Considering attending law school? Yes? In that case, successfully completing the law school admissions test (a.k.a. the LSAT) is likely going to be your first course of action towards application completion—arguably your most important, too. The best way to succeed on the LSAT is to learn the underlying logic of the exam in an instructional setting. Official LSAT study courses are available in various instructional formats (group-classroom, private, online, etc.), and while in years past the instructional format of an LSAT study course didn’t have a significant effect on a student’s performance outcome, with the LSAT turning digital, students that prepare digitally will have an upper-hand at reaching their goal scores. With that in mind, digital LSAT preparation has evolved drastically, and LSAT students now have the option to learn in a classroom-setting, on-demand setting, or private setting—online.
As most admission counsellors tell you, the LSAT is the most heavily weighted component of a student’s law school application. The data doesn’t lie, the probability of being admitted into any given law school increases with every point increase on the LSAT, and for students with GPA on the lower end of the spectrum, the LSAT provides a route to partial redemption.
It’s common knowledge that the best way to succeed on the LSAT is to study; however, what isn’t common knowledge, is that not all LSAT study materials are adequate for LSAT prep, and this is where many students tend to fault in their prep. There are plenty of LSAT resources claiming to be the best of their kinds, but before falling victim to consumer advertising and spending money on these resources, it’s a great idea to make sure the advertised content is approved and officially licensed by LSAC—there are currently only 33 officially licensed LSAT prep companies. Using unlicensed (or third-party) materials to prepare for the LAST is a mistake given that the logic on the LSAT is very particular to the LSAT, and only licensed content will expose a student to real LSAT questions, and thereby, real LSAT logic. Furthermore, it’s a shot-in-the-dark as to how applicable and efficient the strategies put forth by third-party content providers will be when applied to official LSAT questions.
The best LSAT prep course choice for one student may not be among the best LSAT course options for another student, and that’s normal—everyone learns differently. Some students learn best by using books, and others learn more effectively by using an online platform, where videos and visual content are readily available. In order to prep most effectively from the get-go, students should self-assess their learning styles prior to investing in resources, as it makes the best sense for a student to pick a prep resource based on their individual needs. With 33 different licensed prep companies to choose from, students have more than enough options to find resources that best complement their learning styles and needs.
The cost of LSAT prep is by no means a reason for students to shy away from law school. In fact, recently, LSAC partnered with Khan Academy in order to make LSAT prep more assessible to students in all financial situations, and together they’ve released the Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep Course (completely free). Additionally, several LSAT prep companies—such as Odyssey Test Prep—offer test prep fee waivers for eligible students (check eligibility on the LSAC’s website)! Therefore, LSAT prep course cost should never be a deciding factor for students interested in improving their LSAT score or going to law school.
Blueprint LSAT Course
As an LSAT strategist I often recommend resources for my students to implement in their studies, and Blueprint LSAT tops that list. Why’s that? Well, Blueprint provides the perfect platform for drilling concepts, learning strategies, and creating practice problem sets. For every question, Blueprint includes: an explanation of the right and wrong answer choices, a paraphrased version of the stimulus, and a guide to anticipating the correct answer choice. Moreover, when working through practice problem sets on Blueprint, Blueprint automatically adjusts follow-up question difficulty based on performance; this mechanism enables a student to progress in question difficulty at their own pace. Furthermore, Blueprint LSAT provides video explanations for thousands of questions, and is an all-around amazing platform for visual learners. In addition to having a great online platform, Blueprint’s LSAT course is available in person at Blueprint LSAT NYC, Blueprint LSAT Chicago, and 27 other locations around the United States!
PowerScore LSAT Course
When it comes to LSAT study books, test preparation expert Dave Killoran set the bar high with his creation the PowerScore LSAT Bibles. If you learn best by reading from a book, don’t second guess your decision to prepare for the LSAT using the PowerScore LSAT bibles, as they contain all of the strategies necessary to succeed on the LSAT and they’re written in an easy to comprehend language. Moreover, the organization of the lessons and topics in the LSAT bibles lends itself particularly well to strategically learning the logic and question types found on the LSAT. In addition to its highly regarded book-based course, PowerScore has course offerings online, in person, and in private tutoring formats.
When it comes to private-instruction and being the best prepared, students should pay attention to the two different types of private-instruction offered. Several companies, such as PowerScore, Blueprint LSAT, Kaplan, etc., offer private-instruction; however, their instructors are obligated to teach students using preset strategies, and while this approach may lead some students to success, others that have difficulty with the prescribed methods will be forced to struggle to learn and to implement them. This rigid learning structure may not be conducive to maximizing a student’s testing potential. Other companies, like Odyssey Test Prep, allow their instructors the flexibility to find and teach the method that works best for an individual student—thereby promoting an adaptable learning atmosphere and creating an environment positive for maximal growth. Students that have used one company for preparation unsuccessfully should refrain from enrolling in that particular company’s private instruction (if offered), as it’s likely that students will be subjected to the same learning methods and strategies that were ineffective for them the first go-around.
Online LSAT Course versus In-Person LSAT Course
The definition of an “in-person” classroom preparatory course has started to shift as advancements in online classroom technology have come to fruition; due to these advancements, the definition has expanded to include “live” classroom prep, or courses based out of an online classroom. Plenty of reputable preparation companies such as PowerScore, Princeton Review, Kaplan, Blueprint LSAT, etc., offer “live” online LSAT courses; different from the traditional sense of an in-person classroom LSAT course only in that students can access the course from the comfort of their own homes and the material is digitally presented. As such, students that are adamant about learning in a classroom setting can consider “live” online courses as equally effective alternatives to the traditional classroom approach. The same reasoning applies to in-person private instruction, and students that opt to prepare for the LSAT in a one-on-one fashion can consider private online instruction as another equally effective alternative to in-person paper-based private tutoring.
Studying for the LSAT and Law School during a Pandemic
It’s quite likely that in person LSAT courses won’t be offered for quite some time—thanks, COVID-19! However, for the healthy life goes on, and, so should LSAT prep. Now is a fantastic time for all quarantined individuals considering law school to take up LSAT studying. In the absence of in person LSAT courses, “live” classroom LSAT prep is a powerful alternative, and it provides a traditional classroom experience from the comfort of one’s very own home. Other forms of LSAT Prep have been largely unaffected by the pandemic, and as such, all remain great options for the time being. Remember, the best way to stay sane during these stressful times is to stay productive, positive, and to carry on with life in the most efficient manner possible! Stay safe and healthy!