Some students might want to consider an LSAT class to help them prepare for the test. But with dozens of LSAT classes available, how do you pick which course is right for you?
Here are five important factors to evaluate when choosing your LSAT class:
1. Instructor qualifications: This is one of the biggest differentiators between test prep companies. You will find that at some mass market classes, you may go into the first day having already scored higher on your diagnostic test than your instructor scored on his/her real LSAT. Some companies have teachers who scored just in the mid-160s; others require scores of at least a 172.
Some instructors may have never even taken a real LSAT; others have graduated from the top three law schools. Do not be afraid to ask specific questions about who will be teaching your class and what his/her qualifications are.
Ideally, your instructor will also have at least two years of prior teaching experience in addition to a very high LSAT score, as scoring a 180 alone on the LSAT is not necessarily an indicator of excellent teaching skills.
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2. Class size: LSAT classes come in all shapes and sizes, from intimate classroom settings to hotel ballrooms packed with at least 50 students. Everyone has a different learning style, but most students benefit more from a smaller, more personal classroom where they can ask questions during class without a microphone. You may want to find a class that is capped at a small number (20 students or fewer) to ensure the most effective learning environment.
3. Record of success: Ask if and how the company tracks the success of its students and find out the average LSAT score increase (if available) as well as whether it has been independently verified. Some companies cater specifically to higher or lower scoring students, so be sure the average increases are in line with your scoring goals and expectations.
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4. Practice tests: The LSAT class itself teaches you the tools necessary to excel on the exam, but you need to apply those tools many times on real practice LSATs before you will see real score improvement.
Look for LSAT courses that include at least 10 proctored practice tests prior to each real LSAT administration.
At Status Prep, we have one of our LSAT instructors go over each and every proctored practice test and answer any questions, which we have found to be critical for student success. These proctored exams are also more helpful than taking a test by yourself at home, as you have someone else proctoring you and you are in a classroom environment, mimicking the actual testing conditions.
5. Repeat policy: Find out what the makeup policy is if you miss a class, and also ask if you will be able to take the class over again if you would like additional instruction. Some companies charge an additional fee for this, and others allow it only if you take the LSAT and do not perform well.
Other companies offer a no-questions-asked free repeat policy, allowing students to retake the entire class as many times as they want until they are satisfied with their score. Ask for the specifics of this policy before signing up.
[Find out how to handle a low LSAT score.]
When selecting your LSAT class, you can also take convenience and schedules into consideration, but remember that your LSAT score is the single most important factor in your law school applications, so the effectiveness of your LSAT class is far more important than the proximity of the classroom.
Also, if a high quality class is not available in your area, consider virtual private tutoring with a top tier instructor in another location to get the very best results. Do your due diligence, and find the best class for you.
What factors are most important to you in picking an LSAT class? Let me know in the comments, E-mail me at email@example.com, or contact me via Twitter at @StratusPrep.