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How to choose an LSAT class

GENERAL

When choosing an LSAT course, rather than trying to determine which test prep course is the “best,” you should be concerned with the course that best meets your needs. Determine what is important to you: Lots of practice material with explanations and computer grading? Many hours of class? Small classes with personalized attention? Easy to learn material? Once you’ve determined your needs, review each company to see which one best suits your needs.

TEACHERS

What should a good LSAT teacher possess? Test teaching experience and enthusiasm. When choosing a course, contact companies directly and ask who specifically will be teaching your course, rather than assuming that all teachers in a company are necessarily the same. When evaluating teachers, many students assume that a higher score equates to a better teacher. This is not necessarily true. What is the difference between someone who scored in the 95th percentile (approximately 167) and someone who scored in the 99.1 percentile (approximately 172)? Little bit. In fact, above the 95th percentile, a higher LSAT score often simply reflects the speed at which an examinee reads, not necessarily how much knowledge of the LSAT the examinee has. As such, someone who scored in the 99th percentile probably reads a little faster than someone who scored in the 95th percentile. Thus, the difference between a teacher who scored in the 95th percentile vs. the 99th percentile it means very little. What does count is how well the teacher can teach you to score well. What about the teacher’s experience with law school or the law? This is a nice bonus, but for teaching the LSAT, it doesn’t matter much. The LSAT assesses logic and reading, as such, no knowledge of law is required. If you have questions about law, law school, or admissions, check with your school’s pre-law advisor or other source (many test prep companies also offer law school admissions consulting).

METHODS

Focus on how one company teaches you methods rather than which company has the “best” methods. Many focus on the Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) methods of a course, as this section often turns out to be the most difficult and unfamiliar to many test takers. This is certainly an important section, but keep in mind that the Logical Reasoning section consists of two full sections, compared to an Analytical Reasoning section. As such, be sure to review a company’s logical reasoning methods (and how they teach those methods).

BOOKS / OTHER MATERIALS

This is an area in which courses vary. Check each company to see what you get besides class. Most prep companies offer multiple LSAT prep tests as part of the course. If you take a course that LSAT PrepTests do not offer, you must purchase them on your own.

SHOULD I TAKE AN ONLINE COURSE?

If you think that a prep book is not enough, but a live course is too expensive, consider taking an online course, which provides essentially the same content as a live course, but over the Internet. Many online course options give you an email contact if you get really stuck – a huge advantage over a book. If you’re fine without a teacher but want a lot more support than that in a book, consider online options.

WHAT COURSE SHOULD I TAKE? Follow these steps:

Step 1- Decide what is important to you: flexibility or structure? A lot of time in the classroom or a lot of practice material? Serious or relaxed atmosphere? Small classes? Online course?

Step 2- Contact the companies and get specific information about the expertise and enthusiasm of your local teacher.

Step 3- Choose a course. Optional: If you haven’t taken a logic course, consider taking one before your LSAT class or purchasing Richard Feldman’s Reason & Argument, a great introduction to the basics of logic.

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