March typically signifies the end of the previous year’s testing and application cycle. It also indicates the start of most test taker’s prep for the upcoming fall admission. That isn’t to suggest that schools won’t take a summer test for a start later this year, though. There are a lot of great schools that accept scores from “late” test administrations. However, for the majority of future applicants the coming months mark the start of their LSAT journeys. This time of year, there are two common questions students are asking.
- “How do I begin to prepare?”
- “How do I pick the best prep option that’s best for me?”
In this post I’ll do my best to answer both of those questions.
First, I’m obviously pretty biased when it comes to courses and prep in general. PowerScore is truly the industry leader when it comes to quality instruction and student results. For the purpose of this post, I’ll avoid a blatant PowerScore pitch and instead take a different approach. So, here’s broader, brand-free advice to help you make the most informed and beneficial decision possible. Here are the three most crucial steps when starting your LSAT journey.
Step One: Practice Test
Take a real, timed (or digital) LSAT and score it to receive a comprehensive performance analysis. This gives you a clear indication of where you are at the outset. That initial score helps you discover your strengths and weaknesses and determine how far you are from your target score. It also helps inform on of the most important decisions you’ll need to make. Should you self-study? Enroll in a course? Hire a private tutor? Here are some of the different options you can explore:
- LSAT prep books
- Self-paced, on-demand type courses
- Live, comprehensive courses
- Fast-paced live courses
- Courses that address the toughest topics
- One-on-one private tutoring
Someone with very narrow needs may benefit more from targeted prep via books or tutoring. Whereas, a person with wide-ranging struggles or a larger gap between initial and desired score is more fit for a comprehensive course. It’s common for the average test taker to utilize several of these options to really give themselves an edge on the LSAT.
Visit our Self-Study site and create a free account in order to take the June 2007 Digital Practice Test. At the end, you’ll receive a complete score evaluation that can help you focus your prep. Once you start taking additional paper tests, you’ll want to take advantage of our free Virtual Proctor to help you get the timing right and the free test scoring and feedback for every test. This is a great place to get that early diagnostic data!
Step Two: Research!
Truth is, as much as I stand by our gold-medal perch on the podium, there are a lot of great prep options out there these days. Most companies offer previews of their content and courses so that you can quite literally try before you buy. So, read up, shop around, and investigate before shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars on an unproven investment. Don’t go off of company-selected student reviews or website marketing text! Investigate the content itself to see how well it speaks to you and how likely you are to benefit from further exposure to it.
For instance, here’s a sampling of some resources we provide that you can explore immediately.
- Watch the majority of Lesson One from our In Person and Live Online Courses.
- Utilize our Free Help Area stocked full with great articles, helpful videos, and links to tons of other resources.
- Read and subscribe to our blog!
- Sign up for one of our free webinars lead by some of our best instructors.
- Tweet us! Talk directly to Senior Instructors and Content Developers like me and Dave Killoran, PowerScore’s founder and author of the LSAT Bibles. You can also reach u s in the comment section of our blog posts.
- Sign up and participate on our LSAT Forum. You can ask questions and review a ton of discussion threads.
- Preview chapters of the LSAT Bibles, the best-selling LSAT books on the market.
This is just a portion of what we make available, all for free!
Step Three: Consider All of Your Options
No matter which LSAT prep option you choose, committing to a company means immersing yourself in its ecosystem and embracing its methodology. For this reason, it’s imperative to consider how you and others are treated as potential clients before you enroll.
Simply put, the experience you have before making a purchase is an excellent predictor of how you’ll be handled once you’re a paying customer. I strongly encourage you to give any company that’s caught your eye a call and speak to customer service staff. Or, pull up a live chat online and interact with representatives. Above all reach out to some of their top people, those in charge of the actual content they create and sell. This is the stuff your success will be depending on! Gauge their responsiveness and the help they offer you as a non-student. If they can’t, or won’t, help you in the early stages of your journey, what confidence should you have that you’ll be well cared for when test day is looming and it matters most?
Once you’ve dedicated yourself to a prep route, be sure the people guiding you will be there every step of the way. That way, if you encounter difficulty or confusion you know you’ll have helping-hands to get you through it. This is the single best way to ensure that you’ll reach your goals on a test this tough!
None of that is to suggest that it’s an easy or obvious decision, but hopefully keeping these things in mind early on will make the right path a little clearer.