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Author Topic: PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?  (Read 1179 times)

Blair180

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PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?
« on: July 18, 2008, 11:16:31 AM »
POWERSCORE VS. TESTMASTERS VS. KAPLAN VS. PRINCETON REVIEW

Any thoughts on which one is the best? I've decided to go ahead an take one to keep me studying and focused. However, I'm not sure which one is regarded as "the best". Reviews online don't provide much insight so I decided to ask the experts--you all!! ;)
GPA: 3.88 LSAT: 160

Sappho

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Re: PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2008, 09:30:45 PM »
I can only tell you about my experience with KAPLAN.  I don't know too much about the other areas, but have heard from reading this blog that Powerscore has been highly recommended in the past.

This was the first time I was taking a prep course.  I was worried I would not have time to prepare for the LSAT.  It turns out I wasted my time and money on the KAPLAN course.  The course I took met from February-early June, with taking the actual LSAT in June. 

While I scored a little higher than my diagnostic, it is still lower than the score I had envisioned myself earning. 

The "benefit" of the KAPLAN class was it gave me access to any and all exams offered up until June 2007 and a score explanation of each with a breakdown explanation using KAPLAN language.  And books, tons of books to practice on actual LSAT questions.  It is also good for people who like to learn the "basics" and like to learn slowly. 

The drawback is significant.  While I put lots of time and money into the program, in the end, it did not help me.  The highest I scored, even when following the methods (and still NOT getting the LGs), was 154.  I scored lower than that on the actual test.  The classroom itself was too slow and not much emphasis on logic game organization was provided.  This really ruined my score.

So I have changed my methods.  I don't plan to take the October test, as I am expecting a baby.  I am postponing applying to law school for a year so my husband and I can raise our child together.  But I do plan to start preparing for the February exam, and plan to use the practice tests from Kaplan, and using the Logic Games/Logic Reasoning Bibles, as I have been reading from many posts about these two as valuable score improvers.

That being said, I will say while Kaplan was good for the above mentioned items, in the end, it was not worth my time, money, or effort.  I plan to self study for the next LSAT, as I feel I can pace myself better and go faster on my own than with Kaplan. 
Law School 2011.
Took the LSAT twice.  Scored higher (thankfully) with the second test.
Special thank you to http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/ for the LSAT study guides.
Good luck with applications everyone!

1lstudent

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Re: PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2008, 01:19:22 AM »
I hear Testmasters is the best, but I have not tried them myself.  Powerscore is good also.  Powerscore tells you how to attack the test in a methodical way.  They are very practical, and that is why I like them.  For example, they even have a strategy on how to guess to earn the most points (e.g. if you are running out of time and need to guess on say the last 4 or 5 problems of a section, then mark all of the guessed answers with the same answer-it improves the probability you will get at least one right).

Julie Fern

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Re: PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2008, 09:09:35 AM »
yes, it always fault of "course."  never student.

snarkygirl

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Re: PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2008, 04:48:52 PM »
i found the kaplan course very valuable.  my intructor was smart and a very high scorer (178+).  she gave us a lot of insight into the test (and the application process in general) and talking with her made me a lot more comfortable on test day.  i felt like i had the "inside information" so i was more confident.  confidence is important, so in that respect it was very useful.

but....you have to study outside of class A LOT.  the course will give you the opportunity to learn the skills (very important for those of us who aren't naturals at logic games, for example) and practice with a lot of timed tests and quizzes.  but that won't help much if you don't study outside of class.  i took 60+ hours of vacation time from work to study, studied all weekend, every weekend, etc.  that was the most valuable part of my practice.


Julie Fern

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Re: PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2008, 04:53:36 PM »
that not very snarky.

EarlCat

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Re: PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2008, 02:54:36 PM »
A bad course is a waste of money.  A good course is a goldmine.  Do your homework on the instructor before you drop $409284092834 on a course.  And don't trust anyone who recommends a brand name without knowing who is teaching it.

EarlCat

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Re: PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2008, 02:14:39 AM »
Earlcat, you keep pushing this "the brand name means nothing, the instructor is the only thing that matters" argument on everybody. If the brand name means nothing, why do TM and PS have great reputations while Kaplan and PR have lousy ones?

It's called branding.  Why does Kaplan get so many more students than TM??  Popularity isn't everything. 

Can you tell me with a straight face that a brand-new PS instructor is going to give as good a class as another company's instructor with 5-10 years experience?  If I quit my job tomorrow and went to work for PS, would my classes suddenly get better?  If I went to Kaplan or GetPrepped would I forget how to teach LSAT?  Or is it more likely that I take my skills with me wherever I go?  Sorry, man, but instructors make the class.

As for TPR's "lousy" reputation, I've made several challenges on this board for people to show me exactly what is inferior about their materials or methods.  Nobody has even tried.

Quote
There's a lot more to these courses than just the instructors--the methodology and content are also extremely important.

Nobody's methodology differs that much--we all have our basic games diagrams, conditionals, etc.  There's aesthetic differences, and things are categorized differently, but at the end of the day, it's all elementary logic.  I've had students move more than 20 points using TPR's methodology.  I got a 179 using it.  I doubt the results would be drastically different if I had taught for PS or TM or Kaplan.  If the instructor can show you how to beat the test, he can do it regardless whose book he uses.

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Also, TM and PS are owned and operated by LSAT instructors, whereas Kaplan and PR are not. I believe this has an impact on the relative quality of the courses offered.

So if TM goes public, the classes won't be as good?

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As far as your advice on researching the instructor for a class before signing up, how are students supposed to do that when Kaplan, PR, and PS don't even list their instructors on their websites?

They have phones, don't they?  Prospective students call my office all the time and ask to speak with me.  I know we've been through this before.  It's not that hard.

Julie Fern

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Re: PREPARATION CLASSES: WORTH THE BUCKS$$$?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2008, 07:40:48 PM »
Earlcat, you keep pushing this "the brand name means nothing, the instructor is the only thing that matters" argument on everybody. If the brand name means nothing, why do TM and PS have great reputations while Kaplan and PR have lousy ones?

It's called branding. Why does Kaplan get so many more students than TM?? Popularity isn't everything.

Can you tell me with a straight face that a brand-new PS instructor is going to give as good a class as another company's instructor with 5-10 years experience? If I quit my job tomorrow and went to work for PS, would my classes suddenly get better? If I went to Kaplan or GetPrepped would I forget how to teach LSAT? Or is it more likely that I take my skills with me wherever I go? Sorry, man, but instructors make the class.

As for TPR's "lousy" reputation, I've made several challenges on this board for people to show me exactly what is inferior about their materials or methods. Nobody has even tried.

Quote
There's a lot more to these courses than just the instructors--the methodology and content are also extremely important.

Nobody's methodology differs that much--we all have our basic games diagrams, conditionals, etc. There's aesthetic differences, and things are categorized differently, but at the end of the day, it's all elementary logic. I've had students move more than 20 points using TPR's methodology. I got a 179 using it. I doubt the results would be drastically different if I had taught for PS or TM or Kaplan. If the instructor can show you how to beat the test, he can do it regardless whose book he uses.

Quote
Also, TM and PS are owned and operated by LSAT instructors, whereas Kaplan and PR are not. I believe this has an impact on the relative quality of the courses offered.

So if TM goes public, the classes won't be as good?

Quote
As far as your advice on researching the instructor for a class before signing up, how are students supposed to do that when Kaplan, PR, and PS don't even list their instructors on their websites?

They have phones, don't they? Prospective students call my office all the time and ask to speak with me. I know we've been through this before. It's not that hard.

julie largely agree this.  test-prep providers often not say much about instructors' credentials because they not have good ones.