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Low LSAT Score — Even After A Prep Course?

What to do once you’ve gotten a low LSAT score — even after one of the big LSAT prep classes.

In 2011, Next Step worked with several hundred students to raise their LSAT scores — after they had taken a prep class. I mention this so you know that 1) this happens all the time, so you’re not alone and 2) we have some ideas about how you can improve.

Usually, students know that their LSAT prep class isn’t working well for them as they are going. Most often, this is because the single pace of a prep class isn’t exactly right — specifically, a student is still struggling with, say, assumption questions while the class has moved on to something totally different.

Sometimes, however, a student will be doing fine in practice exams — but then bomb on the day of the exam.

Either way, it’s now on you to make sure you get a big score increase.

How to NOT increase your LSAT score after a prep course:

  • Taking the same LSAT class again (even if you can do so for free). This is why “score guarantees” that only let you take a course again are scams. The class didn’t work for you the first time. Remember that old cliche about the definition of insanity? That applies here. Sitting through 50 hours of the same lectures is not going to help.
  • Taking a very slightly different class from another company. While all the marketing will try to convince you otherwise, prep classes are more alike than different. Yes, it’s possible that you would get a better instructor (the key driver of student success), but there’s absolutely no way for you to know that would be the case. (Our all-time record for this is a student who had taken Kaplan, Powerscore, and Princeton Review and was still in the 130’s).

So, what are your good options?

  • Go through your class materials methodically, making sure you completely understand every element before you move on. If you have questions, ask a friend who is also studying.
  • Get some better books. You might want to check out our book of explanations for Preptests 52-61 on Amazon. The Powerscore books are also a good bet.
  • Get a LSAT tutor. A tutor helps you understand exactly where and why you’re falling short, then puts together a custom plan to help you improve. For hundreds of our students, tutoring has been the antidote to LSAT prep courses — we make sure every student understands exactly how to work a problem before moving on.

The most common concern students have with getting a tutor is that the student will have to re-learn a totally new methodology. That’s not the case. When our students begin with a tutor, we help them look at the methodologies they have been using and keep the ones that have been working. (Yes, that means that we’re fine if our students use Company X’s diagramming techniques — if they work for that student!) Moreover — to be blunt — if you’re in this situation, what you’ve been doing before wasn’t really orking, and you should be open to other options.

Every day, a student will call in who knows they need a tutor, but who doesn’t want to make the investment since they already sunk $1,400 into a LSAT class that didn’t work for them. While we see this as a good reason for future students to not take the prep classes, if you already have it’s simply an issue of sunk cost. (Remember Econ 101?) If doing well on the LSAT is still worth a major investment, it makes sense to look into this option.
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