Costs of Taking the LSAT

August 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Reyhan Watson, J.D. candidate at New York University and author of http://watsonism.wordpress.com/, used his Sherlock-esque analyzing skills to break down the cost of going to NYU Law (http://wp.me/p2EyhJ-l). As a person thinking about going to law school and signed up to take the upcoming October LSAT, Watson has inspired me to break down the “costs” of taking the LSATs.

Borrowing from Watson’s analysis, it is wise to break down this simple question: What is cost? It’s merely the amount of money it requires to take preparation classes and the LSAT itself, no? No. The previous detail only describes the monetary cost and end results of your decisions to take a preparation class or to buy books and study on your own.

Monetary Cost

As I was alluding to earlier, this is the price tag that is attached to which way you decide to prepare for the LSAT and the decision to take the test itself. thefigureskatinglawyer leaves the research up to you in order to decide which class or set of books is really best for you. But whether you work to pay for these costs or mom and dad help out in some way, let’s break down the various prices* of the most well-known LSAT prep classes in the San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Kaplan online course: $649
  • Kaplan online course (logic games only): $299
  • Kaplan online course (logical reasoning only): $99.67
  • Kaplan online course (reading comprehension only): $99.67
  • Kaplan on-site course: $1,399
  • Kaplan LSAT prep books (most recent year): $60-75 depending on the bookstore/dealer
  • Princeton Review on-site course (84 hours of instruction): $1,449
  • Princeton Review on-site course (35 hours of instruction): $1,249
  • Princeton Review books: $20-37.99 ($14.99 for eBook version)
  • Testmasters Live Course: $1450
  • Testmasters Online Course: $950
  • Testmasters Weekend Course: $450
  • Blueprint Live LSAT prep: $1,299
  • Blueprint Online LSAT prep: $799
  • LSAT: $160

Left to right, top to bottom, Ryan Theriot agrees: These classes are expensive.

* These prices are updated as of August 13th, 2012 and are subject to change at the discretion of these companies.

But to break down the word “cost” associated with preparing and taking the LSAT, it begs the question: what other cost(s) are there?

Actual Cost

For a lack of a better phrase, the actual cost of preparing for and taking the LSAT is difficult to calculate beyond adding up the monetary costs. What other investments are you making as a person trying to attain not a good LSAT score, but a great one? The investment of time and focus.

  • Getting enough sleep to have the energy to focus during class and homework (you don’t pay for sleep but you do pay for caffeine)
  • Having enough energy to work on LSAT homework after working a full-time job
  • Taking less time to catch up on your favorite TV shows and going to every event your friends are going to
  • The time it takes to commute to and from class and be there on time
  • Taking your test prep (class or no class) seriously in class and at home (how you practice the LSAT is how you are going to take it on the real thing)
  • Taking the time to finish a good amount of the homework
  • Taking the time to figure out why you are not only right but why the wrong answers are wrong (and why people pick them)
  • Taking the time to address your weaknesses while still working on the strengths

It is a lazy comparison of monetary and actual cost but it gets you thinking about what it means to take this investment in yourself seriously. Getting a great score on the LSAT is something you would want to do only once so you do not need to pay for more prep and another test. Even if the money being spent is not money you earned, at least respect where it came from and the people who are there emotionally and financially supporting your dreams from day one. I am certainly not advocating that you become a recluse when you are not working a job and working on LSAT stuff instead. But if the pursuit of going to law school means something to you, keep that in your sights and do not take the test lightly. If you score really high, then catch up on all those missed episodes of Harvey, Donna, Can Openers and Thumbtacks and responsibly drink a celebratory beer. But now is the time to ensure that you can do nothing but achieve that score.

Unlike Sergio Romo, your great test score doesn’t appear out of nowhere.

You may or may not consider one or a combination of these actual cost factors at the time you decide when to prepare and when to take the test. But with that in mind, I hope this post serves as a head start towards achieving something rewarding and satisfying.

thefigureskatinglawyer

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