How do you go about choosing the best LSAT Prep course for you, especially if you do not know the instructor? It’s an important question, considering the significance of your LSAT score.
Here is my suggestion: analogize choosing your LSAT Prep course to buying a burger (hamburger, chicken burger, turkey burger, tofu burger, your choice…). if you were choosing among burger options, you probably would think primarily about three things: (1) the quality of the burger, (2) the quantity (size) of the burger, and (3) the price.
The same goes for LSAT Prep courses. Let’s take these three factors in reverse order, since “quality” is the most involved one. The three factors (and some questions to ask yourself) are listed below:
- What do you actually get for the price you are paying?
- Are there additional costs or is the price all-inclusive?
- Does the price include the company’s online video course?
- Will you be paying additional fees for parking and, if so, how much?
- If you want to take a second course with the same company, how much is the additional cost to do so?
- If you pay for a second course with the company, will you be repeating the same course, or will it involve analysis of new LSAT questions?
- Does the price include official LSAT practice exams and, if so, how are those exams provided to you (electronically or actual physical copies with answers)?
- Price will be more important to some students than others. But don’t be “penny-wise and pound foolish” – other factors may be far more important than price, considering how important the LSAT is to your law school application.
Higher price doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality: some companies pay more on advertising, hiring instructors, paperwork processing, layers of management, etc. – those administrative costs likely will be passed on to you. So do your best to look at what you’re actually paying, and getting, for your money.
- How many hours of live instruction are included (be careful to read the fine print on this one!)?
- How many proctored exams are included?
- If you take a second course with the company, how many total hours will you be getting – and will the second course simply repeat the first course or will the second course involve analysis of new LSAT questions?
- If you take a second course, how many total hours will you get for the two courses combined?
- If online resources are included, what do they consist of, and how important do you anticipate they will be to you?
- The biggest factor affecting the quality of LSAT Prep courses is (not surprisingly) going to be the instructor teaching the course. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your LSAT Prep instructor:
- Does he/she have significant LSAT Prep and/or University-level teaching experience?
- Do you sense that he/she possesses expertise in the LSAT and the ability to communicate that expertise effectively to you?
- Does he/she have a law school degree?
- Does he/she have formal training in the “legal reasoning skills” tested on the LSAT?
- Does he/she have verifiable student evaluations (not just evaluations of the company, but your individual instructor)?
- Do you believe you would enjoy spending a significant amount of time in class with him/her?
- How motivated to teach you does he/she seem to be?
- Is he/she open to answering questions in class and outside of class?
- Is he/she available for individual supplemental tutoring, if you feel you need that?
- Is he/she able to help you with other aspects of your law school application, such as your personal statement?
- Will your instructor allow you to talk to him/her or watch a class lesson before you enroll?
- The founders of the course probably put together the lesson plans and online components, so consider many of the same factors listed above for the company’s founders too.
- Does the course include training and instruction on the “soft factors” of your application (personal statement, law school applications, LSAT’s Writing Sample, etc.), if that is important to you?
- What type of online resources are included, who prepared them, and how useful do you anticipate they will be to you?
This list isn’t intended to be exhaustive, but it does cover the primary factors that students tend to focus on. If you have any suggested edits/additions to the above list, please let me know!