« on: February 20, 2004, 02:32:45 PM »
Lovin1L, that's not what I got from Kslaw's post, personally. I don't think most people see the LSAT as an "end all/be all" to performance in law school and being an attorney, but I do think a lot of people disregard or lessen the signifance/purpose of the LSAT and resent the exam--I saw this as being more like what Kslaw is saying, pointing out the role of the LSAT, and I basically agree.
I think the LSAT measures a bit more than simply your performance on it, though I'm sure it doesn't tell the complete--or even half--the story of performance in law school. I do, at least, see a relationship between the skills needed on the LSAT and the skills needed in being an attorney...and, from the help I've received in studying for the LSAT from current law students, some skills needed in law school. One law student helped me a little with the LR section by showing me something a professor taught at her law school, which she feels, had she known when she was taking the LSAT, could have helped her on the LR section. No, I'm not yet in law school, so I couldn't entirely know--fair enough. But, like you said, we're just discussing opinions. We're not claiming to know anything.
And, not to be mean, but it's a little funny that you're in law school and telling someone that they don't know what they are talking about simply because they aren't in law school, yet are making leaps about what someone is saying--the kind of interpretive leaps that, it seems, someone who is in law school would know a little bit better than to make. Kslaw wasn't just talking about the LSAT and law school--but that the test-taking doesn't just end with the LSAT and that, later on, more will be at stake based on tests (such as whether or not you'll even be able to practice law). Bottom line, one of these days, there's going to be a test you're going to HAVE to do well on.
And I dislike standardized tests, too, and see the biases--I feel that my SAT scores had little to do with how I did in college--but the one thing I do like about the LSAT is that I see it as being one of the few standardized tests that has more than a little relevance to the program you're trying to get into (but doesn't necessarily say that you'll do well or you won't, but logical/critical/analytical skills are there). It's an opinion--I might, in fact, find differently when I enter law school.
In terms of the biases of the LSAT mentioned by Fungoking...you know, I think just about every part of the admissions process is biased. People focus on the biases of the LSAT the most, though. But even Fungoking mentioned how the GPA is biased, without outright stating so, by showing how it can be affected by other things...such as did you have to work through college. And I, personally, have more of a problem with GPA than the LSAT, in terms of biases. Some law schools reward students who went to top undergraduate schools and punish students who went to lower-ranked schools in the index number, when it could easily be that the student from the lower-ranked undergraduate with a 4.0 truly is just as good as the student from the higher-ranked one with a 3.75 but just simply couldn't afford to go to that higher-ranked school or got a scholarship to the lower-ranked one. I feel like the legal profession is a one in which the doors to it are more open to students who have "more" than the ones with "less" because students with "more" CAN take prep courses, CAN go to the top undergraduate schools, CAN afford law school...and where you go to undergrad can affect to ease of your major and GPA (a lot of people feel that lower-ranked schools are easier, but what about "grade inflation" at those top undergraduateschools that are overly-represented in the number of students they send to top law schools??), taking a prep course can affect your LSAT score...I mean, people advise "take a prep course" as if everyone can do it--they can't. I can go on and on, but the point is that there are biases everywhere in the admissions process!
Finally--I actually don't see anything wrong with taking a prep course, if you can. The LSAT is not a test of innate ability. This is a test that most people basically learn, as long as the ability to learn it is there. Some people DO go in without studying and do well--not many, though. Everyone else studies prep material. If you're going to sit there and study "Cracking the LSAT" and "10 Actual, Official LSAT Preptests"...how is that THAT much different than taking a prep course? In prep courses, they familiarize you with the test by giving you strategies and practice questions. With "Cracking the LSAT" and "10 Actual..." you're doing the same thing. All you're doing is sharpening and/or learning some skills (and, to me, not really even "learning" but mainly "sharpening" because everything I've learned about the LSAT so far were things I knew already, on some level, but just needed them pointed out)...skills that even the people who naturally do well had to learn SOMEWHERE. There's nothing wrong with learning how to do this test and learning skills that help make a successful lawyer and a successful law student.
The distinguishing factor is that there are some people who just aren't going to be able to learn these! I saw it when I took Kaplan--there were people in that class who, no matter what they were taught or how many practice problems we did, were just not "getting it." I think the only way you shouldn't have a shot at law school, if it's something you want to do, is if you just can't learn the skills needed. There's nothing wrong with "job training." But there are people--you'll try to teach them how to dance, and they'll just never get it. It's not for them! The example about the engineers Kslaw gives--same thing.
And this is speaking more to those people who score so low that they can't get into ANY law school with their score and nothing seems to help. For example, Lovin1L said his/her score "sucked," but it was obviously good enough to get into a law school, when combined with the GPA. Obviously, getting a 146 does show that someone has the ability if there are schools that accept people with that score (and quite a few do)! There are people who score 165, get into a school and have to ask someone who scored a 157 for help in class repeatedly...it might not be that this person doesn't have what it takes to be an attorney--they might just be at the wrong school...or not studying enough...whatever! And that person with the 157 could have been a person who scored higher were it not for nerves or timing issues...again, whatever! There are so many things that come into play!