LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

 
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Jay Phatsby
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LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby Jay Phatsby » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:09 am

Did anyone out there use one of these classes? How did it help u?

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LawandOrder
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby LawandOrder » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:10 am

Waste of time and money. Self-study and focus on the areas that you need to improve on, not what a generic curriculum thinks you should be focusing on.

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Cleareyes
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby Cleareyes » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:12 am

I think it really depends what kind of learner you are, how self-motivated, and what your initial diagnostic score is. I know a fair number of people who believe they raised their score more via a class than they could have just studying on their own.

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teaadntoast
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby teaadntoast » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:14 am

Try self-study first.

If you find that you're not improving at all after at least a month of sustained effort it might be worth looking into private tutoring or a prep class.

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bluejayk
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby bluejayk » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:04 pm

I like how "other" is the leading vote getter so far. This is such a subjective question about what your needs are and what your resources are. No one else's answer will really mean anything to you. If you have billions of dollars, sign up for a classis. If you don't like it, you can leave and forget about it. If you're flat broke, it's not really an option anyway. If you're in the middle, your answer is somewhere in the middle. Some people do fine on their own, some people need the motivation that comes with a class (or at least that's what some people claim, I don't understand this and question how these people find the motivation to wipe their own ass much less study for the single most important academic event in their lives).

Personally, I self-studied to a 170. If I had plenty of extra cash lying around and a time machine, I'd probably do Testmasters or maybe Powerscore because there are a few techniques and approaches I never really thought of myself which have improved my efficiency (friend of mine took the TM class, let me look at all his materials). On the other hand, I don't think I'd enjoy spending 8 hours a week in a class of 20 people, 5 of whom still can't figure out the difference between necessary and sufficient after a month of class.

tj1320
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby tj1320 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:11 pm

LOL I'm just now getting a good handle on conditional reasoning.

Anyway, I'll be self-prepping AND taking a course. That is why I voted "other". The course is through PowerScore and all of my self-prep materials are through them as well. The class is from 5/5-6/4 so I'll be doing it along with pithypike's study guide. I'm hoping to go from an initial cold, NO PREP diagnostic of 140 to a 155 in June. A 155 and my GPA should easily get me into my target school.

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Jay Phatsby
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby Jay Phatsby » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:35 am

bluejayk wrote:I like how "other" is the leading vote getter so far. This is such a subjective question about what your needs are and what your resources are. No one else's answer will really mean anything to you. If you have billions of dollars, sign up for a classis. If you don't like it, you can leave and forget about it. If you're flat broke, it's not really an option anyway. If you're in the middle, your answer is somewhere in the middle. Some people do fine on their own, some people need the motivation that comes with a class (or at least that's what some people claim, I don't understand this and question how these people find the motivation to wipe their own ass much less study for the single most important academic event in their lives).

Personally, I self-studied to a 170. If I had plenty of extra cash lying around and a time machine, I'd probably do Testmasters or maybe Powerscore because there are a few techniques and approaches I never really thought of myself which have improved my efficiency (friend of mine took the TM class, let me look at all his materials). On the other hand, I don't think I'd enjoy spending 8 hours a week in a class of 20 people, 5 of whom still can't figure out the difference between necessary and sufficient after a month of class.


wise advice

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iwakeboard
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby iwakeboard » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:45 am

I think the "How to Score a 160+ on the LSAT" (not the exact name, but it is a sticky on this forum) thread really highlights the best methods of preparation, and few of them include a class.

This is a subjective question, which is really based on the ability to comprehend within the individual asking the question. I know a girl who goes to UT Law who scored a 168 and she took a Kaplan class alongside every practice test. She said, in hindsight, the "secret" to scoring high on the LSAT is practice and she wouldn't have taken the class if it didn't keep her on a regiment. If you are motivated enough by yourself to practice hard, regularly, then you may not need the class. Just go pick up the LRB/LGB, every PT, and hit it hard. I scored a 147 without any prep in Dec '06 and I'm retaking with self study and I'm on the verge of averaging 160.

Good luck in your studies.

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chewdak
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby chewdak » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:43 am

bluejayk wrote:I like how "other" is the leading vote getter so far. This is such a subjective question about what your needs are and what your resources are. No one else's answer will really mean anything to you. If you have billions of dollars, sign up for a classis. If you don't like it, you can leave and forget about it. If you're flat broke, it's not really an option anyway. If you're in the middle, your answer is somewhere in the middle. Some people do fine on their own, some people need the motivation that comes with a class (or at least that's what some people claim, I don't understand this and question how these people find the motivation to wipe their own ass much less study for the single most important academic event in their lives).

Personally, I self-studied to a 170. If I had plenty of extra cash lying around and a time machine, I'd probably do Testmasters or maybe Powerscore because there are a few techniques and approaches I never really thought of myself which have improved my efficiency (friend of mine took the TM class, let me look at all his materials). On the other hand, I don't think I'd enjoy spending 8 hours a week in a class of 20 people, 5 of whom still can't figure out the difference between necessary and sufficient after a month of class.

what are the techniques and approaches you mention?

b32
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby b32 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:53 am

I took princeton review.. the only thing they somewhat help with is LG.. other than that I think it was a complete waste of money.. I bought the powerscore bibles and thats raised my score 18pts so far and still improving on timing so theres room to improve my score

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gst
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby gst » Fri May 01, 2009 7:16 am

I'm taking the powerscore class currently.

Usefulness of the classes really depends on where you are right now.
For one thing, if you haven't attempted to study on your own and have the time, try to get yourself on a schedule, get some books and study away.

I simply could not get myself to focus on my own, so I essentially dropped like a 1000$ to keep myself on a schedule and force myself to work. For those purposes though, I'd honestly say it is working well. There is an implicit pressure to finish the work for the class which makes you go through everything in more detail than most normally would.
I don't think I ever would have sat down on my own to do 100LR questions, 10 games sections, and 10 RC by a set deadline. But the class pleasantly pressures me to do so.

With that said, I do believe that every class offered is geared towards the average scorer. If you take some diagnostics and score in the high 160s/low170s, a class could certainly fine tune your strategies and give you an in depth understanding of the test. But you will also spend a lot of class time working through stuff that you could have gotten just fine on your own and it may prove frustrating. A class can bring you from 150 to 160 much better than from 160 to 170, IMO.

So, if you are either completely lost on the lsat or just need the structure and discipline of a course (and you feel like you can drop the cash), I would consider a course.
But there is no reason that you cannot pick up some good books and study on your own successfully (and cheaply!)

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ruleser
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby ruleser » Fri May 01, 2009 8:23 am

I'll know better once I take a couple more PT's, but I think the class (PowerScore) has really helped in areas I didn't realize were issues - I know LG's I need to get better at, and I still have that issue a bit, but I thought I was solid at LR because I finish early and they seem simple, but the reality is I kept getting -10 between the two LR sections - now I'm beginning to understand why I think, tricky wording/not meaning exactly what it sounds. I used to finish LR and think, "I don't think I got any wrong in that" and then have 4-5 wrong and wonder WTH. Now I did a mass of 50 questions and actually got them all right.

I think the teacher maybe dictates how useful, and I think I have a very good teacher.

kate85
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby kate85 » Fri May 01, 2009 9:46 am

I'm going to second gst and rulesr. I'm currently taking a Powerscore class and it's definitely helping me. I'll admit that I'm one of those people who take the class for some structure. I had been trying to self study but really wasn't doing an effective job. Powerscore has definitely helped me direct my studying and learn what's important for the test. I also really like my teacher so that probably has something to do with it. Honestly, it keeps me from getting overwhelmed which happened when I was self-studying because I didn't really know where to start so I would just do a half-ass job. Sometimes in class we go slowly for some people and I get frustrated because it's not that hard! At the same time, the thorough analysis of the stuff we have gone over in class has really helped me understand why not only the correct answers are right, but also why the incorrect answers are wrong, which is important. In terms of cost, I'm lucky in the fact that my parents wanted me to take the course so they're paying. If not, I probably wouldn't have shelled out the $1200.

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ame05d
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby ame05d » Fri May 01, 2009 9:54 am

everyone i know who has taken a prep class has done worse than me.... Also, I bought a kaplan book to study w/ and it was AWFUL. The whole book was ridden with grammatical and spelling errors, and sometimes their answers to things were just blatantly wrong or they would give you the letter answer i.e. "C" then give you an explanation for a different answer. I threw the book away.... I can't imagine what the actual Kaplan course would be like. I bought the Barrons 2009 LSAT prep and it helped me tremendously. I picked it up 3 weeks before the test and studied everyday and got a 162... not a 170 or anything, but if you truly put effort into it I think self prep is the way to go.

Then again, if you have someone out there who is willing to pay for it, I guess it couldn't hurt.

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bluejayk
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby bluejayk » Fri May 01, 2009 11:17 am

chewdak wrote:what are the techniques and approaches you mention?


Mostly logic games stuff. Like interchangeability, when two variables have identical restrictions or no restrictions at all. That can help eliminate some answers on certain games, I never would have picked up on that myself. Some diagramming techniques. Mostly just a bunch of small tips that I didn't figure out on my own or didn't find in the PS Bible. However, I'm much weaker in games than the typical TLS 170 scorers, I got -5 on games due to timing issues on the real test. It seems a lot of people get everything they need for games out of the PS Bible. Oh, also, I like TM's approach on parallel reasoning questions for LR, though I don't really know if that's any different from the LR Bible, which I didn't really like, and didn't read completely.

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UFMike
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby UFMike » Fri May 01, 2009 11:48 am

I took the testmasters class and found it to be fantastic. I would highly recommend it to anyone about to study for the LSAT. Yes it is expensive. Yes it is a time big sink for almost a semester. However, four hours worth of a single exam has as large of an influence on your application as did four years worth of college. Why would you not put yourself in the best possible situation that you can?

The benefit (and problem) of the testmasters course is that they move painfully slow on most of the material forcing you to learn every nuance of the exam. I doubt many people could move that slowly during self study -- I know I wouldn't have. In my class, those that didn't do well with testmasters did not take the course seriously. It is real work -- 8 hours in class per week plus an additional 2-8 hours of homework per week. Some people thought that sitting in the class for 8 hours a week could serve as a substitution for the homework and self study. It cannot. You supplement the class with all of the homework to do well.

I started with self study and one of my friends convinced me to take the testmasters course. I am infinitely grateful to that friend. I was really happy with my LSAT score and was able to get into my reach school.

If you follow the testmasters course as directed (doing all of the extra boring homework and prepping for each class), I am quite sure that your score will improve relative to self study alone. If you are one of the few that can spend 10-15 hours a week going over basic LSAT principles for 2 months without just jumping to the exams, then maybe you would do well without testmasters. I don't think that most people would have the stamina for that.

Others may not agree. It's just my take. But if I had a time machine, I'd use it to go back and confirm that taking the testmasters course was worth it.

shuchong
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby shuchong » Sat May 02, 2009 10:36 am

I would do three or four practice tests cold before considering a prep course vs. self-prep. If you take them seriously and do them under test conditions, they'll tell you a lot about what you need to work on to get your score up.

A lot of people really benefit from prep courses. After taking a few practice tests, I felt like I wouldn't be one of those people. I was getting 0-2 RC and 0-2 LR questions wrong on my first few practice tests. Games, on the other hand, were a disaster. I figured that a course wasn't worth it, since there was clearly one section I needed to work on, whereas a course would have had me going through all three equally.

I also feel like, if you test cold around a 170, you can probably raise your score into the higher 170s via self-prep. When you're only getting a few questions wrong per test, it's easy to go through your missed questions, identify patterns, and work on the type of questions that are giving you trouble. That's what I did to study for the RC and LR sections of the test.

I was very happy with my score on test day, I was happy with the amount of money I spent on LSAT prep (about $150 on Amazon for preptests), and I was glad to be able to write "no" on the Yale application question that asks whether or not you've taken an LSAT prep course.

lastmanstandinpj
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Re: LSAT Prep Classes...Worth it, or not? vs. Self Prep

Postby lastmanstandinpj » Sat May 02, 2009 10:40 am

LawandOrder wrote:Waste of time and money. Self-study and focus on the areas that you need to improve on, not what a generic curriculum thinks you should be focusing on.



My score went up 16 points from my first practice test. It's certainly not a waste of time. The prep course I took improved my skills on the LSAT tremendously.




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