Law School Discussion

Kaplan experience

Kaplan experience
« on: July 14, 2009, 01:50:44 AM »
Hi all! ;) New to the forum.

from what I've read so far I can definitely see a lot of people had generally unpleasant experiences with Kaplan. I registered for a Kaplan course a few weeks ago and have yet to start my second class. I'm going up 3rd year in undergrad and I'll be taking my first LSAT in Septepmber.
I'd like to know, if anyone thinks they benefitted from Kaplan, how they made most out of those classes. Something in addition to doing homework, extra exams and the "usual" stuff; anything that you did that Kaplan didn't ask you to do but worked with it well synergistically. I've read many posts written by people who put a lot of effort in but didn't consider Kaplan helpful.

And please don't tell me to back out from Kaplan. I understand your concerns but I'd like to how it works with me.

p.s. Pardon me if this question has already been addressed somewhere. I've read a number of pages back and didn't find any post relevant to this issue.

Re: Kaplan experience
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2009, 06:54:43 AM »
This is entirely anecdotal, but I have an acquaintance (already in law school) who prepped solely with Kaplan material and scored a 168 on the LSAT.

IMO the course that will benefit you most will depend on what you make of the material, and where you stand initially in terms of LSAT performance. It is in the interest of each prep company to be at least a competent provider of useful LSAT preparation, so you're unlikely to enroll in a completely godawful course.

One caveat: your experience with the material will depend largely on who is teaching the class. The majority of poor reviews of PR and Kaplan have come from students who have had subpar or just plain bad instructors. For the purposes of damage control, you might want to request switching instructors if you find the one you were assigned isn't working for you after the first or second class.

Re: Kaplan experience
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2009, 07:01:54 AM »
From my experience, it's not merely about doing the homework and the extra tests. The students I see making the greatest improvements are those who put together a consistent studying schedule and work on questions in various formats -- doing specific question types individually, managing timing through individual timed sections, and (of course) practicing with full-length exams. Speak with your instructor (or feel free to PM me) about the best way to use ALL of the books you were given outside of class (and your online Smart Reports) -- not just deal with full-length exams. Your biggest progress is going to come from merely immersing yourself in the world of the LSAT and practicing. However, just doing the work is not the most important thing you can do.

The most important thing is to review all of your work and understand why you got questions wrong and what you can do to get them right the next time. And don't just review questions you got wrong -- look over any question that you were even vaguely unsure of.

And start looking for patterns. Argumentative structures that are used over and over again. Basic game setups that can be re-used and/or slightly modified to visualize dozens of games. Often used keywords in Reading Comp that indicate important points. Ways the LSAT has to consistently word wrong answers to make them seem tempting, but ultimately wrong. And especially, those kinds of answers that seems to tempt you the most. When you learn to avoid those, your work will become more efficient.

You also have to be patient with every strategy. You can't just say, "oh, that didn't work for me the first time I tried it -- so I'll just give up and go back to what I was doing." Mastering these concepts takes time. With time and practice, things will get easier -- and, in effect, more time efficient.

The whole idea of practice is to make mistakes, learn from them, and then avoid making those mistakes again. Don't get discouraged.

Oh -- and one last thing: Ask questions. Don't feel you have to do this on your own. You have an instructor who is more than willing to answer your questions. If you don't understand something, don't think: Eh, I'll figure it out later. Don't wait. Ask. Ask your instructor. Feel free to PM me. Or, as you may have already discovered, there are people out here also willing to share their wisdom.

Good luck with everything, and feel free to ask for more info.

- Chris

Re: Kaplan experience
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2009, 12:14:55 PM »
Thank you Thales and KaplanLSATInstructor for your advice! I'll definitely keep that in mind.

It's a bit embarrassing, but to give you a better idea of where I stand: I scored 147 in the diagnostics. My worst section was RC and I did relatively well in LR. I'm shooting for 160 (and higher, hopefully) and have heard it's been done before but I'm kind of worried. I realize the first ever diagnostic test doesn't prove anything, but I thought I'd get mid 150. With that 147 I'm seeing something ranging from "give up law school" to "you can see a lot of improvement."
Not every prep course works out but hopefully I'll click with the Kaplan method.