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Taking a professional LSAT course comes with pros and cons. For many students, price is the biggest detractor. Quality test prep does not come cheap.
For others, the issue is time and distance. There may not be a live course near where they live, which means travelling to another city for a weekend LSAT bootcamp.
On the benefits side? A good LSAT course equips students with a solid repertoire of problem-solving skills, which in most cases, results in a significant score increase on exam day.
And that bump in score could make all the difference for your law school application.
So should you, or shouldn’t you, invest in LSAT training?
Ask yourself these 3 questions to figure out if professional test prep makes sense for you.
1. How much time do you have for LSAT prep?
Many prospective law school students work full time, have family responsibilities, or are juggling other obligations in addition to LSAT prep.
When weighing whether or not to take a course, time is often the deciding factor. Start by mapping out how many hours each week you could set aside for prep.
It takes most students about 4 months to learn the skills tested on the LSAT—which breaks down into at least 6-8 study hours each week.
There is no reason you can’t tackle this process on your own, but you must be willing (and able) to invest extra time researching and gathering the best study materials.
Plus, you’ll need to test out, and narrow down, the most effective problem-solving strategies for each type of LSAT question.
On the other hand, taking an LSAT course shaves time off your prep schedule, because all of these resources are provided for you. And the instructor simply shows you which approach is best for solving each question-type on the exam.
Training is usually condensed into a weekend, and you leave with all of the materials, techniques, and practice questions you’ll need to prepare for the test.
You’ll still need a few months to practice and refine your skills, but you’ve gained a significant head start.
2. How strong are your self-study skills?
In addition to time, self-study takes discipline and a very particular set of skills. Some students are completely confident in their ability to structure, and stick to, a highly effective LSAT study plan.
These individuals are typically high academic achievers who have always done well on standardized tests. They’re comfortable learning new material, tracking progress, and figuring out how to achieve a competitive score.
On the other hand, some students have been out of school for quite some time, and it’s been years since they’ve taken a difficult exam.
Others may have graduated recently, but struggled with this kind of testing during their undergraduate years and in high school. Confidence is a significant issue, and they’re not even sure how to approach LSAT prep.
Where do you fall on the self-study spectrum?
If the idea of tackling prep on your own fills you with dread, you’re probably better off enrolling in an LSAT course. The instructor will break it all down for you.
A quality course will explain everything from the structure of the exam and test-day procedures, to how to solve the most difficult problems, avoid traps, and target your personal weaknesses.
Comprehensive training will prepare you to answer every question-type for each section of the exam (reading comp, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning).
The benefit? Predictability and a greater sense of control. Nothing will feel unfamiliar on test day. And for under-confident students with rusty study skills, this can be a powerful game-changer.
3. Are you struggling in a particular LSAT topic area?
Feeling particularly worried about those notoriously difficult “logic games”? Not sure your reading comprehension is where it needs to be? Don’t know how to strengthen those skills?
If you’re dealing with a significant weakness in a certain topic area, targeted LSAT training could be your best bet for fast improvement.
In this case, you may not need a comprehensive LSAT course, which will cover all of the content on the exam. Instead, you might opt for a shorter course that deals specifically with your area of weakness.
Most test prep companies offer mini-courses (or modules) for each section of the LSAT. Or, you might consider a few hours of individual tutoring.
This is usually the best way to quickly target your weak points, and learn more effective problem-solving techniques, before continuing to study on your own.
Still not sure about which prep plan you should pursue?
Looking for more information on LSAT test prep strategies, resources, and professional courses? We’re here to help.