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LSAT Prep Trends & Truisms

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Ann Levine

Ann Levine


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Hear from online LSAT prep companies, tutors and study programs about LSAT apps for iPads, video games, and online classes and tutoring to ind out the latest and greatest (and lamest?) in all things LSAT Prep.


0:04 Ann Levine

Hi! This is Ann Levine. Thanks so much for joining us today for the Law School Expert Blog Talk Radio Show. I am so happy that you are here to join us for my 12th Blog Talk Radio Show and that I am really excited about today's topic. In the past, we have had almost 10,000 listens to our previous 12 shows and I want to thank you in advance for your support and feedback. I am currently seeing that two of my guests who have called the wrong number today so I am just getting them onboard. Just one moment. Okay. And I'm going to go ahead and get things started today. Today's topic is LSAT trends and tourism, and for those of you new to the show, I am a Law School Admission Consultant and the author of The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert. For more information about applying to law school and related advice, you can go to lawschoolexpert.com/blog. And today we are talking about the new technological advances that allow you to study for the LSAT anywhere, anytime, and in many different ways. Gone are the days of keeping flash cards by the toilet. Today, there are iPad apps, iPhone apps, online classes, and Skype too, doing computer quizzes and even arcade cell videogames, to help you achieve your best score on the LSAT. So, we are going to be hearing today from three leaders in the field, who are also LSAT tutors and we are going to be talking about what some of these new trends are, what are they are good for, and what is going to be true about LSAT Prep no matter how old school or technologically advanced this study method is that you are using.

1:48 Ann Levine

For those of you listening live today, please feel free to use the chat room to ask questions. I have already received some early bird questions through my Law School Expert Blog and I will incorporate those, and as many of the chat room questions as possible throughout our 45-minute show today. So please, I see that we have a large number of guests today, who are already there in the chat room. So, please feel free to ask questions at anytime. Joining me today are Noah Teitelbaum, Managing Director of Atlas LSAT, Brad Mcllquham, Director of Academics at Knewton, and Michael Weiler, Founder of EduPath, and I probably butchered off three of your last names, sorry guys. Can you hear me? Let's see here.

2:35 Brad

That's right. Thank you.

2:36 Ann Levine

Now you can hear me. How do I do on the name guys? Did I do okay?

2:41 Michael

I mean, I think you did as to be expected so I have no complaints on my part.

2:45 Ann Levine

Okay. I'll let you guys correct as we go forward and I apologize for a little technical glitch as we are getting started. I'd like to start by introducing each of you to our listeners and then we will go to and start talking about the actual content today. I am going to start by introducing Noah, who is the Managing Director of Atlas. And as a former school teacher and curriculum designer in recent years, Noah has contributed to writing curriculum for both Manhattan GMAT and Atlas LSAT, and this is the 3rd Blog Talk Radio Show, where Noah has agreed to serve as a guest so I know you will learn a lot from him. So, thanks for being here Noah. I assume you're there. Brad was one of the highest rated LSAT, GMAT, GRE, and SAT teachers for the nation's largest test prep company, and as a Director of Academics at Knewton, he is the person responsible for the curriculum and content of the courses and for training inspectors. So, welcome Brad.

3:47 Brad

Thank you Ann. It's my pleasure.

3:48 Ann Levine

And last, we have Michael Weiler, who is the Founder of EduPath, which was founded just last year and the makers of Award-Winning Mobile Test-Prep Applications, and in 2009, Michael also co-founded ___4:00___, which is an in-app forum system for the EduPath app, which offers a forum for every single test question, and prior to founding EduPath, Michael discuss some tutoring for over 10 years __4:13__ partner. So, welcome to our show today Michael.

4:16 Michael

Thank you. I'm happy to be here.

4:18 Ann Levine

So, I would like to start by having you each share two or three things that your company is doing/launching that you consider to be cutting edge, high-tech LSAT Prep related. And I'm going to go and order it first here, so, we will start with Noah. I know Noah that Atlas has an online course and just started an Atari cell videogame online with old school funs and most of your target markets can't even identify them so I think you did that just for me. Tell me a little bit about how an online LSAT course works and who it works best for, and then tell me a little bit about this videogame. I see that you are there Noah. Can you not hear me? Okay, we will move on to the next person then and I am certain Noah will get the hang of this momentarily. Brad, let's start with you then. I know that Knewton is all about online instruction and quizzes with tailored responses and feedback. So, tell us a little bit about your online classroom and the Create a Quiz function, and what students gain from these technology-based study aids?

5:22 Brad

Sure, I'd love to. But I hope Noah does get on because I really want to hear about the Atari cell videogame and I know I saw a demo of that.

5:29 Ann Levine

Yeah. Well, I am going to chat with him. I am going to at least look for him while you are talking. So, let's see if I could sum up with him.

5:32 Brad

No, no. Yeah, sure. And you're right. At Knewton, I think the two best attributes of our online course are the fact that we do it in an online classroom itself and that means we can give personalized attention to students while they are in class. In the traditional model, there is a teacher lecturing at the front of the class and students have to sit there with their hands raised to get their question asked or just don't have enough time to get to every student, but we have no limit on the amount of teachers we can put into a class. So, we use the team teaching model here at Knewton, where we will have two, three, or four teachers in a class at any given time. In that way, they can carry on discussions, can follow up with students, can check in on students individually, privately, and personally to make sure that they are following along with the lecture, the concepts to discussion, and in keeping them engaged in that way. And the classroom itself is accessible 24 hours a day so anytime of the day you can log in, you can watch a class, you can participate in class, you can have something to do, and so the convenience factor and the engagement there of the online classroom are just two huge enhancements over the traditional model. We know how you are doing at any given moment, we can check how the class is performing on certain questions from the LSAT, and then we can certainly check in with students if they are problems on concepts and make sure that we write to ship immediately. Beyond that, our most popular feature of our LSAT course is the Create a Quiz function, which is over 6,000 actual LSAT questions in a pool for you to customize your own quizzes. You can study from those actual LSAT questions, you get expert explanations and instruction on those, and obviously we will lead you along the way and you will get our help as to what you should be working on. That's part of the advancement that technology brings with it, just being able to really analyze your strengths and weaknesses, and personalize your prep, but then allowing you the freedom to go ahead and study what you want, what you need in the way that works best for you, and Create a Quiz is really designed along those lines. So, if you want to work on logic games and you don't have 35 minutes to do a whole section, but you just want to do two or maybe three ordering games, then you can create a quiz that just pulls some two or three straightforward ordering games and make sure you hammer those down and can review them afterwards. So, those are probably two of our most popular and our best attributes of our course and I think they show how we use that technology do really better what is the traditional __8:06__ model product.

8:07 Ann Levine

That's really great. One thing I have been really trying to do in the last few years since Knewton and Atlas both launched is educate my readers and my clients about the availability of these tools and one of the great things about them is actually the price points. I'd love for you to talk a little bit about that as well.

8:25 Brad

Sure. And I think Noah can certainly back me up on this, but one of the things that sort of we need to take for granted when pricing our product is students are smart, they're savvy. Tech customers nowadays they know that if you put something online, it has to be better and it's better be cheaper because it's certainly a lot less of a cost for you to produce it and so the traditional model is a classroom course that's going to cost you anywhere from $1200 to possibly even $3600 if you are going for tutoring beyond that and we simply just don't have the cost that traditional ___9:05___ model structure does. We don't have to lease office space or building space or classroom space across the country. We don't have to employ thousands of teachers across the country. We can really centralize that here and then deliver it to you or deliver it to the students in their home, in their classroom, in their bedroom, or whatever is most convenient for them. And so, it allows us to attract much better talent from a teaching standpoint, we can get teachers from across the country, we can pay them more, and we can deliver, show way more resources than you would be able to carry in your backpack or throw in the trunk of your car and drive 20 minutes every day to a center that might be open 8 to 12 hours a day. So, accessibility, efficiency of learning, all of these things and at a substantial cost of half the traditional model, which is really the most exciting thing because that's why I joined.

10:01 Ann Levine

And it's really revolutionized thing that not as much as we would have thought as quickly, but I am very happy to announce that Noah has joined us. So, welcome Noah.

10:11 Noah

Thank you. Am I...

10:12 Ann Levine

A little technological glitch there, but I am glad we found you. So, Noah, I did introduce you and you missed that part, but you'll have to trust me that I hopefully did you justice. But I also asked a question and I'm going to read it for you now. We were talking about some of the things that each company is doing or launching regarding High-Tech Test Prep and I talked a little bit about your online course and the new Atari cell videogames. So, I'd like you to talk a little bit about how that works, how the online format has been working, who it works best for, and we will start with that. Noah? Okay then, you guys are still there, right? Brad, Michael...

11:00 Brad

I think you're just teasing us now with the Atari cell videogames

11:03 Ann Levine

Seriously, I think I have given him enough plug like "where are we Noah?" Okay. I see that he's there. So, we'll come back to Noah and give him a shot later and move on to Michael. This is the hard part Blog Talk Radio Show has ever done. So, hopefully, it's at least partially entertaining and not just pathetic. But Michael, you got in touch with me recently and so I immediately added EduPath LSAT app to my new iPad and I got to be honest, even though I have been sent LSAT materials by every test prep company on the planet, I try not to open them, it just brings back way too many bad memories from years ago. But I played around with that app and can you tell us a little bit about the purpose behind it and how the company intends to use forums themselves as a study aid?

11:47 Michael

Yeah, absolutely. And I should say I think it's part for the course. Anytime there is a text conference or something that's fully text focus, there are always text difficulties.

11:56 Ann Levine

And you know I have got these open "Noah, where are you?" I am e-mailing him. I don't have any texts. But it's pretty comical. But go right ahead.

12:03 Michael

Yeah. Okay. So we have started by looking at what typically happens when people take prep classes. In a test like the LSAT, there aren't any specific facts that students have to remember. What we're really teaching them is an approach to interacting with the test content. And so, what we found happening is that someone can be getting the best possible LSAT instruction in a class, and when they go home to practice the approach, they end up doing something that is part what they were taught and part what they were doing before they ever had any prep and the end result of that is that they end up not achieving the kind of score improvement that they could. And we find that it is particularly the case when students are stressed such as in a timed environment on a high-stakes test like the LSAT. So, one of the primary goals of our apps therefore is to reinforce key steps in the prep process. We want to be there for students when they are away from their classes or away from their instructors and when it's tempting to, for instance, look at the answers or not create the full master sketch on the games and force them for the process that they should be practicing so they can really reinforce that and naturalize that, and so its ready for them come test day.

13:16 Ann Levine

And how did you...I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt you.

13:18 Michael

No, no, go ahead.

13:19 Ann Levine

How do you envision people using this. You know it's a relatively new product and I am wondering is this meant to be a supplemental prep course or a self-study program, or is this a program in itself?

13:30 Michael

I think it can be both or either. I think in LSAT prep, there is a full range of how people generally prep. A lot of people will self-study from books, and in that case, I think it's a replacement. I think that people will get a lot more out of our apps than they ever would have out of self-studying from books. A lot of people really benefit from classes and for various reasons, and I think in those cases, our apps are a great supplement and it's a great place for them to reinforce what they're learning in their classes and between classes. So, I think it really goes either way.

14:00 Ann Levine

And what is the price point for the app?

14:05 Michael

The apps are free to download and they come with a limited amount to sample content and we have some free modules in there that students can download, and they also come with free access to all the forums. And if users want to download additional test content, we have in the iPad app. We currently have access to test 29 through 60 and they can purchase those modules for between $4 and $11.

14:33 Ann Levine

Okay, fantastic. And you mention to me when we talked previously how software forces people to practice new habits and I think that's sort of an interesting concept and I am definitely glad that you mentioned it today because it is sort of an interesting way because it's more rigid, it does sort of rain and thinking a little bit. So, I thought that was a really interesting learning approach.

14:59 Michael

Thank you. We have done some test classes with it and what we're actually finding is there's a little bit of a learning curve used in the apps and so students sit down with them on their own and just launch into them without reading the directions. They will sometimes get a little frustrated. And if we sit down with the students and we explain how to use the apps and then let them at it, we see pretty substantial score improvements. So, I think there is a learning curve, but if students can really use the apps to again continually reinforce the habits that they want to have __15:37__ we will see a lot of success using them.

15:40 Ann Levine

Well, that's great. One thing I would like to talk about in a few minutes that we will get to is how much people can reasonably expect to improve. And so, this is just going to be idiotic. I feel like every two minutes for me like "Noah, are you there? I see that you're there," but then no one responds, so he is playing tricks on me. So, I'll just wait, and one of these days, I will just think Noah say "Hey Ann, what about me?" and we'll go from there. Michael, based on what we're just talking about, in some ways it seems that the tool is better than traditional method. In fact, Brad talked about that too, how this can actually an online course and tailored quizzes can actually be better than traditional method, and certainly I've said this before on Blog Talk Radio Show when I first started doing what I'm doing when I opened Law School Expert in 2004, and a very few people were taking Law School Prep Courses. Certainly, when I was applying to law school in the mid 90s, no one was taking Law School LSAT Prep Courses and then it's completely more of -- I had like three years, everyone was taking TestMasters, PowerScore, Kaplan, and Princeton Review. And now, I am pushing people away from that because you guys have come out than others have come out with these really great user friendly things and also the recent accessibility of the use of private tutors both through Skype and everything else. So, I think there are so many great methods available now that my advice that I have given my co-applicants has completely changed. So, I think that it's really important that we share some of these trends that people who may not be app-anator, who are relying on multiple guidebooks that are from 2005, that there are new things available. I actually think Noah is on the call. Am I right? Let's see, let's see if I'm right. Noah, are you there?

17:23 Noah

I am, can you hear me this time?

17:25 Ann Levine

Yes, a new phone number, but whatever happened, it worked. So, welcome.

17:30 Noah

That's not a good form, this should have text problems when you're on the show about new tech development is it?

17:36 Ann Levine

It's completely embarrassing Noah, but you know, what can I do? I'm glad you're here so hopefully you've caught a little bit of what we're talking about, let's take it back and tell us what that was doing and you got to mention a videogames again because then Brad is just going to have my head. So tell us what about it from your perspective, what else is doing and why?

17:56 Noah

Alright, well glad to be here. I guess I should start with what, I'm really interested in this issue about tech development and education because it's actually I think part of the bigger conversation which is, can we turn teaching into a science or is it in art, and this has been an ongoing debate you know, well over 100 years and I think at this point in time we're much more on the science side of things, people are tending to think that standardized test in like with children is really the way to go and I think there's a whole lot of interesting idea that you could input X and then students will output Y. Now we can maybe automate the process of learning and we definitely get in to a lot of the cool online stuffs and we have a cool videogame and you know, absolute coming all that. But we never think that that replaces the interaction between the teacher and student and to us that is everything. That is what actually makes people smarter and as we all said it's essential because it's a test not about which bone connects to the hip bone or you know, what's the square root of this or that, can you think clearly, can you think quickly and I think that we struggle with is, how to make all of the texting that we do support are real mission and who we are which is get the best teacher and have a sophisticated curriculum and you get that interaction. So, I'm sure Brad talked about the online classes and those are very effective you know, if they're use to promote interaction. There's nothing worse than sitting in the class waiting to being lectured at and there's nothing worse, it's even worse if you're being lectured at online because...

20:04 Ann Levine

But someone is following a script in either case, I mean that's not teaching.

20:08 Noah

Yeah, and if Facebook is open right next to you it's hard competition to win if you're going to try to lecture someone to the LSAT. So, we don't really say about that the online platform because there's so many ways of interacting, there's a chat window, the student can write, student can talk, and it's actually something that's online that are more effective or differently effective than in person. You can ask a question in the entire class and get everyone to respond in privately but I know a lot of students were also shy and then you can pick and choose who to call on, the sort of structure the discussion so that it sort of builds from maybe the person who is most confused or then you call the person who really got it and try to push them deeper into the idea. So there's a lot of cool things you can do with online but we also do it in person and there's definitely, you know let's not kid ourselves it's not for everyone online. There's still you know, 80% of people who take Prep classes still want to take in person classes and we like to give people the option and we know also people are wary of online so I think both Brad and my company we both offer trials to let people sort of, get the taste of it to make sure it's right for them because not everyone can learn that way and you know, even the work side about it we can't force it down everyone through

21:38 Ann Levine

Yeah, it's very interesting. I think it's been not quite a year maybe 10 months since I was in New York but okay, for the first time I've done this year on October I got to meet with you Noah and I met with the guys running Knewton and both companies are really into this new you know, new way of learning, what's the best way of learning, and really trying to be noble and recreate the way that people are educated and do it specifically with standardize testing which is really interesting and I think you know, both approaches have a lot of potential and development, and tell me a little bit so you know, I think that has a little been a few months when I met with you then and Knewton you know maybe a few weeks I think there wasn't even furniture in the office, I was sitting on a shelf when we talk (laughs).

22:26 Noah

We still do that, we still regularly hold meeting on boxes and shelf.

22:30 Ann Levine

No, I'm cool.

22:32 Noah

I'm going have to try that.

22:34 Ann Levine

Yeah, (laughs) but tell me a little bit about how reaction has been to the courses and you know, whether how people are using the technology and then we're going to give a discussion in other way.

22:47 Noah

Sure! Well, the responses been overwhelmingly positive, it's not a surprise where the sister company __22:57__ and we operate with the same principle and were people rate about it is the teaching. And they're all in a cool aspects to online class but you know, again when we scratches that the teachers are the best, that they know what to do to bring out the ideas in the students, and that's were people responds to. We've also look around and wave to you know, make sure that students know how to customize the program and what we found is a lot of people want a very structural program and we give that to them and we instruct that a little bit so that they can shift it depending on their time and what they're strength and the weaknesses are. But then in their classroom the real automation and you can't automate the teaching, you have to let the teacher respond to what's actually happening in the class and people love that, people love that they're getting called on that there's real discussion. The other thing we are doing is we have a robot self-study program where people study on their own which we send them all the books all the LSAT from need and they login and watch recording of their classes and then we also have online labs, would you like, I could say interactive workbooks or your notebooks talking to you. And about half of our students actually do that and when I sold the picture it was very inexpensive, a lot of our students are college student and find a lot of their parents have mortgages which are underwater so that's about $400 and a lot of people study on their own for the LSAT so we're excited to have a program that is into self study but makes it really effective because a lot of people self study pretty badly because they don't have some guidance and we were kind decide between...

24:52 Ann Levine

I have a questions to that in a moment (laughs).

24:54 Noah

And we're excited to decide with the self-study whether did you kind like a Blues Clues movie and then there's the parents or half Portuguese 19 and all Blues Clues in but it's quite things where you are asked the question.

25:08 Ann Levine

Do you have a kid really I'm so proud.

25:10 Noah

(laughs) thank you! It's either you asked what do you think and then there's this pause for the students which are think about and respond. And we decided we didn't want to go that route and instead let students watch recording of the class because we want a speed interaction between teacher and the student. And people are amazed, they think the recording they're going to be boring or something but people get into it and then I give e-mails with sort of opinions of different students like "oh, I'm really in sick of this guy" or you know "I like that person, a one class so it's clearly a bonding relationship happening between two students. So people like that and about half of our students do that so, and then response has been great.

25:55 Ann Levine

Okay, so in addition to the potential matchmaking skills here, matchmaking it can happen in these courses how were people reacting to the online quizzes and is that working when people are really taking a pen and paper exam?

26:11 Brad

No, I think Noah spot on, people learn in different ways and I think he absolutely would agree with that and giving them the resources and the instruction that the top quality instruction to help meet whatever needs they have is really the fundamental behind I think that was in Knewton and to do it that you know, in a convenient and efficient way and just making sure that you engaged those and you keep that interaction there or at least to show off the interaction to retain their attention, retain their attention in class. As far as how we will replace paper and pencil, I don't think it will, I think paper and pencil pretty certain that paper and pencil studying and Prep for the LSAT is vital as long as the LSAT remains a paper and pencil test which is it's the biggest fear by far that our LSAT students have any, no I mention this, you know 80% or so think you know, just have this misconception of online learning as this recorded the lecture sort of boring an engaging experience and it's absolutely not and I think he said, you know when his students try their free trial and I know that whenever our students actually go in and try the free trial, they try to create a quizzes, they try the structure or even adaptive structure of the tailored programs that we have, they just, they fall in love with it right away. And so it's vital like I said we continue to simulate as best as possible the actual test taking experience, when I took my LSAT it was paper and pencil and when you took your LSAT it was paper and pencil.

27:50 Ann Levine

Like 50 years.

27:55 Brad

Yeah, absolutely and so it's for that reason you have to, I think you have to provide both of those options and we're able to do that in Knewton through allowing students to you know, all of the test that they can print out, they can download, and they can take those off and if they already own this test you know, they can input those into the system. We'll score them for them and the real benefit there is then that information goes along into their profile and to their course and we can use that information from those tests to really structure their course for them and to really personalize their learning, the more information that you can give us the better we can design a course for you. And it is sort of the resources that a tutor can't give you with that like sort of personal attention right there which is really, really an excellent new technology.

28:52 Ann Levine

That's in test again, okay, so we have 15 minutes left and here's I want to use this, we got seven weeks between today and the October LSAT okay? Many people right now are calling me, e-mailing me, and commenting on my blog, "should I take the LSAT in October?" And I'm right at that cut of telling some people "oh, you need to wait until December" and people who are retaking it okay, I'm more likely to say "well, can you make enough big enough change in the next seven weeks." So, I want to talk to each a little bit of __29:25__ and then I want to hear from each of you a lot of people like budget is the big deal right now so I'd like to hear from you a little about the least confusing -- so I'm going to ask quick questions and I'm going ask for quick answers to each of them so that we can hear from everybody but to people who are just now starting LSAT Prep to take the LSAT for the first time, what do you recommend they do in the next seven weeks and Michael let's start with you on that.

30:00 Michael

Just starting now for the first time.

30:01 Ann Levine

Yep. Opening up the LSAT right now, just registered for the October test

30:05 Michael

Yeah I think a really great starting point is probably to take a practice test with no prep and see where you are and how that lines up toward with your goal schools. Trying to establish a target goal score I think is as a great first step and I'd love to get feedback from other the guests as to really how much they think a student can go up over the course of a prep period. But that's where I start and that is so easy to do you can download free simple tests all across the internet

30:38 Ann Levine

Okay it's funny that you say that because I really remember having this conversation with Noah over breakfast last October where I said the office and then I am not an LSAT tutor by any means but certainly I've talked to tens of tens of tens of thousands of people who are in the midst of taking the LSAT and to me if someone is taking and tell me if I'm wrong guys but someone takes that for this LSAT that they're going to panic. Okay? Very few people are going to come out of that with above 150 that's taking it totally cold and under time conditions. I mean most people are going to get in a 140 on this and so it tends to have really freaked people out first of all and then I'm not sure of the value of the freak out. And then the second thing is, that of course, I'm in the position where I'm doing a lot of hand holding so I might see the freak out part more than you guys but then the second part of it is the goal score and I really believe strongly and wrote my book that, you know, this is an aptitude test that I might say, "oh I want to go to Columbia, I have to get a 173 on this test but that may not be my aptitude on exams so I might be studying myself up for success. So, I was rather have a score and then goal score rather than the other way around and Brad what do you think of that?

31:47 Brad

No, I think that's right. I think Michael is the absolutely right on that in terms of, you want a goal score but you needed to be realistic goal score and there is absolutely no silver bullet for the LSAT. It's not something where you memorize facts and you can then master those and go in the next day and, you know, score 180 or 170. So, I think taking a diagnostic, aside from obviously, listening to this show, I think taking a diagnostic is absolutely the first thing you'd want to do to really get exposed to what's on that test. Get a goal, get a score and idea of what you be scoring right now and get a realistic goal score, but then I say "put down the LSAT, don't take fooling tests for a little while after that and really get into the concepts."

32:34 Ann Levine

Okay and what about you Noah, is that the same?

32:37 Noah

Well, I guess I thought to defend my idea from our breakfast, I think definitely if you're seven weeks from the LSAT, you need to check in with the LSAT and see where you at. And I think people in seven weeks needs to know if they are not scoring near what they would like, that they need to put the pedal for the medal and really dig deep. Seven weeks is not a long time, we do some accelerated courses and, you know, people need to be basically study for the LSAT and not much else. You know, you can't do full time job and really give your full potential improvement in seven weeks, you know, it definitely you can get ready but to really dig deep with the LSAT to go pass what you would gain from simple exposure and categorization of questions to really start becoming smarter and thinking like a lawyer. It can take generally long through or seven weeks of really intense work.

33:41 Ann Levine

I think, you know, when usually I tell people is yes start setting now and do the things all three of you have mentioned doing and then, you know, checking in about three four weeks because now LSAT has a new policy where if they not going to show on test date, you don't want it to count as one of your free time and see yours that you can take the test. They give you a date really far in advance from the test that you have to change the date by. So that's sort of changing by against people and so now if someone's on the shorter timeframe for studying. In about three weeks if they're not sort of comfortable with the trajectory of their practice scores, I am almost attempt to tell them wait till December even though I'm such a big component of a flying early and using that to browse that score because it feels really crammed to me, you know, maybe between the hell in October but I also think the different answer for those people who are just starting an LSAT prep and is also a different answer for people who have an actual ability on standardized test versus people who struggle with them. Anyone have, you know, how do you feel about that?

34:44 Brad

Well I think that's a thing right there and you made two points which is one some people may have a natural ability and if you are studying today and you take a diagnostic test and you're within a point or you're scoring better than what your goal score would be then you actually good luck, you know, you're going to, you have no reason to throw $600 in our case or $1200 at LSAT prep. You should certainly keep with it but, you know, you're pretty much where you need to be. Outside of that, 50,000 people take the test in December as well and you're right. It's-- I'm an advocate for applying early but there's no pressing need to be take it in October if you're not going to score what you need to score.

35:25 Ann Levine

Right. I am always glad to see someone with a score five points higher in December than an application submitted five points lower in October and November because that five points can make a huge difference in not just outcome of where you are getting in but in scholarship and especially if we are talking dollars and that is a major consideration. I'd like to then talk about people who are retaking the test and many people retaking the test are pressured because they did what they thought they should do and they took up all in LSAT course and neither confused them or they didn't see improvement or something along those lines. So, if someone calls in and says, "Anne, they did Kaplan and Princeton review whatever", and this is my score and you know the pressure it needs they have a guarantee, should I retake the test, I mean, my instinct, you guys tell me what you think, I'm like absolutely not if it didn't work the first time and you did all the homework, what's going to change this time but and for some people I think that seven weeks can be enough if they are willing to change how they prepare. So, let me hear from all three of you actually, maybe start with Michael about what you would tell to someone who has already studied for exam, already invested two, three, four months in prep, already taken it once. What you would tell them to do in the next seven weeks to be ready for October?

36:36 Michael

I think you can very quite a bit on a case to case basis depending upon what they did the first time around and how they would self identify and what led to the scores they received, but generally speaking I fully agree with you and say that if see is they are doing something like a Kaplan-style course. There's no reason for them to retake that, they need to try something different. I think more than anything else, if test tests really what kind of habit as soon has in place and what they're attention span is and I think that my first recommendation for a student like that would probably be to get a private tutor because a private tutor is going to be able to more quickly help them to identify where they're habits are not helping them on this test and to help them to correct that and develop habits that are really going to help them to achieve their goals.

37:24 Ann Levine

Okay Brad, how about you? What would you tell someone who has already retaking the test review in the next seven weeks?

37:29 Brad

Yeah, again, I think you guys are dead on air, absolutely okay so they need to change what they were doing. It might be that they weren't preparing in the right way for them or might be that they just had a wall with how much they can improve learning that way. And one of the things I'd like add that like Michael said earlier was that, you know, sort of software forces, new learning and they just breaking those habits and that's sort of else that does, you know, if you would standardize task, so it's designed to give you, to test you exactly the same way and over exactly the same things every time you take it. And so, absolutely, it would be to really look at how you studied in the past and then you find a solution that is better for you that changes the way you did that. And really there is a bevy of information out there as to good ways to preparing for the LSAT so you just need to avail yourself of all of that free information and really just a get a study plan for you.

38:28 Ann Levine

I think that's very nice and now I'm going to read the question for you a little bit because I have ESP and you will probably echo some of it but feel free to chime in if you have new or different ideas but you know I think that there are different budget pockets here, I think that there are people who are going to spend $300 or less and I think there are people are going to spend $500 to a $1000 in LSAT test and then I think that there are people who are willing to spend $1500 to $12,000 for extreme course I mean, so talk to me a little bit, let's hear this a little bit to those people who may not have success in $5,000 for LSAT test and what are the most effective things that they can do in the next few months?

39:08 Noah

Well, I agree with whatever else they say and we actually, I say about 10% of our students are refugees from other companies and so we have a lot of experience with that but I agree that often a tutor can help because you want us to identify what the issue is. Though there sometimes it's surprising small things like students are trying to predict the answer instead of working from longer right, sometimes they have to unlock the lots but generally I just wait people from the sort of silver bullet chasing. You know, like, let's find the magic, let's break the LSAT, crack the code, it's a lot of work. In terms of budget, I can't speak for the other guests but I think everyone had different products from different places sounds like the Knewton classes is an extensive self studying class and expensive. They're definitely things out there and it's sounds like there are groups you can join but there's also somewhat of a race to achieving this going on and there is something you just cant, you know, you can't lower the price of paying a teacher if you want a great teacher and I don't... I think our courses are fairly priced and I just, I encourage people to make sure their getting a quality, I know there is a lot of $20 tutors out on pricelist. I know there is a reason they are $20 tutors, so I just, you know, buyer bewares of what I would suggest, and I think a lot of... I think everyone here offers sort of free trial so that you can get a page of what you are looking at, once you are going to comment.

40:54 Ann Levine

Yeah absolutely and law school is such a huge investment that I mean people really need to think of the expenses of preparing the applications and preparing for the LSAT as being an investment in their future because this is going to open up possibilities in terms of the schools they attended and the scholarships they may be offered so, it's you don't want to be, you know, pennywise and pound foolish I guess that would be the best to say for it, but I do have one question that I was asked and I want to have time to get it answered before we are done today, we have about three minutes left and this question was emailed to me by someone who is currently deployed in the middle east and he asked me to ask all of you. He says, "I have heard that each LSAT study method has its own advantages and disadvantages, all of which must resonate with an individual's learning style taking that into consideration, I was wondering what the LSAT experts thoughts are and appeared, I don't think you meant that word, strategy. Achieving the highest score possible thru self study before progressing to a class. Again, achieving the highest score possible progressing to a private tutor?" Any thoughts on that?

42:01 Noah

I like the way this guy thinks. I think he said if he is really set to be a lawyer and it's kind of logical strategy. I think that's fine but I actually would warn against doing a tremendous amount of self study if you know you're going to take a course. Sometimes I have students to get on materials early and start with our materials but shipping from one idea to another or one diagram system can be for some people a little bit much and take them time to make the transition any you don't want to reinforce that habit but then the teacher or then tutor would have to undo. So if you know they're going to take a course, I would try to take a course as early as possible so you have time afterwards to do your self study or you can implement what you have learned.

42:48 Ann Levine

That's very helpful thank you Noah. Brad and Michael any other comments on that?

42:55 Brad

Yeah again I think Noah is right there, don't lock yourself into this field structure if that's your plan. You need to be able to adapt to you know your performance on the test and I am sure his concerns, Noah concerns about overdoing self study early on and locking in sort of that bad test taking habits or restrictive test taking habits in that way. So really I agree, I think he is thinking about his prep options and thinking about how he is going to prepare for the LSAT that he is taking the step in the right direction for his first step and certainly a very good question.

43:30 Michael

I agree with both Brad and Noah.

43:34 Ann Levine

Go ahead Michael, real quick because I'm about on the last minute.

43:36 Michael

I agree with both of you and I think the first step is to do a self assessment to determine whether or not really self study and a class are both necessary and then if they are both necessary then start with the class or with the tutor.

43:47 Ann Levine

Thank you that's very help now we are going to do a quick question I'm going to have each of you answered. The question is, someone who has a 140 today on that diagnostic, they are going to listen to shows, they're going to go home tonight, they're going to do a diagnostic. They come back with a 140, can I get it to 150 higher by October 9 or 7 or whatever it is this year. Michael what do you think?

44:06 Michael

Absolutely, I think that 10-point score improvements are more from that score level are in seven weeks are definitely feasible and the biggest two factors I think of really how much time are they willing to put into it and how motivated are the

44:21 Ann Levine

Okay Brad, yes or no, what do you think? Can it go up for 140...?

44:23 Brad

Can they?

44:24 Ann Levine


44:24 Brad

Yeah, can they? Absolutely, again with Michael saying, Oh! It entirely depends on the work that they are willing to put into it. I've seen students in eight weeks which is about seven weeks ago improved, you know, 19, 20, 21 points but those are those are rare instances and they are students who are willing to do the work so you have to be realistic about your limitations.

44:48 Ann Levine

Noah how about you?

44:50 Noah

Well, the study showed the number one factor affecting student's performance is teacher quality and education of the teacher. But even that cannot make up for someone who is not going to do the work and put in the time, though but it's definitely doable 10 points from the low the score and that range is not as difficult as a 10 points from a 170 to 180.

45:14 Ann Levine

Well, thank you guys so much for being here today and the show is actually done that we went overtime and I want to thank all of you so much for your participation and I apologize for a few bumps in the road as we got started today and if I get any comments from my blog about the Blog Talk Radio show that I think you guys need to answer I'm going to forward them right to you. So, thanks so much for your participations.

45:36 Brad

Thank you Ann

45:36 Noah

Thank you Ann.

45:37 Michael

Thank you.