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4 Ways to Get Motivated for LSAT Prep, Even if You Work Full-time

LSAT prep

Read time: 4 minutes

So, what’s stopping you from getting down to LSAT prep?

Dealing with test anxiety, lack of time, or just have no idea how to get started?

Let’s be honest: studying for the LSAT is time-consuming, and for the most part, pretty boring. But you need a competitive score to reach the next major milestone in your life—admission to a great law school.

If you’re struggling with motivation, and can’t seem to get your prep off the ground, you need a way to flip the script…and quickly.

Follow these steps to re-focus your energy, make a smart LSAT plan, and do yourself proud on test day.

1. Research Application Deadlines, LSAT Scores for Your Target Law Schools

Application deadlines for law schools in Ontario are usually the first week of November, the year before you want to start studying. But schools outside of Ontario all have different deadlines.

You’ll need to take the LSAT in advance of the application deadlines—so start by figuring out what kind of timeline you’re working with.

Next, take a look at the LSAT score you’ll need to compete for admission at your target schools.

Most schools provide stats on this (and other key data, like the average GPA of accepted students), so applicants can see where the cut-offs are.

Here are a couple of examples from Queen’s University Law, and the University of Toronto Law School.

LSAT pep

U of T Law School Standards for Admission 2015-2017

LSAT prep

Knowing what LSAT score you’re aiming for, and your deadline for taking the test, should really light a fire under you to get started with prep.

Admittedly, part of that fire will probably be anxiety about achieving a 160+ score—but you can use that to power through your next step: a mock LSAT exam.

Take a Mock LSAT Exam & See Where You Stand

If you’re procrastinating about LSAT prep, it’s probably because you have no idea where to start. Or even what’s on the exam.

Before you stress yourself out looking at random sample questions online, just dive right in and do a mock LSAT exam.

This is the best way to find out your natural strengths and weaknesses, get your baseline score, and jumpstart the study process.

You don’t have to prep before the mock—just sign up for a free exam, show up, and do your best.

Remember: This is just one of numerous practice tests you’ll be doing to build up your test-taking skills, and track your progress leading up to the exam.

Don’t heap tons of pressure on yourself before the mock; it’s just a warm up.

Click here to see upcoming mock LSAT exams in Toronto

Map out Your Personal LSAT Study Strategy

Once you’ve gotten the mock exam out of the way, you’ll be ready for the most important stage of LSAT prep: figuring out your own personal study strategy.

This is your roadmap to your highest possible score, tailored to your specific needs. It’s a detailed plan that includes:

  • an analysis of your mock exam
  • which specific weak areas you need to address
  • which study materials you’ll be using
  • a realistic target score
  • how many hours it will take you to reach that score
  • a doable daily/weekly study schedule

Sounds like just another really hard task you’d rather not do? Have no idea how you’ll “analyze” your mock exam and figure out all these data points?

Well, you don’t have to. You can get an LSAT coach to do it for you, for free.

Quite a few LSAT test prep companies offer this service, at no charge, and with no strings attached. You don’t even have to sign up for a course. As long as you’ve taken the mock exam, you will qualify for a free strategy session.

Check out Quantum’s LSAT Personal Assessment & Strategy Service

Once you have your customized plan in place, you’ll know exactly what step to take next, where you’re heading, and how to get there.

Remember: Uncertainty is the enemy of motivation. Wipe out the uncertainty factor, and there’ll be nothing standing between you and your LSAT prep.

Unless of course, you’re dealing with…

LSAT Study Fatigue: The 9-5er Problem

Working a 9-5 job while prepping for the LSAT? Not loving the prospect of coming home after a long, hard day to hours of studying?

You’re not alone. Many, many LSAT challengers are dealing with the 9-5er problem, and are struggling to find motivation for daily prep. You’ll see entire discussion threads devoted to this topic on law school/LSAT forums.

LSAT prep
How do you find energy for LSAT prep after a full day of work?

There’s no easy solution here; preparing for the LSAT while putting in full time work hours takes some serious grit. However, there are a few techniques you can use to pump yourself up, and stick to your study plan:

  1. Set achievable daily study goals

Be realistic. Don’t promise yourself you’ll study for 3-4 hours every single night after work. That’s probably not going to happen. And then you’ll feel bad about it, and your motivation will drop even further.

Aim for something more achievable, like 1.5 to 2 hours of LSAT prep in the evening.

  1. Create your own “rewards” program

It worked for you back in elementary school, and it’ll work again now.  Dangle a little treat or reward in front of yourself to motivate your evening LSAT prep—something you’ll get after you finish studying.

Maybe it’s a slice of cheesecake…maybe it’s something cold and bubbly…maybe it’s an episode of Stranger Things. Maybe it’s a night off to go out with your friends and forget the LSAT even exists—whatever it takes to push yourself just a little harder.

  1. Recharge with a workout

Hate the idea of starting LSAT prep right after you finish work? Get super sluggish after dinner, and can’t “re-boot” when it’s time to study?

Try getting some exercise before you hit the books at night. This is a fairly reliable way to re-charge yourself, and re-set your brain.

  1. Remember what’s at stake

Every time you feel like slacking off, and bailing on your evening LSAT prep routine, give yourself a little reality check.

Remember what your end-goal is; what you’re working for.

Think about the thousands of people you’ll be competing against for admission into a good law school. You better believe plenty of them are powering through, and hitting the books right now.

The bottom line: You can’t afford to slack.  Every night you avoid prep, you’re giving your competition a better edge. (That should scare you into a few more study hours!)

Need more help sorting out your LSAT study plan, or considering a professional LSAT course for extra support?

Leave us your questions in the comment section, or give us a call. We’ll get you back on track.

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4 Things To Do Before You Start LSAT Test Prep

LSAT test prep

Read time: 4 minutes

So, you’ve decided this is the year you’ll tackle the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Good for you!

Have you given some thought to how you’ll approach test prep? Decided whether you’ll study independently or seek out the support of an LSAT course? What about prep materials?

Do you know where you’ll look for quality problem-solving techniques and authentic practice questions?

Ultimately, the strength of your final score depends on how you approach these fundamental elements of LSAT test prep.

Nail down the four steps outlined in this post, and you’ll be well on your way to a smarter, more competitive study strategy.

1. Learn the Structure & Content of the LSAT

Step number one of successfully preparing for the LSAT is finding out exactly what you’re up against. Take a look at this quick overview of exam structure, content, scoring, and time limits.

Note that there are two sections of Logical Reasoning, and two exam sections that are not scored.

Structure & Content of the LSAT

LSAT test prep

A quick note about those unscored sections:

The “experimental” section is full of questions the LSAT-makers are testing out and refining. It will take the form of another logical reasoning, reading comp, or analytical reasoning (logic games) section.

You won’t know which section is experimental, so plan to devote equal effort to every section.

As for the writing sample, it isn’t scored, but a copy is included in your law school admission package.  Schools will consider the strength of your writing along with your overall LSAT score.

Total test time

In total, you’re looking at about 3.5 hours of test time, plus a 15 minute break. But don’t forget to factor in the time it takes to check-in to the test centre, which could be anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.

Make no mistake: the LSAT is a marathon. But knowing what to expect puts you ahead of the curve—and helps you develop realistic study goals.

2. Create a Personalized LSAT Test Prep Strategy

Before you dive into prep, it’s really important to map out an LSAT study plan that accurately reflects your strengths, weaknesses, time constraints, and score goal.

Without this roadmap, your prep will lack structure, direction, and efficiency. You’ll end up wasting time on fruitless techniques or neglect to address serious skill gaps.

Avoid the struggle, and do a mock LSAT exam and analyze your performance. Determine your baseline score (to track future progress), set an achievable score goal, and figure out which sections you need to focus on most.

If you want, once you’ve taken a mock, you can get help with the analysis for free. Many test prep companies (including Quantum) offer a free LSAT Mock Exam Assessment.

You get one hour with an expert LSAT instructor who evaluates your mock, maps out your study plan, and points you toward helpful test prep tools.

Learn more about getting a Personalized LSAT Assessment here

3. Assemble Your Arsenal of Quality LSAT Test Prep Materials

Planning to study for the LSAT on your own, instead of taking an LSAT course? No problem. Just be sure to gather reliable, high quality materials before you dive in.

Learn more about each section of the exam, collect sample questions, download practice tests, and get the Official LSAT Handbook™.  Join an LSAT discussion forum for practical advice and peer support.

Many students swear by their LSAT apps for drilling vocabulary words, watching instructional videos, and practising logic games on-the-go. Find a list of best LSAT apps right here.

Remember, your performance on test day relies heavily on the quality of your prep materials, and the problem-solving techniques you’ve learned. Do your homework. Start strong with resources you can trust.

Click here to browse Quantum’s collection of LSAT prep materials

4. Considering an LSAT Course?

Think you might not have the time or self-discipline to do LSAT test prep on your own?  Wondering if an LSAT course is the way to go?

This is a tough question many students face at some point during their study journey.

Our best advice?

Look at the results of your mock exam and personal assessment. How far are you from your score goal?

How confident are you in your ability to address your weak areas, and steadily improve within the timeframe you have for prep?

For some students, the answer is simple: they’re ready to go it alone. For others, there are gaps in confidence and knowledge that make independent study more complicated.

Evaluate your own situation early on.

Struggling through months of self-study only to end up in an LSAT course can be really frustrating—not to mention, you’ve learned quite a few bad habits by then, which must be “unlearned” during the course.

Not sure which way to go?

Take a look at Should You Take a Professional LSAT Course? 3 Things to Consider

Wondering how a typical LSAT course works, and what you’d cover during training? We suggest reading What to Expect from a 50-Hr LSAT Course (& is it worth it?)

Have other questions about how to start LSAT prep right? Check out our blog, or just drop us a line. We’re here to help!

 

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Should You Take a Professional LSAT Course? 3 Things to Consider

LSAT course

 

Read time: 5 minutes

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.

Browse our collection of LSAT study guides & practice tests

OR

Explore Quantum’s LSAT Courses in Toronto

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LSAT Practice Scores Not Going Up? 3 Likely Reasons Why

LSAT practice

 

Read time: 5 minutes

Diligently pursuing LSAT prep, but not seeing much improvement on your practice tests? Can’t get your score to rise even after weeks of study?

This kind of roadblock is common for LSAT contenders. But it’s crucial to identify and break down barriers to score improvement early on, so you don’t waste time and energy repeating bad habits.

These are the three most likely reasons your score isn’t going up, and some expert tips on what to do differently.

Your LSAT practice is focussed more on “right answers” than good technique

This is the most common trap our students fall into when prepping for the LSAT—and the most likely reason you’re having trouble raising your practice test scores.

Consider this: are you focussing primarily on the number of questions you get right, and using that data as your key indicator of success? Are you drilling practice questions, over and over, but not seeing consistent improvement in your results?

Chances are, you’re overlooking the process you’re using to solve each question-type. These techniques might be less than ideal—or you’re simply not applying the procedures correctly.

You tend to focus on “right” and “wrong” answers, without drilling deeper, to understand where you’re going wrong, and how to improve your approach. Sound familiar?

LSAT practice tip

Start actively looking for “learning points” on each question. Analyze your technique and form; the way you tackle each question-type. Dissect the answers you get right and the ones you get wrong with the goal of continuously streamlining your approach.

This is where you’ll find the key to breaking through your score barrier.

Your LSAT study resources are lacking

Self-study is challenging for several reasons. There are time constraints, issues with self-discipline, bad habits that derail progress, and perhaps most crucially, an overwhelming array of study resources to sort through.

Have you identified the absolute best materials and “attack plans” for each type of logic game, argument theory question, or reading comp challenge? Do you know where common traps lie and how to avoid them?

One-to-one LSAT tutoring would be ideal for accessing better study materials and re-vamping your approach—but for many students, it’s just too expensive.

As an alternative, you might consider an LSAT prep course or workshop to quickly get back on track. A quality program will equip you with proven techniques to tackle each question-type, authentic practice tests, and other reliable study materials.

LSAT practice tip

Learned some reliable problem-solving techniques? Don’t deviate from them! Many students improvise their own approaches to tough problems, instead of sticking to trusted, step-by-step procedures.

It’s crucial to consistently rehearse good strategies during practice, so those approaches become ingrained and automatic by exam day.

Anxiety, pacing & LSAT study fatigue

Do you find yourself dreading taking another LSAT practice test? Does your anxiety grow as you work through the test, making you rush through particularly challenging problems?

It’s entirely possible that stress is undermining your progress. You might need to re-evaluate your study schedule, and make some time to relax and recharge prior to your next practice test.

Anxiety can wreak havoc on your LSAT prep. Left unchecked, it can contribute to pacing problems, loss of confidence, and an overall sense of “study fatigue.”

All of this is normal. After all, there’s a lot riding on your performance, and you’ve already invested considerable time and effort in studying.

Backing off from practice tests to revise your technique (as suggested above) should help quite a bit—you’ll improve your strategy and pacing, and begin to feel more self-assured.

But don’t forget to balance your LSAT prep with natural stress-relievers, like regular exercise, fun activities with friends, and healthy food.

LSAT practice tip

Just as you schedule time for study, be sure to set aside part of each day for relaxation. Preparing for the LSAT is like training for a marathon—building mental and physical endurance is key to achieving your best possible result on exam day.

Looking for more LSAT test prep ideas and support? Considering enrolling in an LSAT course?

Click here to learn more about Quantum’s LSAT courses

Or, leave a comment below and we’ll reach out with recommendations and next steps. We’re here to help!

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What to Expect from a 50-hr LSAT Prep Course (& is it worth it?)

LSAT prep course

Read time: 5 minutes

If you’re planning to take the LSAT, you’re probably grappling with a few very common dilemmas:

“Should I study on my own, enrol in an LSAT prep course, or go all-in with private tutoring?”

“What study strategy is most likely to get me a competitive LSAT score, the first time around?”

First of all, it’s important to know where you stand right now, in terms of LSAT readiness. If you’ve taken a practice test and are relatively happy with the result, you could probably study independently for a modest score increase of a few points.

On the other hand, if you need to boost your score by more than 10-15 points, then some form of professional help could be very useful.

An LSAT prep course or private tutor will help you maximize your study time and avoid common exam errors. You’ll also learn standardized approaches for answering each question-type, which can significantly improve performance in weak areas.

The support of an instructor is particularly helpful for people who work demanding jobs, and don’t have time to research and learn the best test-taking strategies on their own.

So, if you’re looking for a substantial score increase, and private tutoring isn’t an option, a quality LSAT prep course is your best bet for guided study that will get results.

Here’s what you can expect to cover in a 50-hr LSAT course (based on Quantum’s program), and a few tips for choosing a reliable test prep company.

Comprehensive Coverage of the 3 LSAT Question Types

The purpose of the LSAT is to test your readiness for law school by assessing your abilities in three key areas: logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension.

A 50-hr LSAT course is typically divided into three sections, with each part devoted to one of the three main topic areas. Spread over a few weekends, students delve into each topic, do hundreds of practice questions, and learn a wide range of strategies for approaching tough problems.

You’ll cover every type of problem, and tackle the full spectrum of logic games (perhaps the most dreaded aspect of the LSAT), including:

  • sequencing games
  • grouping games
  • hybrid games
  • mapping games
  • pattern games
  • pure logic games

Other than comprehensiveness, what else should you look for in a quality 50-hr LSAT course? Key markers of reliability include:

  • full-time instructors with 5+ years of experience teaching LSAT prep, and personal scores of at least 170
  • a “free course repeat” policy that allows you to re-take all, or part of the course, as many times as you need to refine your skills

Free Practice Tests & a Proctored Mock LSAT Exam

The 50-hr LSAT course should also provide students with free, sample LSAT exams, and the opportunity to sit a proctored mock exam.

Practice tests are essential for tracking overall score improvements both during and after the course, identifying areas for improvement, and continuing to refine your study strategy right up to the exam.

The proctored mock exam is also key because it gives students a realistic preview of what exam day will be like. The mock will help you cope with pressure and learn to pace yourself—and in general, prepare for the marathon-like experience of test day (the exam takes around 3.5 hours to complete, from start to finish).

What if You Don’t Need the Full 50 Hours of LSAT prep?

A 50-hr course is definitely worth it if you need comprehensive instruction in all three topic areas. However, if you’re struggling only with logic games or reading comprehension, it makes more sense to zero-in on those specific topics.

Some test prep companies will let you split a longer course into modules, and take only the classes you really need. For example, students can divide Quantum’s 50-hr LSAT prep course into segments, and sign up for just one or two modules:

  • Logical Reasoning (20 hrs)
  • Analytical Reasoning/Logic Games (20 hrs)
  • Reading Comprehension (10 hrs)

Of course, there’s usually a discount for bundling all three modules together, but students are under no obligation to do so. Each test prep company has their own policies on bundling and discounts, so it’s wise to investigate these before signing up.

Need more information about LSAT test prep, or the exam in general? Start by exploring these free resources and links to helpful study materials:

Click here for free LSAT prep resources

                                   OR

Click here to take a closer look at Quantum’s LSAT courses

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6 Keys of LSAT Test Prep: Advice from LSAT Coaches & Successful Test-takers

LSAT test prep

Read time: 5 minutes

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is widely characterized as the hardest test you’ll ever take. Comparable only to the Bar exam, this test seeks to determine how well you are suited to study law, and pursue a legal career.

Many admissions officials consider your LSAT result a highly accurate indicator of how well you’ll perform in law school. Rest assured, your score will carry a lot of weight during the application review process.

Given the important role the LSAT plays in your acceptance to—or rejection from—law school, it makes sense to spend time mapping out a realistic and effective study plan.

Start by considering these six keys to smarter LSAT prep. This advice is based on observations from Quantum’s own expert LSAT coaches, plus the experiences of successful test-takers.

1. Make LSAT test prep a daily habit: avoid weekend cramming

Most test-takers are tempted to squeeze all of their LSAT studying into Saturdays and Sundays, for a few months leading up to the exam.

But this approach leaves you vulnerable to setbacks and weak prep in two important ways:

1) Weekend cramming is not conducive to the kind of methodical, consistent practice required to build LSAT-specific skills.

2) Relegating prep to weekends leaves too great a gap between study sessions, making it much easier to fall behind without even realizing it. A daily study plan is better for tracking your progress and staying on schedule.

In a guest post on the popular blog, The LSAT Diaries, contributor Brad says daily study was key to achieving a 179 LSAT score.

He recalls, “I cleared off my large desk calendar and wrote down everything that I needed to do, day-by- day… Having a daily guide kept my studying structured, and forced me to face when I was falling behind, and catch up.”

2. Set aside at least ­­­3 months for LSAT prep

Three months of disciplined, daily study is a respectable goal to aim for when mapping out your LSAT strategy. However, you may need to spread your studying out over a longer period of time—each of us learns at a different rate, and in different ways.

If you’d like more of a safety net (to protect against inevitable set-backs), set aside 3-6 months of prep time. Overall, you should plan to complete 150-300 hours of practice.

3. Don’t rely on re-taking the LSAT for a better score

Quite a few LSAT “tips” lists emphasize that test-takers can challenge the exam more than once. Readers are told not to worry if they do poorly on the first or second attempt, because each new exam is a clean slate.

Quantum LSAT coach, Daniel Yepes must often remind students that, unfortunately, this is not always true: “Some law schools look at all the exams you attempted, and average the scores together. Don’t take the test unprepared. A low score could come back to haunt you!”

4. LSAT practice tests only help if you know how to analyze them

Taking practice tests—many of them—should be a central part of your LSAT test prep strategy. However, it is crucial to note that no matter how many practice tests you take, they will only be helpful if you know how to analyze your results.

Results analysis is a lengthy, meticulous process. You must clearly understand where and how you went wrong on incorrect answers. If you don’t identify your weaknesses correctly, you can’t address them—and are doomed to repeat those same mistakes on every subsequent test (including the official exam).

5. Never underestimate the LSAT “Logic Games”

Over the years, Daniel has seen many students develop a false sense of security after learning the LSAT has no quant section. “They get really excited and say, ‘the LSAT has no math? Great!!’ ”

And then Daniel is forced to point out that, “this is not necessarily a good thing. Instead of math, the LSAT has the dreaded Logic Games section—very challenging problems that demand advanced diagramming techniques and other test-taking strategies.”

Students who don’t invest significant time practicing logic games will have a very hard time achieving a competitive LSAT score.

6. Consider an LSAT course to improve your score

Rather not go it completely alone? Months of LSAT test prep, and long hours spent studying in seclusion, can be very isolating for test-takers.

Plus, despite the availability of quality study guides and resources, many students need extra help to master difficult exam topics and question-types.

Key benefits of taking a quality LSAT course include:

  • help with approaching and mastering hundreds of practice questions
  • proven strategies for tackling difficult problems (and avoiding common errors)
  • quality study materials and free resources

Some test prep companies offer “free course repeat” policies, meaning you can take a single LSAT course multiple times within a certain time period, without paying again.

This is ideal for students who need extra help in certain areas, as they proceed with independent study following the course.

Interested in learning more about strategic LSAT test prep? Looking for a quality LSAT course in Toronto to support your study efforts?

Click here to learn more about Quantum’s Premium 50 Hour LSAT Course

OR

Click here to learn how you can get a FREE coaching session with an LSAT instructor