Things I Learned During My Time as an LSAT Prep Instructor

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After many long seasons of teaching for Blueprint LSAT Preparation, I’m leaving the exciting world of LSAT prep and heading into the private sector. It’s been a lot of fun. My five years helping people get into law school have taught me a lot about the LSAT, and not just in regards to how one deals with a tiered grouping game.

Things such as:

The LSAT makes you a smarter, better person. When people first see it, they’re often frustrated by how the LSAT has seemingly nothing to do with the law. With tests like the MCAT, you’re at least being tested on things that you’ll use in your profession. But fear not, because the LSAT is good for you. It makes you better at spotting flawed arguments, better at quickly reading dense material while parsing out the relevant information, and gives you a better attention span. In a world where we can’t go five minutes without checking our phones, having to take an hours-long pencil-and-paper test can’t really be that much of a bad thing. My students have consistently talked about how they feel smarter after studying for the LSAT, and that’s a feeling that’ll last. What other test can do that for you?

As far as exams go, the LSAT’s pretty great. The LSAT is amazingly consistent. If you take the test again and again and again under similar conditions (without studying), your LSAT score will generally fall within the same few points. It can be studied for, but requires a lot of work – which is how a test should be. There are way too many factors going into a GPA to make it all that precise, and the information in your “soft” elements can’t be quantified. But with the LSAT there’s a measurable, comparable metric with which law schools can judge you. So hate the LSAT if you must, but at least you can grudgingly respect it.

Studying for the LSAT isn’t that much different than most hard things in life. People love to complain about the LSAT. How it’s unfair, how it’s arbitrary, how they shouldn’t have to spend an extra three months preparing for a test. But there are also people who accept it as a reality, work really hard to do well on it, and succeed. They sometimes even enjoy it. Just like any major obstacle in life, the LSAT brings out the best and worst in people. Whining about it isn’t going to make it go away. Only hard work and determination unlocks great LSAT scores.

Too many people rush into law school. It is incredibly easy to go to law school. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but it’s true. For a lot of graduate programs you have to have major undergraduate prerequisites fulfilled, but anyone with a B.A. can study for the LSAT and be applying to law school in a matter of months. It’s convenient, but it results in a lot of people considering law school simply because they don’t know what the hell else to do with their lives. I know, I was there. I almost went, but suddenly remembered that I never really wanted to go in the first place. You shouldn’t go to law school “because it seems like there’d be a lot of opportunities” or because “you can always use a law degree.” You should know what you want to do, and how you’re going to do it. Too many people want to go to law school, but have no idea what being a lawyer entails. You’re going to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and the final days of your youth on law school, so you’d better be damn sure it’s what you want. Do some soul searching. If you realize law school isn’t for you, that’s something you’ll be glad you figured out beforehand. And if you decide it is your path, then you’ll be that much more resolute in your decision.

Teaching the LSAT is a great gig. Even during light years, over a hundred thousand people take the LSAT every year. There simply aren’t all that many people who have LSAT scores in the 98th percentile, and even fewer who can effectively impart their knowledge to others. If you can teach this test, you’ll be valuable. Getting to work great hours, get paid well, and actually make a difference in people’s lives makes this the best job I’ve ever had. If you’ve done well on the LSAT but are having second thoughts about law school, I can’t recommend it enough.

And with that I am off. I don’t know if I’ll be able to swear off my old love forever, but in the meantime I’ll be missing this beautiful beast.

Good luck on the LSAT, and keep on studying.

2 Responses

  1. JT says:

    We’ll miss you Colin!

    • gitguy says:

      Totally agree. They need to compare apples to apples, and this is the way to do it. I work in a law firm, and I really believe that if you can’t get a respectable score, then you don’t have the skill set to be an attorney.

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