Monday, October 24, 2016

How Much to Spend on LSAT Prep

 There has been a debate recently about whether the so-called "logic games" section of the LSAT makes it unnecessarily hard for poor students to get into good law schools.

I don't think it does. I think life makes it hard for poor students to get into good law schools. People who grew up poor are less likely to receive a quality education, so if they want to be skilled logicians (necessary for a high LSAT score, and certainly good for a practicing lawyer), they would have to have the drive and interest to educate themselves.

I did. I started reading Dickens, Shakespeare, and Poe when I was about 8 years old because it interested me a lot more than Goosebumps did (not that I didn't read my fair share of Goosebumps and other juvenile fiction). I would save up money and buy those $3 logic problems magazines from the grocery store. In middle school, I started reading things like Fred Alan Wolf's Parallel Universes and Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods, somewhat high-level non-fiction (about such fun topics as quantum theory and advanced ancient civilizations).

The LSAT itself is expensive enough (not to mention the cost of renting a car so I could go two counties over to take the damned thing because I lived in what turns out to be the middle of nowhere), so, being poor, I certainly was not going to spend much money on LSAT prep if I didn't have to. I picked up a prep book from the library, which was walking distance from my house (yay, urban living!), so it didn't even cost any gas money. Then I bought one of the "10 Actual, Official LSATs," or whatever it's called, off Amazon for about $25.

I spent a grand total of $25.00 on LSAT prep.

That's it.

And, while I did learn some very good tips and tricks, and the practice tests let me know exactly what to expect on the real thing, my scores didn't improve all that much during the 4 months I spent prepping. My first practice test score was 165, my score on the real thing was 168. Woo, 3 points!

I can't say that it's not worth it do some prep. You have to do some prep. Going into a test like that blind to how the test works is really, really dumb. Don't do that. But you absolutely do not need to take a $1,000.00 LSAT Prep course.

What you really need to do to get a really good score on the LSAT is invent a time machine. Go back in time and convince your younger self that logic puzzles are fun (they really are!), and it's totally worth it to spend $3 every couple months on those logic puzzle magazines in the grocery store. Then convince your younger self to ditch the juvenile/young adult fiction and start reading some Dickens, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Poe, Tennyson, etc. Read the classics. Or, if you're not into fiction, ditch the popular magazines and read high-level writings about whatever topic interests you.

But, in order to do that, you would have to forget this whole "law" thing, major in Physics and dedicate your life to that so you can invent said time machine.

At which point, you probably won't be interested in what your score is on the LSAT.

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