The decision as to how to prepare for the LSAT is an individual one. Factors such as convenience, personal style and cost should be examined. Ultimately, in order for a system to be effective, a person must be comfortable enough to focus and thrive, and the student must put in the time.
Live LSAT prep classes typically offer between 35 and 100 hours of live classroom instruction by a teacher who scored in the 98th or 99th percentile on the LSAT. In addition, while each live LSAT prep program is a little different, top-rated programs such as Manhattan LSAT’s live courses, the Kaplan LSAT prep course, the Princeton Review LSAT prep course, and the PowerScore LSAT class offer many additional resources such as on-demand, interactive-online instruction to supplement class time, review sessions after classes, one-on-one office hours with instructors online, access to every released LSAT question and hundreds of pages of practice materials. These kinds of classes are absolutely comprehensive in the amount and types of resources that are made available to students.
In order to take full advantage of live LSAT prep classes, you must adhere to a fairly intense, strict schedule. You must keep up both in class and at home. This type of structure helps students learn the concepts and complete practice questions at a measured pace so that the material is digested over a period of time and not crammed in at the last minute (this is particularly attractive to the student who may thrive in classroom settings or to the student who tends to procrastinate).
When you take a live LSAT course, you are less likely to feel alone during the long, intense LSAT preparation process. Camaraderie often develops among some students who have the shared experience of sitting through an LSAT prep class together. Taking a few moments to grab a coffee after class may provide the needed decompression time prior to refocusing on the LSAT practice materials.
LSAT live classes often cost $1500-$2500. While many will argue that they are well worth the fee, some simply may not be able to afford the cost of a live class. Furthermore, the rigid structure of a live course works as an advantage to some, but others may find it too demanding and/or too inflexible. If you anticipate having a difficult time keeping up with the workload and schedule that a live course demands due to your schedule or learning style, a live class may not be ideal for you. If you fear it’s not flexible enough for you—either because you will excel faster than the class or because you don’t want the pressure of keeping up—you can also consider private tutoring, offered by most companies as well, although it tends to be even more expensive than live courses.
Online LSAT Classes
The companies that offer live LSAT prep courses usually also offer online prep courses as well. The online version typically utilizes a curriculum that is very similar to a live LSAT course curriculum, and the number of online class hours is close to number of hours required by live classes. The difference is that online classes do not take place in live classroom settings, but are available online "on demand," allowing the student to make his or her own viewing or attendance schedule. The online classes also typically offer many of the same resources as the live classes such as access to released LSATs and practice questions and access to an instructor via email. Furthermore, the flexibility that the "on demand" feature provides makes an online LSAT prep system more attractive to students who prefer less structure and prefer to design their own study schedules. And some companies like Manhattan LSAT have added an interactive component to their online options, which further bridges the gap between live and online coursework.
With an online class that isn’t already scheduled (many are, in which case, this sentence does not apply), there is the added burden on the student to design a schedule as to when he or she will view the online classes and complete all other tasks on a regular schedule over an 8-12 week period. If you are more successful in learning from a live teacher in a classroom setting and you tend to procrastinate, an online class may be ineffective for you. Moreover, unlike with the live LSAT course, you will not have the ability to walk up to an instructor and ask a question (although sometimes you can “stay after” in the online room to chat, or email). Nor will you be able to talk to or commiserate with other students before and after class.
You must take a realistic self-assessment to determine which method you will use more effectively. If you tend to put things off or get easily distracted by the TV remote, do not kid yourself into thinking that things will be different while studying for the LSAT. Instead, go for the live class option, keeping in mind that with both course types there will be a significant amount of time in which you will have to be disciplined and complete homework assignments and additional practice outside of the structured classroom environment. At the end of the day, neither the live class nor the online class will lead you to the 99th percentile if you do not attend the live or online classes and if you do not do the homework.
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