If you’re planning on taking a prep course for the June 2014 LSAT, chances are your course is starting fairly soon. Regardless of which test prep company you’ve chosen (we hope it’s us!), there are features common to all test prep courses: lessons, homework, practice tests, etc. There is no end to the “bells and whistles” some companies will add to that list, so before you get completely overwhelmed as to what to do, and how to do it, here are a few simple tips:
- Show up to class! Most classes are 3-4 hours long, and anyone can zone out. How do you make the most of it? Well, first you need to show up! Only skip class in case of an emergency, and promptly make arrangements to make it up. If you’re enrolled in one of our Full-Length classes, you have the option of watching a Virtual recap of each lesson. Don’t assume, however, that you can skip class whenever you feel like it, and then watch the online recaps: they are a great resource, but obviously don’t provide the same interactive experience you get inside a real classroom. It’s like having a meal replacement for lunch: it’s OK to do it once in awhile, or even supplement your existing diet if you’re trying to bulk up or whatever. Just don’t use it as a substitute for real food.
- When in class, pay attention! This means not texting your friends, not playing Scrabble on your phone (or Candy Crush, or whatever), and not Facebooking, Tweeting, or Instagramming. Why not? Well, for starters, it’s rude to your fellow classmates and instructor. Also, it’s expensive (if you spent a minute composing your most recent Facebook update, you just lost $0.34). Last, but not least, you might miss something important.
- Do your homework! Even if you show up to every single class, your score won’t magically improve by some intellectual osmotic pressure. You must complete the homework for each lesson, beginning with the conceptual overview, homework drills, and practice sections. If you’re a PowerScore student, you aren’t done with your homework until you’ve checked the online explanations for the questions you missed! If you have a hard time finishing all of your homework in time, ask your instructor for suggestions about what to focus on, or check out the Critical Homework List provided online under Lesson and Homework Supplements.
- Take practice tests! As one of my colleagues recently wrote, practice tests are a vital part of your preparation. You need to start taking them early enough and allow plenty of time to improve your pace, build your stamina, and learn to switch gears between different types of questions. Of course, don’t burn through half of them before you know what you’re doing: there are only 71 of them as of March 2014.
- Use the Online Student Center! Almost all test prep companies will give you access to an online portal. At the very least, the portal should enable you to score your practice tests online and obtain a detailed breakdown of your performance per section and by question type. If you’re enrolled in one of our Full-Length courses, your Online Student Center has added features such as homework explanations, concept-specific modules, supplemental test sections, etc. It took years to create and assemble all this content: it’s incredibly helpful if you actually use it!
- Ask questions! This is arguably your only job in class, and one of the most important things you can do in the course of your studies. Asking questions shows you’re an engaged, active participant in your learning process. Are there stupid questions? Of course there are: mostly those you keep to yourself. Indeed, years of teaching experience have shown us that students who don’t ask questions improve significantly less than those who do. So don’t just sit in the back wondering if you should’ve gone to med school (the MCAT isn’t fun either).
- Outside of class, you can ask us questions 24/7 by taking advantage of ourDiscussion Forum. If you are a Full-Length student, there’s also the Instructor Hotline 5 PM to 8 PM Monday through Friday EST.
Finally, there is your instructor: he or she holds the key to your success as a test-taker. It’s a job we don’t take lightly. All of our instructors have scored in the 98th percentile on an actual LSAC-administered LSAT, and undergo extensive training. Get to know your instructor! You’ll be happy you did.