« on: February 24, 2006, 01:37:42 AM »
warning #1) I now work for Kaplan (I'm in training)
warning #2) I didn't bother to read the whole thread
I just wanted to mention that it seems like a lot of the things people talk trash on Kaplan about are things of the past (ie "they don't use real questions" or "the course is too short"). The curriculum has changed quite a bit in the past few years (they update it every year, and 2006 was a substantial update), and currently they not only use real LSAT questions, but if you take the course and do all the homework/workbooks you will see every single LSAT question that you can possibly get from LSAC (ie every Q from preptests 1-50 or whatever it is). I also think that Kaplan's current curriculum is truly excellent. They are by far the biggest test prep company out there, and thus pump a ton of money into their curriculum. I've seen much of Testmaster's stuff, and I can honestly say that I am not nearly as impressed by it as I am by Kaplan's....think about it...Testmasters is pretty much Robin Singh and a few others creating this supposedly incredible method...Kaplan is this huge corporation w/ lots and lots of money and about 30 people overhauling the course every year who are all complete LSAT nerds (my trainer is one of them).
Anyways...for what it's worth I think Kaplan is great...they have by far the best "higher score gaurantee" in the business....I would say the key is that you really have to buy into the methods and go all out...if you just use their methods half way, and don't practice them a ton then you'll get the right answers using them but probably go fairly slow and won't do very well (as opposed to if you practice a ton then you'll have them down and move quickly, stil getting the answers). Also...Kaplan does have some really cool stuff like the fact that you can go down to the center and take any LSAT (1-50) anytime you want...you can then enter your answers into a computer, get your score instantly, and get detailed explanations for every single question on every test.....in addition, they also have by far the best online tools and their course is very integrated w/ the online stuff.
Kaplan's weakpoint compared to others is almost certainly its teachers. Testmasters requires a 172 and pays $50/hr....Kaplan requires a 163 and pays $20-30/hr. Its sort of a no brainer which one will attract better teachers. However, that pretty much speaks to the minimum qualities required in a teacher....that doesn't mean that all Kaplan teachers are 163'ers. In fact, most if not everyone at the center I work at scored 17X on the real test, and after teaching the courses and becoming very familiar with the test and whatnot they are high 17Xers. There are undoubtedly dud teachers, but they'll usually get weeded out fairly quickly. I would talk to people who've gone there and find out who the good teachers are...I think most centers have at least 2 or 3 teachers, so find out who the best one is, go all out practicing the methods and you will definitely see a large increase in your score.
As a side note...when I took the test I prepped using Nova's along w/ lots of full length practice tests and if you're on a tight budget it's definitely a good option, however to compare what you learn in that book with what you get from Kaplan's course is in my mind ridiculous...they are not in the same realm at all.
If anybody has specific Kaplan Q's, PM me.