LSAT Prep FAQs
Interview with LSAT Prep Expert
Interview with LSAT Prep Expert
Have you ever wanted to ask a LSAT prep expert about the secrets to mastering the LSAT? Or, what it’s like to teach in a LSAT prep program? We’ve asked these and many more questions to LSAT prep expert, Dave Killoran, CEO at PowerScore.
Dave Killoran is the CEO and founder of PowerScore Test Preparation, with over 20 years of teaching experience and a 99th percentile score on a Law Services-administered LSAT. In addition to having written PowerScore’s legendary LSAT Bible Series, and many other popular publications, Dave has overseen the preparation of thousands of students and founded two national LSAT preparation companies.
Dave co-hosts the PowerScore LSAT Podcast with weekly topics including specific LSAT concepts and strategies to test changes and admissions advice. He is also a contributor to the PowerScore LSAT Blog and the PowerScore LSAT Forum, and is very active on Reddit.
Follow him on Twitter @DaveKilloran.
What’s the average length of time a person spend preparing to take the LSAT?
It depends on the person. If you look at the general population, which includes people who unfortunately do very little preparation, the overall average is probably a few weeks. This is actually great news for students who choose to prepare more comprehensively because it gives them a significant advantage. If you look at students who read our books and take our courses, then the average length of time rises to a month or two. Obviously, the extra time preparing directly benefits the bottom line—their scores.
Our belief is that each student is different, and that the amount of prep time required will vary from person to person, as is the best method for preparing. So, for one person the best approach might be taking our full length courses, which typically runs over a period of 8-12 weeks, and for another person the best approach might be reading just one or two of our LSAT Bibles, which can usually be done in less than a month.
If a person wants to apply to law school in the Fall, when is the best time to prepare for and take the LSAT?
Although every law school accepts the results of the January LSAT, because most law schools use a rolling admissions process for reviewing applications, the earlier a candidate can complete their application, the better. Thus, the LSATs through December are the best. For applicants still in college, the August or September LSATs often makes the most sense because they can use their summer break to do the lion’s share of their LSAT preparation.
What are some of the most common misconceptions about preparing for the LSAT?
The biggest misconception is that you can’t study for the LSAT. After helping students for almost 20 years, there is no doubt in my mind that you can teach the logic used on this exam, and that students can learn to recognize and attack the elements present in the questions. As with many things in life, practice is essential to performing optimally.
The second misconception is, paradoxically, that you can cram for the LSAT. The LSAT is a test of principles and pattern recognition, and those are not things you can learn overnight or in a few days. There are also a number of very challenging concepts that appear in LSAT questions, and learning to recognize the logic behind those questions takes some time. If the LSAT were a test of facts, like a History test, then you could probably cram for it. But it’s not, and so you have to give yourself adequate time to prepare.
If a person needs to take the LSAT but only has a couple of weeks to prepare, what do you recommend they do?
The first thing would be to clear your schedule to whatever extent possible, and then try to immerse yourself in LSAT techniques and questions! Use as much of the available time as you can to study the test and become acquainted with the best approaches. Even though having more time to prepare would be optimal, you can improve your score with even a relatively small amount of studying. For example, we also offer an LSAT Bible for each section of the test, and those can be used to attack the sections giving you trouble. So, if Logical Reasoning is holding your score down, you can grab our LR Bible and start working on that immediately.
Second, strongly consider taking a later LSAT! The is typically given every month or every other month, and having a higher score is far preferable to submitting a lower but earlier score. If taking extra time will produce a higher score, that will help you immensely.
What factors do you counsel people to consider when deciding whether to re-take the LSAT when their first score isn‘t as good as they’d like?
Each person is different, but the following are questions are worth considering when considering a retake:
If the answer to any of the above suggest there’s room for improvement, strongly consider retaking!
How important is the LSAT?
One thing everyone agrees on is that the LSAT is the critical factor law school admissions decisions! LSAT scores along with GPA are the two most indicative measures of the type of law school a student will attend. So, you should treat it as a crucial part of your applications to law school, and spend as much time as needed to get your highest possible score.
Plus, when students goes out and just kill the LSAT, they may discover that their options open up to provide them with new choices. I once worked with a student who was set on attending George Mason Law because it was near his home, but after nailing a very high LSAT score he ended up applying to Harvard, and ultimately attended school there.
In your experience, what’s the rough breakdown percentage-wise of how people prep for the LSAT -- self-study versus private tutors versus full-length instructor-led classes, etc.?
This is a tough question. I’d say at least 50% of students self-study, about 40% take a class, and about 10% engage a private tutor. Of course, of those who list “self-study,” many don’t study at all, providing a huge advantage for those who do take the right approach.