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Author Topic: Is Prep a Rip Off?  (Read 2471 times)

HR6352

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Is Prep a Rip Off?
« on: October 21, 2009, 11:14:06 PM »
Hi everyone,

When I started taking practice exams I was getting in the high 150s.  I bought a book that taught strategies for logic games.  This improved my scores a lot.  I went from getting half of the answers on the section right to missing one or two.  I took 10 practice tests the week before the LSAT and averaged 173.  My range of scores was 169-180.  I ended up with a 171 on the real thing.  I don't think any kind of class could've helped me.  The guy at my table told me he'd taken 60 practice tests and was averaging in the 150s. 

I believe the only thing you can do to improve your score is learn strategies for the games, but natural intelligence will put a cap on how well you can do.

From my research, the LSAT is basically an IQ test.  Mensa takes anybody who scores at the 95th percentile.  They talk about testing skills you've "developed" but IQ is something you're pretty much born with.  We know that from cross adoption studies (people end up as smart as their biological parents, not adopted parents).  There's no known way to improve it (if there was, all education problems in the country would be solved). 

If what I say is true, isn't the whole prep test thing a rip off?  Shouldn't they be exposed for the frauds that they are?  Does anybody have evidence to suggest these things can really improve scores in a way that studying on one's own can't?



mytwocents

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Re: Is Prep a Rip Off?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2009, 11:44:38 PM »
It can be a rip off if you know you're good at self-studying.  If you're a solid at studying for something like the LSAT yourself, then what's the point of a prep class?

For me, I needed the extra push that my prep class gave me.  I had never before studied for any kind of standardized test (SAT or otherwise) so with the LSAT, I was kind of clueless on where to start.  Just reading the study books myself didn't seem to help much until after I took my class, for some reason.  I'm usually great at figuring things out on my own, but with the LSAT I just needed a little guidance before I started studying myself.  Mind you, I don't need my hand held with everything, but my prep class gave me a solid foundation (looking for patterns in questions, basic LSAT strategies, learning the basics of the test, etc.) for my subsequent self-studying. 

I started my prep class with a 148 on a diagnostic exam and steadily improved to a 155 by the end of the class.  However, my self-studying (via the Powerscore Bibles) improved my score another 8 points.  So...that's kind of proving your point (in that studying by yourself is just as effective), but I do believe that certain people benefit from prep classes more than others.  Unfortunately, it's not always possible to tell before you take the class whether or not you're the type that would benefit, and so for some, it would indeed be a rip off.

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Re: Is Prep a Rip Off?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2009, 10:40:44 AM »
If you are committed to a prep company's class, then paying 1000-1500 is worth the few extra points you will gain by employing their techniques.

A few points will open the doors to scholarship money and higher ranked schools, which will in turn significantly improve your overall employment prospects and potential earnings post-graduation.

Not a bad investment IMO.

treefity350

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Re: Is Prep a Rip Off?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2009, 11:09:29 AM »
I don't think that it is fair to say that these classes are a rip off. Granted, I've been teaching for one of these companies for over a year now, so I do have a vested interest, but it is this experience which makes me so sure that the classes are not useless. I have personally seen students improve by over 20 points in an 8 week course--that's a move that takes you from a point to where it's questionable whether you will be able to go to law school at all to acceptance in a top 10 program. I will not deny that there is some level of inherent intelligence involved, but for many, many students the problem is not lack of ability, but that they have not ever been exposed to this type of thinking before and need a structure through which to consider these types of problems. Could they do it cheaper? Sure. Nothing that you will learn in a course is something that you couldn't have learned with the help of a couple of 50 dollar prep books and perhaps an Intro to Symbolic Logic textbook. I was in the 99th percentile when I took the test and hadn't taken a class--my prep consisted of 6 practice tests and a couple of hours looking through a crappy Kaplan book. But I was a philosophy minor and had spent two semesters studying formal logic. What classes provide to students is not, for the most part, "secrets" to the test. And this is not what most students are paying for. Instead, what we provide is a structure that moves progressively through logical concepts and question types. It can be analogized (although imperfectly) to a college education. Everything you'll learn for your 160,000 bucks at Harvard you could have learned by reading the material on your own, but would you argue that the only added value from a college education is that you get a degree at the end? Of course not. There are real advantages to the classroom setting and the structure provided by syllabi (especially when those syllabi are created by individuals who have already done all the reading).
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Re: Is Prep a Rip Off?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2009, 01:01:04 PM »
When I started taking practice exams I was getting in the high 150s.  I bought a book that taught strategies for logic games.  This improved my scores a lot.  I went from getting half of the answers on the section right to missing one or two.  I took 10 practice tests the week before the LSAT and averaged 173.  My range of scores was 169-180.  I ended up with a 171 on the real thing.  I don't think any kind of class could've helped me...

I believe the only thing you can do to improve your score is learn strategies for the games, but natural intelligence will put a cap on how well you can do.

From my research, the LSAT is basically an IQ test.  Mensa takes anybody who scores at the 95th percentile.  They talk about testing skills you've "developed" but IQ is something you're pretty much born with.  We know that from cross adoption studies (people end up as smart as their biological parents, not adopted parents).  There's no known way to improve it (if there was, all education problems in the country would be solved). 

If what I say is true, isn't the whole prep test thing a rip off?  Shouldn't they be exposed for the frauds that they are?

I don't agree that intelligence is necessarily a cap, at least not as low of a cap as many people believe.  It may cap one's ability to improve in a given amount of time, but most people don't prep near long enough to master the material.  It took me a couple years before I was consistently hitting near 180. 

Even if natural intelligence puts a cap on your max score, someone who has not reached that cap still stands to gain from learning techniques, as you yourself realized using a prep book to move from the 150s to the 170s.  If a class were to give you similar techniques, how can that be fraudulent?

Quote
Does anybody have evidence to suggest these things can really improve scores in a way that studying on one's own can't?

Obviously people have self-studied to a 180, so nobody can say a course can improve scores better than that.  I was a self-studier originally, but my study (and I believe most people's study) was not as efficient as it could have been because there was nobody there to give me feedback on what I was doing wrong or what I should do different.

Quote
The guy at my table told me he'd taken 60 practice tests and was averaging in the 150s.
 

lol

tiger22

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Re: Is Prep a Rip Off?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2009, 01:31:06 PM »
I would have to agree with what seems to be the majority opinion here. A big part of whether or not a prep class will help you is your natural intelligence and study habits. In my case, I am not very good at self-studying and self-motivation. So to get on a good habit of studying consistently and persistently, I needed some sort of push and the prep class I took was it. Coupled with the PowerScore books I was able to raise my score to a consistent 174 on practice tests. I know that if I had just gotten the PowerScore books and not taken the actual class, I could probably have self-studied to around the same score, but I also know that I wouldn't have done it without that extra motivation that comes from paying $1,000 for an 8 week course.

Pepperdine2010

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Re: Is Prep a Rip Off?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2009, 09:14:47 PM »
I wouldn't say that prep classes are a rip-off either. As many other members have mentioned, the class will pay off if you are dedicated to it and need the extra push to study. Prep classes work for a lot of people but obviously won't work for everyone. Some people, such as myself, are very self-motivated and have the discipline to study. So taking a prep class might not be as beneficial for those individuals.

HR6352

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Re: Is Prep a Rip Off?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2009, 10:00:46 PM »
Can't you people who need the class in order to be motivated be motivated by the thought of being able to save 1K studying alone?   :D

I don't get people. 

Julie Fern

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Re: Is Prep a Rip Off?
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2009, 07:13:34 PM »
we little confused about you, too.

EarlCat

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Re: Is Prep a Rip Off?
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2009, 08:25:00 PM »
Can't you people who need the class in order to be motivated be motivated by the thought of being able to save 1K studying alone?   :D

I don't get people. 


If the only benefit someone gets from a class is the motivation to study, they need a better class.