While good test scores are an important part of undergraduate admissions, there are often many other factors that may take the heat off this one element of your application. When it comes to law school, however, LSAT scores are a primary factor in determining which schools you can apply to and your chances of acceptance. This exam tests how well you perform in core competencies necessary to be a successful lawyer and succeed in your studies, so it carries a lot of weight. Most people will benefit from a formal prep class, and there are no shortage of options. Here are some tips for picking the right course for your needs.
Online Vs Traditional Classes
The first thing you need to decide is if you prefer online or traditional in-person classes. The former is a good choice if you require a lot of flexibility in your study time and when you can take practice tests. There are many comprehensive courses that allow you to navigate the material as you choose, and can be a great option if you are very self-directed and self-motivated. If you are the kind of person who is bad at managing your time or doing things without outside prodding, you may not get the most out of this method of instruction. Traditional classes are good for people who need a bit more structure and want the option of speaking to an instructor.
Instructor qualifications are an important factor in choosing your LSAT prep class. Different companies have different requirements as far as the minimum score instructors received on their own LSAT; some instructors may have never even taken the test. You also want to take actual teaching experience into account as well—many recommend choosing programs where the teacher has at least 2 years experience; a high LSAT score does not necessarily mean a person would excel at helping students prepare for the test.
Class size is another important consideration; everyone has different learning styles and if the idea of being in a hotel ballroom in a class with 50 other people, asking the instructor questions with a microphone is not your ideal learning environment, focus on programs that have a smaller class size; 20 students or less is ideal.
Check any data regarding past student’s scores—what is the average improvement in score? More importantly, has this data been independently verified by a third party? It is also important to note that some programs cater specifically to students that have lower or higher scores, so when looking at the averages, it is important to choose a program that is on par with your goals and expectations.
When choosing a program, it is important to find out about the repeat policy. Different programs go about this differently. Some may give you a steep discount if you take the class again; some may let you take the class as many times as you want until you get an acceptable score. Some may only allow you to re-take the class for free if you do poorly on the exam.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers all matters education; if you are looking into law schools on the East coast, visit Vermont Law for more information on their programs.