Law School Discussion

Test-Prep LSATs v. Real LSATs

MindTheGap76

  • ****
  • 1794
  • UChicago Alum ('08)
    • View Profile
    • Email
Test-Prep LSATs v. Real LSATs
« on: April 10, 2004, 04:18:19 PM »
I've been taking practice LSATs out of the "10 Actual, Official LSATs" book and have been scoring very well.  However, I have also taken practice LSATs offered by the Princeton Review and Kaplan and have scored significantly lower (see below for specific details).  I am thinking there are two possible explanations for this, and I was wondering if anyone had any insight on which is correct:

1)  The Princeton/Kaplan tests are substantially more difficult than normal tests; this is to scare students so that when they get their grades back, they are more likely to sign up for the prep-courses.  Then when they take an actual LSAT, and their grade increases, Princeton/Kaplan can say "look how much you improved from our course!"

2)  The practice tests in the "10 Actual, Official LSAT" book are from the early 90s; the LSAT has gotten significantly more difficult in the 10 years since then.  The Princeton/Kaplan tests reflect this increase in dfficulty, while my outdated practice tests do not.

Anyone have any ideas about this?

Also, for the curious here are my exact scores:

First 4 prep-tests in LSAT book - 180, 175, 171, 175, 176 (the 171 happened at the end of a long week, when I hadn't gotten much sleep, and I made many careless errors).

Kaplan/Princeton tests - 169, 169

zpops

  • ****
  • 773
  • Going to NYU in the fall! 3.99/175
    • AOL Instant Messenger - zp0ps
    • View Profile
    • The Digital Rant
    • Email
Re: Test-Prep LSATs v. Real LSATs
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2004, 10:07:05 PM »
The tests in that book are really easy.  Newer tests are much more difficult, and from your scores you're obviously not going to benefit from practicing easy questions.  I don't know what test administration you're taking, but I reccomend buying every test from 32 up, and useing them for practice.  The only benefit you'll derive from the older tests is the chance to practice older logic games types, which are making a resurgence on the test.  Good luck with everything.  (BTW, first test I eve took was a kaplan diagnositic which I took totally cold, and scored a 167.  Then I went onto the 10 real actual lsats' and scored around where you are scoring, so don't worry, you're not unusual in that regard.)

MindTheGap76

  • ****
  • 1794
  • UChicago Alum ('08)
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Test-Prep LSATs v. Real LSATs
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2004, 11:15:17 PM »
Thanks for the response, that was my suspicion.  However, it might be worth noting that I also have the "10 More Official LSATs" book and have taken three tests out of it.  The first one was the first LSAT I had ever taken, and I got a 168 on it.  I then took the next two and scored around 177.  I didn't want to run out of recent tests, so I went and got the older book and have been exclusively practicing from it for awhile.  However, I just noticed that they have another volume coming out April 30, so I'll probably go back to the second book now that I'm not in any danger of running out of material.  My current plan is to take the June LSAT.  I am relieved to hear that you were getting scores similar to mine and ended up with a 175.

Out of interest, while I wait for the arrival of more recent tests, how are they "much more difficult"?  Are the overall questions harder or just the games?  Also, is the harder difficulty accounted for by a change in the grade scale?  Or are they essentially at the same 100-101 raw = 180?  In other words, when you switched from the older tests to the newer, did you have to "step up" your performance level to attain that same high score?

zpops

  • ****
  • 773
  • Going to NYU in the fall! 3.99/175
    • AOL Instant Messenger - zp0ps
    • View Profile
    • The Digital Rant
    • Email
Re: Test-Prep LSATs v. Real LSATs
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2004, 11:35:16 PM »
The only change is in the games.  Some people disagree with me, but I think reading comp and logical reasoning are the same on test 1 and test 38 (last practice test I was able to take before oct. 03 test).  The games simply got harder.  There isn't really much to say about it.  They dropped the easy process questions, made more games hybrids, and became fond of those tricky two column grouping games, where you get 4 or five conditional rules which could actually yild about 35 conlcusions, if you worked them all out.  And yes, the number of questions you need to answer correctly has gone down.  On my test administration, 2 questions wrong was a 180!  The best tip i can give you is to go over those older games though.  Although they're not difficult, they do require unique diagrams, and not being prepared can cost you.  If I'd practiced a few circular sequencing games, then I'd probably have scored a 179-80. . .