only ask ONE question at a time that is related to the coursework covered. Also, you will be put on hold or asked to leave a message with your phone number so that a TM tutor can call you back. In my opinion, it is not worth paying the extra dollars for telephonic tutoring with TM.


Velocity- If you need hand holding and direction (or even if you don't), this online option is for you. Your books are tailored to a step-by step incremental process for learning LSAT techniques. Or, if you prefer, go at it piecemeal. One caveat: if your eyes glaze over while watching online course videos, this option is not for you. There is A LOT of video (again, which I think is far superior to the TM online course, but I like hand holding and step by step so take that comment with a grain of salt).

Manhattan LSAT-- Their online course is live which I think is the best way to do online learning. It keeps you on your toes and provides an impetus to do your homework on time to take advantage of all the ridiculous (as in good) support you will get for signing up for this course. What do I mean by support: basically the Office Hours option and the Online Review. If you sign up for the live online course, you get 30 minutes of Office Hours twice a week with the week starting from the day class ends till the next class. Office Hours do not "roll over" into the next week. Online Review is a twice weekly (?) additional online resource where an instructor basically holds another class to go over HW questions or any other questions. The online platform is pretty interesting too, whiteboards where the profs write in comments and students can too. The majority of the course questions from the students are sent via IM and the whole class can see/comment (or not, you choose) and you can ask questions using the mic option. I think the best thing about Manhattan's live online course is that the instructors will introduce mini quizzes throughout the course that are timed and that are later discussed. With TM and Velocity, you don't get that interaction or real-time practice/dialogue. Having attended a TM live classroom course, I can attest to the fact that Manhattan's live online is the closest you're going to the "classroom" experience if that is what you are looking for.

SO.....if I had to do it over again after everything I've learned about online LSAT Prep I would do the following:

Step 1: Enroll in Manhattan LSATs live online course, period.
If you don't, you'll regret it, I sure did. This course gives you the most bang for your buck and focuses on quality rather than quantity. TM will definitely provide you with quantity but you might find yourself drowning in it instead of understanding it. And since you can only ask one question at a time within a three hour period when everyone and their mom is calling in, good luck getting your questions answered. Also, with the TM $950 course, you only get three hours of telephonic tutoring. With Manhattan, if you have the time to take advantage of your weekly office hours and your online review, then you have your questions answered. And oh, did I mention the forum? BY FAR the best forum for explanations out there, bar none. At first I thought the explanations were just made up by fellow LSAT studiers but as I got deeper into my own studying I saw that a lot of the explanations are either drawn up by the Manhattan instructors or amended by them. AND this is yet another way to get your individual questions answered by a pro which you will not find on TM online. The only reason I'm not enrolled in Manhattan is the $$$.

Step 2: Buy Velocity's Comprehensive Course ($600)-- The material is good through two test cycles and you can pick and choose what you'd like a different approach on. For example, Dave Hall's explanations of logical reasoning are derived from syllogistic logic which, once mastered, make the LR section a friggin' cakewalk. At the very least, consider buying the Logical Reasoning package ($500). Only reason I suggest buying the comprehensive is that for $100 more you get the whole enchilada so why not? I also recommend emailing velocity to inquire about current promos on their packages before you buy at face value.

Step 3 (in the event you don't break 170 on first LSAT try):
Once you've gone through Manhattan's live online course and supplemented that material with Velocity's and sat for one LSAT and didn't get the score you wanted, consider doing some focused work with Steve Schwartz from LSAT Blog. I also signed up for his three month study plan and found his question selections differed significantly from what Manhattan lays out. If you sit for the December test, you'll know where your weaknesses are under test-taking environment and can then work with him (or another tutor) to refine your test-taking technique. Then come February you can knock the LSAT out of the park.

Again, bottom line regarding TM online: Don't do TM online or if you do, only sign up for extended online (if you are even eligible). PM me if you have any other questions about online options or this post. Good luck!

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