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Your Law School Application Timeline

October 27, 2014

Successfully applying to law school is no easy feat. While the road to law school may be challenging or confusing at times, preparing a checklist and timeline will help to keep you on the right track throughout your entire law school application process. Here are some of the important things that you will want to keep in mind throughout the process.

  • Give ample time for research and preparation. The first step is to thoroughly research various law schools. In your research, identify the pros and cons of each school and the things that match your needs and interests. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is a good place to start. After that, you can scour schools’ websites for information about their course offerings and specialties.
  • Set your Law School Admission Test (LSAT) date. Decide when you are going to take the LSAT as soon as possible. February or June the year prior to your application is suggested, but you’ll want to make sure that you’re ready. The sooner you set your date, the sooner you can begin studying.
  • Study efficiently. LSAT scores are crucial to your admission to law school. There are many ways to get ready for the LSAT. It’s critical that you give yourself at least three months to study, rigorously. You may also consider options such as hiring a tutor, enrolling in a prep course, or taking practice tests. InGenius Prep has a great network of test prep partners that we can refer you to based on your learning style and preferences, if you need any assistance.
  • Create an LSAC account and register for the LSAT. You have to register for LSAC and its credential and data assembly service (LSDAS).
  • Request and submit a copy of your college transcript (and a transcript from any other institution of higher education which you have attended). Your application does not solely rely on your overall GPA. The law school admissions committee will also review the classes you took and your performance in each of them. In many cases, the LSDAS report will include information about how other students applying from your school have fared in similar courses.
  • Pay a visit to your top-choice law schools. It can only benefit you now and down the road to start building a network of current law students, alumni, and faculty at your target schools. These people may eventually help you adjust to the culture or even help you get admitted in certain circumstances
  • Ask for advice. Schedule a consultation with the pre-law advisor at your college. You will want your adviser’s advice and knowledge, particularly about how previous applicants from your school have fared in the law school application process at some of your target schools.
  • Request and obtain strong letters of recommendation. Make a list of people who could write 2 – 4 letters of recommendation on your behalf. You may ask your professors to vouch for your skills and class performance. Alternatively, you may ask a boss of yours in an internship or job to write about the qualities and attributes which will make you a successful law student.
  • Engage yourself in a myriad of pre-law school activities. If there are law school forums or workshops available to you, take advantage of them.

For helpful tips and expert advice about your application to law school, contact an InGenius Prep law school admissions expert.

This article was written by an admissions expert at InGenius Prep.

 

 

Worried About Your LSAT? Here’s What You Need To Do Next

October 20, 2014

Worried About Your LSAT_ Here's What to Do Next Graphic II

 

Recently Next Step Test Prep teamed up with InGenius prep to conduct a webinar about how to proceed once you get your LSAT scores back.

The session covered:

– Steps to take to balance out a lower than expected LSAT score
– How to think about multiple scores on your record
– Best study strategies for students who are re-taking the test

If you missed the event, there is nothing to worry about, you can view a recording here.

The Latest Trend in Law School Applications

September 25, 2014

Latest trends in law school

After a downward spiral in the number of applications for the past few years, the number of high-scoring LSAT takers–specifically those with scores over 170–are back on the rise. What does this mean and what are its implications?

The Implications of The Growing Law School Application Pool

Aspiring law students and future lawyers are recognizing that it’s not a bad time to apply to law school. In spite of the many challenges that law firms are currently facing – relentless budget pressures, increasing workloads for associates, a growing number of complex cases, and demands for more rigorous internal controls and accountability – students are optimistic that a quality legal education from the right school can get them where they want to be. The students who truly know they want to go to law school, and aren’t just applying to hide from a weak job market like they did in 2008 and 2009, are more focused and determined than ever.

As more students with higher LSAT scores are applying, soft factors will be given more weight in the application process to distinguish the many high-scoring applicants. This is where our former admissions officers can really help you in developing your application persona to stand out from the rest of the high-scoring pack or to try to fight the uphill battle of applying with a lower test score.

Hard Factors vs. Soft Factors

Hard factors are the aspects in the law school application that are given heavy emphasis by the admissions committee, such as the LSAT score and GPA. All other factors that might influence a law school’s admission decision are called and considered soft factors, including the students’ extra-curricular activities, work experience, volunteer work, diversity, personal statement and essays, and any addenda that may be necessary.

Jordan Weissman’s statistical analysis of law school application trends using LSAC data from the past few years reveals that candidates with an LSAT score of 145-160 have been dominating law school applications. The impact of this will fall squarely on the middle-tier schools (as well as the applicants to these lower tier schools later in life) if there is no change from the status quo in the admissions standards.

This article was written by a law school admissions expert at InGenius Prep.

How Many Law Schools Should I Apply To?

August 22, 2014

Deciding how many law schools to which to apply can be quite tricky. Because of the competitiveness of law school admissions, students must be ready to apply to several law schools to increase their chances of getting into at least one program.

So, How Many?

Determining the number of law schools you should apply to depends on several factors, including the competitiveness of the schools you are applying to, your LSAT score and GPA, the college you attended, and your resume.

If you have a very competitive GPA or LSAT score – above a 3.8 and above a 170 – and are applying to top-ranked law schools, you should apply to 8-10 schools. However, make sure that one of these schools is in your safety zone, meaning that you are above the school’s 25th percentile in terms of LSAT score. As you will be competing against thousands of qualified candidates, it’s important to always have a fallback option.

If you have a lower GPA and LSAT, apply to more schools to increase your chances of getting admitted. Students who are committed to going to law school, regardless of what school or what rank the school is, should apply to 8-12 schools. Be realistic, as well. We all want to get into a top-ranked law school, but it’s important that you are applying to schools that are the right fit. To figure out what schools are a good fit based on your academic prowess, career goals, and personality, talk to a law school admissions expert.

Getting into T14 Law Schools

A stellar LSAT score and GPA, comprehensive resume, an impressive personal statement, and strong letters of recommendation are the most necessary factors when applying to a top-ranked law school. If you are applying to T14 law schools, it’s important to have all of the aforementioned factors as well as a unique store and diverse perspective.

As law school admissions get more competitive, it’s important to be strategic with the number and fit of law schools to which you apply. Before you add schools to your list, do your research and get to know the programs. This will help you target schools in your range, guide your application process, and increase your chances of acceptance.

This article was written by law school admissions experts at InGenius Prep.”

LSAT Study Schedule

August 21, 2014

An important factor in performing well on the LSAT is to carefully create a study schedule that works for you and stick to it. Ideally, you will start to prepare for the LSAT at least 8-12 weeks in advance. However, you can design a plan that fits into your timeframe.

As you review the following tips, remember that this is just a general guideline. The schedule you design must be realistic and work for you taking into consideration your study habits and time commitments.

Create a schedule for each week and each day of the week for the length of your study regimen. Use test prep books as a guide to mapping out a detailed study schedule. The first week of preparation should involve familiarizing yourself with the LSAT exam and its question types.

  • Explore the Law School Admissions Council’s website:   LSAC.org. It contains a lot of critical information about preparing for and taking the LSAT.
  • Register for the LSAT. The earlier you register, the more likely you will get your preferred test location.
  • Take a diagnostic LSAT exam. They are available at LSAC.org. Taking a timed, diagnostic test will give you a starting point as to where your strengths and weaknesses are, and give you an idea as to the realities of taking the LSAT.
  • Review the portion of your LSAT prep materials that discusses strategies for preparation and test taking.

For the next several weeks leading up to the week before the test date, design a schedule that allows you to methodically work through the 3 different types of questions.

  • Using the organization of your LSAT test prep books as a guide, starting with the logical reasoning section (as it tends to be the most difficult to master), read through the materials and complete practice questions. Carefully review the answers and analyze your mistakes.
  • Each week take at least 2 full-length, simulated tests. This will help you see your progress in understanding the different question types and will help you focus on what areas need more attention. Taking full-length timed tests will also help you build up the necessary physical and mental stamina to successfully make it through test day without becoming drained before the end of the test.

During the week before the LSAT, wind down your study schedule. Continue to practice, but devote fewer hours.

  • Continue to work on practice questions.
  • Take 2 simulated LSATs.
  • The day before the exam, do nothing. Relax.

Tutors, classes and counseling, and other online resources are available to give you tips and support. Lastly, do not panic. If you begin preparation well in advance and you stick to a schedule, you will have a good LSAT test day.

This article was written by FindMyLawTutor. Visit us at www.findmylawtutor.com for exam resources and study tips for the LSAT, Law School, and Bar Exam. Our website matches LSAT, Law School, and Bar Tutors with students – Providing Law Students with the Legal Edge, Connecting Law Students with Law Tutors to Create Future Lawyers.

 

How to Get Great Letters of Recommendation

August 12, 2014

A Guest post by by Peg Cheng of Prelaw-Guru.com.

Writing_a_letter

Along with a stellar personal statement and resume, great letters of recommendation (LORs) can help tip the scales in your favor when your law school application is “on the bubble”–not quite in but also not quite out.

Never underestimate the power of a great recommendation.

WHO SHOULD YOU ASK FOR LORS?

If you are a current student, focus on securing all your LORs from professors and teaching assistants (TAs).

If you graduated college two or more years ago,and are no longer in touch with your professors and TAs, ask for LORs from your supervisors and/or professional mentors.


HOW MANY LORS SHOULD YOU GET?

Most schools require two LORs but I recommend getting three. First, it is possible one of your recommenders may not follow through. Second, you may need that third LOR for some schools. Third, for schools that place you on the wait list, you might be able to send the last LOR as further evidence that you are a great candidate.


WHEN TO ASK FOR LORS?

Fall always seems so busy for everyone–whether you’re working or in school. Plan ahead. Ask for those LORs during June, July and August. If summer has passed and you’re applying this fall and still haven’t asked for LORs, then set up times to meet with your recommenders now. You haven’t a minute to lose!


HOW TO ASK FOR LORS?

I recommend meeting with each potential recommender in person to ask if he or she would be willing to write you a good LOR. This person is going to spend two to four hours writing a letter for you. That’s a lot of time! They’re doing this as a favor to you. So, treat them with your utmost respect and courtesy.

When you meet with your recommender and ask him or her if they are willing to write you a goodLOR, pay attention to the person’s reaction. Make sure they really want to write you the letter. Ask the person what he or she might write about. If they know you, they should have a good idea of what skills and strengths they will write about.

If the person’s reaction is not positive, thank them for their time and leave. Never insist that someone write you a LOR if they aren’t up to the task.


WHAT SHOULD YOU GIVE YOUR RECOMMENDERS?

If the person says “yes,” then put together a packet for him or her that includes:

  • Brief cover letter that states your gratitude, some background on why you want to go to law school, and your agreed-upon deadline for mailing your LOR
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Resume
  • Other relevant materials (some professors and TAs want copies of the best essays that you wrote for their class)
  • Signed LSAC LOR form (only if he/she is sending a paper letter)

If you are asking early enough, I recommend that you set a deadline with your recommender that is actually four weeks earlier than when you actually need the LOR, but don’t let your recommender know that you’re asking for it early.

No offense to recommenders but I’ve seen too many cases where recommenders put off writing the LOR for so long that she/he actually made the applicant late in applying. Don’t let that happen! For example, if you want your LOR at LSAC by October 1, then ask your recommender to mail it by September 1.


JUST IN CASE YOUR RECOMMENDERS ARE NEW AT THIS…

Forward him or her this helpful article on how to write LORs for law school written by the prelaw adviser at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Thank you, Diane Curtis!


REMEMBER TO THANK YOUR RECOMMENDERS

So many people don’t take the time to thank their recommenders when all is said and done. It’s a shameful travesty. When your LORs are safely stored in your online LSAC file, buy some nice thank you cards and hand-write a note of gratitude to each of your recommenders. Though it’s not necessary, you can also add a small gift like flowers, a potted plant, cookies or chocolates. Your recommender will appreciate your thoughtfulness and it’s simply the right thing to do.

Questions or comments about LORs? I’d love to hear from you! Post your thoughts below.

This blog post was written and submitted by Peg Cheng of Prelaw-Guru.com.

Need help preparing for the LSAT test? Find a LSAT tutor in your area or online today!

Letter photo by Petar Milosevic.

5 Simple Ways to Raise Your LSAT Reading Comprehension Score

August 5, 2014

The LSAT reading comprehension section tends to generate a lot of questions from out students. We’ll often hear, “How can I raise my LSAT reading comprehension score?” and “What are some strategies I can use to improve my LSAT reading comprehension score?” Our tutors swear by the simple ways listed below – they’re great reminders to keep in the back of your mind during your test practice!

 

1) Don’t Do the Questions In Order

When the LSAC lays out the order of the questions in the Reading Comprehension, you can absolutely bet that they do not think, “let’s put the questions in the most logical order for someone taking the test!” Rather, they arrange the questions to make it more difficult. The habit of doing questions in order has been a part of your test-taking behavior since you began taking tests, and losing this habit takes discipline and confidence. But certain types of questions – especially questions about specific details in the passage – help you answer others – like ones that ask about the author or main idea.

 

2) Learn Your Strengths

There is no formula for improving the LSAT score of every single test-taker, because every test-taker has different strengths and weaknesses. So learn what yours are! After you finish a section, take the time to review what types of questions you often get wrong, and try to spot a pattern. Once you have found such a pattern, then analyze each of the questions: what were you asked, what was correct, and why did you choose as you did? Continue to do this, and you will learn exactly how predictable the LSAT can be.

 

3) Take Notes

One of the greatest advantages you have on the LSAT is the paper itself. Mark the passage as you read and underline key phrases. When you come across a main idea, put it in brackets. When you come across a change in perspective (“Critics say…”) underline it. After each paragraph, pause to take one or two notes, no more than five words each, about why the author included that paragraph.

 

4) Predict the Answer

Always do this, if it’s possible. This helps you to avoid the situations where you have either two seemingly equal answers, or eliminated every answer. Predicting the answer will help avoid this problem, and in some cases, will greatly increase your speed. Even on questions like “With which one of the following is the author most likely to agree,” it will still help you predict what you know about the author and how s/he feels about the topic. Further, if you predict the answer and it’s there, you’re already on the next question. Remember: look to ELIMINATE, not Justify.

 

5) Learn the Bad Answer Types

The LSAT loves certain bad answers: recycled language, extreme language, contradiction, bad comparisons. These four are among the most common, but there are a lot of secondary answer choices that fall into regular patterns. If you’re stuck on a question and it uses a lot of language straight from the passage, get rid of it. You can use this strategy for all of these; if the author feels extreme about something, chances are you already know it. And as a final piece of advice, remember: if an answer choice is only partially right, then it is entirely wrong.

 

Additional Tips & Strategies

What other simple tips do you recommend or have run across during your LSAT studies? Tweet them to us @NextStepPrep or comment below! We also welcome you to check out our LSAT prep courses to help tackle the LSAT and get a great score.

 

5 Basic Tips for Logic Games

July 17, 2014

1.Paint a Picture

Given infinite time, everyone can get every question of the logic games correct. But in only 35 minutes, you need to have access to the information and conditions of the game as quickly and intuitively as possible. The way to do this is through a diagram. A diagram takes into account all of the pieces of the game (something like FGHJK), and the space of the game. You’ll need to make a few copies of the diagram in each game, so keep your setup simple and quick (dashes are very easy to draw; grids are not). An ideal diagram is a complete diagram; when it is complete, you should not need to consult the rules and conditions of the game again.

 

2.Draw the Rules

After you’ve set up the characters and space of the game, you need to draw the rules. You’ll want to practice symbolizing the rules in a clear and unambiguous; for example, if the order is fixed (G comes after A) write AG and draw a square around it. If the order is loose (G is adjacent to A), write AG and draw a circle. Rules that indicate fixed positions (“F is first”) place in the first space. Rules that indicate negative positions (“F does not go first”), place under the first space with a crossed out F. There are many systems for explaining the rules in symbols – once you find one that is comfortable and intuitive for you, stick with it and practice using it as much as possible.

 

3.Solve the Game

Spend a minute or two on the above steps – it is worth the time, and understanding the game itself makes the questions considerably easier. Figure out some possible orderings and arrangements of the game’s pieces, and see if you can draw any inferences (e.g. G comes before F, F comes before H means G<F<H, but also that F and H cannot go first; G and F cannot go last). The first question will almost always ask you for a possible arrangement of the games elements, and you will have answered that in simply trying to understand the game.

 

4. Find an order to answer the questions

It will be to your advantage to learn the types of questions the games ask and how to best deal with them. Fortunately, the range of questions themselves is rather limited. The first questions will ask about the components of the game. The later questions will change the rules in some way and ask you to adjust the conditions to fit the changes. After you do the first question, skip to the questions that impose even more limits on the scenario than the rules themselves. Understanding how the game is changing, or how the pieces fit into a more limited situation, you’re gaining a better grasp of how the game already is. It’s almost analogous to Reading Comprehension: you want to do specific questions before general questions, as specific questions help build an understanding of the passage that helps in the general questions.

 

5. Anticipate the Answer Choices

This will not always be possible, but on questions that change the rules or introduce conditions (“if M is third, then…”), draw your diagram before you look at the answers. Your diagram may not align entirely with the answer choices, but you will have a reference for what you see. Could Q go second? Play with the diagram you just made to see if it’s possible. Must Q go second? Again, challenge the game. Do your first few logic games untimed (and then, always do them timed) to build familiarity with your system and the method. Refer to and reuse diagrams from previous questions in the same game whenever possible.

 

Need help preparing for the LSAT test? Find a LSAT tutor in your area or online today!

Beating the LSAT: How Successful Students Prepare

May 15, 2014

John Rood, President and Founder of Next Step Test Preparation recently conducted a webinar on beating the LSAT.  Besides founding Next Step John has worked with hundreds of students over more than five years.  Watch this four part series to learn:

    • How the LSAT fits into the law school admissions process.
    • What skills are needed to succeed on test day.
    • How the law school admissions process works and what matters most.
    • How to approach questions on test day by working through sample problems.

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 I Beat my Fear of Death by Bed Sheets and Learned to Love Cheese Again: A Lesson in Causation Vs. Correlation

May 13, 2014

There is an epidemic sweeping the United States that most people are unwilling to confront.  An increase in cheese consumption is leading an increase in the number of people dying after becoming entangled in their bed sheets.  The graph below will give you an idea of just how serious this problem is.  While an all out cheese ban may seem brash, we need to ask ourselves how much is that parm really worth:

http://nextsteptestprep.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/cheese-correlation.png

Image courtesy of, http://www.tylervigen.com/

While some people might be worried that their love of cheese will lead to death by bed-sheet-tangling, as a potential LSAT test taker you know better. Or you should at least. The LSAT is a rigorous test of your critical thinking and problem solving skills. The idea of causation versus correlation is tested frequently on the LSAT, and the test makers love to trip up those who confuse the two.

To understand the difference, let’s first take a look at what both mean. Merriam-Webster’s defines correlation as “a relation existing between phenomena or things or between mathematical or statistical variables which tend to vary, be associated, or occur together in a way not expected on the basis of chance alone.” Put more simply, correlation defines how closely two variables or sets of data are related. Causation on the other hand, is defined as “the act or process of causing something to happen, or the relationship between an event or situation and a possible reason or cause”. Put more simply, causation is defined by a cause and effect relationship. So on test day, be sure to ask yourself what is the actual relationship between these two events or data points? Are they just tangentially related, or is there an actual cause and effect relationship between the two?

So while some might put down the cheese in order to avoid a horrific sheet-induced-death, you can munch on. Check out this great blog post that highlights some other spurious relationships; I have included a couple of examples below:

This summer in order to stop a rash of fatal pool accidents, Nicholas Cage must…. stop acting. Unless it’s a sequel to Face Off, then the loss of life could be acceptable:

Image courtesy of, http://www.tylervigen.com/

 

And you thought the only downside to PACs was an increase in the influence of money on the US political system. THE INSANITY HAS TO END:

Image courtesy of, http://www.tylervigen.com/

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.