Kaplan books

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Twitch
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Kaplan books

Postby Twitch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:02 am

I'm brand new here, but I've been reading for a few weeks and amassing knowledge on the LSAT/methods of preparation, etc. Tons of helpful info here, so thanks for that.

I'm starting my LSAT prep for the October test and trying to set a general study schedule. Before I found these forums, I picked up the Kaplan LR book, which I've been studying to understand the types of questions and how to approach them.

Everyone bags on Kaplan, but that seems specific to the overpriced prep courses. Is there any reason not to use Kaplan books for self-study? Self-study obviously requires self-motivation, but I've got that in spades, so responses along those lines are superfluous to the point at issue: is the book's information about the question types deficient in some way?

I'm no fan of Kaplan as a corporation (I've taught SAT/ACT prep for 5 years - not for them - so I'm familiar), but I'd like a solid explanation for the hate, if it extends to self-study materials.

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Jeffort
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Jeffort » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:35 am

Twitch wrote:
is the book's information about the question types deficient in some way?



Yes, in many ways.

There are much better LSAT self study prep books available.

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Twitch
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Twitch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:32 am

Jeffort wrote:
Twitch wrote:
is the book's information about the question types deficient in some way?



Yes, in many ways.

There are much better LSAT self study prep books available.


Hardly a solid explanation for the hate. Elaborate?

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Jeffort
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Jeffort » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:18 am

Twitch wrote:
Jeffort wrote:
Twitch wrote:
is the book's information about the question types deficient in some way?



Yes, in many ways.

There are much better LSAT self study prep books available.


Hardly a solid explanation for the hate. Elaborate?


I'm not going to write out a detailed scathing review of the content, it's not worth the effort. The prep advice is not comprehensive and is bad in many ways.
If you want high quality LSAT prep instruction, get a better book, that's all that's important.

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Twitch
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Twitch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:44 pm

Has information, won't share. Duly noted.

Anyone who knows reasons the Kaplan books are deficient and is willing to share them?

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thevuch
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby thevuch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:53 pm

kaplan methods are counterintuitive (meaning they are a cookie cutter approach that are designed to help a chimpanzee get a 150, they dont allow you to utilize your own inferential abilities) and they are over generalized. they take a fundamental approach to all LR questions that is not applicable to the majority of them. the nuances between questions are significant enough to warrant different techniques, kaplan misses this. their logic games strategy is also counterintuitive (tedious and taxing, too much work for not a lot of inferences) and they overstate its broad applicability. they teach you easy games (which their unsophisticated broad approach works for), they dont prepare you for difficult ones which you will see on test day. and on RC, the "roadmap" is just too time consuming. the teacher is like OK this is how a roadmap is done, they leave no room for individualized methods with RC, which in my opinion you must find what works for you, and the "roadmap" is very cumbersome and time consuming, and it focuses on content rather than structure, which is a flaw.

i took a kaplan course, and it made me score 3 pts lower than my diagnostic, i used the trainer, manhattan LR and velocity RC and the drilling packets and my PT avgs went up 10 pts consistently from diagnostic. i havent received my feb score or else id tell you what it did but it went a lot better than december did. also - kaplan makes you think you are a LOT more prepared than you really are. i mean on the lsat you are competing with kids on TLS that are 180 or bust, that needs to be you, dont let people tell you 160 is good when you can get a 175 if you work smart.

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Cerebro
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Cerebro » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:55 pm

Kaplan's strategies, like their courses, are targeted to people who would be content to score in the low 160s. Their methods are incomplete and therefore ineffective with respect to helping students perform at their full potential.
Last edited by Cerebro on Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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flippacious
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby flippacious » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:55 pm

Twitch wrote:Has information, won't share. Duly noted.

Anyone who knows reasons the Kaplan books are deficient and is willing to share them?

I can't remember all of the ways I found Kaplan deficient, but I'll give you one example. I took a course with Kaplan, and nowhere in their program did they distinguish between a necessary assumption question and a sufficient assumption question. They just called them "assumption questions" or something. When I asked the instructor (who apparently had years and years of experience with Kaplan and is involved on a management level), he told me not to worry about the difference because it will only come up on a few questions.

And I agree with everything thevuch just posted above me.

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Twitch
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Twitch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:01 pm

they take a fundamental approach to all LR questions that is not applicable to the majority of them. the nuances between questions are significant enough to warrant different techniques, kaplan misses this


Thanks for your response. That's even more detail than I was hoping for, you're awesome. The quotation above was especially helpful to me, because it provides an explanation for my experience.

My first PT was a 168, since I have good natural inference skills. After I went through the LR book, I took a practice section trying to use all their methods and I really felt bogged down by the different techniques. I was really slow and missed 11 anyway.

After that, I decided to use the book to cement my knowledge of the question types, avoid using the techniques, and just use my own reasoning skills to come to my answers, and missed five LR questions on my last PT, so that seems to be working. PowerScore is universally praised, so I'm planning to go through that, I just wanted to know in what ways Kaplan was missing the mark. Thanks again :)
Last edited by Twitch on Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Twitch
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Twitch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:05 pm

flippacious wrote:
Twitch wrote:Has information, won't share. Duly noted.

Anyone who knows reasons the Kaplan books are deficient and is willing to share them?

I can't remember all of the ways I found Kaplan deficient, but I'll give you one example. I took a course with Kaplan, and nowhere in their program did they distinguish between a necessary assumption question and a sufficient assumption question. They just called them "assumption questions" or something. When I asked the instructor (who apparently had years and years of experience with Kaplan and is involved on a management level), he told me not to worry about the difference because it will only come up on a few questions.

And I agree with everything thevuch just posted above me.


Thanks for sharing. I'm specifically asking about the self-study books (and apparently I needed to clarify even more: the strategy books). In the book they do distinguish between necessary and sufficient assumptions, and they also recommend their cross-application with other assumption-based questions. Sucks that they don't mention it in the course, though. That's nonsensical.

BPlaura
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby BPlaura » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:16 pm

Twitch wrote:After I went through the LR book, I took a practice section trying to use all their methods and I really felt bogged down by the different techniques. I was really slow and missed 11 anyway.


I just want to jump in here to note that this happens frequently when learning new techniques, even ones that are ultimately very effective. I'm not very familiar with Kaplan so I can't speak to their methods (& wouldn't anyway), but I can say that it takes time to get used to any new technique but that, often, you'll find you improve after you get comfortable with the technique.

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Twitch
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Twitch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:20 pm

BPlaura wrote:
Twitch wrote:After I went through the LR book, I took a practice section trying to use all their methods and I really felt bogged down by the different techniques. I was really slow and missed 11 anyway.


I just want to jump in here to note that this happens frequently when learning new techniques, even ones that are ultimately very effective. I'm not very familiar with Kaplan so I can't speak to their methods (& wouldn't anyway), but I can say that it takes time to get used to any new technique but that, often, you'll find you improve after you get comfortable with the technique.


This is a good point, and something I see a lot in my SAT students. It's also part of the reason I'm asking this question. If I were going to take the time to really get their method down pat, I would want to know that I'm not missing something fundamental in choosing Kaplan over another source, and that the method would ultimately lead to significantly more right answer choices than I can get using my own reasoning.

The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:32 pm

Oh boy is it hard for me to keep my mouth (relatively) shut on this one --

If you are planning to get the Powerscore books anyway, I suggest you get them now, rather than waiting until after you are done w/the Kaplan book. Pick a topic, any topic, and see how the two products teach it, and the differences in quality should be apparent.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:36 pm

The Kaplan methods might actually hurt you, and I would be willing to wager that a big portion of the whatever improvement you may see while using their materials will be improvement that you made in spite of those materials.

No one company has a strangelhold on the market, but those that are favored are favored for real reasons. A lot of the Kaplan hate you'll see on these boards results from the totally ludicrous classes/tutors, but that doesn't mean that the books aren't lacking as well. If your first test was a 168 then you have literally zero use for a Kaplan book. Peruse a Powerscore or Blueprint games book, and familiarize yourself with the different LR types/strategies. The Cambridge bundles would be good for you.

In general pure strategy will only get you to around the 165 mark, meaning that most people who can get a 165+ don't lack any fundamental understanding of anything on the test, rather they are constrained by the time. This applies to you even more so because you got a 168 on your very first test. Most of your improvement is going to come from repetition/familiarity with the material, but if you'd like to supplement that with a book (which I wouldn't blame you for because learning it on your own can be inefficient) then I'd recommend the above materials. Good luck!

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Twitch
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Twitch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:55 pm

Pneumonia wrote:The Kaplan methods might actually hurt you, and I would be willing to wager that a big portion of the whatever improvement you may see while using their materials will be improvement that you made in spite of those materials.

No one company has a strangelhold on the market, but those that are favored are favored for real reasons. A lot of the Kaplan hate you'll see on these boards results from the totally ludicrous classes/tutors, but that doesn't mean that the books aren't lacking as well. If your first test was a 168 then you have literally zero use for a Kaplan book. Peruse a Powerscore or Blueprint games book, and familiarize yourself with the different LR types/strategies. The Cambridge bundles would be good for you.

In general pure strategy will only get you to around the 165 mark, meaning that most people who can get a 165+ don't lack any fundamental understanding of anything on the test, rather they are constrained by the time. This applies to you even more so because you got a 168 on your very first test. Most of your improvement is going to come from repetition/familiarity with the material, but if you'd like to supplement that with a book (which I wouldn't blame you for because learning it on your own can be inefficient) then I'd recommend the above materials. Good luck!



I really appreciate this input. That last paragraph especially shores up what I was beginning to think. I'll be picking up a PowerScore Bible today.

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thevuch
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby thevuch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:42 pm

get the trainer. it may be all you need. it covers LG LR and RC pretty good but to supplement

but for LR id go manhattan
and for LG id go blueprint. i think its a lot better than the PS LG bible.

and for RC, do every single RC passage ever. twice.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:04 pm

thevuch wrote:get the trainer. it may be all you need. it covers LG LR and RC pretty good but to supplement

but for LR id go manhattan
and for LG id go blueprint. i think its a lot better than the PS LG bible.

and for RC, do every single RC passage ever. twice.


The point of the bolded is that the only way to be good at the reading section is to actually be good at reading. If you're already good at reading then the repetition is unnecessary. I missed I think 4 RC questions on my first diagnostic and ended up doing perfect on the real thing just as a result of doing the RC sections on the practice tests. I imagine you missed around that many so you're probably good to go.

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Twitch
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Re: Kaplan books

Postby Twitch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:38 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
thevuch wrote:get the trainer. it may be all you need. it covers LG LR and RC pretty good but to supplement

but for LR id go manhattan
and for LG id go blueprint. i think its a lot better than the PS LG bible.

and for RC, do every single RC passage ever. twice.


The point of the bolded is that the only way to be good at the reading section is to actually be good at reading. If you're already good at reading then the repetition is unnecessary. I missed I think 4 RC questions on my first diagnostic and ended up doing perfect on the real thing just as a result of doing the RC sections on the practice tests. I imagine you missed around that many so you're probably good to go.



Yeah, I missed 3 on the diagnostic and have missed as few as 2 PTing since then. I'm very confident in my ability there. My greatest weakness is LG, but I hear it's the easiest to improve, so I'm not stressing it. I'm not planning to drill RC, just consider my RC studying whatever I do on PTs, unless I see some crazy drop for some reason.




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