Aiming for a 165+, go somewhere else
Written: Jun 7, 2004
a Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:fundamental techniques, instructors, class size, build confidence
Cons:too much money, makes you complacent, corporate feel
The Bottom Line: If you have the money, spend it. No miracles or high scores. For people who want to score in the mid and upper 150s.
Based on Austin, Texas local office:
Before you take a preparation course, think of what you can do with that money.
$1200 is a lot of money, you can spend $250-300 and purchase every LSAT administered up to the most recent test along with a handful of top prep books. Just keep in mind, you can get higher quality material, and a lot more of it, for a fraction of the price.
So why take Princeton Review?
1) Motivation -
Most people taking the LSAT want a good score, but will not work for it or will do it incorrectly. I knew the only way I was going to get something done is if I gave up a substantial chunk of my money. After you pay $1000, you start to miss it, and it forces you to realize that if you don't work, you're throwing money away.
2) Good fundamentals -
I started prepping for the June LSAT in December, but even then, I wasn't do it right. I was simulating the test incorrectly and getting higher scores than I was supposed to. These higher scores were a false confidence booster and I refused to drill myself intensively. I also used a ragtag set of techniques that were often contradictory, time consuming and sloppy.
Princeton Review really teaches you the basics:
- how to identify argument questions
- how to work some of the most common game questions
- how to develop the right pacing and mental attitude for the test
The material isn't that great, but it isn't half bad. A substantial amount of the questions you work are from past LSATs. However, I think everyone does this. Basically, they splice parts of sections and put them together. So like, "Arguments Drill 1" out of the "Big Book of LSATS" (a PR book), that arguments drill probably came out of a former preptest (like preptest 23 6 years ago).
They have LSATs up to Preptest 40 on file. That leaves 41, 42, and 43 (the June 2004 LSAT).
Don't work everything, just work what you're good at. That's the strategy. If you work every question and get 50% correct, you should take it slower, work few questions and get 75% correct. That means getting 15 correct on a section rather than 9 or 10, which adds up. It's a short term strategy and you can work more problems the more accurate you get. It's not perfect, but its good when you're starting out - you don't reinforce bad habits and you learn to do things right.
5) Small class- your class can move quicker or slower based on the people in it, and generally you all are around the same level. It almost eliminates the need for 1-1 sessions, because the class is more personal.
1) Inflexible - Princeton Review, since it runs like a corporation - is pretty inflexible. You can't just switch course locations on the fly - you get charged. You can reschedule practice tests, but my local office wouldn't proctor them.
2) Online tools subpar - their website is slow and so are the online lessons/tools/etc. After working a drill or section, you are supposed to go online to check annotations
3) Extra Help/1-1 tutoring - this all depends on your instructor. They tout "unlimited help" but its going to be scheduled in 30 min blocks and if the instructor is busy, then you can't get someone else in the office to help you.
That said, I received a fair amount. About 10hrs outside of class, although it was just working problems and nothing brilliant about it. Don't expect too much from it. The 1-1 session doesn't add much, I was hoping it would be something like a coach closely monitoring your progress and pointing out areas, but its all your self assessment. It is moderately helpful to the extent that you can say what you think you're doing wrong (self diagnosis) and then the instructor will think of some solutions (like, "if you are losing focus on arguments, work 2 sections back to back").
Is it better than Kaplan?
From what I heard - yes, it is. Not by much, but supposedly PR has better instructors because the trainings and standards are set higher. You really need someone who can teach and empathize, and those are qualities that a 170+ person doesn't necessarily always possess.
Is it better than Testmasters/Powerscore/other places?
That all depends. I didn't take those places. I hear they're pretty good too. I have heard a lot of good things about Powerscore (they also make the logic games bible) and their weekend course. That's definitely an option - to study on your own and then take an intensive weekend session.
They seem to target people who have a higher starting point, like the low 160s. But some have larger class sizes, I have heard up to 30 people.
What's the verdict?
For me, it seems like too much money. Princeton Review is too nice and makes you complacent. They'll pat you on the back for hitting the upper 150s at the end of the course, as if its great, and relatively speaking it is, but I feel like its too remedial. You really need to push yourself to get into the 90th percentile (mid 160s)and PR won't do that.
I'm going for that 170 and I will keep working until I get it. They will, instead, tell you that very few people score that well and that if high scores were teachable, everyone would get those scores.
But isn't that the point of test prep? To prepare people for tests so they can score better than unprepared people?
Princeton Review has helped in some basic sense (teaching me basic diagrams, contrapositive, proper test simulation) but I think I should have taken a cheaper and shorter version of the course.
Read all 20 Reviews
Write a Review