Eliminating the LSAT Prep Gimmicks!

Taking a good LSAT Prep course is likely to be much better than relying upon “self-study” (if it’s a bad course you might as well study on your own!). However, many courses do some things that are counterproductive and don’t enhance one’s LSAT Prep experience. See below for a list of a few of these LSAT Prep gimmicks and fake stuff (or just unhelpful practices), and ScoreItUp’s response:

1. Fake (Or Unknown) Classroom Hours

It is hard to figure out how many live (classroom) course hours one actually gets in some LSAT Prep courses. Other companies seek to artificially bolster the number of course hours in their “live” LSAT Prep courses by including “online” hours (make sure you read their fine print!).

ScoreItUp’s Response:  The number of live classroom hours should be clearly stated and…well…live! ScoreItUp’s live courses offer more classroom hours than any of its competitors.  In addition, ScoreItUp’s entire online course, as well as online tutorials on the Personal Statement and Writing Sample, are included for free. And the advertised number of “live” course hours in my courses do not include “online” hours!

2. Fake LSAT Prep Class Options

Some companies list a variety of different LSAT Prep class options, only to cancel the low-enrollment courses at the last minute. Many LSAT Prep students have found themselves in a very uncomfortable situation after this occurs.

ScoreItUp’s Response:  I have never cancelled a ScoreItUp LSAT Prep course on any student due to low enrollment or for any other reason.

3.  Fake Higher Score Guarantees

These aren’t exactly fake, they just contain lots of fine print that limit their application and add bureaucratic aggravation to your LSAT Prep experience.

ScoreItUp’s Response:  In addition to guaranteeing that I will be teaching your course (and not a part-time student instructor), ScoreItUp offers the best “higher score guarantee” in the land.  See Item 14 in Top 15 for the details.  Unlike other companies, you do not need to prove to me how many classes you attended to qualify for the refund. You do not need to prove to me whether you did all the assigned homework to qualify for the refund (what a pain!). You do not need to prove that you “made up” missed lessons. And if you find a “higher score guarantee” you like better somewhere else, just let me know before you enroll: I’ll likely match it! Questions?  See Top 15 or ask me for the details!

4. Fake LSAT Questions

To reduce LSAC licensing fees, many commercial books and companies include a lot of “fake” LSAT questions made up by their company in their books or courses.  Other companies say they use “real” LSAT questions but then incorporate a lot of “fake” ones into their books or courses as well.

ScoreItUp’s Response:  I use only real LSAT questions (official LSAT questions from previously released LSATs) in all of ScoreItUp’s live and online video lessons, mock exams, and homework assignments.  Also, ScoreItUp’s live students receive physical copies of the LSAC’s SuperPrep II book and LSAT practice exams (not just “electronic access”). As a result, you don’t need to print the exams out, and you don’t “lose access” to them – you can continue practicing with these practice LSATs after the course is over.

5. Fake Student Comments

Unfortunately, certain LSAT prep companies post fake student comments on their own website, online law school forums, and other sites (e.g., yelp.com, amazon.com, etc.). They may heap praise about their own company, or use them to disparage competitors. Others, selling LSAT Prep books, encourage students to “self-study” and buy their books.  Some of these companies have spent years creating “dummy profiles” to make these anonymous “students” look legitimate.

ScoreItUp’s Response:  I have the only LSAT Prep company in the nation (to my knowledge) that (1) publicly states that it has never posted a fake student comment on any website, (2) publishes a complete, unedited and independently verifiable set of student evaluations, and (3) publishes a separate set of unedited undergraduate (UCI) student evaluations. Please visit “Student Comments” for more details!

6. Fake Ordering of LSAT Questions (Question “Scrambling”)

Some companies “group” LSAT questions into particular categories.  Others use phrases like “adaptive learning” to suggest that you will be spoon-fed LSAT questions of a particular type, depending upon your alleged needs. These methods have the same underlying concept:  they take LSAT questions out of their original and authentic order, “scrambling” them into alleged categories or groups.

ScoreItUp’s Response:  (Advance warning: this response is a long one, which is why I saved it for last!) Question “scrambling” makes for clever marketing since it allows companies to place their own book covers on LSAT questions or advertise some techy-looking stuff.  But it isn’t the best way to prepare. In ScoreItUp’s courses, I do some limited “grouping” of questions at the beginning to make sure you understand logic concepts and question types. However, we then move into working with LSAT questions in their original and authentic order, as they were given in the original exam, and as you will be doing when you take the official LSAT.  

There are several problems with alternative methods that rely upon extensive question “scrambling,” including:

  • The LSAT will not be spoon-feeding questions to you in groups.  For example, in the Logical Reasoning section you need to instantly move from one question type to another (e.g., from a “flaw” to a “parallel reasoning” to a “resolve the paradox” question). On the actual LSAT, you will not be given 5 “flaw” questions in a row, followed by 5 “assumption” questions in a row, etc.  In other words, the fake ordering of LSAT questions creates an artificial learning environment that does not simulate the actual LSAT.
  • The logic and legal reasoning concepts on the LSAT are not tested by question type.  For example, a “causation” or “symbolic logic” issue may appear in a “flaw” question, an “assumption” question, and/or a “weakens” question (to name just a few).  When questions are “grouped” for you (or you study with so-called “adaptive learning”), not only are you studying in an artificial manner, the likelihood of misidentifying your actual weaknesses is quite high.
  • The LSAT also will not tell you what type of question it is.  You need to figure that out from reading the question itself, an important skill to develop. Learning by continuously being provided questions by category type gives you a false sense of security, and is radically different than taking the LSAT.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a crucial part of achieving LSAT success is taking an extensive number of timed, full-length LSATs in their original and authentic condition. Studying by “grouping” questions together from different LSATs means you likely will have seen some LSAT questions in each section when you take timed practice LSATs at home. Countless students have expressed frustration about that experience. After all, when you take the official LSAT, you will not have seen any questions before (unless you have some exceptional telepathic skills…in which case you may want to reconsider going to law school!).

For more details on any of these items, please feel free to email me at mark@scoreitup.com.