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LSAT Overview: Tips & Strategies on Preparing for the Exam

April 19, 2014

Recently, Michigan State University College of Law and John Rood, founder of Next Step Test Preparation gave an informational webinar to share tips and strategies with students preparing to take the LSAT exam. The presentation gave an overview of the LSAT by answering the following:

  • What skills will the LSAT assess?
  • How do you create an effective LSAT prep plan?
  • Why do law school admission committees rely on the LSAT?

Examples of various LSAT questions were shared in addition to related strategies and tips for students to maximize their score on the exam.

Interested in watching the webinar or checking out the online presentation?

Feel free to view the presentation (45 minutes with 15 minutes of Q&A) or go through the LSAT overview slides when you have some time. We hope this helps you prepare for the LSAT!

Law School Personal Statement Tips

March 30, 2014

Today’s guest post on law school personal statement tips comes from our friends at InGenius Prep.
In this installment, Joel - a student at Yale Law School – explains three key tips for the law school personal statement: what to write about, how the personal statement should relate to the rest of your application, and how to let law schools know you mean business in your personal statement.

Free LSAT Webinar

March 5, 2014

Hi all! Michigan State University College of Law is offering a free webinar on the LSAT. Here’s the info.

LSAT 101: Introduction to the LSAT

Wednesday, April 16, 7:30 p.m., EST

Register for free here. 

This webinar will provide a highly informative overview of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), including:

  • Skills that the LSAT will assess
  • Examples of LSAT question types and strategies for maximizing your score
  • Recommendations for creating an effect LSAT preparation plan
  • Information on how and why law school admission committees rely on the LSAT

The 45-minute presentation will be followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer segment, during which participants may ask questions of the presenters.

Presenter

John Rood, is president and founder of NextStep Test Preparation.  Rood and NextStep instructors have taught LSAT preparation methods and strategies to thousands of individuals across the United States.

Here’s that registration link again. We hope you can make it!

Updated Fall 2014 LSAT Date

December 19, 2013

Big news for those of you planning on the October 2014 LSAT — it’s now the September 2014 LSAT.

Here’s the news from LSAC:

I am writing to let you know that we are aware that the LSAT administration scheduled for October 4, 2014 conflicts with Yom Kippur. We are rescheduling that administration—it will now take place on Saturday, September 27, 2014. The corresponding Saturday Sabbath test date will be Monday, September 29, 2014.

I can’t think of any other time when an LSAT has been rescheduled. Hopefully the change won’t be challenging since sign-ups for that date aren’t even open yet.

This change also reverses a trend of pushing the Fall date into October; the exam routinely used to fall in the last week of September.

Next Step Test Preparation provides complete courses of one-on-one LSAT tutoring for about the price of a crowded lecture-style prep course. Email us or call 888-530-NEXT (6398) for a complimentary consultation.

Should I Cancel My LSAT Score?

October 6, 2013

LSE_Logo_Text_large

Today’s post comes from Ann Levine, president and chief consultant at Law School Expert. Ann is the former director of law school admissions at two ABA-approved law schools and the nation’s leading law school admission consultant. Law School Expert offers hourly and beginning-to-end consulting, and Ann has personally guided over 2,000 law school applicants through the law school admission process. Ann is also the author of the bestselling law school admission guidebook The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert.

You have 6 days to cancel your LSAT score, and there is no advantage to canceling on the first day. Take your time, sleep on it, and see how you feel when the exhaustion has passed. And, when you wake up, here are some things to try to consider objectively before canceling your LSAT score:

Was this your first time taking the LSAT? It’s a bit safer to cancel a score when you still have two more opportunities in front of you. If this was your third time taking the test in 2 years, you have to be pretty sure the results aren’t going to be better than your previous scores in order to risk throwing away your last opportunity for a better score.

Was this your second time taking the LSAT? If so, you need to make a strategic decision about whether you can be ready in December. That will be your last chance for this admission cycle. And if you aren’t ready in December, or decide not to take the test for some other reason, you may decide to postpone your application cycle in order to maximize your chances of improving on your third LSAT attempt. I know there is a rumor going around that taking the LSAT three times is “bad.” It’s not “bad” if you improve your score, or if you can still submit applications in January. It’s only “bad” if it shows lack of judgment because your three LSAT scores are the same, or if you cancel your first two tests and everything rides on the third and then the third doesn’t go well.

How would you rate your anxiety level? If you felt no anxiety during the LSAT, there is something terribly wrong with you. Of course you felt anxious. The question is whether the anxiety interfered with your ability to perform on the test. For some people, a moderate level of anxiety actually heightens their awareness and focus. If you found yourself becoming distracted after a particularly jarring question, but within a few questions you recover, then you may not want to cancel your score: a new question type or insecurity over a response is normal. However, if it got to the point where you were totally thrown and unable to recover, even on a new section of the test, you may want to cancel your score.

Was lack of preparation the problem? Sometimes eavesdropping on other LSAT takers and hearing how much they prepared for the test, that they took ten timed practice tests and worked with a private tutor, can cause people to realize that they did not do nearly enough to prepare for the LSAT. If this is the case, consider that if you wait for your October score, you’ll only have a month to prepare for the December test—which isn’t a lot of time—but if you get started now, you’ll have two months to turn things around. Of course, you can prepare for the December LSAT without canceling your October LSAT score—or waiting for scores to be released.

 

 

What should you write your personal statement about?

September 3, 2013

LSE_Logo_Text_largeToday’s post comes from Ann Levine, president and chief consultant at Law School Expert. Ann is the former director of law school admissions at two ABA-approved law schools and the nation’s leading law school admission consultant. Law School Expert offers hourly and beginning-to-end consulting, and Ann has personally guided over 2,000 law school applicants through the law school admission process. Ann is also the author of the bestselling law school admission guidebook The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert.

  Law School Personal Statement Advice

None of this “no-typos” advice here. I’m going to tell you what you actually want to know. What should you write your personal statement about?

 First, you need to understand the difference between these two directions:

  1. Writing what you want the law schools to know about you;
  2. Writing what you THINK the law schools want to know about you.

Sometimes these can be very different, and it’s a huge trap for people. I’ve read way too many essays from people who say they want to practice health care law because they are applying to a school that is known for their health care law program, even though they have nothing in their background to support this position, and even though they actually have quite an interesting personal story lurking in the background. Don’t write a personal statement to tell someone what you think they want to hear. Tell them what they should want to know about you. This is what will make the reader like you, want you, and pick you.

Here are some key things that law schools like:

  • Maturity (especially if you are a younger applicant, for example one who graduated from college in three years and is applying right out of school)
  • Financial responsibility
  • A sense of how the real world works (personally or professionally, or both)
  • Demonstrated dedication to something meaningful to you (whether it’s athletic, academic, entrepreneurial, or extra-curricular)
  • A clear direction for your career (IF you have it, NOT if you are manufacturing it)
  • Overcoming adversity (the key here is showing actual adversity (not mononucleosis during your sophomore year of college) combined with facts that demonstrate the OVERCOMING ingredient)
  • An international perspective, language, and cultural skills (beyond studying abroad in Great Britain or Australia)

And for those of you whining, “But I don’t have any of those things….I’m a pretty typical college student from an upper-middle class family… my parents are still married, everyone is healthy, and my only campus involvement is my fraternity….”  Then it’s time to really brainstorm. Start by answering these questions:

  1. What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
  2. What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment? (It doesn’t have to be resume worthy – it could be losing weight, helping a friend get the help she needed, etc.)
  3. What experiences (personal, academic, or otherwise) bring you to apply to law school?

These should get your juices flowing. And if you need help, reach out. We’re here.
Next Step Test Preparation provides complete courses of one-on-one LSAT tutoring for about the price of a crowded lecture-style prep course. Email us or call 888-530-NEXT (6398) for a complimentary consultation.

LSAT Strategies and Study Plan Webinar

November 12, 2012

Next Step frequently holds LSAT webinars for student groups and pre-law organizations. Since lots of viewers requested our slides, we thought we would upload here.

Next Step Test Preparation provides complete courses of one-on-one LSAT tutoring for about the price of a crowded lecture-style prep course. Email us or call 888-530-NEXT (6398) for a complimentary consultation.

How to Retake the LSAT in December 2012

October 23, 2012

December LSAT Retake This is not a post anyone wants to read. Ideally, everyone who took the LSAT would earn a score they were happy with, and they could get on with their lives. However, for tends of thousands of students getting their scores back in the next week, that won’t be the case.

Should You Re-take the LSAT?

The first question is whether you should re-take the exam. For some people this will be obvious — if you had the flu that day and scored 10 points off your average practice scores, you should definitely re-take the LSAT. However, there’s another  group of students who either set an arbitrary goal for themselves or just feel like they should get a certain elite score, but who don’t have good evidence that they can or will make it to that score. So, here are the reasons you might want to re-take:

  • There was a surprise extraneous circumstance, like you were ill, there was a serious proctoring error, or you miss-bubbled a section
  • Your actual LSAT score was >3 points lower than the AVERAGE of your last 3 practice exams (not your highest practice score ever)
  • You didn’t put in the effort and time needed to get fully prepared. This means that you spent less than 2 months prepping the first time, took fewer than 10 timed full practice exams, or only worked out of a second-hand, 2002 version of LSAT For Dummies.
Here’s the other side of that coin. If you put in 4 months of study and got professional assistance, scored an average of 157 on practice exams then got a 156 on the exam, you probably shouldn’t retake — even if your goal was to go to Harvard. And if this was already your second time with the same results, it’s probably time to move on to your applications.

What will You Do Differently to Prepare?

You know the cliche about doing the same thing and expecting different results. It’s the same with LSAT prep. If there was something obviously wrong with your prep, like you didn’t take any timed practice tests (or only took 1), there you go. For most students, it’s a little more complicated. Some quick tips:

  • If you took a group lecture-style prep course, re-taking the same course is not going to help. Yes, I know you can sometimes do it for free. Don’t expect that the same approach that failed you before will this time be magically successful.
  • If you studied on your own, you might consider a private LSAT tutor. In particular, one tell-tale sign that a tutor can help is that you found that when reviewing your practice tests, you weren’t really able to distinguish the right answer from the best wrong answer even with unlimited time. That means there are fundamental knowledge gaps that can be fixed.
  • If you didn’t have a rigid study schedule, it’s time to get one. Especially for you college students out there — realize that your performance on the LSAT in December will be roughly 100x more important than any given paper or exam you might need to work on over the next month. If you’re serious about improving, you need to ruthlessly cut other school, work, and social obligations over the next 5 weeks. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, top LSAT performers really do spend 15-25 hours per week studying.
If you have questions about a re-take, leave them in the comments!

Next Step Test Preparation provides complete courses of one-on-one LSAT tutoring for about the price of a crowded lecture-style prep course. Email us or call 888-530-NEXT (6398) for a complimentary consultation.

Should you (really) go to the best law school you can?

October 16, 2012

How to choose a law schoolIt’s conventional wisdom that you should plan to  go to the best law school you can, but new data calls that wisdom into question.

The National Association of Legal Professionals (NALP) recently released the following advice (Hat tip: The Careerist blog):

You should borrow as little as possible to get your law degree, and you should think about going to the school where you can be most highly ranked rather than to the school that is most highly ranked.

The reasoning is as follows:

  1. With a bad legal economy, it makes sense to get through law school with as little debt as possible.
  2. If you can get into a top school, you can also get generous scholarship offers from mid-tier schools.
  3. Students who rank near the top of their class at mid-ranked law schools will often have the same job prospects as students who rank near the bottom of their class at a top-rated school.
  4. Therefore, you should plan to go a lower-ranked school and do really, really well.

Of course, this argument turns on you actually doing really, really well in law school. James Leipold, the executive director of NALP, makes the case that you can predict your ability to succeed in law school with GPA/LSAT — if your hard numbers rank well above average compared with the rest of your class, you have the intellectual capacity to rank very high.

It’s a very compelling argument  The very best place an applicant can be is comparing an offer from a top school against a big scholarship from a mid-tier school in a location they would like to practice. The new study might not help make the decision, but it should at least convince applicants that it’s not Harvard or bust.

Next Step Test Preparation provides complete courses of one-on-one LSAT tutoring for about the price of a crowded lecture-style prep course. Email us or call 888-530-NEXT (6398) for a complimentary consultation.

LSAT Test Dates 2013

October 8, 2012

LSAT Dates 2013When can you take the LSAT in 2013?

LSAC has released LSAT test dates for 2012-2013. They are as follows:

June 2013 LSAT Dates

Monday, June 10, 2013 12:30 PM

October 2013 LSAT Dates

Saturday, October 5, 2013 8:30 AM
Monday, October 7, 2013 (Saturday Sabbath Observers) 8:30 AM

December 2013 LSAT Dates

Saturday, December 7, 2013 8:30 AM
Monday, December 9, 2013 (Saturday Sabbath Observers) 8:30 AM

February 2014 LSAT Dates

Saturday, February 8, 2014 8:30 AM
Monday, February 10, 2014 (Saturday Sabbath Observers) 8:30 AM

Next Step Test Preparation provides complete courses of one-on-one LSAT tutoring for about the price of a crowded lecture-style prep course. Email us or call 888-530-NEXT (6398) for a complimentary consultation.