Thanks! So my question is around study prep time.
I was thinking about taking the test in February to give myself the opportunity of applying next year (not totally sure on law school yet). February was ideal for me because my schedule may be different in June or October, whereas easier to visualize now, and there may be other things that come up then. Currently I get home from work at about 630 M-F, without any commitments outside of work. Not that June or October is prohibitive, just potentially less convenient or more of an opportunity cost.
I took a practice test and scored well below where I would want to be on test day, much of it due to not finishing any of the sections, and nowhere close on the logic games. However, I performed very well on the SAT, and am a good standardized test taker, though am usually a slow one and would definitely need to focus on speed. Other than the logic games the material came pretty naturally.
I got my feet wet starting to study from a logic games book to get a head start on a testmasters course that starts Saturday I was thinking about taking. I realized a couple things though. 1) The course starts on Saturday and only runs for 2 months because it can’t start until the december LSAT is done. 2) From what I’ve read/heard most people give themselves at least 3 months (3-4 months?) to prep.
So, right now, I’m at trying to decide if I should go all in to prepare for the test or put it off until a later date. I want to get my best possible score, and have had doubts recently about whether I can feel totally prepared in this amount of time, and won’t be wishing I had more time to master it.
Insights on how much time is usually needed to fully prepare, or anything specific to my situation would be helpful! Also, I’ve heard great things about your book, and like the flexibility it provides for self study, so any thoughts on that vs taking a course (price isn’t an issue) are helpful as well.
Hi there! Thanks so much for joining and sorry I didn’t answer this last night — I signed off at 6 (pacific time) and didn’t know you’d be back —
Here are some of my general thoughts — if you have questions about any of them, I’m happy to discuss further.
1 If timing is not an issue, I would suggest you prepare for June rather than February.
If the situation or this exam were different my advice might be as well, but —
a) your LSAT score is the most important part of the admissions process — even more important than all the work you put in as an undergrad — since (I’m guessing) you gave yourself at least 4 years to get through undergrad, it makes sense to give yourself as many months as you need to get ready for the LSAT.
b) the LSAT is very learnable, but to learn it right takes time. Trying to rush it is typically inefficient and can also hurt you for the long term as well — in my opinion, it’s much better to take a long term perspective, give yourself the best chance to succeed, and be very careful about setting the right foundation — picking the right study tools, and figuring out what’s most important to know about the test.
c) most students who have made huge (dare I say, life-changing) sort of improvements will tell you that 3-4 months is probably a minimum — it may take longer than that for you to reach your potential, but if it does, it’s, in general, worth it to invest that time.
So, with all that said, if you want to give yourself the best chance to succeed, I do think planning for June is better than planning for Feb (though, if you do decide on Feb, more than happy to help you figure out how to make that work out best as well).
2.In terms of learning products — obviously I’m fond of my book, but I really do believe that study success is highly dependent on fit — on how well the tool matches up with the student — I know my book is a great fit for some students, but not for others, and, in a more general sense, taking a course is a great fit for some students, and self-study is a better fit for others.
Per all of that, here’s what I would suggest —
a) Investigate as many learning products as you can, and try to dig into them a little bit — don’t just go off reputation — I offer ⅕ of my book for free online on the trainer website and you can check those out here — http://www.thelsattrainer.com/lsat-trainer-sample-chapters.html — and other learning products will offer similar views in — know that there are a lot of effective tools, and make it your goal to find the one that you feel most comfortable with and that you trust can help you the most.
b) if you want to utilize multiple study tools, by all means go for it — in general, the benefit you get from utilizing multiple learning tools far outweighs the negatives — as long as the products you use are of high quality, I think you’ll appreciate having the different perspectives.
c) the key mitigating factor is that learning from study products should just be one part of your study process (more on this later) — after you go through the majority of your learning, you want to move on to getting plenty of practice — so, whatever you go with, plan on studying in the first part of your prep, but leave time to move on to drilling and taking full pt’s.
d) I don’t know anything specific about the Testmasters course — all I know is their reputation, which has been a very good one for many, many years. However, if you have the option of choosing amongst reputable companies, I believe that the quality of the particular instructor is arguably the most important factor you ought to consider — a high score doesn’t make one a good teacher, and there are a lot of bad LSAT teachers out there (and again, a lot of it has to do with “fit”). So, if at all possible, I suggest you try to sit in on a session or in some other way try to get a sense of the teacher before you commit.
3.Finally, I suggest that you think of your LSAT prep as involving multiple, overlapping phases — learning, drilling, and practice exams — for other types of tests, the learning part is pretty much everything, but to improve at the LSAT, you need to get in lots of smart practice — so, keep that in mind — try to get in as much learning as you can early on, and then make sure you give yourself enough time to get as good as you can get —
I hope that helps — please take a look around at some of the articles on the site, which go into more detail on some of the topics I mentioned — if you have any follow up questions, just let me know — good luck with your LSAT prep! — Mike