If you’re thinking of applying to law school, then you’re probably aware that the biggest hurdle in your near future is getting the best possible score on the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT. The LSAT is the universal assessment for law school applicants in the United States and elsewhere, and it’s a major part of what law schools consider when they decide on your application.
Obtaining some sort of guidance, if not private tutoring for the LSAT, is absolutely key. While there a plethora of free and paid resources out there to choose from—including official and unofficial test prep materials, proprietary test prep software, and group LSAT courses—one-on-one tutoring is considered the gold standard for ambitious students who are serious about maximizing their potential. It used to be that your access to quality LSAT tutoring was highly dependent on your location. But in recent years especially, more and more students are taking advantage of advanced communications technology to pursue online LSAT tutoring, which can be just as effective as in-person LSAT tutoring.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to keep in mind as you seek online LSAT tutoring, so you can get the most out of your money, your time, and your official exam score.
Understand What Is on the LSAT
Before you start looking for a tutor, the first thing you should do is get to know the test you’re prepping for. The company that designs and administers the LSAT—the Law School Admission Council, or LSAC—offers official past tests for free on their website. This is an excellent resource for learning the structure and content of the test, as well as where you stand in relation to your target scores. We recommend taking two untimed practice tests in order to get to know the test, then taking a timed practice test, adhering as closely to the official testing guidelines as possible to simulate an actual LSAT experience. This score (which will be somewhere between 120 and 180) will give you a good idea of where you stand.
Define Your Target LSAT Score
Once you know your starting score, you should begin researching the top law schools of your choice to get an idea of how successful applicants typically score. This will represent your target score.
Next, assess your distance from your target score. Are you only a few points away? This might mean you can afford to be a bit more ambitious in your school choices.
Alternatively, you might be far away from your target score. Typically, a committed student working with a one-on-one tutor can expect their score to increase by 10-20 points, though there are of course students whose scores increase by significantly more (or, less often, fewer) points than that.
Pick the Right LSAT Tutor for You
Once you have an idea of where you stand in terms of your goals, you’re ready to start looking for a tutor. While LSAT tutoring can be expensive, it’s still much more worthwhile to ensure you’re working with a qualified expert LSAT tutor. Consider this a relatively small investment in what will hopefully be a lucrative law career.
So first thing’s first, you should make sure the tutors you’re considering have adequate qualifications. This means they should have not only an excellent grasp of the material, but they should also have significant teaching experience. At MyGuru, for example, our LSAT tutors have earned 99th percentile scores and have at least five years of teaching experience.
You can also expect to schedule a free preliminary session to get to know a tutor before you begin paying to work with them. In this session, you can assess their personality and teaching style to make sure it’s a fit for you. Feel free to ask them to take you through a few sample questions. Check to see whether they can explain the important concepts in ways you understand. You can also check to make sure they’re energetic and engaging. Finally, make sure to ask questions along the way, checking to see whether they’re good at responding to your concerns and confusions. An expert tutor knows how to tailor the concepts to your understanding.
Take Charge of Your LSAT Prep Process
Once you’ve chosen a tutor to work with, the best thing you can do to get the most out of online LSAT tutoring is to take charge of your own test prep. Your initial timed practice test should give you an idea of the areas where you need the most work, and you can work with your tutor to design a customized approach targeting the specific skills and concepts you need to attain
And if you really want to get the most out of online LSAT tutoring, it’s not enough to rely exclusively on your tutoring sessions to serve as all your LSAT prep. You should ask your tutor to regularly assign you homework, so you are continuing to work on your areas of need, and so you come into each session ready to get the most out of it. Further, you can be working with additional practice problems and tests on your own, both to gain additional practice, and to continue assessing your progress. Make sure to note down any specific questions or conditions that you struggle with, and bring these to your tutor in each session for more customized help.
Be Open to New Ideas
Another important aspect of online LSAT tutoring is being open to new ideas and new approaches. Many LSAT problems are best tackled with strategies that students may initially find uncomfortable or counterintuitive—that, of course, is why you’re paying an expert tutor to help you.
For example, the most efficient and effective systematic approach to Logical Reasoning problems, for most students, is to first avoid reading the question stem. And yet, this violates most students’ instincts and can be very uncomfortable to put into practice at first. Try to work with such new approaches even if they seem challenging at first. If you’re practicing regularly and working with a skilled tutor, chances are that before too long, you’ll get good enough at the new approach that it will start to seem like second nature.
At the same time, not every approach will work equally well very every student. If something just isn’t working for you, even with committed practice, be sure to tell your tutor so they can help you design a new strategy.
And Finally...Maximize Your Use of Free LSAT Resources
Finally, really embrace that your one-on-one online LSAT tutoring doesn’t have to be the only source of your LSAT prep. The expense of qualified one-on-one tutoring might mean that you can’t afford additional paid LSAT prep resources, but there are an abundance of free resources available. Complementing your one-on-one tutoring with such free resources can be the best way to get the most out of online LSAT tutoring.
Note: you should be careful to only work with official LSAT problems in your online LSAT prep. The LSAT has remained largely unchanged for years, meaning official past exams can be excellent prep materials. But many organizations and LSAT prep companies design their own proprietary LSAT problems to mimic official LSAT materials. These vary in quality, and even in the best case, they don’t perfectly represent the actual problems you’ll encounter on the LSAT. So we recommend making sure you and your tutor both stick to official LSAT tests and problems.