I’m just starting studying for the LSAT and wanted to know if taking an LSAT prep course is more effective than studying on my own?
It depends on you, of course. But I often work with students who tried to study on their own, hit a roadblock, and then decided to take a class or get one-on-one tutoring. They often tell me that they started making much more progress in class.
There seems to be three common reasons: (1) They didn’t study as much as they should have until the class kicked them into action; (2) They were studying the wrong way: reading too much theory without actually practicing, for example; (3) They needed good, in-person explanations.
There’s a ton of good information out there and good books. But if you’re practicing in the wrong way (or at least not as effectively), working on your own can take longer. At the very least, if you decide to study on your own, find an equally motivated study buddy and start doing practice tests together, figuring out the ones you missed, and then reading books about how to approach the questions (as you continue to do practice problems).
Big fan of the podcast. I was looking into applying to law school after graduating with an engineering degree 3 years ago. In that time, I’ve been working in the science field but not satisfied with the career path.
My question is, I have a low undergraduate GPA (2.4) but haven taken a couple of practice LSATs and have scored 165 and 166 respectively. I am confident that I can get into the high 170s, but I’m not sure what my chances are in getting into a decent law school.
Do you have any experience with people in my situation?
Thanks for your time and consideration!
I think you have a decent chance at a decent law school. But it really depends on what you consider “decent.”
Here’s what I would do:
1. Go to LSAC’s calculator.
2. Enter your GPA and your likely LSAT score, so 2.4 and maybe 173. Although you’re saying that you can get into the high 170s, and I hope you do, your score can fluctuate on test day, even if you’re doing very well. So I’d put in scores ranging from 170 to 176. Let’s start with 173.
3. Sort by likelihood from low to high. And then scroll down, focusing on the far-right column.
4. With those numbers (2.4 and 173), for example, you have a 17% to 42% of getting in at Vanderbilt, a solid school.
5. Now that we have the baseline, I would adjust up or down based on your other factors. Since you studied engineering, which is harder than most majors, I’d adjust up. So you’re probably near the higher end of that range. If you’ve got great things to show for yourself in your career so far, adjust up again. If not, keep things the same or adjust down.
From there, as you play with the numbers (170 vs. 176) and your other factors, you can get a sense of which schools might be in your range and what your chances are.
I’m planning to get one of Nathan’s LSAT books, but can’t tell which I should go with. I haven’t begun prepping yet and scored a 160 on the timed June 2007 exam. I’d like to max my score out as much as possible, of course. In Section I (logic games) I only missed one question that I got to, but ran out of time and guess B for the last 7 questions. I missed 3 in Section II, 5 in Section III, and 7 in Section IV. So I need to improve my speed in the logic games, and I guess my general understanding in the other sections.
Given what I need to work on, which book would be best for me to start with?
Thanks for your help (on here and on the podcast!),
Thanks Cordelia! We just recorded episode 56 and used your question to talk about two of my books. Basically, start here:
Introducing the LSAT
and then go here:
Cheating the LSAT
Great fan of the podcast, which I recently discovered, a great listen on all of my commutes and in a short time has definitely altered how I approach the test.
That being said I took the most recent test last month and was very disappointed in my score, as I had been practicing into the low 160’s to mid 160’s and majorly underachieved. I recently had, by way of a podcast or some NPR report, learned about Grit and how the vision of a great performance can often lead one to not put in the requisite work and I can sadly and safely admit that was me. That being said I know I can break the 170 mark, and have three months or so until the next proctoring.
In that time, which materials would you recommend I purchase to self study and break into the 170s? Sadly I cannot afford, nor can my parents, to take a class. However, I can still probably put up for the “best” preparation materials. Should I go with the self study materials for a Test Masters caliber book? I used the Kaplan book (I know) and while it helped a lot, it definitely is way too convoluted to effectively allow someone to teach themselves, in fact on certain sections, it made me worse than my initial pre-test.
In short, how can I re-approach the test after letting myself down knowing I can do much better? I have already started taking a daily section and already can see its benefits – so thank you for that! Anything helps, so thank you for all you do!
Dude! I strongly recommend these awesome LSAT books.
The author is a bit of an asshole, but the explanations are top-knotch.
Hope things are going good!
My question is, I scored low on my lsat cold score the other- day and was interested in buying some of your books and wanted to know where to start. I would like to be testing in mid 160s by June. Any help would be much appreciated!!
Btw- for purposes of feedback I found you guys through your podcast, which is awesome!
Thanks for listening!
Most of my books come with my classes, but if you have a specific request for a games book, etc., feel free to email me directly.
I just stumbled upon your podcast and it has been so helpful in me wrapping my mind around preparing for the LSAT. I am currently a teacher in the Teach For America program looking to go into law school to influence policy through the lens of education as a civil rights issue.
I have an undergraduate GPA of a 3.49 and a 4.0 in my master’s program. I am wondering how law schools factor in graduate school grades, if at all. Do you know if additional graduate degrees are evaluated?
I am planning on studying on my own and taking the test in June and then taking a course over the summer to take the test again in September.
I am also looking into how to evaluate each law program specifically. I am particularly interested in the civil rights focus of law programs but have struggled to find information on their programs directly through their website and found that word of mouth is more helpful in that. Do you have any suggestions of how to learn more about law programs when school websites seem to be pretty standard? Thank you for your time!
Hi Jillian, I’m glad that you found the podcast. Here are some quick answers:
(1) Your master’s program GPA won’t matter much. It’s more of a soft factor that they will consider along with your resume, letters of recommendation, and so on.
(2) I would only take the test in June if you’re mostly ready (in other words, close to a score that you’d be happy with).
(3) I’d call the schools and ask them point blank about how they focus on civil rights, if at all. You can also ask them to connect you with a current student, who will likely give you a more honest assessment of the school.
Good luck! Ben
I love the podcast as it is extremely informative and motivating, thank you. I just took my cold diagnostic and received a 142. I purchased lsatmax in December. I am planning on taking the Sept. Lsat, I don’t believe I’ll be prepared for the July test properly after my horrible diagnostic. Should I buy the Powerscore books in addition to the course I’ve already purchased? Thank you for your time addressing this question.
Your diagnostic score is not great, but it’s not horrible either. I’d still aim to take it in July AND September. I don’t know enough about LSAT Max to endorse it. Instead, take our free courses:
I’m also not a huge fan of the PS bibles. They have good advice, but you have to separate that advice out from the bad advice, which you’re not in a position to do. Instead, buy Nathan’s books that are listed on this resources page.
Love the podcast! I have a tricky past with the LSAT’s. I took them twice in 2015 and again in 2016 while in college, and scored a horrible 143 both times despite scoring into the high 150’s to low 160’s consistently on my PT’s. I decided then before graduation I would put off law school until I thought I could do better on the LSAT. I tend to freak out on the tests, and also get bored with the questions, I think this has been what’s been holding me back mainly. I had the same issue with the ACT and SAT’s in high school.
My LSAC GPA is 3.2 (mainly because I did very poorly freshman year, and since then my GPA has been consistently better).
I am now about a year post grad, working full time in DC looking to apply for the 2019 cycle. I am scheduled to take the July 2018 test, and am freaking out debating if I should eat the money and just skip it and prepare more for the September test. I have been scoring consistently in the 150’s but after my blind reviews I’m getting around the mid to low 160’s. I know these scores aren’t too impressive, and hearing your podcasts I imagine you guys would say hold off and take the September or just ditch the law school idea all together? FYI I took Kaplan back in 2015, but this time around I’ve been self studying. I think a class would be helpful for me to work on my test anxiety and skills but money is tight for me right now.
Any tips would help!
Don’t beat yourself about your scores. You’re making progress. And the mid-150s is a fine place to be right now. It’s not where you want to end up, but you can do this!
PSA for everyone else: Raechel just told me that she was able to get transferred to the September LSAT for free by just calling and asking. Nice job, LSAC.
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