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Author Topic: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?  (Read 2956 times)

ND JD Wannabe

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Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« on: March 09, 2004, 12:52:18 AM »
Hey everyone - I'm a newbie here and first wanted to thank everyone for their valuable posts so far.  This forum has the most beneficial law school info.  I've seen on the web!  Ok, on to my very first question on this site...

I'm gearing up for the June LSAT and I'm already enrolled in the Kaplan class starting next week.  To prepare for my Kaplan diagnostic on Monday, I've been reviewing the PR "Cracking the LSAT". So far, so good.  I'm actually thinking some of this stuff is pretty interesting (does that make me a nerd?) 

Anyway, due to all the favorable posts lately, I'm thinking about snagging the Nova "Mastering the LSAT" and Powerscore's "Logic Games Bible" too.  I was hoping to tap into the best tips and tricks from all the best prep out there, and utilize a hybrid of techniques that make the most sense to me on LSAT day.

Do you think combining all of these different LSAT prep providers' techniques will help 'diversify' my prep, or do you think it will hurt and overall confuse me?  Will I need to 'unlearn' any specific technique in order for another one to work?  Is buying all these extra books overkill?  Should I stick to just one company and go the distance with just one?  What do you guys think?  Anyone else contemplating the same approach?

Thanks for your help!
ND JD Wannabe

dsds3581

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Re: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2004, 11:09:49 AM »
First thing--you shouldn't "prep" for a diagnostic. A diagnostic is supposed to be your "cold" ability.

Another thing--a lot of things in various prep books are the same as many things a course will teach you, so prepping with other material before the fact can kind of keep you from feeling like you're getting anything out the course.

I know this because I took Kaplan. Prior, I hadn't done anything but take practice tests. After Kaplan, my score improved a lot but I still felt like I needed more help. Just about all the books or guides I looked at after Kaplan had SOME helpful new stuff in it but was mainly the same techniques only maybe phrased/organized in a way that made more sense to me (for example, I feel that PR's Cracking the LSAT is a fairly simplistic version of what Kaplan teaches, in relation to the LR section). In addition to PR's book, I have a lot prep books I've used (Nova's Master the LSAT being one of them).

I do think they are great books (the Logic Games Bible included, though I never used it), but they just would have been a lot more helpful to me had I not taken Kaplan. They are best for people who want to self-prep. There's nothing wrong with getting extra prep books to try out different techniques and to combine certain ones (I actually abandoned Kaplan's RC method in favor of PR's method and have used a combination of books to get approaches to the LR section), but I'd say to do those after you see where Kaplan has gotten you. That's the reason I never bought the Logic Games Bible--after Kaplan, I didn't really need it. It does get a little confusing, more particularly with Kaplan vs Nova's Master the LSAT, because the terms and category divisions they use differ.

The thing that is probably helping me most now is getting a lot of old LSATs and practicing on those, as well as still working through some of the Kaplan materials I have (I have two sets of Kaplan's course books, and one of them  has thousands of old LSAT questions in it).

I would suggest that, while you're taking Kaplan, spend a LOT of time with that material and try to get the most out of it while you can. Use everything they make available to you--their library of old LSATs, everything in the books (do ALL the assignments and Home Study Book problems), the online portion of their site and all the materials available there, etc. 

But I think that whatever you have to do to get your score as high as you want it, you need to do it. And thinking about the LSAT as being interesting is definitely helpful. I think if you hate the approach to the LSAT too much, you might want to rethink the law school path. The fact that I find the logic of the LSAT interesting and do like that I'm training myself to think in such ways is cool to me, too.

ND JD Wannabe

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Re: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2004, 02:08:35 AM »
dsds3581 - thanks fot your thorough and detailed response.  It was very helpful.

Looks like Kaplan will be my second home until June!  I sure hope their methods work well with my learning style.

dta

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Re: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2004, 02:51:11 AM »
Howdy. I'm a newbie too but thought i'd put in my 2 cents.

I took my first practice LSAT about 6 weeks ago and scored a miserable 151. Since then, i've read several prep books (PR's "Cracking", Nova's "Master", and Arco's "Master). I've also ordered all the published LSAT's to take as practice but i've only tested myself with a few of those - i'm saving them so i don't run out of practice material.

Although I will be starting a Princeton Review prep course at the end of March, i've basically bought every single "Prep for the LSAT" book published and have begun working my way methodically through each.

I now score pretty consistently in the 158-162 range with even one score of 164 just yesterday! I have found it very helpful to read a diverse set of prep books on the subject. The main source of value, however, is in the extra practice tests that come with each book. Every book basically spews the same strategies (e.g. read the question stem first, etc.), but each book has a slightly different emphasis and angle in the way they produce their practice exams. Some have very good and provocative "parrallel reasoning" LR questions, other have especially challenging logic games.

Anyway, that's my plan - read every test prep book, take all the test practice exams, take all the previously published LSAT's, and take the Princeton Review course. Whatever score I end up getting in June I will be able to confidently say it's the best i'm capable of.

Good luck!

p.s. Watch out for the Nova book. It uses lots of examples from recent LSAT's. That's kinda bad because it will "taint" you if you actually want to take one of those LSAT's as a practice test. I eventually had to put that book down because I was too afraid of exposing myself to questions on recently published LSAT's I hope to be practicing with later.

midnight oil

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Re: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2004, 07:09:25 PM »
As for logical reasoning..I have been encountering a problem.  I boil my answer selections down to the critical "2" likely ones. Then, I pick the wrong one too often!  What to do, what to do?

jfbruin

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Re: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2004, 08:54:48 PM »
If I were you I'd scratch everything and sign up for TestMasters.  You won't need to buy any additional books and you'll learn everything you need to know.  I attended the class and studyed 2-3 hours a day during the six week course.  After all that, I STILL couldn't finish all the material.  My score jumped from a 153 to a 168 including a perfect score on logic games.  I scored as high as a 172 on my best diagnostic as well.  It may be too late, but that is my 2 cents.

Anti_Ivy

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Re: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2004, 09:33:51 PM »
I have an okay score on my practice LSAT exams, but I want score 170+ on the real deal.  I cannot get to a testing center, except Kaplan's, whose methods are of no use to me, since I only need to improve my LR/RC score, not games.  I have, repeatedly, scored perfectly on the games section, but I run out of time before I can answer all of the LR/RC questions.  I have taken a couple of un-timed exams: on the first one I scored a 168; on the second one I scored a 177.  I know I am not stupid, but I, evidently, waste too much time and have to rush through the last couple of questions.  Since I can't get to a testing center, I was hoping to self-study.  TestMasters/ScorePerfect will allow me to purchase the classroom course materials at half the cost of the course.  But I am not sure of TestMasters credibility.

So, I have a question for jfbruin and anyone else who took TestMasters (or ScorePerfect, if in Texas):

1A. Would you recommend TestMasters?

1B. If so, do you think it was it the classroom course that helped you, or do you think that you would have done as well with just the study guides/books?

1C. If you think the classroom portion increased your score more than the books alone would have,  by how many points do you think you would have increased if you just used the course materials?

2. Also, did TestMasters help you with the LR/RC portion of the LSAT?

abc12345

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Re: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2004, 08:18:11 AM »
WITHDRAW FROM KAPLAN, IT IS THE WORST COURSE I HAVE EVER TAKEN IN MY LIFE

no joke, i went from a 161 to a 149 on their diags...made me postpone the lsat...took a private tutor from princeton review and got a 166

nathanielmark

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Re: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2004, 04:24:38 PM »


Do you think combining all of these different LSAT prep providers' techniques will help 'diversify' my prep, or do you think it will hurt and overall confuse me?  Will I need to 'unlearn' any specific technique in order for another one to work?  Is buying all these extra books overkill?  Should I stick to just one company and go the distance with just one?  What do you guys think?  Anyone else contemplating the same approach?


I think if you are smart enough to determine what strategies work best for you and what you can put aside, the approach you are taking is great.  If you are someone who is weak willed and would have a hard time choosing between conflicting strategies, you probably ought to stick to one thing.

I have relied on the nova book for some pointers on LR and RC, though i am very strong in those areas with a little practice.

the games are a problem for me though, and i have found the Logic games bible to be an enourmous help.  i spent a few weeks going thru those books, and since then have been taking a timed actual LSAT section a day, which I intend to do until i take the test in june.  practice is helping me with speed to finish all LR/RC, and helping me manage the games section to allow me to maximize my performance (i will probably never finish a games section in its entirety, but getting 3+ out of 4 is fine with me).

make sure you take timed sections, whatever you decide to do.  buy every modern actual LSAT that you have time to take.  if you are like me, you wont learn everything immediately, but only after things get beaten into your head by making the same mistakes over and over again. 

best of luck.




JuanPRL

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Re: Does combining LSAT prep techniques help or harm you?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2004, 12:18:55 PM »
Hi all.  Newbie to the board. Here are my two cents.  I've taken Kaplan...twice. I scored 141 on the diagnostic, 141 on two sample test and haven't improved.  I took the really thing and scored 136 (fist time) and 141 (the second.  So I ask, is it me or is there another prep course that can help get a higher score like a 160 or better?  Can someone comment on Test Master please.  I need to get this score way up, and any help is greatly appreciated.  Thanks!   :)