Law School Discussion

THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.

Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2008, 06:53:34 AM »
CAT/CBT testing at those little centers is a terrible thing IMHO

What is actually wrong with the centuries old tradition of simple paper/papyra and some simple little tool (like a pencil) to scribe things down with? 

I took the GMAT CAT WHILE in LS for some unknown reason (ok, I was bored I guess).

In the little center, after emptying my pockets and putting all my stuff into a little locker (it felt like getting booked into jail) I was escorted into a neat room with glass windows with computers all around and seated.   The chair sucked and sat to low, the room was SUPER FRIGGING COLD and I looked around to try to find the sides of beef hanging from the ceiling since it was a perfect meat locker.

The terminal they put me at was RIGHT UNDERNEATH the AC output vent and it was going FULL BLAST and puring supercooled air right onto my head and body non stop.  It was in late spring when it was nice and warm outside, but I was literally shivering and shaking during the entire thing and kept having to rub my hands and arms to keep them from turning blue and actually freezing up.  (I am not just trying to be dramatic here, this happened).  It took me about 6 hours after I left the test place to thaw out and stop shivering and to get my core temperature back to normal.

Working the mouse (total piece of $hit one that did not really work well and was really dirty too) was a pain, especially since my hands were freezing up from extreme cold, there was not much room for scratch paper to write things down and juggle all that and the chair would not adjust up to normal desk seating height, meaning that I was sitting with my head and arms well below normal desk level.  Some people in the room had headphones on for whatever test and were talking out loud along with whatever they were hearing (I'm guessing it was some foreign language test), other people came and went intermittently while I was working my test and it was super distracting. 

The keyboard and monitor of the PC were super cheap pieces of $hit.  When it came time to type out the little graded writing thing for the GMAT at the end I had to flex and thaw out my hands over and over to even be able to frigging type. When I finished and came out of the room and was literally shaking/shivering uncontrollably (felt like frostbite was setting in), the lamo snot nosed kid (probably a freshman in college) that was 'in charge' at the time said 'you ok, test not go well?, maybe you should have studied more.' , I said "Dude, I am frozen, leave me alone and go back to your skate boarding magazine now, ok?  Nice tats and your mom should be proud of the piercing you have too bro."

Anyway, pencil and paper is actually more efficient and better in many ways.  Technology and computers are not the solution for everything. 

Rant over for now...


At least with CBTs you don't ever have to worry about wasting time because you bubbled in  answers in the wrong slots, or waste time sharpening and re-sharpening your pencils during test, or waste time on equally as ridiculous stuff. CBTs also have less noise and visual distractions since you have your own cubicle-like area with sound buffer head phones and view blockers. Moreover, CBTs tell you how much time you have left at ANY point you wish to know--so no more surprise by the 5 minute countdown. And, unlike the current paper-based LSAT, you can take the test ANY time of the year and never have to worry about late registration fees. Some other HUGE benefits: 1. You would get your score immediately, (and knowing your score immediately is extremely beneficial in determining which law schools to apply to--potentially saving you money on applications) 2. Retaking the exam would be MUCH faster. Cheating is also a step next to impossible since you have a camera recording your every move with someone watching its live feed. I took the GRE first and then the LSAT and was really in awe at how antiquated the current LSAT testing process is.

I think modernizing the test would be well worth the cost of making up more questions, (a task of which I don't think is quite as difficult and costly as you may think).

EarlCat

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Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2008, 11:47:27 AM »
Can someone please explain why the LSAT is still paper-based and not computerized like the GRE?

It's ridiculous.

Because taking the GRE sucks.

Seriously, the LSAT is one of the higher-quality tests out there, and a large part of that is that they haven't jumped on the technology bandwagon.  Administering a paper test requires a smaller database of questions than a CBT or CAT, which means LSAC is able to put much more time and energy toward creating quality content.  For instance, LSAT arguments questions, by and large, are air tight.  GMAT args (those created after moving to the CAT format), not so much.  Another benefit to a smaller question pool is that LSAC can (and does) graciously release almost every question they use--public scrutiny FTW.  GMAC and ETS can't do this--it would cost to much to replace that many questions.

Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2008, 06:34:41 AM »

I respectfully disagree.

Worrying about bubbling wrong or clicking wrong when selecting your AC is your psychological and performance issue and part of the beast.  If you can't bubble and overly stress about that super simple task, you will have much more trouble performing basic tasks under pressure that are the daily fodder of LS and being a lawyer.  Would you like someone to bubble for you? 

There are distractions everywhere in life, deal with it.  And from what I saw, there are far more distractions in various forms with CBT/CAT tests than with paper based test administrations.  Would you like to have the privilege of being able to face every challenge and proving ground moment in life to earn something in a utopia like cocoon wrapped in a warm blanket where the circumstances are perfect?  If you can find a place in life like that where you can avoid the challenges and stuff, please tell us where it is.  Until then, rise to the challenge, face off with it and do your best, life is filled with BS and distractions and such.

You don't need to be sharpening pencils all the time.  When I took the LSAT I used one single wooden pencil, I did not sharpen it one single time and had not sharpened it for a week and had used the same one for all my practice tests in the last two weeks.  Once you get a nice dull head on it you can bubble much better and faster.

If you know how to properly analyze the materials and work at a good pace (from practicing), you should not need to be reminded about how much time is left.  Obsessing about the clock is a distraction and time wasted not analyzing the materials at a comfortable pace.  The test is designed to be able to be completed within the time limit by people that manage their time effectively and simply just focus on working the materials/staying on the immediate task at hand.

If you can't keep track of deadlines and abide by them to avoid late fees or whatever, you will get creamed in court/in litigation and the Judges are really going to come down hard on you.  It's called procedure and it is your responsibility to follow it.  Almost as simple as knowing what time you are supposed to show up for work and actually showing up.

Immediate score release, Yey, if you can't wait three weeks for a score, good luck not going totally crazy waiting for LS finals grades, bar exam results, and going through protracted litigation with cases that take years to make it through the court at a snails pace. 

Cheating is very much possible.  That is one of the main reasons LSAC has totally abandoned the prospect of computerizing the LSAT as of now.  Like Earl said, it has to do with the item bank.  People can easily memorize logic games they see and post and tell others about them, which opens the door for some people getting an unfair advantage if LSAC uses the same item more than just once on one day.  That prospect defeats the purpose of CBT in terms of saving money and resources by being able to recycle/re-use test content multiple times.

There are many very long detailed research reports from LSAC about CBT/CAT that you can pull down and read for free on the LSAC site in the LSATnet area.  Many years of deep research.



Well I also respectfully disagree.

Nowhere did I mention that CBTs are better because there's no worrying about bubbling in, in fact you can still accidentally bubble in the incorrect answer on CBTs. What I was referring to was accidentally skipping a slot and bubbling an answer into the wrong number slot--something that is a very common mistake with paper-based tests that would never happen on a CBT. So CBTs eliminate inadvertent mistakes. This has nothing to do with psychological performance; and your comparison with someone worrying about bubbling an answer on a sheet of paper and their performance as a lawyer is pretty ludicrous.

As for your comment about distractions, get real. Everyone and anyone knows the more distraction-free a testing place is, the more able test-takers are to maintain focus. Do I really have to make an argument for this case?

Yeah, that's true. Dull pencil points work better than sharp ones when trying to bubble in answers--but not better than a simple mouse click.

In a perfect world, where everyone had the time to take 500 practice tests, and learn to pace themselves perfectly then, yes, one wouldn't have to worry about the time. But, simply put, virtually EVERYONE worries about how much time is left when they're taking the LSAT. It's an extremely time-challenging test and I know few, if any, people would believe they would not benefit from having the *option* of checking exactly how much time is left at any point during the test (wasting no more time than that it takes to click a mouse).

Note: My comment was not about missing deadlines, as it was about paying extra money. Your comment implies that one would only miss the deadline if one were irresponsible, while clearly there are other reasons that result in late registants. As you well know, during the fall, there is little time between receiving your LSAT scores and the deadline for re-taking the test at the next available date. But if you want to be philosophical, and argue that missing deadlines would be detrimental attribute for lawyering: You do need to make your law school application deadline in order to get accepted and become a lawyer, right? Enough said.

Wait, so we're agreeing... waiting for things to come at a snail's pace sucks.

This is true. Cheating is always possible. But the method of cheating you mentioned is relatively unlikely since one who purposefully leaks LSAT questions would only give others an advantage over oneself. Not to mention, how impossible it is to find all 10,000+ LSAT questions and correct answers and memorize them all before having to take the test yourself. (AND consider this: What sources can you trust when it comes to finding these questions? They could very easily mislead you with fictitious questions and answers for their own personal benefit of screwing others and making them score lower.) For that just take an LSAT prep course--you'd probably have better luck. The main point is that, sure there are always ways to conjure up scenarios where cheating would occur on CBTs. But guess what, cheating in the law school admissions process already exists--and it's probably FAR, FAR more common than you think.   

I do understand that deep research has already taken place. But more deep research needs to occur in order for LSAC to finally develop a more efficient testing process, and I strongly believe computers will eventually play an indispensable role in such process.

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Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2008, 09:15:24 AM »
There is far too much respectful disagreement in this thread.

This is not in the nature of the Internet.

EarlCat

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Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2008, 07:50:10 PM »
Quote
With CBT tests, in general they cycle items through and re-use the same items during a measured time period (the short term life cycle of the use of a particular item) before it gets retired.

This isn't entirely accurate.  In our reports (when our spys go in to take the tests and report back), we've seen questions resurface from years before.

Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2008, 08:22:27 AM »
Ok, let's continue this respectful disagreement but take a different angle. Jeffort, being that he is an LSAT tutor, theoretically has a personal bias to NOT modernize the test to a computer-based format. Obviously, revamping the test format and potentially altering question formats would throw his many years of expertise of the paper-based test out the window and require him to spend inordinate amounts of time learning the fine tips and pointers of how to navigate a new CBT version of the LSAT. Furthermore, LSAT tutoring centers would have to BUY tons of computers to properly administer the test to their students. Converting to a CBT version would cost Jeffort both time and money--and consequently, he would argue against changing the test even if he truly believed it was beneficial to test-takers. Jeffort, in a court of law, I'm sure your argument would be deemed biased and highly affected by personal interest, and therefore be irrelevant.

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Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2008, 08:40:22 AM »
Quote
onverting to a CBT version would cost Jeffort both time and money--and consequently, he would argue against changing the test even if he truly believed it was beneficial to test-takers

You're attacking Jeffort's motivations rather than the substance of his argument. -1

I teach LSAT, GMAT, and GRE for a living.  GMAT and GRE are both CATs and we get around buying computers by making students use their own machines with our online tests--there is little to no marginal cost to allow another student to take a test.  Our LSAT courses cost MUCH more to administer since we have to print and proctor thousands of paper-and-pencil diagnostic exams in addition to printing thousands of pages worth of LSAT questions for each and every student.  (And this after paying LSAC their licensing fee for 5000+ questions). 

If LSAT shifted to a CAT format, there would be some changes in strategy (guessing would be penalized, no skipping questions, etc.).  A shift to a CBT, on the other hand would merely be putting the paper test on-screen, and little would change regarding strategy except things specifically related to bubbling your answer sheet and perhaps annotating passages/arguments.  Not a big shift.  GMAT has arguments similar to the LSAT and I teach them pretty much the same way.  The differences that would come are those mentioned above--larger database of questions means lower quality as LSAC would have to shift from roughly 400-800 new questions a year to 5,000-10,000 new questions by the first administration (and a constant influx of new questions thereafter). 

For the n00bs:
*CAT = Computer Adaptive Test.  Each correct/incorrect answer yields a slightly more/less difficult question, questions cannot be skipped, there is a score penalty for not finishing, and often there is a penalty for guessing incorrectly (an incorrect answer chosen in <30 seconds).

**CBT = Computer Based Test.  Essentially a paper test on-screen--no book or bubble sheet.  Some CBTs include on-screen annotation tools, but others only allow you to select an answer choice.

Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2008, 09:12:58 AM »
Penn clearly did very poorly on her LSAT (hence, GPA-heavy Boston College).  Maybe you should think about business school instead?

Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2008, 09:39:15 AM »
Ok, let's continue this respectful disagreement but take a different angle. Jeffort, being that he is an LSAT tutor, theoretically has a personal bias to NOT modernize the test to a computer-based format. Obviously, revamping the test format and potentially altering question formats would throw his many years of expertise of the paper-based test out the window and require him to spend inordinate amounts of time learning the fine tips and pointers of how to navigate a new CBT version of the LSAT. Furthermore, LSAT tutoring centers would have to BUY tons of computers to properly administer the test to their students. Converting to a CBT version would cost Jeffort both time and money--and consequently, he would argue against changing the test even if he truly believed it was beneficial to test-takers. Jeffort, in a court of law, I'm sure your argument would be deemed biased and highly affected by personal interest, and therefore be irrelevant.

ha ha ha ha ha ha

You think it is about $$$$  and personal interest!!!!   ha ha ha ha ha

I will refrain from including a 'think about the kittens' image.........

Instead:

A Space Odyssey!

(and just so you know, in a court of law, it is not just assumed, but is actually deemed by the law that the advocates have a duty to serve the interests of the client, hence some sort of bias built in, but that is really just the foundation of the adversarial process itself!!!!!)

So, what's up with that big Yale word in your tar?  (I have a sweatshirt with that word on it too, it cost me about $65 and I only wear it at home when it is cold outside and I don't want to turn on the heat.)


Yeah...I think it's personal interest. Care to prove me wrong, rather than talking about kittens?

Re: THE LSAT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2008, 09:42:01 AM »
Penn clearly did very poorly on her LSAT (hence, GPA-heavy Boston College).  Maybe you should think about business school instead?

I'm certain that I am no worse at the LSAT than you are at making substantive posts on LSD. Maybe you'll have more substantive things to say at your much-better-than-BC law school...
Not.