The February LSAT: Everything You Need to Know

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Ann Levine

Ann Levine

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Ann Levine, Chief Consultant and President of Law School Expert (and author of two law school guidebooks), will chat with Nathan Fox of Fox Test Prep (author of Cheating the LSAT) about the February LSAT. Topics will include:

Is February too late for this admission cycle? What about rolling admissions? 

What happens if you've already applied to law schools and you  retake the LSAT in February?

What's different about the February LSAT?

Based on history, what can we predict for this February's LSAT test?

What should you be doing in the next 4 weeks to maximize your LSAT score?

Transcript

0:04 Ann Levine

Hi, this is Ann Levine from Law School Expert. Welcome to another Blog Talk Radio show. We have been very busy this fall helping people get in the law school so we haven't had a show in about six months, but I'm very happy to get back in the listening of things with our topic today and our guest today. We will be talking about the February LSAT. We're recording the show in early January at January 4, 2012 and we're about a month a way from the February LSAT which is the perfect time to talk about how to prepare for what makes it different if anything from other LSATs and the application timeline it should be on if you're taking the February LSAT or using it as a retake. If you are not familiar with me, I am the author of the Law School Expert blog and chief consultant at Law School Expert and our guest today is Nathan Fox. Hi, Nathan!

0:56 Nathan Fox

Hi, Ann! Thanks for having me.

0:58 Ann Levine

Of course. Now, I want to tell everyone a little bit about you. How you started Fox Test Prep when you were still in Law School at Hastings and how it is thriving in Northern California and just looking up your reviews online is that pretty impressive and I wanna congratulate you on your book coming out, Cheating the LSAT, which I have in front of me and it's two volumes, and in fact I believe the volumes that we have in front of me I'll be announcing later in the podcast that we will be giving those away to our listeners today.

1:26 Nathan Fox

Yeah, thanks. Thanks a lot. The business has been great and I just absolutely love it. It's fun teaching and it's fun writing. It's a way of little needs that I'm in with the LSAT, but I couldn't be happier.

1:40 Ann Levine

Well great. I know you mentioned that in your book quite a bit, that this is really the right career for you, which probably should have been evident when you got a 79 on the LSAT. But in any event, the fact that you have teaching I think will make today's podcast really helpful for our listeners. And so, the February LSAT as you know from my book The Law School Admission Game is sort of I have this love-hate relationship with the February LSAT. It's such a weird time to take the LSAT and so I want to talk -- we'll talk about that a little bit later on. But let's assume that people who are listening are registered for the February test. Tell me if they start studying now, if they start right now and we get off the phone today, get off the web today, will they be ready to take the LSAT in four weeks?

2:29 Nathan Fox

Some will and some won't.

2:32 Ann Levine

What's the difference between them?

2:34 Nathan Fox

I guess it depends you know for one thing people who are just good at standardized tests in general tend to be better at the LSAT. So if you did really well on the SAT, it's likely that you are also gonna do well on the LSAT just sort of naturally. If you struggle with standardized testing or if you needed to do a lot of preparation for the SAT, then you're probably gonna need to do a lot of preparation for the LSAT as well.

3:03 Ann Levine

But what does that mean? What does a lot of preparation mean? And would you consider normal? What do you consider a lot of preparation? What do you consider someone having to do -- I mean obviously even someone who does really well with the SAT can't just walk in on LSAT day or look over when LSAT test can be ready. What are the differences and how much prep to each of those individual case study people probably need to expect before they take the test?

3:26 Nathan Fox

Yeah. I teach classes in four weeks segments and I find that about a third of my students just a take a class for four weeks and about a third take a class for eight weeks, and about a third take a class for 12 weeks. I think that 12 weeks if you go at it pretty hard, that's you know 20 to 25 hours a week in a 12-week class is gonna be sufficient for most people. Some lucky people can do it for a four-week class. Again, four weeks, 20 to 25 hours a week and that is gonna give you a solid foundation. Just you know for a reference what I do in my class is basically go through all actual LSAT tests. So if you are in a four-week class week with me, you basically you do seven or eight full length LSATs and that's do the test, score it, and then most importantly review the ones you missed. I don't know why that's such a missing link for a lot of people, but they don't understand that. They need to not just do a million tests. They need to do the tests and then figure out why they miss the ones they missed and I guess also review the ones where they guessed correctly.

4:47 Ann Levine

And that's often right how people to review them once they got correct too, because they may haven't got any correct using a false assumption just as easily as a good assumption.

4:57 Nathan Fox

Right, I think that's too.

4:58 Ann Levine

You know, in the LSAT too, but that is definitely for me I tell people is look at all of the answers. Make sure you got the right for the right reason, when you got it wrong make sure you know, just figure our why. So I think that really what you're saying is that there's no one clear way. It's not the people only study four weeks do worst and people who studied 12 weeks. It's really about knowing yourself and knowing the amount of time that you can dedicate to it and also being realistic with yourself about your natural abilities. So do you tend to agree with that?

5:26 Nathan Fox

Yes. Some people are just gonna have to work longer and harder at this test in order to overcome it. Pretty much every student I have ever seen has been eventually able to improve their score pretty significantly through studying, but for some people it happens right away and for other people they just have to grant away at it for a little bit longer.

5:50 Ann Levine

And so if someone is starting today and listening to the show today and saying, "Okay, I'm registering for the February LSAT. I haven't had started studying yet. What should I be doing for the next four weeks?" And let's talk about people who don't have access to your class, maybe don't have access to any class. What would you advise someone to do as a class A study plan for the next four weeks?

6:11 Nathan Fox

Well, you know I think that my book is a great starting point. I know that's you know self-commercial, but...

6:19 Ann Levine

I think we are just taking response here, we're good with that.

6:21 Nathan Fox

Yes. Good. So my book is called Cheating the LSAT. It's available on Amazon. What Cheating the LSAT does is it just go through one full LSAT test. So it's like taking a class from me or having private tutoring with me for a couple of days.

6:41 Ann Levine

Of course there's a recent LSAT, you did last October's LSAT for the book. So it's very relevant.

6:46 Nathan Fox

That's right. It's actually October 2010 LSAT, but yeah, the first thing you do is you take that entire test and then you score it. And then I give question by question explanations of how I arrived at the correct answer. I really think that's a good first step, beyond that I think you need to get yourself more tests. The tests are available on Amazon or you can get the tests from LSAT directly. Probably concentrate on recent tests and then you need to do the test and review it. Ideally, a study partner or a tutor is gonna be helpful when you're doing that, because...

7:34 Ann Levine

So, tell me why a study partner?

7:36 Nathan Fox

Well, you know that's what I did when I was preparing actually. I didn't take a class. I just met with a friend of mine and we had coffee once a week or so and we went over the tests that we had done. If you get enough people in the room, you'll eventually someone will have gotten the question right and someone will know why the correcting answer is right. So, people can save quite a bit of money just having a studying partner. In fact, if you are gonna spend money on a private tutor, I think you should also have a study partner that you meet with independent of meeting with the tutor. You can learn just as much from teaching as you can from having something taught to you. So sitting down and explaining a logic game to somebody really does help to crystallize your understanding of the topic.

8:30 Ann Levine

I think that's a great suggestion and it's not one that I hear or you know, that is discussed a lot. You know, you hear about study groups in law school and for the bar exam obviously, but I think it's a great suggestion. Especially for someone on a budget or short time frame or what have you, and it's not so much about finding someone who is you know, who you think will know more or anything like that. But simply I think you're right, I think simply the exercise of explaining it to someone makes you substantiate your own what you believe to be correct. So, it actually helps you build your own skill. I think that's a great point.

9:09 Nathan Fox

Yeah. The girl that I was studying with was at a level you know, not quite where I was at and so most of our study sessions were me teaching her. But I actually think that I probably got more out of it than she did.

9:24 Ann Levine

Oh, really. It's certainly a foreshadow in you career choice and it sounds like that's good too.

9:29 Nathan Fox

Yeah. Absolutely, it is sort of I just asked for.

9:33 Ann Levine

We could have skipped the law school and just going LSAT, LSAT and tutoring. I'm kidding. But we have a pretty full chat room. So, anyone who is listening live, I want to let you know that one of our live listeners today will receive three copies of -- I will send them personally of Cheating the LSAT. It's great, Nathan, actually because most in my LSAT prep books they are so thick that people show me or give me or that I hold on to and I love that these are not overwhelming, that it really is one test dissected. And so one of our -- if you keep listening, one of our people listening live, if you can log in to the chat room well, at the end of the show get a chance to win those. So, thank you.

10:13 Nathan Fox

Oh, sure. Yeah. You're book matches that by the way. I think it's really easy actually to write a 500-page book. I think it is a lot harder to write 100 or 150 page book, you know learning to cut is probably the hardest part.

10:29 Ann Levine

Well, I actually find that with the people I work with on their personal statements you know very easy to write a three or four page version and people completely freak out and they tell me, "I need a 500-word version, I need a two-page version for this school." And then in the end they see how I do that and -- I believe and they usually believe as well that the shorter version is actually this end of being stronger version, and I mean of course that's a big part of what lawyers do. So okay, let's get back to the February LSAT. So after doing this, the study groups and tutors whatever people end up doing for the next four weeks, how do they know that they are ready to take the test in February? You know the day before or two days before, the week before, how should they know if they are ready?

11:11 Nathan Fox

Well, you need to keep track of your results right? You don't need to get too caught up in the results of any one practice test, but you should be making a simple graph of your results and over time if you do 8 or 10 practice tests or maybe more, or maybe 20 or 30 practice tests. Eventually, you will see that your test results are starting to level of a bit. When you reach that point when you've got -- you saw an improvement and then you reach the point where your practice test scores where kind of leveling of, you either need to accept that as your likely LSAT score or you need to do something dramatically different in your preparation.

12:01 Ann Levine

Until we see if you have the potential of building and I think that's absolutely right. I think too often people, do one prep program don't see the results they want and then they do the same program again, because that program offers some kind of guarantee. And to me doing the same thing the same way is not a way to get different results. So, I think that is a good point. I think you know one thing people always ask is, how did they know? They go in and take the February test. How do they know if they should cancel the test? How do they know? What are some guidelines you give to people about whether they should cancel it? And for the people listening, they should say that since 2006 most schools take the highest of multiple LSAT scores. And what that means is that they will see all of your valid LSAT scores, but in their index calculations when they are certain in deciding what pile to place you in. They're going to place the most emphasis on that highest score because that's the one that they have to report to the ABA, the rankings, etc. So, I think there's a big inclination now for people to cancel the LSAT and take it again. So do you have a specific test to use to see whether people should you know, that people should consider before they cancel anything like that?

13:09 Nathan Fox

Well, you're obviously the expert on that point, Anne, but I did write a lengthy blog post about, 'should I cancel or not recently.' My website is foxtestprep.com and I have an LSAT related blog, if you go under frequently asked questions, you would see that blog post. But I basically said a lot of what you just said, which is since schools really only care about your highest LSAT score almost no one should cancel. Now, with that said a couple of red flags for you know maybe you should cancel would be -- if you had a very terrible test day, I mean your car broke down on the way to the test...

13:56 Ann Levine

You are sitting next to someone throwing up. You were throwing up

13:59 Nathan Fox

Sure.

14:00 Ann Levine

You had a seven-hour proctor.

14:01 Nathan Fox

You're having family problems. That's -- if you felt like you did really, really badly for a specific reason, then you probably did. If...

14:14 Ann Levine

I always tell people Nathan, you know I have ran throughout this many times obviously over the years as well and I always tell people that if you can see an advance that your dynamics pointing this LSAT score would be something like my grandma died last week. My girlfriend broke up with me. I was working 40 hours a week and then I'm trying to prepare while going to school full-time. If you already can see what your addendum would look like, it's probably a good indication that you're thinking clearly. That is not a good time to take a test that's so important in deciding where you go to law school, what scholarships you might receive, etc.

14:49 Nathan Fox

Yeah absolutely. Except that even then if you don't yet have a score on you record, you might still want to keep your score.

14:58 Ann Levine

You're right. Absolutely.

14:59 Nathan Fox

Because you have to have a score to get in. So sometimes, even then it's the right answer to keep your score.

15:04 Ann Levine

It can be. Especially -- and I find that some people who take the LSAT have a better and more clear understanding of how they performed on the test than others. For example, some of my clients I'll talk to them after the LSAT and they can tell me exactly per section. How many they missed and other people have no clue whether they did the same on test day as they were doing on consistent time practice test. And I think that part of that is just __15:28__, you either know that about yourself or you don't. And I think the important thing of course and we'll talk about this probably after the February LSAT is not to panic, that there is a reason you have six days to cancel after the test. You don't have to make a decision on that day, that night, when you're exhausted, when you're stressed out, you can take the time to think about your options. So, I don't...

15:50 Nathan Fox

Yeah and I tell everybody that is for sure don't cancel on the day of the test. I mean you have six days. You can do it in writing. Just go into it knowing that you're not gonna cancel while you're there, so that you can talk to people afterwards.

16:07 Ann Levine

I completely agree. In a minute, I want to talk a little bit about the admission cycle and early admissions and all of that. But first, talk to me about what makes the February LSAT different? People freak out because the February LSAT isn't really is. What does that mean and what does it matter?

16:23 Nathan Fox

I don't think it means anything and I don't think it matters much at all. I took the February LSAT, February 2007 and I had never received a copy of the test, so I didn't get to see -- I don't even remember what was on that test. I don't know what I got right and what I got wrong. But I know what my score was and I know what that translates to in percentile and that's all that really matters anyway. So, I don't think that it's being unreleased makes really any difference at all.

16:58 Ann Levine

Okay good. I think you put a lot of people fears to rest on that and there is so many rumors about whether it's easier or harder curves differently, but really what it comes down, you don't -- in my opinion that you don't pick an outside date based on the historic curves. You pick an outside date based on your time length for applying to law school and what's going on in your life and when you hope to start law school.

17:20 Nathan Fox

Absolutely. All that kind of analysis of which tests are easier or harder. I've heard every test, I've heard the easiest, and every test I've heard is the hardest. So there is no truth to any of that. I mean that's the same thing as the test prep strategy of learning that you know, D is most common answer, you know. 27% of the time or something is slightly north of one out of five. 22% of the time, D is the most correct answer on a reading comprehension. So if you're going to guess on a reading compression, then you should guess D. Well, that's just based on history and if I was the LSAT and I read a book that said that, I would immediately change it.

18:07 Ann Levine

I'm not with it.

18:09 Nathan Fox

So you know, those kind of trying to short cut it or game it or outsmart it, I think is really, is really the wrong strategy.

18:20 Ann Levine

I agree with you. I think there is such a thing as overthinking and I also think people tend to like to make each other paranoid and post these things. So I think it's good to have people like you who know the tests and are keeping people focused on that. Okay, so February. So I ain't read my book which you have actually read more recently than I have about how the February LSAT is really you know, don't take the February LSAT. I hate the February LSAT. And the reason I feel so strongly about picking February LSAT is that it's usually -- I hate it in the circumstance. I hate the February LSAT when people use it to try to get into law school for that fall. And I hate it whether it's the first time they have taken the LSAT in February or whether they are retaking in February, and the reason for that is because my background is that someone who made law school admission decisions, and I know that those decisions are made before you have a chance to be competitive with the February LSAT score. And there are of course exceptions that for people on wait list and things like that, but for the most part, I mean you're LSAT score comes back in March. Even if your application file is complete at the school, by the time your LSAT score comes in, you are already into March. By the time people are reviewing that, schools have already accepted wait list and rejected people. They you know, they're only going to accept that late in the game people who are really standouts. And that brings me to my next point, which is I often get people asking me, especially in a blog, so I just go to any law school that will take me with my February LSAT score and try to transfer, you know. And it seems to me that people need to step back, and if you're rushing into this and rushing into the decision to go to law school and taking February because it is the last chance outside of the __20:12__ book, then I sort of wonder about the decision making process that's going on, and whether people are really thinking about this.

20:20 Ann Levine

When people call me this time of year and say I'm taking the February LSAT, I want to apply right now and get in and start law school in the fall always taking back a few steps. Why are you doing it this way? Where is it you want to go to law school? For that one person who wants to go to law school in their hometown down the street, like you said, and there is course, get them in there, then great, that works out fine. But that's not the case for most people and I do worry about those people who are going to limit their opportunities and choices simply to be fast.

20:50 Nathan Fox

Yeah, I totally, totally agree. I spend at least half my time trying to convince people that they shouldn't apply immediately to law school, that it's gonna to take them longer than they think. So, the February LSAT, in my opinion, not only is it way too late for this year's admission, but it's also not even really early for 2013 admission because the fact that schools take your highest LSAT score and most schools want to see your highest LSAT score means that a lot of people could benefit from having a back-up date, a back-up test date on their calendar. Well, if you're taking the February LSAT for 2013 admission, you can then use the June LSAT as your back-up date for 2013 admission and then that would ensure you that you have your application complete by the time enrolling admissions open up in the early fall. So, people are shock when I tell them my incoming class, I'm gonna tell them -- which starts on January 17, I'm going to tell them on the first night of class, "I really want you to have only two test dates in mind for 2013 admission and that's this February and this June".

22:18 Ann Levine

And that is a very proactive approach and certainly people who -- these Blog Talk Radio shows tend to -- people listen to them for years and years after the time we do it. So you certainly don't want people six months from now hearing this and going, "Oh my God, I didn't take June, I'm completely screwed, I'm not going to law school". It's not the case. I mean there is an ideal way of doing things. There is a doable way of doing it and there's a long shot way of doing it. And I think what you're talking about is extremely proactive. I think that one thing that people need to keep in mind is that it's good to have a plan A and plan B, and that's one of the reasons to work so far ahead and it's also important for people to realize that taking June doesn't have to be their last chance to get in for that fall, whether it's their first or second time taking it because schools aren't reviewing applications on September 1st. Even if applications become available in September, that's not the time of year when people are reviewing them. So, the October LSAT I think is a perfectly fine time to take it. So for people who are rushing to take February for next year and don't feel ready come February, I don't have a problem with June being the first someone takes it.

23:23 Nathan Fox

Well, obviously, I wouldn't ever tell anybody to rush into it either. I mean if they're starting my class on January 17th, I'm not gonna try to push them into taking the February LSAT if they don't feel like they're ready for it. But I do still -- people always, I guess it's just human nature, people are always gonna procrastinate and so I push people to put those deadlines on themselves earlier rather than later so that if something goes wrong, I mean life happens, then they can use October maybe as a backup.

23:59 Ann Levine

Yes, and that's a great ideal timeline. We have a question from the chat room. You talked a little bit about this but could you talk a little about any -- we discussed that the February LSAT is not different really from the other LSAT. It's just that it's not released. And so we've talked about that a little bit. Why do you think people get so freaked out about this? We talked about that it doesn't really matter. Do you find that they're -- people tend to concentrate on things that aren't really was worth concentrating on. How do you stir them back to don't worry about what people say, don't worry about that, worry about learning this, worry about doing this, worry about setting aside your time for LSAT prep. I mean, how do you sort of concentrate people in the right direction?

24:49 Nathan Fox

Yeah. I mean I would stir them away from the discussion boards in most cases. I can't believe the crazy stuff that I hear from my students that they found from one of the forums.

25:01 Ann Levine

Like what? What do they hear that's totally crazy?

25:05 Nathan Fox

Well, just -- exactly this topic that we're talking about. The February LSAT is simultaneously the easiest and also the hardest of all the tests. It's the easiest test --

25:16 Ann Levine

What about do they repeat questions from previous LSAT course, from previous LSAT administrations?

25:21 Nathan Fox

You know that? I don't know actually. Because we don't see the February test, so it's possible that they might reuse the questions three years from now. I don't think it would matter if they did. I mean even I find when I review LSAT tests, I might be somewhat familiar with the question, but it doesn't always actually even help me to get the right answer. So, I don't think there is any benefit or detriment. The LSAT is not a curved test. It's a weird scaled-adjusted test. So, you're not just competing against the people who take the February LSAT. You're competing against the test itself, and I don't think we have any evidence at all to say that the test is any harder or any easier.

26:07 Ann Levine

That's great. Thank you for that. I know that it's a little bit repetitive but I know it's something that's on a lot people's minds as they're listening, so I appreciate you. Addressing that even more empathically, and if you're live in the chat room or listening on live, what we're going to do to give a way copies of Cheating the LSAT by our guest, Nathan Fox, is I'm going -- if you go to the law school expert blog post today one that's currently up where we talk about today's Blog Talk Radio show and you leave a comment with the best tip or advice that you're hearing during today's show. I will pick one listener who does that to win those books. So, you have one week to do that. So today is January 4th. You have one week from today to do that, and Nathan will be very happy to share those books with you. In the meantime, let's talk a little bit about -- we have some time and our chat room is seem very quite, so I'm giving them dirty looks and encouraging their questions accordingly. But, talk to me a little bit about -- I know you talk a lot in your blog and even in the book a little bit about how -- going to law -- you've been to a lot of careers and going to law school wasn't something you necessarily really thought out, you sort of find yourself trying a lot of different careers. What kind of things do you talk to people about in this respect, in terms of the reasons you're going to law school, whether they should go to law school, whether they should take the LSAT and start along this journey? What sort of conversations do you have with people about that?

27:42 Nathan Fox

Yeah. I just think people should try to find something that they think they are interested in, they think they might be passionate about and investigate that and if they still think that's what they wanna do, then they should go for it. I thought in your second book, you made a really excellent point. That's in The Law School Decision Game.

28:07 Ann Levine

The Law School Decision Game, yeah. It just came out in October. It's available in Amazon on the website.

28:12 Nathan Fox

It's wonderful. They're both wonderful. But in The Law School Decision Game, you said that if people aren't willing to go interview some lawyers, that they have already made their decision that they should not go to law school. That's one thing that I absolutely did not deal before I went to school and that is something that many of my students haven't done and that's a really good, I think a really good indicator of whether you are serious enough to go for it or not. I'm amazed that people are willing to spend $150,000 on law school but they're not willing to spend an afternoon having coffee with an attorney.

28:56 Ann Levine

I think for some people, yes, absolutely. I also think for some people that they think they're willing to take initiative with are interesting. So I think that studying for the LSAT is -- and someone talks about this in my book -- you should know how to do school. You go through your life knowing how to do school, take test, go to school, go to school. And for traditional applicants, they sometimes get to the point where that's easy, that's what they know how to do, and so getting away from that into a career or into a pattern where you're exploring career options is not along that same chart. They don't know how to sort of follow a path with that and it's the first time in their life they're sort of stagnant, not measuring themselves by how they're moving forward in their education. And so, I think it's really important for people to pause and not just look at LSAT prep or an LSAT prep class for example as being that next step. "Oh, I'm doing something productive and moving forward because I'm studying for the LSAT."

29:51 Nathan Fox

Yeah, I agree. I mean I think there should be more emphasis, especially on our undergraduate institutions, on finding careers that you think are going to actually work for you. Going and seeing what it is that an attorney actually does on a day-to-day basis. I have tons of students, especially the ones that comes straight from undergrad or are currently still in undergrad that have never been in a law office, have no idea what attorneys actually do, but they're jumping right into an LSAT prep course and the LSAT is not the same thing as practicing law.

30:24 Ann Levine

No. So let's talk about different prep courses, and certainly, we don't want to get into a position where we're comparing different companies or what have you. But generally, what do you think are questions people should ask before choosing an LSAT prep course? What kinds of things should people be looking at rather than just feel who has the biggest name and the biggest banner on campus or who is doing the most advertising on Facebook. I mean what are some things that you would encourage people to look into as they're choosing an LSAT prep program for the next four weeks before the February LSAT?

30:58 Nathan Fox

Well, definitely find out who your teacher is gonna be. I used to work for one of the big prep companies and they hired me over the telephone. Matter of fact, I never met another employee of that company face-to-face. So, but I was teaching their LSAT class were I had 20 students who were each paying $1500 a piece to be in the room and I was walking in there on my first night of class with no really. I went through their small little training program and I think I was okay. My reviews were all good and students liked me and I liked it and that's why I started my own company, but I have a feeling that there are a lot of teachers who aren't there for a very long time. They're just there maybe picking up a little bit of extra cash while they're in law school. So, that's the first question definitely.

31:56 Ann Levine

Okay. So know who your teacher is going to be. That's a good one. What are some other hints that people should take with them as they decide what LSAT prep program if they use one to go with?

32:07 Nathan Fox

Well, I would ignore a lot of the guarantees that are out there, I think that's one thing that people get kind of trapped by. The guarantees, a lot of them require that you have attended a 100% of the lectures and done 100% of the homework, then they'll allow you to retake the class if you don't improve your score. It's very rare that I've --

32:28 Ann Levine

Yeah. If you've done all those things and gone to all those classes and done all that homework, why on earth would you take that class again? I never understand that.

32:38 Nathan Fox

Yeah. And you've also got unexceptionally lucky to be able to have completed all of that stuff. I mean life happens and people can't make it to class one night and if you don't make it to class one night, you're gonna lose that guarantee in a lot of cases.

32:51 Ann Levine

Okay. So that's another great suggestion. So tip #1, when choosing a course, know who your teacher will be and discount the value of the guarantee as one of your criteria.

33:01 Nathan Fox

Yeah. And I think I would also talk to friends who have taken classes. I mean there are good ones and there are bad ones. If you know friends who have taken a prep class, you could ask to see their materials, but really, if they like the class, if they were entertained, if they improved their score, then that might be a good one to check out. If you hear nothing but horror stories from your friends, then that's probably not the one to check out.

33:34 Ann Levine

And how should people know when they would benefit more from working with a private tutor or adding working with a private tutor to their LSAT prep?

33:41 Nathan Fox

You know, I always recommend that people take a class instead of working with a private tutor.

33:52 Ann Levine

Tell me why.

33:53 Nathan Fox

I just think it's so much more economical. I actually also think it's more fun and motivating. Having to show up twice a week alongside 30 other people who are doing the same thing as you is motivating. I find that students in my classes end up making friends, they start study groups. I just think they might do better than people who go to private tutoring route. I make a lot more money for the private tutoring sessions, but I just -- sometimes, I think about boil down to really expensive babysitting. Now, on the other hand --

34:38 Ann Levine

But some people like that and some parents like that, especially for younger applicants, but -- I'm sorry, I interrupted you, go ahead.

34:46 Nathan Fox

Oh, well, there are other applicants for whom private tutoring is totally perfect. If you just can't make it to LSAT class two nights a week or whenever the schedule is for the class you'd like to take, if you just can't make it, then yeah. I mean private tutoring could really be a good option. But you've got to be a little more self-motivated. You've got to be willing to put in a ton of work outside of your private tutoring sessions and then come to those sessions with lots and lots of questions. That's the way you're gonna get a lot out of the tutoring.

35:25 Ann Levine

Oh, that's a good point. I like that. Tell me -- so we have -- so study options are also out there obviously. I mean, as you said, you didn't go to a course when you took the LSAT and you did just fine. So, there are a lot of options and certainly I think you get out of each one what you put into it with anything else in life. So I certainly don't want to make anyone paranoid if they can't make a class or can't afford a class or anything like that, but tell me, do you have specific advice for nontraditional applicants in terms of LSAT prep, perhaps people who are trying to balance a career and family. Would you give them different advice about how they spend the next four weeks before the February LSAT?

36:08 Nathan Fox

I would just make sure they get their hands on some really high quality materials. I think that my book is a good starting point. I think that I don't mind saying this, both of the PowerScore Logical Reasoning Bible and the PowerScore Logic Games Bible I think are both great, and if they're willing to sit down with those books and put in the time, I think certain people can get a lot out of that. That in combination with a study partner could be totally sufficient for a lot of people.

36:44 Ann Levine

I think that's great. I think it tends to be more isolating when you're a nontraditional applicant and you don't feel that some of these options are really feasible for your life. So I think it's important for my nontraditional applicants who are listening that you do reach out to other sources and make sure you're reading all the books that are out there, not just LSAT prep, but about law school admission so you have a good realistic understanding of what it's going to take for you to make this happen and what your timeline should be and all of that. So, I always try to incorporate special advice for the nontraditional applicants out there in each of my topics. So, thank you for adding to that.

37:25 Nathan Fox

One more thing about the study partner. I think I might have said study group earlier. I really would emphasize the study partner rather than study group just because I think the groups can be really inefficient. I mean we've all seen that in law school, but it happens on the LSAT as well. When you start trying to study for the LSAT with five people, you end up wasting a ton of time. I think if you could just find one person who's dedicated, you probably would better off.

37:53 Ann Levine

Absolutely, and especially it should be someone that you do have a little bit of a trusting relationship with and who isn't going to make you feel bad about what you don't know or again someone who's not so -- who doesn't come up as so superior. It's going to be someone you're comfortable with and you really feel you can __38:09__ and challenge each other. Go ahead.

38:14 Nathan Fox

No, that's it. And all you got to do is just get a test, you both do the test, you both review it independently, and then you get together for coffee and you talk about it. As simple as that. Keep doing that.

38:24 Ann Levine

It sounds pretty simple.

38:26 Nathan Fox

Yeah. It's simpler than a lot of people think.

38:29 Ann Levine

Okay. And that's a great tip. Our chat room is really quite. We've got about five minutes left. So, I just wanna ask if there -- this would be a good opportunity, anything else you'd like to share, either about your program or about our topic today specifically.

38:48 Nathan Fox

You know, I just really think the one thing that I see a lot of is people kind of casually preparing for the LSAT or dragging their feet preparing for the LSAT. The longer I've done this, the more I've realized that people need to make like a 20 or 25-hour commitment to just studying. 25 hours a week of studying. I've had a lot of people come back to me and want to repeat my class and then I look at their records and I realized that they didn't really go to class. They didn't really do the homework and I just kind of wonder why people waste their time and money that way. So, ideally --

39:33 Ann Levine

Well, I think it's indicative of how motivated people are sometimes, not every time, but I think if you find it hard to get to class or you're doing it because your parents said they'd pay for it or what have you and you don't find yourself really wanting to be there, wanting to master this one and to use your time efficiently, or on the flipside, if you find yourself unable to do it, that life is just too overwhelming right now, I think that that's a good indication as well. And contrary to what -- it appears that 90% of the world would like, law school is always going to be there. So, there's no great hurry. I mean if it doesn't work know, don't force it and try again in six months when you feel that your life might be more amenable to sitting in a study schedule like the one you're recommending.

40:18 Nathan Fox

Yeah, I totally agree. There needs to be a certain amount of focused effort to really get anything out of it. If you're taking the LSAT in February, I hope that you've got the next four weeks to really devote to studying. I have seen lots of students improve quite a bit in a four-week period, but not without putting in their time.

40:45 Ann Levine

Tell us Nathan where people can find Cheating the LSAT to check out your books.

40:51 Nathan Fox

Cheating the LSAT is available on Amazon.com, that's definitely where I would start. That's where I'd go for everything.

40:59 Ann Levine

Me, too.

41:00 Nathan Fox

And also on Amazon.com. I'm super excited to be offering the Law School Admission Game to my classes starting on January 17th. I have actually been mailing out copies already to people who are signed up to my class.

41:15 Ann Levine

Oh, wow! That's great. Thank you.

41:17 Nathan Fox

Well, it's amazing how it -- my class is supposed to be an LSAT class but I spend half my time answering questions about when should I apply, where should I apply, what do I do with these personal statements, what do I do with letters of recommendation, and that stuff is all in the Law School Admission Game.

41:36 Ann Levine

Well, thank you. As they said, we're amenable the same with __41:39__ here. So, thank you for that. And I would also say that for people who've been listening have some of these ideas about should -- do I really want to go to law school? Is this the right thing for me? Have I put in the effort to figure that out before approaching the LSAT preparation process? I would say that those are the issues I'm trying to address in The Law School Decision Game that just came out in October and I'm getting good feedback on that and so I would really urge people to really investigate the stuff before they think about it. Just like you don't take all the negative that's out there in the media at face value. You can't just say it's all gonna work out and say everything always works out and it will be fine either. You've got to really prepare for this, both the process and knowing what you want the end result to be and that you're onboard with both, that you're onboard with wanting to go to law school, that there is a certain reason for you to do it, and that that's your motivation for preparing well and adequately for the LSAT and for every piece of the admission process.

42:37 Nathan Fox

Yeah, I totally agree. I think both of those books are really great resources.

42:43 Ann Levine

Thank you. And I would urge people also to check out your blog. If you want to give them your URL one more time so they can follow your blog. I think people would appreciate that.

42:52 Nathan Fox

It's just foxtestprep.com and there's a link there to LSAT blog. If you go to my website, you would also see my phone number there and I don't mind giving it out, it's 415 518 0630. You can call me and ask me any question you want to ask.

43:11 Ann Levine

That's very generous of you. Thanks so much, Nathan. And obviously, people who would like to know more about law school expert and law school admission consulting and ask any questions to ask a law school expert, you can go to lawschoolexpert.com. If you go to \blog, you'll find six years worth of -- six years, wow! Already. Where the blog post about law school admission and my phone number and a way to contact me is there as well. So I want to thank everyone for listening in today and for all of you who did listen live or will listen in the next week, don't forget if you'd like to win a copy of Cheating the LSAT, you can go to lawschoolexpert.com\blog yr today's post about my interview with Nathan today and tell me what's the best piece of advice, the best tip you learned and I'll select one person to win these books. So, thank you all for listening and we hope you'll check back soon. Thank you so much, Nathan, for your time today.

44:14 Nathan Fox

Thanks a lot Ann. It was fun.

44:16 Ann Levine

I'm glad. And to those of you taking the February LSAT, we wish you the best of luck.

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