Reply To: The Trainer & Powerscores?

March 25, 2016 at 2:49 pm #1629
Mike Kim

So this site is probably not the best place to get a fair viewpoint on your q, and I’m most certainly not the person who can give the most unbiased views (and for that, just so you know, there are lots of threads on TLS and Reddit/lsat about using the Trainer and PS together, Trainer vs PS, etc.), but at the same time…

I do genuinely believe that how effective a learning product can be is based on “fit,” and different LSAT study products, and different combinations of LSAT study products, fit different students best — so a big part of prep success has to do with figuring out the best method/combination of methods uniquely suited for you —

In terms of making that decision, here are some considerations that I think are very important and useful to think about —

1) I developed the Trainer to be a stand alone guide, and went to what I felt were extreme lengths to ensure that it could be depended on as such, and so you don’t need to feel any concern that you are leaving yourself thin by just using the Trainer.

In terms of the pudding part of the proof, there are now countless stories online of people who used just the Trainer + practice tests to achieve their goal scores. On the flip side, it’s hard to find many stories of students who felt the Trainer left them unprepared for something they had to face on test day.

2) The very same things can be said about the Powerscore products. And on top of that, in my time in the industry, and from my limited viewpoint, my sense is that Powerscore products have helped more people get top scores than any other LSAT study tool. You cannot discount that track record.

3) I think perhaps a good analogy for the situation is that they are like two different Algebra books — you don’t have to feel like you are screwing yourself if you find one to be enough, but, at the same time, it doesn’t hurt to use two if you think two would be helpful, and often, even if you prefer one more in general, the other can still provide valuable insight from a different perspective.

4) The biggest counter-argument that I see to utilizing multiple study products is opportunity cost — you may be better off spending that time doing drill sets or practice problems or reviewing your work or whatever.

5) And finally, again, figuring out whether you need more study tools or not is a decision you have to make for yourself, and I think your review process can be very helpful for making this determination correctly.

So, when you try problems and review them after the fact, it’s very helpful to try to gauge as honestly and accurately as you can whether —

a) you had trouble because your understanding of the issues behind the problem is incorrect, incomplete, or just as clear as you want it to be.
b) you had trouble because you feel you don’t have adequate strategies for dealing with a particular situation.
c) you had trouble because, even though you can understand the problem after the fact and see how you could have solved it more easily and correctly, you just didn’t execute in the moment.
d) some combination of the above.

If and when you determine that a) and b) are what are holding you back, that’s, I think, when reaching for other study products offers the best chance for added benefit. If you feel c) more of the time, then I think that’s when, generally, better drilling and review of work/learning you’ve already done will generally prove more worthy of your time.

Obviously making such determinations–figuring out why we are having trouble–is inherently subjective — and there are plenty of times when we are wrong in our own assessments —

Still, I think it’s is one of the best gauges we’ve got, and, on top of that, the very act of trying to make such determinations is, I believe, very, very helpful for getting better at the test — it is, in and of itself, great mental training.

Again, I realize I am not the best person to discuss this issue, and I’d love to hear what others have to say, but those are some of my thoughts and I hope you find them helpful —