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Author Topic: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?  (Read 4254 times)

Pistil Peat

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LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« on: January 03, 2011, 09:18:13 PM »
Okay, question here for those people who have taken any kind of LSAT prep course- Kaplan, Testmasters, Princeton Review, etc.  Is it a good idea to hold off on studying actual LSAT material before enrolling in such a course?  I was on the Testmasters (.net) site and it very clearly tries to dissuade customers from practicing on their own before starting a class.  They say that this is because of the possibility of developing bad test-taking habits.  I imagine it also has something to do with wanting to scare potential customers away from looking elsewhere for LSAT help.  My test date is probably going to be Oct. '11, and I'm itching to start studying now.  The Testmasters course in my town doesn't start until July 19.  So LSAT prep alums, any perspective on this matter?   

LSAT Freedom

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Re: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 09:57:31 PM »
You can absolutely start studying now.  The LSAT is such a different animal and unlike other standardized tests.  The more exposure you have to it, the better.  Here are two things you can do between now and the July start date for your prep course:

1) Familiarize yourself with the exam.  Look it over.  Learn about the structure of Logical Reasoning questions, Logic Games questions, and Reading Comp. questions.  Take a crack at the writing sample.  Take a section or two under timed conditions and see how you do.  The only way to know whether you can, in fact, improve with a prep course is to measure how you do BEFORE you take the course.  Moreover, measuring how you do will help you understand whether you already grasp anything on the exam and whether you have any weaknesses.  Heck, you might be a pro at Reading Comp. and, thus, can focus on the other sections.  So, focus on familiarizing yourself with the exam.  It will not only help you prepare for the LSAT itself, but it will also help you focus on your weaknesses when your prep course gets underway.

2) Study some logic.  The LSAT is an exam that tests logical principles.  It doesn't test memory or how well you can regurgitate information.  It tests your thinking and analytical abilities.  Familiarize yourself with logical reasoning and fallacies in arguments (like, for example, ad hominem arguments, etc.).  This will give you a good foundation for the exam and the course.  It will also soften the blow in July when you are fully exposed to the exam and how it works. 

RachelSophia

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Re: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 10:39:43 PM »
From personal experience, I would highly suggest waiting to start studying on your own until you begin the class! I took a two day "lsat seminar" this past september and also got the powerscore bibles and began studying on my own for 2 months before starting a kaplan course. i definitely think the studying i did on my own made it harder for me to grasp the really helpful concepts that kaplan teaches (they really do work but i still get stuck on which method to use and my practice scores are totally reflecting this) i would, however, suggest buying some of the official practice tests that lsac releases (you can buy books that have 10 full past practice lsat's for $20 on amazon!) and start practicing with them once you've started the course

Rachel

TLSanders

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Re: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2011, 09:30:38 PM »
I would suggest not, for several reasons:

-Each LSAT prep course works a bit differently, and mixing methods typically doesn't work well at all. 

-Practice can actually be harmful if you don't know what you're doing or your approach if flawed--you can be unwittingly ingraining bad habits that will be that much harder to break because you've made them second nature through repetition.

-LSAT skills "rust" if you don't practice regularly, and it is difficult for most people to sustain a regular study/practice schedule for 10 months.

-You'll be burning materials, which not only means you may find yourself short of current, relevant practice tests near the end, but that your classroom experience and the validity of your practice test scores may be compromised by having seen questions before.

All that said, is there a reason that you're not taking the June test?  There are several reasons the June test might be preferable if you don't have a reason to delay until October, and then you wouldn't have to wait so long to jump in.
Tiffany Sanders, J.D.
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630-229-1439

EarlCat

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Re: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2011, 04:43:38 AM »
Do yourself a favor and DO NOT STUDY before starting your course.  Even if you don't develop bad habits (yeah right), you will surely develop approaches different than those your instructor will be teaching.  Once you start the course, then, these differences will become cognitive dissonance and make things more difficult than they otherwise would be.  Come to class as a blank slate.

If you absolutely cannot wait to study (and choose not to seek psychiatric help), then find a tutor from the same company who will teach you according to the same method you will learn in class.

Edit:  One caveat.  If you want to read the front pages of LSAC's SuperPrep, that won't hurt.  Promise.

babygirl1002

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Re: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2011, 11:36:50 AM »
what is the LSAT like can anyone give me a copy of the study for it

Specks

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Re: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 05:36:40 PM »
what is the LSAT like can anyone give me a copy of the study for it


If you call up Kaplan, Princeton or any one of the major test companies, they will give you a free diagnostic exam with results that tell you where your weaknesses etc. are. They will try to sell you their program afterward, but the diagnostic is extremely helpful in knowing where you stand and getting a first taste of what the exam is like.

bradyllewis

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Re: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 08:43:36 PM »
I completely understand about developing bad habits or different approaches than what the course will teach you.  I just looked at  a few things here and there to get a good understanding of what I was going to learn.  I personally don't like to go into things blind.  I didn't necessarily study before hand, I just kinda prepped for the prep.

MikePing

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Re: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 12:25:12 PM »
You should not study for the course. 

You are paying good money for a method to help you crush this test.  Don't subtract from your investment by making things harder on yourself.  The prep course will tell you everything you need to know, and what  you have to do, to make a fantastic score.

Its natural to want to do something to further your law school dream.  Worry about making "A's" right now.  The prep course will help you take care of the rest.

legalized

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Re: LSAT Prep courses: study before, or no?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 07:37:51 PM »
what is the LSAT like can anyone give me a copy of the study for it


If you call up Kaplan, Princeton or any one of the major test companies, they will give you a free diagnostic exam with results that tell you where your weaknesses etc. are. They will try to sell you their program afterward, but the diagnostic is extremely helpful in knowing where you stand and getting a first taste of what the exam is like.

Can also head on over to the LSAC.org site and download their practice test...for free. No sales pitch included.