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Author Topic: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?  (Read 1589 times)

lsatbeard

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Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« on: February 02, 2009, 03:17:12 PM »
I'm in the midst of studying using the PowerScore trio, but I've also picked up a few Kaplan books (180, Pacing Practice, Home Study, & Stratosphere Workbook). I've since learned that their questions may not be close enough to the real thing to be useful, and that practicing with them might actually hurt me. Is this true?

The consensus on LSAT prep is that I should do as many practice problems as possible, so I'm going to try to get my hands on as many questions as I possibly can. I also understand that the LSAT has changed through the years. Are the old tests not as useful as the newer ones? How do the old tests compare to the "fake" Kaplan questions? How old is "too old"?


EarlCat

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Re: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 03:44:47 PM »
Kaplan Books: The retail ones, yes, they are that bad, as are most retail LSAT books.
Old Questions: Meh.  They've evolved a bit, but I don't think they're useless.

lsatbeard

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Re: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 10:35:06 PM »
Kaplan Books: The retail ones, yes, they are that bad, as are most retail LSAT books.
Old Questions: Meh.  They've evolved a bit, but I don't think they're useless.


So the books from Kaplan courses are OK?

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Re: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2009, 01:01:13 AM »
Kaplan Books: The retail ones, yes, they are that bad, as are most retail LSAT books.
Old Questions: Meh.  They've evolved a bit, but I don't think they're useless.


So the books from Kaplan courses are OK?

I don't know.  They're mostly just reprinted preptest questions, right?

lsatbeard

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Re: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 01:45:33 AM »
Kaplan Books: The retail ones, yes, they are that bad, as are most retail LSAT books.
Old Questions: Meh.  They've evolved a bit, but I don't think they're useless.


So the books from Kaplan courses are OK?

I don't know.  They're mostly just reprinted preptest questions, right?

I have no idea (I didn't attend the course, I got them at a used book store). They are not credited as reprinted official questions in the books themselves, but they could have been credited in the other material handed out in the course. They're marked "not for resale," so maybe standard citation rules don't apply.

LSAT All Star

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Re: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2009, 03:59:51 AM »
Kaplan Books: The retail ones, yes, they are that bad, as are most retail LSAT books.
Old Questions: Meh.  They've evolved a bit, but I don't think they're useless.


So the books from Kaplan courses are OK?

I don't know.  They're mostly just reprinted preptest questions, right?

I have no idea (I didn't attend the course, I got them at a used book store). They are not credited as reprinted official questions in the books themselves, but they could have been credited in the other material handed out in the course. They're marked "not for resale," so maybe standard citation rules don't apply.

I have no first-hand knowledge, but from what I understand, modern Kaplan courses use real questions but they did not always do so.  I do not know the cut-off.  How old are your books?
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KaplanLSATInstructor

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Re: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 08:41:42 AM »
The Kaplan 180 book is the old version of the Kaplan Advanced book. The old book (which you have) unfortunately uses Kaplan-generated questions. The new book is all real.

I don't know what the Home Study book is, so I can't comment on that.

The Pacing Practice book IS a course book (and technically shouldn't have been sold, hence the words "not for resale'... but I'll just let that go). The Pacing Practice is a newer course book (no older than three years) and does contain all real questions. The Pacing Practice book is complete 35-minute sections as they appeared on the actual exams. It's a great book for working on timing.

The Stratosphere book is, sadly, pretty useless without the online component that accompanies it in the course. Also, the stand-alone Stratosphere is an old version, which means it has been replaced with the superior current edition found in the current course's Lesson Book.

There are two problems with the Stratosphere book: 1.) Any games or questions in there would still be from real tests, but you'd simply get an answer key and would have to figure out the reasoning on your own. 2.) Some pages have material that will make absolutely no sense without the online component -- in fact, it may even confuse you or seem wrong. I'd throw that book out, to be honest.

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lsatbeard

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Re: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 01:59:13 PM »
Kaplan Books: The retail ones, yes, they are that bad, as are most retail LSAT books.
Old Questions: Meh.  They've evolved a bit, but I don't think they're useless.


So the books from Kaplan courses are OK?

I don't know.  They're mostly just reprinted preptest questions, right?

I have no idea (I didn't attend the course, I got them at a used book store). They are not credited as reprinted official questions in the books themselves, but they could have been credited in the other material handed out in the course. They're marked "not for resale," so maybe standard citation rules don't apply.

I have no first-hand knowledge, but from what I understand, modern Kaplan courses use real questions but they did not always do so.  I do not know the cut-off.  How old are your books?

The "not for resale" books:
LSAT Home Study Book-2004,
LSAT Lesson Book-2005,
LSAT Lesson Book (unlike the previous book, in the table of of contents it says "Session 2 (Extreme 2), Section 3 (Extreme 4)..." so I think it might be from the Kaplan Extreme course-2006,
Mastery Homework-2006, 
LSAT Stratosphere Workbook-2006,
LSAT Pacing Practice-2006 (Real LSAT questions cited within this book, and KLI just verified that they were real questions.)

The retail books: LSAT 180 2007-2008 edition

KaplanLSATInstructor

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Re: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 03:15:31 PM »
The "not for resale" books:
LSAT Home Study Book-2004,
LSAT Lesson Book-2005,
LSAT Lesson Book (unlike the previous book, in the table of of contents it says "Session 2 (Extreme 2), Section 3 (Extreme 4)..." so I think it might be from the Kaplan Extreme course-2006,
Mastery Homework-2006, 
LSAT Stratosphere Workbook-2006,
LSAT Pacing Practice-2006 (Real LSAT questions cited within this book, and KLI just verified that they were real questions.)

The retail books: LSAT 180 2007-2008 edition

LSAT Home Study Book is probably just an older homework book. Would most likely be real LSAT questions.

LSAT Lesson Books -- these are the in-class lesson books. While you should be able to follow along with the material, you will lose some of the context. All the questions in the book are real (you'll notice sources at the bottom of each page with a question). The books will probably have some differences, but they will most likely be fairly similar overall. (The Extreme course and the regular course use virtually the same book, so you just have the 2005 and 2006 version of the same book.)

Mastery Homework -- with the exception of the great formal logic exercise on the first few pages, this is merely a collection of real LSAT questions broken up into subjects covered in the class. It's (as the name applies) the required homework for the course -- but it's a bare minimum of practice.

The rest of the books you know about already from my previous post. If you have any further questions about the material, I'm more than happy to answer.

- Chris

AlisaGreenstein

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Re: Are Kaplan Books and Old Questions Really That Bad?
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2009, 11:42:27 AM »
Sounds like you have already gotten some good advice.

It is never a bad idea to practice on old questions because there is no such thing as bad practice for the LSAT but the exam has gotten harder in recent years so you want to make sure to also practice on new questions as much as possible.  Also whenever relying on a commercial company's books, remember that not all of their strategies work for all people.  Find out which techniques work best for you and continue to use those.  Never underestimate the importance of carefully reading the questions and paying particular attention to word choice.  Finally, to the extent you can determine the answer on your own, BEFORE you get to the answer choices, you will be less distracted by the irrelevant answer choices that are always there.  Best of luck!

Alisa Greenstein | Veritas Prep Admissions Consultant | www.VeritasPrep.com/law