Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

User avatar
californihuh
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:15 am

Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby californihuh » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:10 pm

Taking a course, whether it be online or in-person is a must for me, and after reading around (and searching through the compendiums), I'm wondering if anyone has any insight on my problem.

I was interested in signing up for the LSATs in June (and a back-up test in October if I don't get my desired scores). Which means I have from now till then to study for it. My initial plan was to sign up for an online class (BluePrint/Testmasters), which is available for two-LSAT sessions before expiration, and immediately following that, sign-up for an in-class course.

However, I live in Woodland, which is essentially Sacramento/Davis, California, and BluePrint does not offering any classes in Davis. Which means that I would have to sign-up for their online class and THEN take an in-person class with a totally different company and incur not only extra hefty fee's (renewable rates if you went with the same company), but a different methodology of teaching which might throw me off.

The nearest BluePrint location is more than an hour away at Berkeley, so commuting is out of the question. I am really impressed with BluePrint's online course, however, given that BluePrint doesn't offer any courses near Davis (which is odd, because their website has a Davis location, but states that "no classes are offered at this time"), I will be forced to go either Testmasters/Powerscore near me.

I could, of course, go Testmasters Online and then Testmasters in-class, but the online portion seems bland, and based on reviews from TLS, the in-class quality is polarized... which is why I'd just go with a safer choice. I don't want to start a flame war, just want to see what the best options given my time-frame and locations are. Thanks.

User avatar
gaud
Posts: 5790
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:58 am

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby gaud » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:32 pm

californihuh wrote:Taking a course, whether it be online or in-person is a must for me, and after reading around (and searching through the compendiums), I'm wondering if anyone has any insight on my problem.

I was interested in signing up for the LSATs in June (and a back-up test in October if I don't get my desired scores). Which means I have from now till then to study for it. My initial plan was to sign up for an online class (BluePrint/Testmasters), which is available for two-LSAT sessions before expiration, and immediately following that, sign-up for an in-class course.

However, I live in Woodland, which is essentially Sacramento/Davis, California, and BluePrint does not offering any classes in Davis. Which means that I would have to sign-up for their online class and THEN take an in-person class with a totally different company and incur not only extra hefty fee's (renewable rates if you went with the same company), but a different methodology of teaching which might throw me off.

The nearest BluePrint location is more than an hour away at Berkeley, so commuting is out of the question. I am really impressed with BluePrint's online course, however, given that BluePrint doesn't offer any courses near Davis (which is odd, because their website has a Davis location, but states that "no classes are offered at this time"), I will be forced to go either Testmasters/Powerscore near me.

I could, of course, go Testmasters Online and then Testmasters in-class, but the online portion seems bland, and based on reviews from TLS, the in-class quality is polarized... which is why I'd just go with a safer choice. I don't want to start a flame war, just want to see what the best options given my time-frame and locations are. Thanks.



I wasn't really a fan of TM online, but I can only speak for myself. I do, however, think that my impression would be different if I took their in-class course.

Seneca
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:00 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby Seneca » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:45 pm

californihuh wrote: I was interested in signing up for the LSATs in June (and a back-up test in October if I don't get my desired scores).


First, please call it the LSAT (no s). Calling it "the LSATs" will make a lot of people cringe.

Second, I recommend taking Testmasters in-class and then taking it online during the second session before the LSAT. Taking it in-class will just be a much better way to absorb all the materials, and then you can decide how much you want to spend on the online subscription after you complete your course - TM offers a couple price points for an online subscription, and if you've previously taken the course, you get a nice discount and you can get the online renewal further discounted if you only want access to the questions, tests, and answer keys and are willing to forgo the lesson plans, which IMO you wouldn't need if you have already taken the classroom course.

I took only the classroom course, had a great experience with it, and got what I needed in June, or else I would have strongly considered renewing the online portion, which comes with the in-class tuition for your first session. I used the online features daily while prepping between the end of the course and the test date (about a month) and thought they were excellent, but I would not have wanted to rely solely off the lesson plans posted there as an online-only student. Also, when I finished my term at my university and moved back home, I was able to switch my course location for my classroom course and still maintain contact with my original instructor. I'll be the first to agree that your experience with and the apparent quality of each test prep company will vary based on instructor, but my instructors were both outstanding, and even though my initial course certainly had more students who were aiming above 170 than the one in which I finished my session, I didn't feel my experience was diminished as a result. I also got the Powerscore Bibles from a friend, and used the LG one pretty extensively before even starting the TM course and found it helpful, but I don't recommend taking two totally different full-length courses. HTH.

josh43299
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:29 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby josh43299 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:54 pm

If you do all of the homework, you do not need to do two courses. That would be counterproductive, in my opinion. I did BP online and by the time you are done, you have done pretty much every question that has ever been asked before on previous LSATs and use the exact same books that the in class students use. I assume this is largely true for other companies. Better would be to save your time and money and redo all of the games a second time and work on those areas that are still causing you problems (like timing). With an online course you can watch the lectures over again anyways. Why do you think this is necessary or prudent? You will get everything you need from a full course, online or not, if you really put in the work.

josh43299
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:29 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby josh43299 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:05 pm

Also, I don't think that 9 months is too soon to start studying, but you don't want to run out of new material months before you take the test. You want to be able to hit it hard in April/May and have good bit of fresh sections/questions. There are other things you could do to start prepping for the next couple of months. Go get a book on logic (informal, not symbolic), like Layman's The Power of Logic. Start reading The Economist or Bloomberg (the magazine) for dense, short articles. Read Science articles if you are not used to it. Read anything with difficult reasoning, to learn to focus on arguments and control your distractibility (David Hume would be a good).

Seneca
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:00 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby Seneca » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:26 pm

I agree with josh43299 that you will likely gain everything you need from a single course if you are completing the coursework properly. For TM, you're issues books with the PTs and homework, and the answer keys and some other features are online. What I meant was that if you take the classroom PM course, your online subscription will expire after the test date, and you could pay (much, much less than an online course) to extend your access to the online stuff.

But seriously, with the amount of time you have to work with, try prepping independently first. Check out some of the study guides on TLS, pick up some PowerScore Bibles, and give it a couple months to see if that's working for you. You'll still have plenty of time to sign up for a course if you think you need it.

User avatar
EarlCat
Posts: 610
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:04 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby EarlCat » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:36 pm

josh43299 wrote:but you don't want to run out of new material months before you take the test.

--ImageRemoved--

User avatar
californihuh
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:15 am

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby californihuh » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:54 pm

EarlCat wrote:
josh43299 wrote:but you don't want to run out of new material months before you take the test.

--ImageRemoved--

Josh, Seneca, thanks.... ^ care to explain what that's in regards to, Earl?

User avatar
EarlCat
Posts: 610
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:04 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby EarlCat » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:48 pm

californihuh wrote:Josh, Seneca, thanks.... ^ care to explain what that's in regards to, Earl?

There is no reason to worry about running out of materials. There are over six thousand friggin LSAT questions to practice with, and most people would be fine (if not better off) using only a small fraction of them (repeatedly). The concern over running out of material, even if you've got 2 years to study, is just plain silly. But it's something that comes back on these boards over and over and over and over...enough to make my head explode.

Seneca
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:00 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby Seneca » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:40 pm

The exploding head lines up nicely with your avatar. Maybe consider using it more often.

Also, agreed on the material thing. You'll be fine. The only thing I strongly recommend rationing are the recent LSAT exams to use as PTs closer to your test date.

User avatar
SarahKerrigan
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:02 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby SarahKerrigan » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:48 pm

californihuh wrote:Taking a course, whether it be online or in-person is a must for me, and after reading around (and searching through the compendiums), I'm wondering if anyone has any insight on my problem.

I was interested in signing up for the LSATs in June (and a back-up test in October if I don't get my desired scores). Which means I have from now till then to study for it. My initial plan was to sign up for an online class (BluePrint/Testmasters), which is available for two-LSAT sessions before expiration, and immediately following that, sign-up for an in-class course.

However, I live in Woodland, which is essentially Sacramento/Davis, California, and BluePrint does not offering any classes in Davis. Which means that I would have to sign-up for their online class and THEN take an in-person class with a totally different company and incur not only extra hefty fee's (renewable rates if you went with the same company), but a different methodology of teaching which might throw me off.

The nearest BluePrint location is more than an hour away at Berkeley, so commuting is out of the question. I am really impressed with BluePrint's online course, however, given that BluePrint doesn't offer any courses near Davis (which is odd, because their website has a Davis location, but states that "no classes are offered at this time"), I will be forced to go either Testmasters/Powerscore near me.

I could, of course, go Testmasters Online and then Testmasters in-class, but the online portion seems bland, and based on reviews from TLS, the in-class quality is polarized... which is why I'd just go with a safer choice. I don't want to start a flame war, just want to see what the best options given my time-frame and locations are. Thanks.

Hey, i'm from the area also, currently going to UCD. You might want to check out velocity, it has been really good for me personally, and its all online/books so you wouldn't have to worry about finding a location. here is a link to their website, there is a lot of free material to check out. http://www.velocitylsat.com/

User avatar
californihuh
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:15 am

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby californihuh » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:23 am

SarahKerrigan wrote: Hey, i'm from the area also, currently going to UCD. You might want to check out velocity, it has been really good for me personally, and its all online/books so you wouldn't have to worry about finding a location. here is a link to their website, there is a lot of free material to check out. http://www.velocitylsat.com/

Hm. Never heard of Velocity until now. Thanks! Good to see another Aggie here (even though I'm not one).When do you plan on taking the LSAT?

EarlCat wrote: There is no reason to worry about running out of materials. There are over six thousand friggin LSAT questions to practice with, and most people would be fine (if not better off) using only a small fraction of them (repeatedly). The concern over running out of material, even if you've got 2 years to study, is just plain silly. But it's something that comes back on these boards over and over and over and over...enough to make my head explode.

Yeah, I figured it was either that, or the fact that if you do run out of materials you're SOL. Good to know. Guess I'll start studying now.

josh43299
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:29 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby josh43299 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:30 am

EarlCat wrote:
californihuh wrote:Josh, Seneca, thanks.... ^ care to explain what that's in regards to, Earl?

There is no reason to worry about running out of materials. There are over six thousand friggin LSAT questions to practice with, and most people would be fine (if not better off) using only a small fraction of them (repeatedly). The concern over running out of material, even if you've got 2 years to study, is just plain silly. But it's something that comes back on these boards over and over and over and over...enough to make my head explode.


I disagree. The original poster sounds like they plan on devoting a pretty massive amount of time to LSAT prep (they were thinking of doing two courses). The problem is running out of fresh reading comp passage and games during the last two months of prep. You really want to be able to boost your confidence by applying your methods to at least some new material. I studied for 5-6 months, during most of which I was working full time and still went through every game, multiple times. Also, it also would have bothered me in the last month or so, when I needed to adjust my timing strategy in RC, if I had gone through every passage already. My timing on the sections in my practice would have been artificial and I would have known it. I think your point is true about LR, though, because you simply will not remember them as well. Figuring out how you are going to distribute new material over your study schedule is important for people who are going to have a lot of time to study, IMO.

User avatar
Jeffort
Posts: 1897
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:43 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby Jeffort » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:06 am

californihuh wrote:
EarlCat wrote: There is no reason to worry about running out of materials. There are over six thousand friggin LSAT questions to practice with, and most people would be fine (if not better off) using only a small fraction of them (repeatedly). The concern over running out of material, even if you've got 2 years to study, is just plain silly. But it's something that comes back on these boards over and over and over and over...enough to make my head explode.


Yeah, I figured it was either that, or the fact that if you do run out of materials you're SOL. Good to know. Guess I'll start studying now.


Good plan. The real magic that happens for some people on test day is created by many hours of time put into solitary study, practice and review, doing much of it in slow motion rather than mainly taking timed tests. Quality study time trumps quantity of study time. If you spend most homework time mainly doing the churn and burn take lots of timed practice tests routine, don't expect your score to increase substantially. Burning through a bunch of tests timed doesn't teach you much about how to answer more of the questions correctly.

Prep classes/books/videos give you the basics and (hopefully, depends on the source) teach you the logical concepts the LSAT tests in an understandable way as well as specific techniques/approaches that are logical and effective so you know how to do the homework and practice. However, no prep source takes the test for you or does your homework. You have to spend a lot more time than it takes to read a prep book/watch instructional videos/attend a prep class to put what you learned into practice and get good at it to achieve a high score on test-day. After you learn new concepts/techniques/information/etc. about solving LSAT questions, then you need to spend time ALONE applying the knowledge to questions to get better at selecting credited answer choices.

On test day when it counts, it's just you with a pencil in hand, your brain, the test booklet and the bubble sheet.

There is no such thing as running out materials. If you fully understand and have mastered the logical ins and outs of all the questions in the available PrepTests, then you have no excuse for scoring below 175 on test day other than illness, somebody barfing on your answer sheet or other exigent circumstances.

.

User avatar
Jeffort
Posts: 1897
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:43 pm

Re: Complications with LSAT Prep Courses

Postby Jeffort » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:33 am

josh43299 wrote:
EarlCat wrote:
californihuh wrote:Josh, Seneca, thanks.... ^ care to explain what that's in regards to, Earl?

There is no reason to worry about running out of materials. There are over six thousand friggin LSAT questions to practice with, and most people would be fine (if not better off) using only a small fraction of them (repeatedly). The concern over running out of material, even if you've got 2 years to study, is just plain silly. But it's something that comes back on these boards over and over and over and over...enough to make my head explode.


I disagree. The original poster sounds like they plan on devoting a pretty massive amount of time to LSAT prep (they were thinking of doing two courses). The problem is running out of fresh reading comp passage and games during the last two months of prep. You really want to be able to boost your confidence by applying your methods to at least some new material. I studied for 5-6 months, during most of which I was working full time and still went through every game, multiple times. Also, it also would have bothered me in the last month or so, when I needed to adjust my timing strategy in RC, if I had gone through every passage already. My timing on the sections in my practice would have been artificial and I would have known it. I think your point is true about LR, though, because you simply will not remember them as well. Figuring out how you are going to distribute new material over your study schedule is important for people who are going to have a lot of time to study, IMO.


He was making a broader point that is compatible with yours. Earlcat was talking about the frequent complaints from people that haven't increased their score range substantially but that also complain about having run out of materials to prep with and/or say they've tried several prep sources.

Obviously, if somebody has gone through all 67 (soon to be 68) available preptests and hasn't managed to improve their score range much, they haven't used them properly or really learned the concepts and logic that the LSAT repeatedly tests in the same ways test after test. Prep classes/sources teach students the concepts tested by the LSAT and tools for solving the various question types in various different ways with different labels. However, it's important to keep in mind that the logic of the test and skills tested remain the same.

Planning to take two prep classes is silly. The prep classes/materials/books do not earn the achieved test scores, prepared test takers do. Prep classes/materials provide students with education about the test/concepts tested/tools to solve questions/etc. and homework/practice-work assignments to help them perform well when they take it. Students have to learn, apply and practice what they are taught (do the homework!) rather than going with the mindset of 'which prep source is going to get me a higher score', which implies that the prep company is going to achieve the score for the student. It's an unfortunate yet common phenomena. Many students hope/think that signing up and paying for XYZ prep and attending classes/reading ZQY books/etc. is sufficient to break 170 on test day and flake out on doing the homework/studying effectively outside of class because they signed up and paid for the magical one.

I agree with your point that it is important to save several recent/fresh tests for timed practice shortly before test day and I know Earlcat agrees with that too.

.




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests