Mock LSAT: Fall 2018

Saturdays tend to be a time for recovery from the hard week of studying, but for some of our SHSU students, this Saturday was one for the books! Every semester, for the past 9 years or so, the LEAP Center provides a free Mock LSAT for SHSU students who are considering law school and careers in the Law field.

LSAT stands for Law School Admissions Test and is similar to what hopeful graduate students take, the GRE. The exam produces a score based off of logical thinking, critical thinking, and reading-comprehension skills.  The LSAT is scored from a 120-180.  Most law schools need an average of a 151 and above to get in. The LSAT exam is not for the weak at heart, because it takes months of studying and personal responsibility to follow through with it.

The Mock LSAT is taken under conditions that mimic the situations under the actual LSAT exam.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Law Engagement And Politics, Mock LSAT, Princeton Review

And on this morning, more than 35 students hunkered down for the four-hour test.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Law Engagement And Politics, Mock LSAT, Princeton Review

The Mock LSAT is not just for our PreLaw students, but for everyone who wishes to try their hand at learning what they would need to improve their score and just get a better understanding of the exam.

 

Rise and shine, it’s Mock LSAT time!

Saturday mornings tend to be a time to relax and sleep in. However, on this Saturday morning, for thirty- three future lawyers that would not be the case.  Every semester, for the past 8 years or so, the LEAP Center provides a free Mock LSAT for SHSU students who are considering law school.

The LSAT, an acronym for Law School Admissions Test, is a challenging exam that assesses student’s reading comprehension, logical thinking, and critical thinking skills. The offered Mock LSAT, is a full-length exam taken under timed conditions to mimic those of the real LSAT. Princeton Review, who is one of the main companies that offer LSAT Prep Courses, also provides mock exams like these to get the appropriate training for the real LSAT.

Such an intense exam should not be taken likely and may seem quite foreboding….

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Princeton Review, Pre-Law Program SHSU, Mock LSAT

 

But it’s actually quite user friendly.  More than anything the LEAP Center encourages students to attempt the Mock LSAT so that they can get their footing on what they need to work on and get an idea about how they would do in the real thing. The LSAT is scored from a 120-180.  Most law schools need an average of a 151 and above to get in.  It takes a lot of hard work on behalf of the student, which is why the Mock LSAT is so imperative to future law school students.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Princeton Review, Pre-Law Program SHSU, Mock LSAT

All of this was mentioned by Ambassador Bianca, who was briefly interviewed before the exam by a Mass Communication student, Raven Cheek, for a class project.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Princeton Review, Pre-Law Program SHSU, Mock LSAT

We hope this Mock LSAT helped students find their strengths and weaknesses before taking the actual LSAT and plan accordingly. The LEAP Center would also like to thank Michelle Bell, the proctor for the Princeton Review, for making the trip to Sam Houston.

 

 

 

 

Brushing Up on the LSAT

Pre-Law students at SHSU have extensive resources to help them prepare for law school.  Apart from knowledgeable professors, simulated law classes, a Legal Studies minor, full-time pre-law advisors, and a Moot Court team, the LEAP Center also brings in Kaplan Testing each fall and spring to offer a Mock LSAT.

This spring’s test was offered on April 1st.  With 43 students signed up to take the test, the class was full.  That’s a lot of people to show up for five hours on a Saturday.

Pre-Law, Legal Studies, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Kaplan, Mock LSAT SHSU

The test is enormously beneficial to students, and the LEAP Center recommends that pre-law students take the Mock test their freshmen year.  While no score on the mock LSAT determines a student’s future, students will need more time to study if their mock score is low.  Knowing that the additional study time is needed is a necessary part of preparing for the real thing.

Also, knowing the mean LSAT of TX Schools is also helpful, giving students a goal for which to shoot.

UT: 165
UH/Baylor/SMU: 160
TAMU: 156
TXTECH: 153
St.Marys/STCL: 150
TSU/UNT: <148

A student who scores a 140 on the Mock LSAT has some studying to do, and that might be difficult if the student is a junior, with little time to prepare for the test.  Students who score lower than a 140 will need to think thoroughly about a plan for improving their score in the time they have before they take the real test.

Pre-Law, Legal Studies, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Kaplan, Mock LSAT SHSU

And when should you take the real test?  A typical recommendation is to take the exam a year before you plan to enroll in law school.  If you are graduating in the Fall of 2019 and plan to enroll in law school that fall, you should have the exam completed by the end of 2018.

You can find more information about LEAP’s law-related activities (and other activities) here.

Mock LSAT: Prepping for the Real Thing

Every semester, the LEAP Center offers a Mock LSAT, a chance for pre-law students to practice the most important test of their careers. The Mock test is an actual exam used by the LSAT in previous years, it is professionally scored by Kaplan, and students receive their scores the day they take it.  The only difference from the real thing is that this one doesn’t count.

Mock LSAT, Kaplan, SHSU, LEAP Center

For many of the test-takers, that’s a good thing.  The scores on the Mock LSAT tend to be low, primarily because we have a lot of people who are freshmen, sophomores, or otherwise unprepared for the test.  But that’s a good thing, too.  The LEAP Center encourages students to try the Mock LSAT as soon as possible, allowing them to see where they are in the preparation stage, and to have a better idea about how much time they will need to be ready for the real thing.  Our advice is to prepare for the LSAT correctly, and to take it once.

Here is the LEAP Center’s suggested timeline:

  • As early as possible, freshman year if possible: Take Mock LSAT
  • Spring or Summer of Junior Year: Take LSAT Prep, if needed
  • Summer of Junior Year/Fall of Senior Year: Take LSAT

The LSAT Prep course isn’t a panacea, and not all students will need to take it.  But unless a student has the score they want to get into the school they are hoping for, or unless a student can study 12-16 hours a week without the discipline of meeting times and deadlines, then the LSAT prep is a reasonable option.

But an LSAT prep test isn’t likely to get a student from a 140 to a 160 (it’s been done, but it isn’t likely).  But it might get a student from a 145 to a 152, and that’s the difference between going to Texas Southern University to going to Texas Tech, and that’s a big difference in terms of life and career opportunities.

Mock LSAT, SHSU, Kaplan, LEAP Center

For students with a score below a 140, particularly those who are a junior or senior, a year might not be sufficient to get the score you need.  For those in this situation, a gap year should be considered, while a long-term plan for LSAT-prep is undertaken.  For those who are scoring in the 160s, a good law school is already within reach, and it’s just a matter of how high you can climb.

But whatever the goals the student has, taking the Mock LSAT early on in his/her school career is to the student’s advantage.

The LEAP Center will likely offer another Mock LSAT in February 2017.

Mock LSAT & Law School Preparation

For the past five years or so, the LEAP Center/Junior Fellows have teamed with Kaplan Testing to offer a Mock LSAT every semester.   It is part of a larger set of offerings–and informational resources–that SHSU provides to help students fulfill their law-school goals.

Taking the Mock LSAT serves at least two functions: (1) It prepares them for a testing environment, making them more comfortable when they take the real thing, and (2) gives them a better idea of where they stand on the test and, therefore, how much more studying they need to do.

With those objectives in mind, 34 students showed up for the Mock LSAT on Saturday, October 17, 2015.  Ricky Kaplan, an instructor from Kaplan Testing, joined them, providing the test and, afterward, a few pointers.

Mock_LSAT_Web
The actual test is approximately four hours long.  There are five sections of the test, and each is 35 minutes long, with a short break in between.  One of the five section is “experimental,” meaning that only four of the sections count, but the takers do not know which one is real and which is experimental.  At the end, there is a 35 minute writing section.  The writing section doesn’t count toward the LSAT score (120-180 scale), but it is sent to the law schools.

The Mock LSAT doesn’t have the experimental section or the writing section, but it is the closest thing that students are likely to get to the real test.  Often, students take the test at home under less-than-realistic conditions (untimed or generously timed sections, frequent breaks) and then score much lower on the real test.

The LSAT is offered four times a year: in February, in June, in late September (or early October), and in December.  Planning ahead is a key factor for students.  The December test, for example, occurs the Saturday before finals.  The February test occurs after some law schools’ application deadlines.  Planning your college career such that you will be able to prepare for the LSAT, take it during a fortuitous time, and still get all applications in is part of the law-school success story.

Not surprisingly, according to national data, students with better GPAs and LSAT tend to apply earlier in the application process, with lower scorers and lower GPA-students applying well into the spring.  To elaborate, about half of the students apply before January 15 of the year they want to be admitted.  Of the students who apply by January 15, the mean LSAT/GPA is about 157/3.28.  Of those who apply in March/April, the mean LSAT/GPA is less than 150/3.1.  In short, students who have prepared more fully throughout their college careers tend not to procrastinate, have less need to retake the LSAT, and can more easily get letters of recommendation and other materials together.

One other set of facts that might be interesting.  What majors are most likely to get into law school?  The information below provides students’ majors, the percentage of students with that major accepted to law school, and the total number of students with that major accepted to law school.  Political Science again leads the way, with about three times as many POLS students admitted to law school as any other major.

POLS: 81.3%, 11,791
Psychology: 79.05%, 4,133
History: 84.22%, 3,420
English: 80.81%, 3,230
Criminal Justice: 64.07%, 2,473
Economics: 83.07%, 2,518
Philosophy: 85.48%, 2,255
Sociology: 73.02%, 1,624
Communications: 74.84%, 1,541
Business Administration: 67.60%, 1,258
Accounting: 73.26%, 882
Marketing: 73.12%, 703
Management: 62.28%, 317
Classics: 88.42%, 275
Social Work: 58.23%, 145

As expected, the results tend to track with the breakdown of LSAT scores by major.  At the top of the rung, you have majors such as Philosophy (157.4 mean LSAT), English, and POLS.  The bottom four, all coming in below the national average, include Sociology, Communications, Business Administration, and Criminal Justice.

The results aren’t surprising.  Majors with the most reading involved (Philosophy, Classics, History, POLS, English) have acceptance rates above 80%.  Bright, intellectually curious students tend to be attracted to these majors, and the majors tend to encourage (require!) lots of reading and critical thinking.

More hands-on oriented majors such as Criminal Justice and Business tend to perform less well on the LSAT and, by extension, tend not to get into law school at the same rates.  The same is true for the “soft” social sciences, such as Sociology and Social work.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that switching your major will help you get into law school.  The best strategy is to follow the field you love, and you’ll likely study more and make better grades.  But if that field doesn’t require a lot of reading (or a lot of rigorous reading) or much in the way of critical thinking and writing, then you may wish to add an academically rigorous minor and/or to supplement your formal curriculum with much leisure reading and some organizational work that will require genuine critical thinking (e.g., Moot Court).

Over the past ten years, law school applications have generally declined.  The number of applicants ten years ago, for example, was 37% higher than this past year across the nation.  But that has not been true at SHSU.  In fact, law school applications from SHSU have gone in the opposite direction.  In 2005, 67 people applied to law school.  Since then, applications have increased 50%, and the number of SHSU students accepted to law school has tripled.

As a result, no doubt in part because of the Mock LSAT and other preparatory offerings at SHSU, the University is now one of the “Top 240 Feeder Schools” as measured by the law school admissions council.  After moving onto the list in 2009, SHSU now ranks 156 in the country, in the top six percent nationally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEAP Center Offers Mock LSAT

For the past seven years the Junior Fellows/LEAP Center has offered a Mock LSAT each semester to help students prepare for the real deal.  The LEAP Center encourages students of all classifications to take the Mock LSAT, which is generously sponsored by Kaplan Testing.  For freshmen and sophomores, the Mock LSAT provides an idea of what the test is like.  A lot of younger pre-law students, for example, think the test asks about the law.  It doesn’t.  It asks questions about reading comprehension, logic, and arguments.

For juniors and seniors, it provides an idea of how close they are to being prepared to take official LSAT.  This has to be planned out, because the LSAT should be taken the year before the student wishes to enroll in law school.

Forty-seven students showed up for this spring’s Mock LSAT, following a showing of 51 in the fall of 2014.  These are the largest class of Mock LSAT takers in SHSU history, a testament to the University’s growing number of pre-law students.

Mock_LSAT_February_2015

The LEAP Center will follow up this Mock LSAT opportunity with many other law-related activities:

These programs are part of the LEAP Center’s mission of helping students achieve their professional goals.  To attend any of the upcoming events, contact Professor Mike Yawn at mike.yawn@shsu.edu.

Law-School Preparation: Kaplan and the LEAP Center offer SHSU students Mock LSAT

 

Each semester, the LEAP Center partners with Kaplan Testing to offer SHSU students a Mock LSAT–a real LSAT test that provides students with an evaluation of their current performance on the test.  This semester, some 50 students took the practice test.

SHSU Mock LSAT
SHSU Mock LSAT

There were a couple of unusual factors about this semester’s exam.  First, Ryan Brim, a 15 year old, took the test, and he performed quite well.  In fact, he scored in the top half of the group.  Second, Jamey Portina, an SHSU freshman, scored a 175, probably the highest score ever recorded from an SHSU student.

The LEAP Center and Kaplan will offer another practice test in early February, followed by an LSAT Prep course on campus this spring.  The classes will take place on Tue and Thu, with the first class being Tue, March 17.  Students will attend two meetings a week through Thu, April 16.   This provides seven core learning classes of four hours each and three practice tests.  By offering such courses on SHSU’s campus, the LEAP Center hopes to provide students with the resources needed to improve their scores, build a network of aspiring lawyers, and promote education about the legal field.

Students who would like to sign up for the course should go to Kaplan’s website.  SHSU students will receive a discount.  Students interested in the discount or additional details may contact Kaplan’s Regional Manager Kayla Briel: kayla.briel@kaplan.com.

LEAP Center Hosts Mock LSAT

The Center for Law, Engagement, And Politics (LEAP) and The Princeton Review recently hosted a Mock LSAT for Sam Houston State University Pre-Law Students.  The test, which takes about four hours to complete, was an actual exam used by the Law School Admission Council and was professionally scored for the students.  The scores, however, did not count as official scores and were not provided to the Law School Admissions Council.

“The purpose of the mock LSAT,” noted Mike Yawn, Director of the LEAP Center, “is to give students an idea of where they stand, assist them identifying the areas in which they need to improve, and help them feel more comfortable with the testing environment.”

More than forty students devoted their Saturday to taking the exam.  Law School has emerged as one of the more popular post-graduate pursuits on the campus of SHSU.  Since 2005, the number of students applying to law school has doubled, from approximately 60 to 120.  Even more promising, the number of students accepted to law school has almost tripled, rising from approximately 20 to the 50-60 range.

SHSU Students Take LSAT
           SHSU Students Take Mock LSAT

According to the Law School Admissions Council, SHSU is now 141st in the nation—out of 2,774 schools—at producing applicants to law schools.  SHSU recently moved ahead of Rice University, University of North Carolina, Seton Hall, and Loyola on the list.

“We’ve moved ahead rapidly,” noted Yawn.  “We have a Pre-Law minor, numerous faculty with law degrees, and dozens of law-related programs per year.  This is a great University to attend for students interested in pursuing law.”

“It was a challenging test,” observed Jessica Rodriguez, an SHSU Junior and aspiring law student. “It was the second Mock LSAT I’ve taken, and I improved, which is what I was hoping for.  I plan to take the LSAT Prep Course in the spring and take the real thing next fall.”

The Princeton Review will be offering a Prep Course on the campus of SHSU in the spring of 2014, the only such offering in Huntsville over the next year.  For more information on the test, contact Mike Yawn at (936) 294-1456 or at mike.yawn@shsu.edu.