Graeme Blake is an LSAT Tutor in Montreal. He scored a 177 and has worked for multiple prep companies. His latest project is a series of free lsat explanations. His books are available in paperback form and as pdf downloads.
I wanted to try something new. Each new book of explanations incrementally added a little to my income, and helped the people that bought the book. But they wouldn’t change the LSAT industry.
By releasing the explanations for free, any LSAT student can use them. There are free logic games video explanations, but there are no good, comprehensive explanations for the other sections.
I don’t know what will come from making the explanations free. This is an experiment. If they become popular, I think I’ll be able to find other paid products to helps people study for the LSAT.
I’m also selling pdf versions of the explanations for offline access and easier navigation.
I think the traditional industry will hollow out. Currently, many people still go with a Kaplan or Princeton Review course, because that’s what they’ve heard of. Or they go to a bookstore, and buy Barron’s LSAT, because it’s there.
These methods are in decline however. Go to Top Law Schools or Reddit.com/r/LSAT, and you’ll see people recommend alternative methods. The most common names I see now are Manhattan Prep, Powerscore, Blueprint, 7Sage, LSAT Blog, Velocity, and of course Cambridge LSAT.
What do these method have in common?
I think some people will continue to study in classrooms. Classroom instruction has been with us for hundreds of years, and it has its advantages, particularly if you can afford it.
However, it’s very possible to study effectively for the LSAT on a $200 budget. You can buy a good quantity of official preptests, and a good set of strategy guides.
At a slightly higher cost, you can add an online course, supplementary books, or sessions with a tutor.
I think the best students will start with self-study, then add other options as needed. A higher LSAT score is an excellent investment, and it’s worth spending money if you believe it will help you get even a few extra points. They can be worth tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships and higher salaries.
Timed practice with official LSAT PrepTests, and intensive, rigorous review. WHY are you getting questions wrong? How could you avoid those errors in the future?
I think students should track their mistakes, and redo those questions at a later date. Students should also track questions where they were uncertain, and got the question right by luck.
Also, there are many base skills that are required for LSAT success. Students should master all of the following:
There are many other things you need to know for LSAT success, but the skills above are the most learnable. If a student finds they can’t do one of those things flawlessly, they should drill it until they can.
The LSAT is a standardized test. The questions themselves don’t repeat, but the concepts and traps used in the questions certainly repeat.
Master a few tests, and you’ll do much better on any new tests you try. I personally got much better at the LSAT by teaching students LSATs 29–38.
Those were the tests everyone used 2-3 years ago. I did them over and over again with students, and my confidence with new tests improved dramatically.
I would recommend the following:
You can’t just read the explanations and get smarter. You have to approach them actively.
If you still don’t understand, or disagree, then reconsider the whole question to see if you can figure it out. If that fails, post a comment and I’ll respond to clarify.
A good tutor will have a high score (173+), and a track record of helping students. A high score doesn’t guarantee that someone is a good teacher, but it’s hard to be a good teacher without a thorough understanding of the material.
Reviews are a good way of judging whether a teacher is effective. But probably the best method is to try a lesson. Most tutors will offer either a free trial, or a satisfaction guarantee on the first lesson. I offer both.
One factor I do not think is important is physical location. It’s 2013, and remote lessons are 100% as effective as in person lessons. I’ve done Skype lessons and in person lessons and there’s no difference in learning outcomes.
By considering Skype lessons, you also get access to the best tutors.
The LSAT is very hard. Often, you won’t even realize you’re making a mistake. You’ll see the right answer, invent a wrong reason for why it’s right, and make the same mistake next time.
A tutor gives you external feedback. You’ll be forced to see exactly what is going on in the questions you review together.
A tutor is also the fastest way to improve. They’ll instantly see where you’re going wrong and give you tailored advice. You might read a whole book and still not fix certain errors that a tutor would spot.
The closest substitute is a good study group. When you review together, you have to justify your reasons for choosing an answer. Your fellow students can often spot the same flaws in your reasoning that a tutor would point out.
I don’t think that mobile devices will change much. None so far have been compelling.
The LSAT is a pencil and paper test. It demands focus.
Mobile apps tend to be something you use for a few minutes in between things. That kind of brief focus won’t help you improve on the LSAT.
One use might be a logic games app that had repeat drills for certain concepts and game types that came up over and over again.
I don’t see my role changing, unless the test format changes. Tutoring is an institution that has been largely unchanged for millennia and I don’t think apps will do much to change it.
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