How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

AReasonableMan
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How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:14 pm

Most people who have LSAT tutored have encountered the challenge of inspiring some of their students to take practice tests. I often try to work around their needs and only schedule about 10 or so questions a week with the forewarning that this amount of practice outside of lessons is insufficient for tremendous score gains. There are just too many question types/game types. I've found that over a prolonged period even 15-20 minutes of prep week can get 10 point gains, and have had success with incentives (such as gift certificates, etc.) However, there's only so many $50 barnes and noble certificates you could tangibly give.

I've considered the idea of proctors, but am very queasy about hiring random proctors off the computer. Unlike people going to law school, an average joe willing to travel for $15/hour is likely to sketchy and impose risks on both the student and myself. On the other hand, it's a rip off to charge a student a tutoring rate to proctor tests. The idea of stopping work with a student creates conflict and upsets them. Any other ideas?

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DCfilterDC
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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby DCfilterDC » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:19 pm

Serious question, if these tutees can't even get motivated enough to take a PT, what makes them think they'd be a good fit for law school or the legal field?

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:27 pm

DCfilterDC wrote:Serious question, if these tutees can't even get motivated enough to take a PT, what makes them think they'd be a good fit for law school or the legal field?

I've found there's a difference between working hard at work and working hard on a practicing for the LSAT. Psychologically, the rewards once you're working are much more tangible and immediate. The rewards for studying for the LSAT are less certain, harder to ascertain a financial value to and distant. I think if the LSAT instead tested knowledge of cases/applying laws you'd see people studying a lot more starting with lower scores. My experience is those with higher starting scores also study more.

Regarding the thing about water, that's all fine and good. It's perfectly ethical, but there is a higher standard that can be achieved. Sometimes I think it may be that being funny and relatively young may make it harder to get students to take orders. I just couldn't be the Full Metal Jacket drill sergeant without hating myself. Also it's relatively hard to find 40 year old LSAT tutors, and test takers prefer people they can relate to (though I'd never discriminate based on age - there's just such a small supply).

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DCfilterDC
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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby DCfilterDC » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:32 pm

I'm actually trying to help with some suggestions, but I don't really understand your OP. What do you mean by 10 questions a week? You only review 10 questions during all your tutor sessions every week? How many students are in these classes?

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RZ5646
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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby RZ5646 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:41 pm

The saddest part is their parents are probably paying you hundreds or thousands and they can't even be bothered to do the work and take advantage of their expensive private tutoring opportunity. Some people are so ungrateful.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Blueprint Ben » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:44 pm

Kindly remind them that practice is the only part of their prep that has any chance of improving their score. They're wasting time and money if they don't put in the work. Nothing will come of nothing. I think students need drill sergeants more than they need people to explain concepts to them (of course, they all need both to some degree). The methods take about 15 minutes tops to explain, but many many hours of drilling to actually internalize.

If they don't get that message, or they think learning methods alone will get them to their target score, then you need to have that conversation and be direct about it. Also, I'd be very surprised to learn that a drilling rate of 10 questions per week ever helped anyone make a 10 point jump. That's effectively nothing. Don't work around their schedule. Tell them that they need to work their schedule around the LSAT. Give them concrete and serious prep goals. Something like 75-100 LR, 12-16 games, and 12-16 RC passages per day at the peak of the drilling phase. If they do even half of that, they'll be in a position to make some tangible gains. If they do none of it, at least they'll feel the guilt of neglecting their studying, and they'll understand why they aren't making any progress.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Shakawkaw » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:01 pm

DCfilterDC wrote:Serious question, if these tutees can't even get motivated enough to take a PT, what makes them think they'd be a good fit for law school or the legal field?

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AReasonableMan
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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:24 pm

DCfilterDC wrote:I'm actually trying to help with some suggestions, but I don't really understand your OP. What do you mean by 10 questions a week? You only review 10 questions during all your tutor sessions every week? How many students are in these classes?

I'm speaking about work assigned during the week between sessions (self studying time Monday-Saturday for a Sunday student). Many students do work, but many don't and I have had a lot of success helping students improve in the double digit range. However, I've never been able to inspire someone who starts off by doing 1 hour a week of work to do 10 hours a week of work. This is really key to their improvement.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Blueprint Ben » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:34 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:I'm actually trying to help with some suggestions, but I don't really understand your OP. What do you mean by 10 questions a week? You only review 10 questions during all your tutor sessions every week? How many students are in these classes?

I'm speaking about work assigned during the week between sessions (self studying time Monday-Saturday for a Sunday student). Many students do work, but many don't and I have had a lot of success helping students improve in the double digit range. However, I've never been able to inspire someone who starts off by doing 1 hour a week of work to do 10 hours a week of work. This is really key to their improvement.

Yeah, this is not a serious prep schedule. You can't study for the LSAT effectively with only 1 hour of prep a week. Even 10 hours/week is on the low end. You have to explain to your students that the LSAT is a major time commitment, and they probably shouldn't be studying at all until they can carve at least 15 hours/week out of their schedule for drilling, PTing, and reviewing on their own.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Shakawkaw » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:41 pm

BP Ben wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:I'm actually trying to help with some suggestions, but I don't really understand your OP. What do you mean by 10 questions a week? You only review 10 questions during all your tutor sessions every week? How many students are in these classes?

I'm speaking about work assigned during the week between sessions (self studying time Monday-Saturday for a Sunday student). Many students do work, but many don't and I have had a lot of success helping students improve in the double digit range. However, I've never been able to inspire someone who starts off by doing 1 hour a week of work to do 10 hours a week of work. This is really key to their improvement.

Yeah, this is not a serious prep schedule. You really can't study for the LSAT effectively with only 1 hour of prep a week. Even 10 hours/week is on the low end. You have to explain to your students that the LSAT is a major time commitment, and they probably shouldn't be studying at all until they can carve at least 15 hours/week out of their schedule for drilling, PTing, and reviewing on their own.


I mean, I wouldn't even waste your time explaining the time commitment portion. The results on PTs should speak for themselves and hopefully make it clear that they aren't taking it at seriously as they should be. I think the problem with most people starting out in their prep is that they haven't fully internalized the type of test the LSAT is and what a "good score" should be. This isn't me trying to diminish people's goal scores, or anything. However, it should take a couple of kicks in the tush before they understand the importance of it and why they need to try harder. This is also what happens with retakers, in my experience.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:51 pm

Shakawkaw wrote:
BP Ben wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:I'm actually trying to help with some suggestions, but I don't really understand your OP. What do you mean by 10 questions a week? You only review 10 questions during all your tutor sessions every week? How many students are in these classes?

I'm speaking about work assigned during the week between sessions (self studying time Monday-Saturday for a Sunday student). Many students do work, but many don't and I have had a lot of success helping students improve in the double digit range. However, I've never been able to inspire someone who starts off by doing 1 hour a week of work to do 10 hours a week of work. This is really key to their improvement.

Yeah, this is not a serious prep schedule. You really can't study for the LSAT effectively with only 1 hour of prep a week. Even 10 hours/week is on the low end. You have to explain to your students that the LSAT is a major time commitment, and they probably shouldn't be studying at all until they can carve at least 15 hours/week out of their schedule for drilling, PTing, and reviewing on their own.


I mean, I wouldn't even waste your time explaining the time commitment portion. The results on PTs should speak for themselves and hopefully make it clear that they aren't taking it at seriously as they should be. I think the problem with most people starting out in their prep is that they haven't fully internalized the type of test the LSAT is and what a "good score" should be. This isn't me trying to diminish people's goal scores, or anything. However, it should take a couple of kicks in the tush before they understand the importance of it and why they need to try harder. This is also what happens with retakers, in my experience.

I guess one result could be raising prices, and having an option with a score improvement or money back guarantee that would require high payment upfront and completing x amount of proctored tests. I just dk if smaller companies could do that. If I told you the # of "I'm scoring a 130/135/140. Could you help me get a 150 in time for the test next week?" emails I get you wouldn't believe me (I stopped taking these students once I learned of where exactly a 150 gets somebody).

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Blueprint Ben » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:55 pm

Shakawkaw wrote:I mean, I wouldn't even waste your time explaining the time commitment portion. The results on PTs should speak for themselves and hopefully make it clear that they aren't taking it at seriously as they should be. I think the problem with most people starting out in their prep is that they haven't fully internalized the type of test the LSAT is and what a "good score" should be. This isn't me trying to diminish people's goal scores, or anything. However, it should take a couple of kicks in the tush before they understand the importance of it and why they need to try harder. This is also what happens with retakers, in my experience.

Of course, if they're not taking PTs, then your point is moot. But in general, I agree.

Done right, each PT is about a 6-8 hour time commitment. 3 hours and 10 mins to take the test and at least another 3-5 hours of review. A normal prep schedule should involve at least 2 PTs per week -- and that's just two days. The other 5 days should consist of 2-3 hours of drilling/review each day. So that's a range of 16-31 hours per week. Give your students those numbers upfront, the first time you meet with them. If they absolutely can't commit that kind of time right now, then they should postpone, rearrange their commitments, and make time for the LSAT.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Smallville » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:35 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:
Shakawkaw wrote:
BP Ben wrote:Yeah, this is not a serious prep schedule. You really can't study for the LSAT effectively with only 1 hour of prep a week. Even 10 hours/week is on the low end. You have to explain to your students that the LSAT is a major time commitment, and they probably shouldn't be studying at all until they can carve at least 15 hours/week out of their schedule for drilling, PTing, and reviewing on their own.


I mean, I wouldn't even waste your time explaining the time commitment portion. The results on PTs should speak for themselves and hopefully make it clear that they aren't taking it at seriously as they should be. I think the problem with most people starting out in their prep is that they haven't fully internalized the type of test the LSAT is and what a "good score" should be. This isn't me trying to diminish people's goal scores, or anything. However, it should take a couple of kicks in the tush before they understand the importance of it and why they need to try harder. This is also what happens with retakers, in my experience.

I guess one result could be raising prices, and having an option with a score improvement or money back guarantee that would require high payment upfront and completing x amount of proctored tests. I just dk if smaller companies could do that. If I told you the # of "I'm scoring a 130/135/140. Could you help me get a 150 in time for the test next week?" emails I get you wouldn't believe me (I stopped taking these students once I learned of where exactly a 150 gets somebody).

it's a business and unfortunately being a profitable business and being perfect with pleasing people/not taking money for nothing doesnt always go together. If you think you can survive charging higher prices while offering a money back (if they complete all the given work) then go for it, if not then you may just have to come with terms that people are willing to throw away their money for help that they arnt taking full advantage of. If you make it very clear the results are dependent on the work being put in there's not much else you can do except tutor for free or just not take on/keep tutoring these type of students imo

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Louis1127 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:29 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:Serious question, if these tutees can't even get motivated enough to take a PT, what makes them think they'd be a good fit for law school or the legal field?

I've found there's a difference between working hard at work and working hard on a practicing for the LSAT. Psychologically, the rewards once you're working are much more tangible and immediate. The rewards for studying for the LSAT are less certain, harder to ascertain a financial value to and distant.

One could argue working towards something that does not yield immediate results shows the dedication and maturity needed to be a good lawyer.

I am a 0L, but I don't think many lawyers would call their job piss easy- there's something about their job that's hard- the hours, unreasonable clients, something that makes it hard, I'm sure.

Edit to conclude what I;m trying to say: I agree that if someone doesn't have the dedication and maturity to take PTs, then they likely don't have what this tough profession requires (and obviously, I am having to infer on the part about the toughness).

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:54 pm

Louis1127 wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:Serious question, if these tutees can't even get motivated enough to take a PT, what makes them think they'd be a good fit for law school or the legal field?

I've found there's a difference between working hard at work and working hard on a practicing for the LSAT. Psychologically, the rewards once you're working are much more tangible and immediate. The rewards for studying for the LSAT are less certain, harder to ascertain a financial value to and distant.

One could argue working towards something that does not yield immediate results shows the dedication and maturity needed to be a good lawyer.

I am a 0L, but I don't think many lawyers would call their job piss easy- there's something about their job that's hard- the hours, unreasonable clients, something that makes it hard, I'm sure.

Edit to conclude what I;m trying to say: I agree that if someone doesn't have the dedication and maturity to take PTs, then they likely don't have what this tough profession requires (and obviously, I am having to infer on the part about the toughness).

I'm not disagreeing with you.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:36 pm

Smallville wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:
Shakawkaw wrote:
BP Ben wrote:Yeah, this is not a serious prep schedule. You really can't study for the LSAT effectively with only 1 hour of prep a week. Even 10 hours/week is on the low end. You have to explain to your students that the LSAT is a major time commitment, and they probably shouldn't be studying at all until they can carve at least 15 hours/week out of their schedule for drilling, PTing, and reviewing on their own.


I mean, I wouldn't even waste your time explaining the time commitment portion. The results on PTs should speak for themselves and hopefully make it clear that they aren't taking it at seriously as they should be. I think the problem with most people starting out in their prep is that they haven't fully internalized the type of test the LSAT is and what a "good score" should be. This isn't me trying to diminish people's goal scores, or anything. However, it should take a couple of kicks in the tush before they understand the importance of it and why they need to try harder. This is also what happens with retakers, in my experience.

I guess one result could be raising prices, and having an option with a score improvement or money back guarantee that would require high payment upfront and completing x amount of proctored tests. I just dk if smaller companies could do that. If I told you the # of "I'm scoring a 130/135/140. Could you help me get a 150 in time for the test next week?" emails I get you wouldn't believe me (I stopped taking these students once I learned of where exactly a 150 gets somebody).

it's a business and unfortunately being a profitable business and being perfect with pleasing people/not taking money for nothing doesnt always go together. If you think you can survive charging higher prices while offering a money back (if they complete all the given work) then go for it, if not then you may just have to come with terms that people are willing to throw away their money for help that they arnt taking full advantage of. If you make it very clear the results are dependent on the work being put in there's not much else you can do except tutor for free or just not take on/keep tutoring these type of students imo

Honestly once you're in the dollar a minute range, which you have to be if you are training and paying tutors, I haven't found I've gained business being 1/2 the price of the other companies. We're still being compared with them quality wise, and people only go with us because the locations match up/prefer our tutor/are referred. On the other hand charging more shuts us off to financially disadvantaged individuals. I used to have an apply for a scholarship option if you could display financial hardship and some kind of promise, but obviously everyone applies for that. Psychologically, people don't want to pay full price once they see an option for less than full price. It was also tricky doing it because we'd get students with low incomes who lived in very expensive suburbs (presumably subsidized by their parents).

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romothesavior
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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby romothesavior » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:39 pm

Each point on the LSAT could potentially translate into tens of thousands of dollars. A small handful of points translates to double or triple the odds of a six figure income.

If those facts don't motivate them, then they're either lazy or they're morons, or both.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Strangely Appealing » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:02 pm

What do you think would happen if you waited to give them their assignments until the Friday or Saturday before their sessions with you?

You'd do this by phone or an email that requires a response from them. Giving them fresh contact with you would be focusing and energizing to a degree that merely posting the information somewhere for them to retrieve would not be.

They'd know when they sign up with you that Friday or Saturday night funzees are off if they don't devote some daylight hours to their future - but then they're done with it for a week. Relief, accomplishment, freedom, and then comes Sunday praise.

Got students who work the weekends? Give them their assignments Thursday and have them email you some non-fake-able result on Friday. Respond to those emails with see-you-Sunday so they know they've connected.

Short deadlines are simply easier to meet than long ones because for everybody not plagued by OCD, procrastination is state-of-nature. The week's other pressures and diversions can handily win out over best intentions, especially when the motivator - the Real Life LSAT - isn't imminent.

Your biggest obstacle, imho, is that you're working with a population that's done well enough on every other standardized test they've taken. Telling them that the LSAT is unlike any other test can inform them without motivating them because their past experience tells them they'll do all right.

Edit: And y'know what? They're not prepping for a test; they're growing a part of their brains. By the time they've taken the LSAT, they'll be thinking in a new and powerful way that will serve them the rest of their lives. They will be able to dominate all inferior beings and manipulate global wealth flows with their thoughts.... Erm, I mean, maybe you can help them realize that they're working to learn something other than just test-taking (which is why weekly exercise of said part of brain is necessary) and that the payoff is bigger than a numerical score.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby AReasonableMan » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:41 am

Strangely Appealing wrote:What do you think would happen if you waited to give them their assignments until the Friday or Saturday before their sessions with you?

You'd do this by phone or an email that requires a response from them. Giving them fresh contact with you would be focusing and energizing to a degree that merely posting the information somewhere for them to retrieve would not be.

They'd know when they sign up with you that Friday or Saturday night funzees are off if they don't devote some daylight hours to their future - but then they're done with it for a week. Relief, accomplishment, freedom, and then comes Sunday praise.

Got students who work the weekends? Give them their assignments Thursday and have them email you some non-fake-able result on Friday. Respond to those emails with see-you-Sunday so they know they've connected.

Short deadlines are simply easier to meet than long ones because for everybody not plagued by OCD, procrastination is state-of-nature. The week's other pressures and diversions can handily win out over best intentions, especially when the motivator - the Real Life LSAT - isn't imminent.

Your biggest obstacle, imho, is that you're working with a population that's done well enough on every other standardized test they've taken. Telling them that the LSAT is unlike any other test can inform them without motivating them because their past experience tells them they'll do all right.

Edit: And y'know what? They're not prepping for a test; they're growing a part of their brains. By the time they've taken the LSAT, they'll be thinking in a new and powerful way that will serve them the rest of their lives. They will be able to dominate all inferior beings and manipulate global wealth flows with their thoughts.... Erm, I mean, maybe you can help them realize that they're working to learn something other than just test-taking (which is why weekly exercise of said part of brain is necessary) and that the payoff is bigger than a numerical score.

This is a smart idea. I'm going to experiment with assigning work a few days later. Not all of this population has aced the LSAT. Many have gotten scores in percentiles that line up with their LSAT, but while there really is a college for everyone that's obviously not the case with law schools.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Strangely Appealing » Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:06 am

AReasonableMan wrote:This is a smart idea. I'm going to experiment with assigning work a few days later. Not all of this population has aced the LSAT. Many have gotten scores in percentiles that line up with their LSAT, but while there really is a college for everyone that's obviously not the case with law schools.


It would work on me, that's all I can say. One of the best things I ever did for myself was wrangle a newspaper job straight out of ugrad. Daily deadlines and a terrifying metro editor taught me to prioritize and focus on results like nothing else ever could. I shifted to part-time on a weekly once I needed to go back to studying, and those weekly deadlines were hard by comparison.

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby Smallville » Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:27 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:
Strangely Appealing wrote:What do you think would happen if you waited to give them their assignments until the Friday or Saturday before their sessions with you?

You'd do this by phone or an email that requires a response from them. Giving them fresh contact with you would be focusing and energizing to a degree that merely posting the information somewhere for them to retrieve would not be.

They'd know when they sign up with you that Friday or Saturday night funzees are off if they don't devote some daylight hours to their future - but then they're done with it for a week. Relief, accomplishment, freedom, and then comes Sunday praise.

Got students who work the weekends? Give them their assignments Thursday and have them email you some non-fake-able result on Friday. Respond to those emails with see-you-Sunday so they know they've connected.

Short deadlines are simply easier to meet than long ones because for everybody not plagued by OCD, procrastination is state-of-nature. The week's other pressures and diversions can handily win out over best intentions, especially when the motivator - the Real Life LSAT - isn't imminent.

Your biggest obstacle, imho, is that you're working with a population that's done well enough on every other standardized test they've taken. Telling them that the LSAT is unlike any other test can inform them without motivating them because their past experience tells them they'll do all right.

Edit: And y'know what? They're not prepping for a test; they're growing a part of their brains. By the time they've taken the LSAT, they'll be thinking in a new and powerful way that will serve them the rest of their lives. They will be able to dominate all inferior beings and manipulate global wealth flows with their thoughts.... Erm, I mean, maybe you can help them realize that they're working to learn something other than just test-taking (which is why weekly exercise of said part of brain is necessary) and that the payoff is bigger than a numerical score.

This is a smart idea. I'm going to experiment with assigning work a few days later. Not all of this population has aced the LSAT. Many have gotten scores in percentiles that line up with their LSAT, but while there really is a college for everyone that's obviously not the case with law schools.

this seems to only solve half(if that) of the issue. It may motivate them to get that little bit of work in over those few days you gave but what about the other days? Are they supposed to just have half a week off and then do some problems only in the last few days before the next meet up? sounds a little silly unless you plan on doing it throughout the week multiple times so they get in some sort of work

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landshoes
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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby landshoes » Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:10 pm

Consider charging tutoring rates to proctor practice tests, have it as part of a deluxe package where you bring the test to them, proctor it like it's a real LSAT, possibly arrange to do it at the test site...add some value beyond just sitting there. Additionally, suggest that if they don't want to pay you to proctor they can save a significant amount of money by doing the PTs independently. That will put PTs firmly in their heads as a necessary part of the whole prep package.

Edited for spelling

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Re: How To Encourage Students To Take Prep Tests

Postby gatesome » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:35 pm

you've got to want it




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