Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

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Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:41 am

Hi everyone --

I'm putting together a little intro-to-the-lsat ebook, and it's going to have a brief section about all of the various study tools that are most popular with top scoring students today (it'll all be positive -- and not one tool is better than the other etc., but rather "here are the dozen or so tools people mention again and again as being useful...") --

As part of that, I'd like to include the results of an informal poll from the tls community about which specific tools you have found to be most effective in helping you get better at the LSAT (also figured some of you might find this fun) --

I've included a list of the most commonly discussed learning tools below -- please vote in by responding with a list of any tools you found to be helpful (please feel free to mention learning tools I didn't, or to vote for as many tools as you'd like) and I'll keep updating the OP to represent the running tally of votes.

Powerscore LR - II
Powerscore LG - II
Powerscore RC - II
Blueprint LG - I
Kaplan (any)
Princeton Review (any)
Manhattan LR - IIIII
Manhattan LG - IIII
Manhattan RC - II
Hacking the LSAT (Graeme's solution books)
Trainer - III

Cambridge LSAT - II
(other sources?)

Paid Courses & Online Programs (I understand that tls is a crowd that skews toward self-study):

Blueprint In-Person
Blueprint Online
Testmasters In-Person - I
Powerscore In-Person
Manhattan In-Person
Manhattan Online Live
Manhattan Interact
7Sage - II
Velocity - I

Free Online Resources:
Manhattan Forums
7Sage Solutions - III
LSAT Blog - I

My apologies if I've left any key players off the list -- it's a bit late -- I'll update the list as you all chime in --

Very, very curious to see what the results will be, and thanks in advance for taking part.
Last edited by The LSAT Trainer on Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby dowu » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:46 am

Manhattan books > everything else.

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:01 am

dowu wrote:Manhattan books > everything else.

all 3?

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Postby 10052014 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:10 am

Last edited by 10052014 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby Otunga » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:54 am

MLSAT LR and 7sage for LG. For RC, I'm not sure. I used a mixed bag of resources here, and RC more so than the other sections I think takes more individualized work. To get at what I mean here - 7sage LG methods seem to work for most people, but we appear to need to try out many different annotating methods in RC to see what clicks the best for us. If I had to choose for RC, I'd say MLSAT RC, though I haven't read the LSAT Trainer.

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby neprep » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:24 am

I think the PowerScore Bibles are a great way to start the preparation, in that they get can safely get you to a 160+ range if you remain engaged and diligent while reading. After those are done, though, I think you are definitely still in a position to gain from slightly more advanced material: MLSAT LG and LR or the Trainer are definitely enough to take you to that next level. Out of the two options I just mentioned, I would prefer the Trainer just because it's all in the same place. Anyway, MLSAT and the Trainer just seem more relevant to me, since most top scorers are going to want to talk about questions on forums such as TLS and the MLSAT forums, and so familiarity with their parlance will be very useful. While going through these books, I think heading to the relevant Cambridge packet after each chapter and drilling those questions will be useful. A lot of the books will use examples that illustrate their techniques, but it helps to use those techniques on questions not mentioned in the book and see if they're still relevant.

For the second phase of purely application-based prep, nothing beats real LSAT questions from the LSAC, and SuperPrep is a rare insight into the LSAC's thoughts behind its own questions. I will suggest that buying the PTs from Cambridge is a better source than the ones LSAC sells on Amazon, because they come as PDFs and you can print individual sections out, for drilling or for use as the 5th experimental section.

As for prep companies, I've never had any experience with any, but I can say that no one I know has ever had a bad experience with Blueprint, and they really do make learning fun (there's no way to say that without sounding like a middle school education consultant, but it's true from whatever I can gather).

Also, regularly reading LSATBlog throughout the process is useful because Steve's posts are never very involved, but each is packed with useful information. I'd sign up for the RSS feed and just read it whenever it's in my inbox; it won't take more than 5 minutes and it's always worth it.

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby Hotguy » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:13 am

Hey Mike, great idea.

Let me start off by the useless ones that I have come tried in the past:
Kaplan 2012 I had this book from a friend, I skimmed through it and never found anything groundbreaking, a lot of memorization was required.
Cracking the LSAT Princeton Review 2012 - In my opinion, that book just didn’t click in for me. It was similar to Kaplan in some ways.
There are a couple of other useless books that I can mention, but they are not very well known. Let me move on to the useful books.

Useful(NOT in order of best to worst):
Testmasters live class - They are very similar to all the PS bibles, LG was good, RC was lacking. LR is divided into question types, and each lesson the instructor first introduces how a right answer is supposed to have at least one of the cited characteristics. After the lesson on that specific question type is done, students do several questions by themselves, and the instructor goes over them explaining why each wrong answer is wrong and each right answer is right. Same method is applied to RC and LG. RC is divided by topics, and no reasoning structure is mentioned.
They provide questions divided by type for every single lsat out there, aside from a selected few that are chosen as PTs(5 sections) that are taken in the class, test day condition.
as I said before, this course is similar to PS. It has a more mechanical approach to it, for example, in order for you to learn flaws, it gives you a list of all used flaws in the past, how that specific flaw looks on the answer choice(and its variations) and also all known questions that had that flaw. In some ways it is more complete and through than the PS LR bible, in others, I seemed to like the PS bible better - you cannot compare MLSAT and others to this course, as in my opinion, it is a completely different method.
Overall, I think it lays out a very good foundation base for you to move on to more advanced (imo) methods.

PowerScore Logical Reasoning, Logical Games, and Reading Comprehension Bibles - Almost exact same content as Testmasters had, however, since this is simply the book and not the class, it does appear to not have as much content as Testmasters. However, that is not the case, I found that both had almost the same content, aside from a selected few instances where Testmasters outdid PS. Same can be said for all three books.
Again, just like TM, I believe these three books lay out the perfect base for you to later incorporate more advanced methods. More on this later if requested.

Manhattan 2nd and 3rd Edition LR, LG, and RC - Manhattan is great, in that they try to teach you how think like a 170+ test taker, it might be a bit too advanced to read for those that never had any contact with any LSAT content in the past. But I think this is perfect for those that have just finished the bible and intend to move on to a more advanced and a less mechanical approach.
MLSAT teaches you how to find the correct answer through working the core. It is more concerned of why a correct answer is correct, instead of what is the correct answer(if that makes any sense). The reason that I think PS or TM compliment MLSAT is that in my opinion they are almost complete opposites, PS teaches you how a certain number of theories are the correct answers to a specific question type, and MLSAT teaches you how to reach each individual theory without knowing about them. There is more to say about MLSAT, but just search the forum and you will find the answer to all your questions.

Velocity - Classes are conducted online, where you watch a pre-recorded video of Dave Hall. It focuses on patterns for the test, so that when you see a question it automatically clicks in into one of the known patterns taught to you. This is a great compliment to MLSAT or even TM. It does lack on several areas where MLSAT and PS touch, but it makes up to it by introducing you to the world of LSAT pattern. In my opinion, this is a supplemental study for when you are doing MLSAT. More info on this if requested.

7Sage - Classes are conducted online, where you watch the computer screen of JY while he talks to you. I have only done 10% of this course, but I can tell that it is great, has a bit of each and every prep, while each individual one focuses on certain things more than others, it does a very good job to introduce a bit of every area. I will edit this later when I get later in the course.

The LSAT Trainer – This book focuses on your habits and skills, and how to develop them effectively. I’m not going to talk much about it, since the author can answer all the questions that you may have. But this book is very good and innovative in some areas. It has some similar content to MLSAT, however, it is definitely worth it as much as the MLSAT is, sometimes for some different reasons, and other times for the very same reasons that make the MLSAT great.
Now if you just started your prep, I personally would recommend all of the preps cited above, along with Superprep, PTs, and the Cambridge LSAT packets, note that you don´t have to take both PS and TM, just chose one.
I will edit this later when I have more time.

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby Kimikho » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:47 pm

Manhattan LR: I started with PS, and to be honest, it did nothing for me. Manhattan was the first to fully explain sufficient vs. necessary conclusions for me, and everything it did was in a very non-condescending way. This is the book that brought me into the high 160s (at least on PTs).

Manhattan LG: This is the only LG book I tried. It was less useful than LR, but it was still useful. The chapter on conditional reasoning is the same from the LR book though.

Overall, I think the Manhattan books > everything else but the Trainer. I didn't use the RC book though.

7Sage: I like 7Sage, but I think he relies too much on multiple gameboards (like in his explanation of Dinos). I didn't use anything from 7Sage that costs money.

10 Actual Books: I have all of these, and honestly I wish I didn't. While it costs more to buy the tests individually from Cambridge, the ability to reprint and redo tests beats the books. If I had to repeat everything I wouldn't have bought any of the books and would have just purchased everything online; I've already bought nearly all of the tests in the 50s again. If there was a compilation of 40-50 then that might be useful...but there isn't :(.

Cambridge Packets: I literally could have just handed my paycheck directly to Cambridge this summer! I had a mixed experience with Cambridge because I already had a PS LR "type training" book, but if I hadn't had that book the packets would have been that much better. The fact that they are divided into difficulty, printable, and match the MLSAT categories quite closely was super helpful. None of the prep books provide enough questions to truly drill.

Cambridge 5-Section Tests: I bought two of these: 61 (by accident...) and 68. Note the "by accident" thing: it would be nice if the "download" buttons were customized for the test ("download PT 61!") etc. Unfortunately, on both 61 and 68 I had already done the section inserted! This is because they tend to insert experimental sections that are from the single-digit tests, but those questions, while not included in the 10 Actuals, are included in their drilling packets. So while the first two sections were very real, once I got to the experimental games section I knew which one it was. If the sections were from the 40s it would be different.

Cambridge 4-Section Tests: This is what I use now, with a section from the 40s inserted.

The Trainer: I love the trainer, but unfortunately I feel like I can't give it a 100% adaquet review. For my purposes, it was awesome, but because I had already moved through like five books by that point, I don't know how much it was the Trainer, just practice, or what influenced my scores. Basically, I can't endorse it for beginning LSAT study because I didn't use it then, but as something to come to after I had a burnout freakout week-long break, it was very nice. The drills are amazing, especially the "connect like arguments" ones, and if the Trainer did anything, it made my ability to do those questions much better :).

TLS! I don't think I could have gotten to where I am without this forum. Studying at this intensity can be really isolating, and it is really nice to know other people are in the same place. The fact that so many actual LSAT tutors/book writers come here and don't spam but actually help us is amazing. It's kind of like when I would go to the math study center and OMG THE PROFESSORS ARE HERE JACKPOT only that happens every day. Plus, participating in the October study group and posting scores has helped me take things seriously and take my experimental section seriously. Even though I know were it is, I know that it would be embarrassing to put down "RC: -4, LR: -3, LG: -3, Experimental LR: -17," and I'm not about to lie--that's tempting fate wayyyyy to much.

A really cool excel spreadsheet: Everyone says to keep track of stuff. It took me until like, a month ago to actually do that. I wish I had done it the whole time though. I set mine up so it automatically averages my misses per section, my overall tests, my 5-test running average, and the median.

Most Strongly Supported Blog: It may not have been strictly studying, but reading MSS told me how to successfully switch test centers. I didn't use anything from BP though.

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby dowu » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:49 pm

dowu wrote:Manhattan books > everything else.

Yep. Read all three. Read powerscore too. Read LG for BP. Manhattan takes it to the next level.

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:45 pm

wanted to bump (just once) for any final comments -- thanks to all those who participated -- i don't think the poll results were significant enough to publish in the ebook, but i'll definitely be using a lot of the points that you made in your comments -- if anyone else wants to chime in, please do so.

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby akg144 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:40 pm

Cambridge LSAT Complete - Every PT 1-69 + LSATQA + MLSAT forums to check your answers = all you need
Plan: 69 PTs in 69 days (6 PTs away from mission complete with 10 days to go)
Cum. avg: 172.8

Prep Test 59 176 99.6 1 day ago
Prep Test 60 174 99.2 2 days ago
Prep Test 61 178 99.9 3 days ago
Prep Test 62 173 99.0 4 days ago
Prep Test 63 174 99.2 5 days ago
Prep Test 64 180 99.9 6 days ago
Prep Test 65 175 99.4 7 days ago
Prep Test 66 169 96.6 8 days ago
Prep Test 67 171 98.0 9 days ago
Prep Test 68 171 98.0 10 days ago
Prep Test 69 169 96.6 11 days ago
Prep Test 52 177 99.8 12 days ago
Prep Test 51 166 93.1 13 days ago
Prep Test 50 167 94.2 14 days ago
Prep Test 49 170 97.3 15 days ago
Prep Test 48 168 95.7 16 days ago
Prep Test 47 166 93.1 17 days ago
Prep Test 46 175 99.4 18 days ago
Prep Test 45 176 99.6 19 days ago
Prep Test 44 169 96.6 20 days ago
Prep Test 43 176 99.6 21 days ago
Prep Test 42 170 97.3 22 days ago
Prep Test 41 176 99.6 23 days ago
Prep Test 40 173 99.0 24 days ago
Prep Test 39 177 99.8 25 days ago
Prep Test 38 178 99.9 26 days ago
Prep Test 37 174 99.2 27 days ago
Prep Test 36 179 99.9 28 days ago
Prep Test 35 176 99.6 29 days ago
Prep Test 34 177 99.8 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 33 171 98.0 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 32 175 99.4 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 31 178 99.9 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 30 174 99.2 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 29 172 98.6 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 28 177 99.8 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 27 176 99.6 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 26 179 99.9 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 25 179 99.9 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 24 174 99.2 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 23 173 99.0 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 22 174 99.2 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 21 173 99.0 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 20 168 95.7 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 19 173 99.0 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 18 173 99.0 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 16 180 99.9 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 17 170 97.3 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 15 167 94.2 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 14 173 99.0 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 13 170 97.3 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 12 169 96.6 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 11 176 99.6 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 10 171 98.0 about 1 month ago
Prep Test 9 174 99.2 2 months ago
Prep Test 8 169 96.6 2 months ago
Prep Test 7 174 99.2 2 months ago
Prep Test 6 166 93.1 2 months ago
Prep Test 5 167 94.2 2 months ago
Prep Test 4 169 96.6 2 months ago
Prep Test 3 171 98.0 2 months ago
Prep Test 2 168 95.7 2 months ago
Prep Test 1 166 93.1 2 months ago

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Re: Poll: Which Prep Tools Have Been Most Effective For You?

Postby 062914123 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:25 am


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