The ACT/SAT Test Selection Process​

The ACT/SAT Test Selection Process

An experienced, talented, extremely clever tutor (me; it was me) once compared the ACT and the SAT to Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans: they’re similar enough to be confusing but different in several key ways, and, despite what your AP English teacher thinks, they’re not interchangeable.

Those crucial differences and that common confusion (between the SAT and the ACT, not between the Chris-es) are what led us create the Agnostic Diagnostic, or AgDi. The AgDi combines the most distinctive features of both the ACT and the SAT into a single assessment; our test experts can look at a student’s results and give a firm recommendation of ACT or SAT, essentially allowing students to take one diagnostic and get a clear picture of which test is better for them.

How that recommendation process works is a common object of curiosity among our clients. We’ll often have students come in, take the AgDi, and score higher on the SAT or ACT half, only to have us recommend that they prep for the test on which their scores were slightly weaker. What’s the thought process behind that? Is our “team of test experts” actually just several chimpanzees that we’ve trained to flip coins?

No, it’s not, although that would be pretty awesome. In actuality, the test recommendation is based on a combination of those key differences between the SAT and the ACT that I mentioned earlier and the student’s answer patterns, seasoned with our decades of experience tutoring both tests.

Those factors allow us to sort students into several different categories, or ‘tester-types’. Are you an ACT-2? You may have scored higher on the SAT half of the AgDi, but you were able to finish all ACT sections within the time limit; because the pacing of the ACT is the primary challenge for most students, you likely have plenty of room to improve, and we can help you hit your score ceiling.  

Or maybe you’re an SAT-1. In that case, you scored significantly better on the SAT half of the AgDi and/or your Math score was noticeably better than your Verbal score. Because improving on the Verbal half of the test requires less content knowledge and is therefore often easier, and because math performance represents half of your composite score on the SAT compared to only a quarter on the ACT, you’re probably better off taking the SAT.

If you already know which test you want to take, congratulations: you’re ahead of the game, and we’ll happily work with you to maximize your score on that particular test. If you’re still in the process of figuring it out, don’t make the mistake of thinking that which test you prep for doesn’t matter, and definitely don’t waste your weekend carving out time to take two full practice tests just so that you can compare the results. Let us get you started on the right track as efficiently as possible so that you can spend your time on what’s really important: browsing Redd…I mean getting a head start on studying for your final exams.

AUTHORS

Aja B.

Elite Tutor

Ryan F

Test Analytics Expert & Elite Tutor

ACT 2020: Upcoming Changes

ACT 2020: Upcoming Changes

The ACT has remained, in many ways, essentially unchanged for decades. That will no longer be the case as of September 2020, and the process of preparing for the test will necessarily shift as a result. However, there is little to fear here. The SAT has completely reinvented itself twice in the past 15 years, going from a scoring scale of 1600 to 2400 and then back to 1600, adding and removing sections, and generally causing thousands of anxiety attacks among high school upperclassmen. After the dust settled, however, everyone quickly adapted to the new version of the test. Fortunately, the ACT will not be changing in such a drastic fashion; rather, it will begin offering students more options in terms of how they test.

First, the ACT will institute an in-house super-score policy, allowing students the option to have ACT, Inc., rather than college admissions officers, calculate their super-score. A super-score is the result of multiple test sittings in which the highest section scores (English, Math, Reading, Science) are recombined for a new composite score. Historically, fewer schools have super-scored the ACT than have the SAT, so this change removes one more concern for students applying to those universities that don’t super-score the ACT. This will also help students who might have been better suited to the ACT but opted to take the SAT in hopes of maximizing their super-scores settle on the test that is best for them, thus leveling the playing field between the exams.

The ACT will also begin allowing students to choose between two testing modes—paper or online. There are pros and cons to both, of course. Some people—like me and many of my students—strongly prefer paper test administrations, as that format is more conducive to many test-taking techniques. However, some of my students have already had the opportunity to take the online administration and loved it.

The biggest benefit of the online administration lies in score release timelines. By taking the test online, students will receive their scores far sooner than if they take the test on paper – as early as two business days after their test date. I have seen countless students spend weeks fretting about their results, so I have a vested interest in getting scores to students as soon as possible; however, I am also thrilled that students will still have the option to test on paper. No matter your preference, it is clear that the ACT is moving toward a more student-centered take on testing. Do you live on the internet and take all your notes digitally? You can take the ACT in a format that’s familiar to you. Do you struggle to focus when looking at a screen? You can still take the ACT on paper.

Finally, the ACT will also start offering students the opportunity to retake individual sections rather than the entire test, which will allow students to concentrate on their specific weaknesses when retesting. This will enable students who are significantly stronger in particular areas to target their weaker areas without worrying about whether they are spending enough time maintaining their high scores in other sections.

It is important to note that this option will only be available to students who have previously taken a full ACT, so the test prep process will remain the same for at least the first test administration. Students will then have the option to either retake the entire test or pinpoint specific sections that need work. Fortunately, they’ll undoubtedly already be working with experienced Inspirica tutors who can help them craft the optimal plan of attack to maximize their scores. How fortuitous!

Another notable aspect of the section retakes is the fact that if students do opt to retake specific sections, they will be required to do so online rather than on paper. At Inspirica, we migrated part of our practice-testing system to an online interface a couple of years ago, so we already offer students exposure to part of the digital testing experience. As online testing continues to become more prevalent, we’ll continue to modify our procedures accordingly in order to ensure that our students are maximally prepared for all aspects of the testing process.

Ultimately, the changes to the ACT will be nowhere near as drastic as the changes we’ve seen to the SAT in the past. These changes will benefit students by giving them more options to cater to their specific learning styles. If students could adapt to the 2016 SAT rework, they’ll have no problem with the changes coming to the ACT in 2020. In fact, they should really be excited about them.

AUTHORS

Aja B.

Elite Tutor

Ryan F

Test Analytics Expert & Elite Tutor

Common Myths and Misconceptions about the ACT and SAT

SAT and ACT: Common Myths and Misconceptions

Many students and parents come into the test preparation process with a lot of preconceived notions about the way the tests function, how they’re perceived by colleges, and whether one is easier than the other.

Perhaps the most troubling myth I hear is that colleges prefer the SAT. This is not true! Ditto for the idea that “it doesn’t matter which test I take.” Colleges weigh the ACT and SAT equally, but they’re very different tests, so it’s especially important that students take the test that is most appropriate for them and their skillsets. The ACT has more timing pressure, while the SAT creates difficulty by asking students to engage with more complex questions. Neither is necessarily more difficult than the other in general, but most students will have an edge on one test over the other. We help with this process by using our Agnostic Diagnostic, or AgDi, to determine for which test a student is better suited.

Another common misconception is that large score gains are impossible to attain, but this could not be further from the truth. While improving a score from the initial diagnostic takes work, most students will already have the academic skills they need to perform well on the test but likely have not encountered any tests in the style of the SAT or the ACT. What this means on a pragmatic level is that students need to learn the strategies for these tests, not necessarily the content—though that is important, too! Both tests are incredibly coachable, and we as tutors have worked through countless tests and problems in-depth and identified the best strategies for different styles of learning. Large score gains are certainly possible with the right tactics and some dedication.

Getting back to the content of the test, I also frequently hear students tell me that they hate science, so the ACT must be too difficult for them.

Well. Good news and bad news.

The bad news is that, while the SAT does not have an official science section, science is well integrated into the test, so if you hate science, there’s no real avoiding it on either test. The good news, however, is that neither the ACT nor the SAT is testing your science skills in the way that, say, your biology teacher is. On the ACT, you will be tasked with analyzing charts, following trends, and utilizing your basic scientific reasoning skills. Do you remember the scientific method from sixth grade and know how to read a chart? Then you should be completely fine on the ACT’s Science section with a bit of help. There will be a handful of outside knowledge questions, but even if you don’t know any of those, you can still achieve a strong Science score since every other question can be answered simply by reading a chart, following a trend, or referring back to a passage.

The other bit of good news is that the SAT’s science, since it’s integrated into the Reading, Math, and English sections, requires no outside knowledge at all. So even if you hate science with a burning passion, you can and will pull through, and you are more than capable of learning the strategies to make this topic as pain-free as possible.

If you have questions about these or any other test-taking tall tales, give us a call or send us an email. We may not look good in a beret, but we’re more than happy to bust some myths for you.  (If you don’t get that reference, look it up – I promise it’s clever.)

AUTHORS

Aja B.

Elite Tutor

Ryan F

Test Analytics Expert & Elite Tutor

Why Testing Multiple Times is to your Benefit—to a Point

Multiple Test Dates and Superscoring: A Primer

How many times should I take the ACT/SAT? Why can’t I just do it once and be done?  How far apart should my test dates be spaced?

These are, by far, some of the most common questions I receive from concerned students and parents at the beginning of the test preparation process. And each question is valid and deserves a thoughtful response.

As a general rule, I recommend that any student test at least twice, for various reasons. The first and most obvious reason is simply that, statistically speaking, you are likely to score better on your second test; according to the ACT’s official guide on testing multiple times, over half of students taking the ACT twice will receive a higher score on the second administration. The College Board provides a similar statistic: 2 out of 3 students will perform better on a second exam. For the ACT, most colleges only consider your highest score, so there is no risk in trying again. For the SAT, students are in an even better position: most colleges will super-score the test, meaning that they will select your highest section scores from each test sitting and consider those for your admission decision.

Let’s analyze an example student who scored 1200 on two different test dates. On the first date, she scored 700 on her Verbal and 500 on her Math. On the second test date, she decided to focus on improving in Math; she therefore scored 550 on Verbal but brought Math to a 650. Most colleges will then take her 700 Verbal from her first date and the 650 Math from her second date for an overall score of 1350, a 150-point improvement. This does not happen organically, though. In order to benefit from super-scoring, you will need to submit all of your scores to colleges and then they will super-score your tests, not the College Board.

On the ACT, super-scoring is less consistent across colleges, though that will be changing in September of 2020. Currently, some schools super-score while others do not, so it is in students’ best interest to try to maximize their composite scores on a given test date, which is why testing more than once is also to your benefit on the ACT. By taking the ACT more than once, you are able to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to better maximize your score on your next test and can use that data in conjunction with your tutor to target areas of weakness in each section, which leads to stronger composite scores.

However, there is a point of diminishing returns after three or so tests. Higher-scoring students have smaller margins of error for improvement, so students scoring in the upper ranges often do not benefit from testing more than two or three times. There is also the simple fact that test preparation is work, and at some point, students are better off focusing on other parts of their applications if they are hitting a plateau after multiple rounds of testing. Remember, it is not merely your test scores that determine whether you are granted admission to a given college. The application process is a holistic one: admissions officers also weigh your grades, extracurricular activities, and volunteering experience, and those should not be shunted to the side in favor of testing closer and closer to application time.

There is a balance to be struck, and I have found that it is generally between two and three test dates. This allows students to have lives outside of test preparation while maximizing scores and giving them the best chance of attending their college of choice.

So, testing multiple times is always to your benefit, but testing too many times is never worth sacrificing other aspects of your application. Aim for two or three attempts at the test, confident in the knowledge that you will almost certainly improve on each attempt, and then move on to the rest of your life. We know this is a stressful time, and our goal is to make it as painless as possible. So trust the process – it works.

AUTHORS

Aja B.

Elite Tutor

Ryan F

Test Analytics Expert & Elite Tutor

What the Test Makers Won’t Tell You

What the Test Makers Won't Tell You

Let me lay out a common scenario for you. You, a high school student, purchase an official guide to the SAT or the ACT in the hope that this will make your college application process roughly one hundredth of a percent easier. Upon opening the book, however, the official guide insists that you, yes, you, have already mastered all of the skills required for this test, and that you have nothing to worry about. 36, here I come, you think. Emboldened, you take the first diagnostic test only to realize that you’ve run out of time, the questions are inane, and you now believe that you are woefully underprepared for this exam. 

There is no telling how often this happens, but it is essential to know that what the test makers claim about the test and what the test actually entails are fundamentally different things. Taking the ACT or SAT does not simply require the knowledge of content that you receive in school—you also have to train for the strategies inherent to the tests themselves.  

Neither test is necessarily harder than the other; they simply test different skills in different ways. For the ACT, most students struggle with the time pressure that the test enforces, particularly on the reading and science sections, both of which require students to answer 35 questions in 40 minutes, with the added pressure of reading through multiple passages. On the surface, this seems like an incredibly difficult task, but what they don’t tell you is that, with the exception of a handful of outside knowledge questions in the science section, every question is answerable based on a surfacelevel reading of the passages and graphs. Once this is understood, the timing becomes significantly less difficult, and the test begins to appear far less daunting. 

On the other hand, the SAT allows for significantly more time per question and does not have a science section to get through. However, the reading questions, at least on the surface, appear more difficult, and this is true to a certain extent – proof-pair questions in particular often give inexperienced test-takers fitsUltimately, though, just as on the ACT, the reading questions are all answerable based on the passages provided and correct answer choices will be either direct paraphrases or immediate inferences.  

The math sections for both tests naturally require outside knowledge, but there are strategies here as well to make these sections easier for students. Often when I work with students, we go through the questions and figure out what they are actually asking, and my students realize that they do in fact have the skills to answer most, if not all, of the questions. In order to make the test more difficult, the test makers rely on what I call artificial difficulty—that is, they phrase questions in unusual ways or format answer choices to appear more esoteric than they actually are. Once you work through the methods in which the test makers artificially inflate the difficulty of questions and begin to understand that they are simply testing your knowledge in different ways, the fear factor starts to disappear. And then, even on questions that do test skills you might not have yet, you can usually rule out clearly wrong answers by working backwards from the answer choices or plugging in real values for variables.  

It’s these truths about the SAT and ACT that make tutoring valuable. Using Khan Academy or ACT Online Prep will absolutely help you in your quest for a great score; however, these prep tools from the test-writers are never going to focus as much on the question-specific techniques or section-specific strategies as a tutor will. After all, to do so would be to admit that it’s not just about content: the tests themselves can be learned as well. 

Ultimately, the ACT and the SAT are not simply testing your content knowledge, they are testing your ability to adapt to the test, which is where tutors come in. We have worked through countless problems and are intimately familiar with the tricks the test makers pull, so we are equipped to ease you through the process and into your best possible score. Once these strategies are mastered, most students realize there is nothing to fear about either of these tests—which is the goal! These tests are teachable and coachable, and preparation for them need not be torturous. Learning test strategies and seeing your score improve can be fun, and that is the most important thing that the test makers will not tell you. 

AUTHORS

Aja B.

Elite Tutor

Ryan F

Test Analytics Expert & Elite Tutor

graduate admissions test prep

The GRE, GMAT, and LSAT: Test Prep and the Graduate Admissions Process

The GRE, GMAT, and LSAT: Test Prep & Graduate Admissions

Graduate schools in the United States usually require the submission of scores from one of three standardized tests during the admissions process: the GRE, the GMAT, or the LSAT. These tests are each unique in content and format, and nearly every student will benefit from preparing for several months prior to his or her test date.

GRE

The Graduate Record Examination General Test, or GRE General Test, is required by nearly every graduate program in the United States as part of their application processes, and it is also often accepted by business and law schools in place of either the GMAT or LSAT. Students interested in pursuing advanced degrees should therefore expect to prepare for and take this test, which is a nearly four hour test of your math, vocabulary, and advanced reading comprehension skills. The test is typically administered via computer, so Inspirica’s approach to the test includes a mix of content, structure, and strategy, preparing you for the variety of complex tasks you will face on test day.

For more, see our complete breakdown of the GRE, including details on test format, scoring, registration, test dates, and our approach to preparing for this test.

GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is used by business schools throughout the United States for admissions. Much like the GRE, the GMAT involves material students often have not seen since high school, so preparation typically requires a mix of tutoring and extensive self-study. Testing is done on individually scheduled dates at private testing centers and using a computer system that adapts the test to each student’s individual performance. This question-adaptive computer interface is one of the most unique aspects of the GMAT, and it means that practicing the process of taking the test is just as important as mastering the content that is tested.

For more, see our complete breakdown of the GMAT, including details on test format, scoring, registration, test dates, and our approach to preparing for this test.

LSAT

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is used for admission to law schools throughout the United States. As the LSAT is the most difficult of all the standardized tests used for graduate admissions, preparation tends to be extensive, often lasting six or more months and involving numerous practice tests. Most students test two or three times, with the dates scheduled far in advance. The LSAT is a more “traditional” test than the GMAT and GRE: though it will transition to digital administration beginning in July 2019, it is not an adaptive test, which means that students will receive the same pre-selected set of questions regardless of their performance during the test.


For more, see our complete breakdown of the LSAT, including details on test format, scoring, registration, test dates, and our approach to preparing for this test.

The SSAT and the ISEE: Entrance Exams for Private, Independent, and Boarding Schools

For many families, the process of applying for admission to independent, private, and boarding schools can be intimidating. Not only does each individual school have its own set of admissions policies and procedures, but many include a requirement to submit standardized test scores, too. This often puts parents in the unfortunate position of having to tackle the standardized test preparation process for the first time in an unfamiliar context.

Most schools require the completion of one or the other of the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) and the Secondary School Admissions Exam (SSAT). However, some accept scores from either test, so it is important that you check with each school to which you are considering applying as you begin this process. The tests are in many ways similar to one another, but there are some important differences to consider. Our Program Coordinators are here to provide advice and support every step of the way.

Three Key Features of the Tests

There are three key features common to both tests that are essential to understand as you begin the testing and application process.

First, both tests are designed by the test-writers to make students feel uncomfortable while taking them. Although most of the concepts tested will be familiar to most students, the format in which those concepts appear will almost certainly be new to them, making the structure of the test one of its most predictable challenges. This predictability, however, is what makes these tests so amenable to preparation: with proper instruction and practice, students can learn to see through the test-writers’ misdirections to successfully answer questions that they would otherwise get wrong.

Second, although the scores on both tests are presented in different formats on each test’s score report, the methods used to calculate those scores are essentially the same. Rather than compare test-takers against an objective set of standards, students are instead compared against one another, with the score reports showing a set of percentiles or stanines that rank applicants against one another. These are methods of calculation used by all standardized-test makers, and for most of the nationally prominent tests, these methods usually result in scores roughly correlated to students’ success in school. But because the SSAT and ISEE are designed to serve the schools that aim to attract the small subset of students who are among the best in the nation, this subjective method of comparison usually results in scores well below what parents anticipate as they begin this process. This gap between expectations and reality can often be closed with time and effort, but this once again illustrates the need for a preparation plan as part of the application process.

Third, both tests allow students to test multiple times, and it is generally to your child’s advantage to test more than once. Part of beating any test is giving yourself as many opportunities as necessary to succeed, and taking the test multiple times can be a great way to maximize chances for improvement. For the SSAT, the process of testing multiple times is fairly straightforward, as the test is administered on a set schedule eight times each year. The ISEE, however, is scheduled using administered using a testing seasons calendar that divides the year into three 4-month periods, with students limited to one test date per period for a maximum of three tests per calendar year. Planning a testing calendar well in advance of application deadlines therefore becomes an essential part of any preparation process.

An Overview of the ISEE

The Independent School Entrance Exam is used for admission to private elementary and secondary schools throughout the United States. There are four levels of the test – Primary, Lower, Middle, and Upper – each used in the admissions processes for students of different grade levels. Each level of the test is taken by students representing a range of ages, with the Middle Level test taken by students applying into grades seven and eight being the most common.

For more, see our complete breakdown of the ISEE, including details on test format, scoring, registration, test dates, and our approach to preparing for this test.

An Overview of the SSAT

The Secondary School Admissions Test is used for admission to private elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the United States. There are three levels of the test – Elementary, Middle, and Upper – each corresponding to one of the aforementioned three admissions processes. Each level of the test is taken by students across a range of ages, with the most common being the Upper Level taken by students applying into grades 9-12.

For more, see our complete breakdown of the SSAT, including details on test format, scoring, registration, test dates, and our approach to preparing for this test.

Get Started Today

To learn more about how we can help your family as it prepares to complete these application processes, schedule a free phone consultation with our team of Program Coordinators today!

An Overview Advanced Placement (AP) Tests

An Overview Advanced Placement (AP) Tests

Advanced Placement classes give students the chance to take college-level courses, master college-level content, and earn college credit while still in high school. College Board offers almost 40 different AP courses in a variety of subject areas, and most American high schools offer some number of those to their students. Every AP course has a corresponding exam, which is administered at the end of the term, and most colleges and universities will offer credit only to students who achieve a certain score on the relevant AP exam.

Inspirica’s approach to AP-exams relies on finding the perfect balance between reviewing content and honing test strategy. Our tutors’ mastery of standardized-test strategy extends to AP exams, but we recognize that content makes up a more significant part of preparation for the AP exams than it does for many other tests. Given this, our tutors only qualify to work on AP programs if they have extensive knowledge of the specific test and its content; many even own graduate degrees in the relevant subject area. Your tutor will be an expert, and he or she will ensure that you go into test day feeling like an expert as well.

Format

The format of the AP exams varies from class to class, but most contain both multiple-choice and free-response sections to last approximately three hours. Visit the test-specific page below that corresponds to the course you’re taking for more information about the format of that particular test:

Scoring

All AP exams are scored on a scale that ranges from 1 to 5, and that score is the one that colleges will use to determine whether a student earns course credit and if so, how much. The requirements that must be met to attain each score vary from exam to exam depending on the composition of the specific test, but they are always determined by a committee of college professors using an introductory-level college course as a reference point. The weight of each portion of the exam also varies from test to test; visit the test-specific page below that corresponds to the course you’re taking for more information about the scoring of that particular test.

Registration and Test Dates

AP exams are administered in mid-May, at the end of their corresponding courses and near the end of the school year. Registration is done through a student’s College Board account and may be facilitated by the student’s counselor or AP teacher; visit the College Board website for more information.

Inspirica’s Approach

Success on an AP exam requires a demanding combination of content knowledge and mastery of test technique; fortunately, our tutors are experts in both. You’ll be matched with someone who is well-versed in the relevant content and who has a black belt in standardized-test strategy, and they’ll work with you to figure out your specific needs and how best to address them. We recognize that there are as many different types of AP students as there are AP tests, so whether you’re a content master who needs some coaching in process of elimination or a test-taker extraordinaire who needs someone to review your class notes with you, Inspirica has you covered.

Get Started Today

To learn more, schedule a free phone consultation with our team of Program Coordinators today!

An Overview of the LSAT

An Overview of the LSAT

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is created by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)and is used for admission to law schools throughout the United States. As the LSAT is the most difficult of all the standardized tests used for graduate admissions, preparation tends to be extensive, often lasting six or more months and involving numerous practice tests. Most students test two or three times, with the dates scheduled far in advance.

The LSAT is a more “traditional” test than the GMAT and GRE: though it will transition to digital administration beginning in July 2019, it is not an adaptive test, which means that students will receive the same pre-selected set of questions regardless of their performance during the test. Inspirica’s approach to tutoring the LSAT focuses heavily on instilling proper technique for all the different question-types so that you can head into test day knowing that you won’t be surprised by anything the LSAT throws at you.

Format

The LSAT consists of five multiple-choice sections, four of which contribute to the student’s score. The scored sections include:

  • One Reading Comprehension section
    • 27 questions
    • 35 minutes
  • One Analytical Reasoning section (a.k.a. logic games)
    • 23 questions
    • 35 minutes
  • Two Logical Reasoning sections (a.k.a. arguments)
    • 25 questions
    • 35 minutes.
  • An additional section of one of the above types will be included with each test. Although this section will not affect a tester’s score, it will not be identifiable by the testers in any way, forcing them to complete it as if it were a regular test section. This variable section as it is used by LSAC to pretest questions and new question-type variations for upcoming tests.

The LSAT also includes an unscored writing sample, and as of June 2019, the this portion of the test is administered separately from the multiple-choice test at a time and place of each test-taker’s choosing. Visit LSAC’s Writing FAQs page for complete details on this process.

The LSAT is defined primarily by both its rigor and its pace. Every section forces students to process information of varying types and in varying formats while operating under severe time constraints. Combined with its nearly three-hour length, that challenge makes for a tough afternoon.

This is exemplified by the Analytical Reasoning section, which presents students with several scenarios of varying types; each scenario contains a number of rules, which interact in multifarious and convoluted ways. Students must plot out each scenario and answer questions that either introduce new information or require them to deduce certain immutable facts about the overall scenario, all while remembering to keep an eye on the clock. If this sounds challenging, that’s because it is! Fortunately, our LSAT programs focus heavily on mastering strategies for each distinct question-type, with the primary emphasis placed on the sections with which each individual student needs the most practice; you’ll go into test day fully prepared for the unique challenges of the LSAT.

Scoring

Test-takers receive a raw score for the test which is simply equal to the number of questions correctly answered. The LSAT does not deduct points for incorrect answers.

Then, using a process called equating, the LSAT will produce an overall scaled score for the entire test that ranges from 120 to 180; this ensures that scores from different LSAT administrations are comparable over time. The scaled score, which is reported along with an LSAT score band, is the best representation of a student’s performance on the LSAT, particularly since the LSAT does not calculate individual section scores as most other standardized tests do.

After each test date, unless cancelled within six calendar days of the test, a student’s scores are added to his or her score report. Each score report includes all of the following:

  • the score from your most recently completed test
  • results of up to 12 tests completed since June 2013, including notations marking any cancellations or absences.
  • An average score, if you have more than one reportable score since June 2013 .
  • a percentile rank for each reported score; these percentiles indicate the percentage of testers over the last three testing years whose scores were lower than the tester’s reported scores.
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When the student applies to law schools, the entire score report is submitted with the application; the LSAT does not offer the option to pick and choose which scores are submitted.

Three times each year — in June, September, November — the LSAC offers tests “with disclosure.” These tests are released directly to test-takers along with their scores, allowing them to review the questions in full along with their scores. Once released, these tests become part of the publicly available set of official test materials and are never administered again.

Registration and Test Dates

The LSAT is administered every one to two months year-round at test centers approved by the LSAC, and there is no limit on the number of times a student can take the test. It’s generally to your advantage to test more than once: part of beating any test is giving yourself as many opportunities as necessary to succeed, and taking the test multiple times can be a great way to maximize your improvement. To search for nearby test centers and register to take the LSAT, visit the LSAC’s website and follow the corresponding instructions.

Inspirica’s Approach

Inspirica’s approach to tutoring the LSAT recognizes the differing needs of students applying to graduate programs. We’ve seen every type of student, from those who are in college and want to enroll in law school immediately upon graduation to those who have been out of college and working full-time for years. Our team will work with you to find a tutor who fits your availability, and your tutor will focus both on teaching technique and guiding your independent preparation as you practice those techniques on your own.

Like all other standardized tests, there are certain aspects of taking the LSAT that are impossible to replicate through homework alone, which is why regular practice tests are a staple of our programs. Your tutor will help you set up a schedule of periodic tests that will give you the opportunity to practice the techniques you’ve learned in the context of a full test while also familiarizing you with the experience of taking the full test. Though the format of the LSAT is more traditional than that of either the GRE and GMAT, the experience of taking the test must still be practiced, as the combination of length, difficulty, and timing makes it a grueling experience.

For LSAT programs, you’ll take official practice tests released by the LSAC. After every test, you and your tutor will review the results together in order to pinpoint exactly why and how your right answers were right and your wrong answers wrong. You’ll then use the insight gained during this process to revise your practice plan; you’ll be able to both see the product of your hard work and determine what part of the test to attack next.

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