This post was written by Laura Damone, a Manhattan Prep LSAT instructor.
Note: The digital LSAT changes referenced in this post are only applicable in North America.
By now, you’ve probably heard the news: Like everything else in the world, the LSAT is going digital. Read more
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Here’s the situation: The University of Arizona College of Law recently started accepting GRE scores in addition to LSAT scores from applicants for admission. Last week, The Wall Street Journal covered the move and the LSAC’s subsequent threat to ban the school from membership. Then, just yesterday, news broke that 148 deans of LSAC member law schools sent a letter to the LSAC’s president in support of Arizona Law. The issue has raised many pertinent questions about the merits of each test relative to the other as barometers for law school fitness. We wanted answers, so we turned to Mary Richter, LSAT (175) and GRE (166Q/168V) instructor and graduate of Yale Law School. Here’s what she had to say: Read more
Deep breath. It’s not the end of the world, but it is surprising: LSAT testing center security has increased. Red Alert LSAT Geeks! LSAC now requires a full-body scan of anyone who enters the testing site. They will use the same equipment used in airports and all images will be reviewed by T14 law school graduates. Those who refuse the scan will be subjected to a hearty frisking. Not surprisingly, students are pretty angry; all of the test-takers from UC Berkeley have announced they will arrive in kilts and opt for the frisk.
No, no – it’s not that bad. But, it is slightly more inconvenient: you now need to bring a photo of yourself (along with your approved photo ID, your ticket, etc. – read about all of it on LSAC’s website). The picture must be of you within the last 6 months, and if right before test day you dye your hair, put your beard into dreadlocks, or pierce your forehead with a horseshoe, be sure to have a picture of you with your new look. The photo needs to be no larger than 2 x 2 and no smaller than 1 x 1. Basically, get a passport photo. It’s definitely annoying – and what irks me most is that I now have to wonder whether people have actually gotten away with sending in an LSAT geek-double to take the test for them (or is the question, how many have gotten away with it?). Apparently, the usual photo ID and the affidavit that LSAC has you write in cursive were not enough to scare away evil-doers. (In case you’re wondering about the cursive requirement, studies prove that writing in cursive legitimizes a statement more than any other type of writing except for using Comic Sans.)
On a related ridiculous note, back in the 70s, a guy traveled the world using a passport in which he had replaced his photo with that of his dog. This speaks volumes for one of several things: the sense of security that existed in the world in the 70s despite the cold war, the theory that people look like their dogs, or the general state of that guy’s face or his dog’s.
So, off to your local drugstore for the picture. Say something witty as the camera clicks to bring a smile to your face as you prepare to destroy the LSAT on test day.
Apparently, everybody is writing a book these days. John Beer, our Chicago teacher-poet penned an award-winning collection of poems. And LSAC released another book of LSATs. These are the most current ones out there (I guess I could be referring to John’s poems, but I’m talking about the LSATs now). The nice thing about this is that all of these tests included a comparative passage in the reading comprehension section. It’s good to get more practice with this passage type. LSAC started using those in June 2007, so there aren’t too many examples out there.
The other good news is that this is another way to study on the cheap! Since so many LSAT preppers are ramen-noodle fueled college students, let me outline a cheapo method for prepping for the LSAT on your own:
1. Buy some LSATs: 10 More… The Next 10… and, introducing…. 10 New Actual LSAT PrepTests w/Comparative Reading. (Only a lawyer could appreciate these gripping titles.) By the way, you can no doubt get most of these on Amazon for cheaper. Also, you can buy some pretty cool collections of questions from Cambridge LSAT – (if you go this route, you probably you won’t need the first book above, 10 More…)
2. Buy our guides. (And hey, go right ahead and save a few bucks and buy them on Amazon – let’s be real.)
3. Download our syllabus (you get free access to a syllabus and a bunch of online resources when you buy our books). Follow the directions. Stir frequently over medium-high flame.
All in all, this should cost you about $120. Then, if you need to, you can buy recordings of our classes for a couple of hundred. Boom, you’ve got quite an arsenal.
Anyway, congrats, LSAC! I will say that the covers are getting increasingly depressing, but let’s face it, this is the LSAT, not The Master and Margarita (my favorite book).
For all aspiring lawyers, note the power of your profession: after LSAC filed its lawsuit, TestMasters agreed to pay its outstanding bill and the two parties decided upon a new fee structure.
The LSAC is very careful with how its material is used, but I will say that folks who criticize it for being focused on profit are ignoring a lot of factors. First of all, the organization is not-for-profit. Secondly, the cost of taking the LSAT surely does not cover all the costs the LSAC bears in terms of creation, protection and administration of their tests (and many who apply for fee waivers receive them). Finally, LSAC is pretty generous in terms of allowing free use of its materials by pre-law advisors and those who are using LSAT questions in a community-service manner. My suggestion: hate the test, not the test-makers! (and pay if you use their questions).