There are a lot of questionable pieces of anonymous advice out there regarding preparing for the LSAT, so let’s evaluate whether taking a well-taught LSAT Prep course is worth it.
If one is contemplating taking a LSAT Prep course vs. self study, a little common sense is called for. First, everyone is different and there isn’t one “right way” to prepare for the LSAT. However, LSAT Prep is not the place to be “penny-wise and pound-foolish.” The LSAT is the most important part of one’s law school application, generally even more important than one’s cumulative undergraduate gpa. Small score differences can greatly impact law school options and scholarship money, sometimes exceeding $100,000.
It makes sense to think about learning the legal reasoning skills necessary to succeed on the LSAT the same way you would learn any other challenging college-level course. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
- Use common sense – Part 1: LSAT Prep courses aren’t a magic pill, and they won’t eliminate the requirement of self-study. The question should not be whether one should take a course instead of self study, the question should be whether one should take a course in addition to self study.
- Use common sense – Part 2: Any complex subject (e.g., Calculus, World History, Shakespeare, Chemistry, etc.) theoretically can be self-taught. However, live instruction from an experienced and effective professor has been a proven success in learning academic subjects. There is a reason Universities use professors to teach courses, and why such Universities have existed throughout the world for centuries. The same is true when learning the legal reasoning skills tested on the LSAT, or the challenging way in which LSAT questions test those skills.
- Use common sense – Part 3: When preparing for the LSAT, remember that the most effective way to learn new material is typically to combine all of the following: (1) reading it, (2) hearing it (from a professor or teacher), and (3) applying it through extensive practice.
- Use common sense – Part 4: Assuming you take a LSAT Prep course, remember that one’s LSAT Prep instructor is far more important than the LSAT Prep company you choose, just like the professor of a college course is much more important than the University where one takes it. Focus your attention on finding an LSAT Prep instructor you like and who can teach LSAT Prep effectively.
- Use common sense – Part 5: Be highly skeptical of anonymous posts on internet websites telling students not to take a LSAT Prep course. Such anonymous posts very well may be “fake student comments” from companies selling LSAT Prep books. In the end, the decision about how to prepare is yours to make – but keep in mind that there is a reason why ScoreItUp is the ONLY known LSAT Prep company to publicly state that it has NEVER posted a fake student comment on ANY website!
Personally, I find it absurd that anyone would suggest that a good LSAT Prep instructor would not be a substantial benefit to the vast majority of pre-law students. No one would question the value of an excellent basketball coach, volleyball coach, dance instructor, or undergraduate professor helping their students reach the next level. That doesn’t mean that any of these subjects don’t also involve a lot of individual practice or study, and student results obviously will vary – but it’s very hard for me to believe that proper training and guidance isn’t extremely useful.
It’s your time, your money, and your LSAT score. But don’t forget to use your common sense when making the important decision of how to prepare for the LSAT. For some additional thoughts on this subject, please view this blog entry here. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and best of luck to you however you decide to prepare!