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September 30th LSAT

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Did anyone else take the LSAT at the end of last month? I did, along with a colleague who's also sick of teaching history to undergrads who want an A without any understanding.

I took the Kaplan class - one reason I hadn't been here - and I think it prepared me pretty well for the games and logical reasoning. Reading comp was another issue, as that section was harder than any of the released tests.
post #2 of 14
I know a few people who took this (I'm a college senior now, so its that time). One guy was convinved that he nailed it, another not so sure. I find it strange that a college professor is taking it. Does he want to be a lawyer?
post #3 of 14
I took the LSAT as a very late PhD student. I was thinking of going to law school after finishing my dissertation. Never went, but it was interesting. At the time I thought it might be a boost for me getting an academic teaching job--be able to teach econ and law.

I didn't actually find the test all that challenging. I never go around to studying too much and actually fell asleep after finishing most of one section. Luckily it was only for a few seconds. I did okay (into the 90s percentiles).

I had two friends take a Kaplan course years ago and one did very well and the other saw no improvement at all.

b
post #4 of 14
Would you say the Kaplan class is worth the money on top of, say, buying the books? I've never been one to take classes on taking tests (ACT, SAT, etc.), but the LSAT is pretty damned important in terms of getting in to top law schools. $1200 is a little steep for me, though.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'll have a better answer for that in a few weeks. And maverick, it's actually not that uncommon for professors to move into law. Maybe you're in a discipline that's not so hot in terms of hirings. Maybe, like me, you're in a discipline that's nuclear-hot and is only going to burn you and keep you from getting tenure at a top-flight university. But do I want to be a lawyer? Yeah, I think I can do more as an advocate for an NGO or something like that than I can as a history professor.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGladwell
I'll have a better answer for that in a few weeks.

And maverick, it's actually not that uncommon for professors to move into law. Maybe you're in a discipline that's not so hot in terms of hirings. Maybe, like me, you're in a discipline that's nuclear-hot and is only going to burn you and keep you from getting tenure at a top-flight university. But do I want to be a lawyer? Yeah, I think I can do more as an advocate for an NGO or something like that than I can as a history professor.

High LSAT scores and good grades are all you need to get into a top law school. You could be a convicted serial killer with no ability to speak because you voluntarily removed your tongue and a top law school will admit you if your college grades and LSATs are high enough.

The LSAT is a bitch to take as well. After I took it I swore I would never take another standardized test in my life, but totally forgot that four years later I would need to take the bar, which is far worse than the LSAT! Although at least the bar is just pass/fail so some of the pressure is off.

Make sure you at least take a couple practice exams before taking the LSAT so you are familiar with the test format.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_economy
Would you say the Kaplan class is worth the money on top of, say, buying the books? I've never been one to take classes on taking tests (ACT, SAT, etc.), but the LSAT is pretty damned important in terms of getting in to top law schools. $1200 is a little steep for me, though.

I took the Kaplan class. Back then it only cost $800.

I thought it was worth it. By the time the real test came up, I had taken so many practice tests that I knew within 1 point what my score would be.

Look at it this way: Your LSAT counts just as much as your grades during 3 years of university. Screw up your LSAT, and all those A's you worked hard for won't mean much if you're trying to get into a top school. You really should do anything you can to maximize your LSAT score. $1200 and a lot of studying would be worth it to me if I were in your position.

By the way, just taking the course is not enough. You need to take many many practice tests (focusing on the sections where you need the most improvement.)
post #8 of 14
I agree with the need to take the LSAT very seriously, but in general, prep classes are substantial ripoffs and really nothing that someone can't do on his own. I just bought several books of practice tests and set aside time each night for the few weeks before the test to study and analyze my performance on each of the questions. That raised my score ~10 points, which was especially important for someone like me who dicked around in college and had to compensate for a low GPA. The difference is I only had to spend <$100 instead of ~$1000 or whatever exhorbitant amount they're charging these days.

Then I wised up a few months later and realized I wanted nothing to do with law school, so I didn't have to end up with an extra grand worth of buyer's remorse after the fact .
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_economy
Would you say the Kaplan class is worth the money on top of, say, buying the books? I've never been one to take classes on taking tests (ACT, SAT, etc.), but the LSAT is pretty damned important in terms of getting in to top law schools. $1200 is a little steep for me, though.
I'd start by buying one of the $15 books at Borders that come with sample tests. Work through one one of the tests at your leisure and check your score. If you do very well, you probably don't need the class.
Caveat: I took the LSAT something like 16-17 years ago. I know the scoring has changed substantially - the score I got wouldn't even make sense now b/c it's a totally different scale - but I assume that the content is generally similar. That said: I found the LSAT to be one of the "purest" standardized tests I've ever taken. By that I mean that it tests substantive knowledge (like vocabulary, math skills, etc.) less than any other standardized tests I can remember taking (SAT's, Iowa tests, whatever), and thus your score largely measures what you can call "logical reasoning" or, if you prefer, "test-taking ability". If your intellectual organization is such that you tend to find the format of standardized tests, IQ tests, logic puzzles, etc. accessible and to do well on them, you probably don't need an SAT prep class. If you tend to find such tests tricky, confusing, etc., and/or generally tend to score lower on standardized tests, I'd imagine a prep class might be beneficial.
But before you make that investment of time and money, just do a practice test and get a feel for what's involved in taking the test.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawyerdad
I'd start by buying one of the $15 books at Borders that come with sample tests. Work through one one of the tests at your leisure and check your score. If you do very well, you probably don't need the class.
Caveat: I took the LSAT something like 16-17 years ago. I know the scoring has changed substantially - the score I got wouldn't even make sense now b/c it's a totally different scale - but I assume that the content is generally similar. That said: I found the LSAT to be one of the "purest" standardized tests I've ever taken. By that I mean that it tests substantive knowledge (like vocabulary, math skills, etc.) less than any other standardized tests I can remember taking (SAT's, Iowa tests, whatever), and thus your score largely measures what you can call "logical reasoning" or, if you prefer, "test-taking ability". If your intellectual organization is such that you tend to find the format of standardized tests, IQ tests, logic puzzles, etc. accessible and to do well on them, you probably don't need an SAT prep class. If you tend to find such tests tricky, confusing, etc., and/or generally tend to score lower on standardized tests, I'd imagine a prep class might be beneficial.
But before you make that investment of time and money, just do a practice test and get a feel for what's involved in taking the test.


Here's the conversion of old LSAT to new, or vice versa: Scale of 120-180 is the same as 200-800. Simply drop the "1" and add a "0."

So, a 165 is a 650.

A 450 is a 145.

Percentiles stay the same: 150=500=50th%ile

Unless they changed it again...
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Checks
Here's the conversion of old LSAT to new, or vice versa: Scale of 120-180 is the same as 200-800. Simply drop the "1" and add a "0."

So, a 165 is a 650.

A 450 is a 145.

Percentiles stay the same: 150=500=50th%ile

Unless they changed it again...
I must be even older than you.
When I took the LSAT the scale only ran to 48.
post #12 of 14
I didn't do the classes, but i did fairly well on the LSATs, somewhere in the 95+ percentile range. I think it's a lot of money, but above all, what the classes give you are a lot of repetition and discipline. If you're not disciplined enough to do it diligently on your own, it is extremely helpful. Also, they have all the released "real" LSAT tests (which are far far better organized and structured than the simulated questions made by the authors; there's no comparison) that you can take until your pinky turns blue. I think if your first test was pretty high already, you don't need to take the class, as there isn't that much added value the classes give you in terms of education and methods of approaching the problems.


If you're studying on your own, you should get your hands on all the "Real" released LSAT question sets you can find (do a search under amazon for 'real LSATs'). Those are more important than anything else for preparation, in my opinion.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthmover
Also, they have all the released "real" LSAT tests (which are far far better organized and structured than the simulated questions made by the authors; there's no comparison) that you can take until your pinky turns blue. I think if your first test was pretty high already, you don't need to take the class, as there isn't that much added value the classes give you in terms of education and methods of approaching the problems.

I think it depends on your definition of high. My Kaplan diagnostic, which was the first time I had taken a standardized test in this century (and the last one was the GRE, a joke), was a 167. Subsequent practice tests improved markedly on that figure, as did hopefully the real thing. I think learning the methods, especially in terms of master sketches for the games (my worst section at the beginning, best at the end) and subtle differences in meaning in question types (I was overthinking the easy reading comp inference questions, which is apparently a common problem amongst academics who task the test) made the difference. The online Stratosphere stuff was great, too.

For me, the only part of the course that didn't help was the emphasis on timing. I just didn't need it. On games I struggled at first, but once I saw all of the different types and practiced them a bit the time issue ceased to be. Which makes it ironic that the reading comp section on the 30th took me almost the whole time to finish, when I was generally twiddling my thumbs for the last 15 min on in class exams.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by aybojs
I agree with the need to take the LSAT very seriously, but in general, prep classes are substantial ripoffs and really nothing that someone can't do on his own. I just bought several books of practice tests and set aside time each night for the few weeks before the test to study and analyze my performance on each of the questions. That raised my score ~10 points, which was especially important for someone like me who dicked around in college and had to compensate for a low GPA. The difference is I only had to spend <$100 instead of ~$1000 or whatever exhorbitant amount they're charging these days.

Then I wised up a few months later and realized I wanted nothing to do with law school, so I didn't have to end up with an extra grand worth of buyer's remorse after the fact .

This is why I'm not dicking around in college, but I will pass the GMAT with flying colors (or die trying).

Jon.
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