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Category: Grad School

Did you take the June LSAT? Scores are beginning to come out, and if yours was lower than anticipated or necessary, Sandweiss Test Prep can help with LSAT test preparation classes or tutoring.

Re-taking the LSAT could certainly improve your score. A recent report by the Law School Admission Council shows that LSAT test takers had higher scores after their second time taking the exam.

The study tracked results of LSAT takers from 2006-2007 to the 2012-2013 test periods. The percentages and performance of these repeat test takers are classified by testing administration, test year, gender, and race/ethnicity, however the report is “purely descriptive in nature” and “explanation of the underlying causes of any differences is beyond the scope of this report.” Even if you’ve already taken the test it is important to re-prepare for the second attempt, which is perhaps the cause of second-time test takers getting higher scores than first-timers.

The council’s research found that the average of LSAT scores across the testing years was 151.7 for second-timers, 151 for first-timers, and 149.4 for those taking it a third time. Second-time test takers gained an average of 2.8 points over their first attempt. The test takers involved in this study were not selected to participate in this research; they had chosen to re-take the exam on their own.

According to this table, which lists the LSAT repeat-tester data from 2012-2013, approximately 66 percent of students who re-took the LSAT received a higher score on the second test. Slightly more than 8 percent had no change in score, and 25 percent earned a lower score on the second exam.

The LSAT was implemented in 1948 for law schools to have a standardized method of evaluating applicants. Major changes have shaped the exam’s structure since then, with the most prominent being the revisions to the scoring scale. The highest score achievable is 180 and the lowest is 120. The most current version of the LSAT includes five 35-minute sections that focus on reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and analytical reasoning.

You’re probably aware of the changes affecting the legal profession in recent years; fewer law school students are acquiring gainful employment within six months of passing the Bar exam. The exception to this current state is for law students who graduate fromthe top legal schools in the country. Therefore, it is more important than ever to get into the best law schools, because that is where the opportunity is.

To improve your chances of gaining entrance to these schools, you should work with a test preparation service like Sandweiss Test Prep before your next LSAT for a better score.

Click here to register for an upcoming LSAT, which is administered four times a year (next in September). Contact Sandweiss Test Prep to enroll in our summer LSAT course.

Featured photo credit Albert Herring, labeled for reuse under Wikipedia Commons.

Getting ready for college is a big task, and certainly important—but getting into grad school can be equally as important and much more difficult. Depending on the type of program you’re pursuing, there’s likely a test you’ll need to take as part of the admission process. Whether it’s the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT, Sandweiss Test Prep can help you get ready for the entrance exam. The farther in advance you start preparing for grad school, the better off you’ll be. Here are a few tips on getting ready for grad school:

Applying for Graduate School

Research schools in depth

The school you choose is a huge next step in life—and can play a big part in helping you get off on the right foot for your future career. Go beyond the program’s website. Visit the school, talk to professors, talk to students and graduates, if possible. Learn what others, including potential future employers, think of the program you’re considering.

Gather your recommendations

As we move farther down the life path, recommendations bear more and more weight. Getting into grad school is perhaps one of the first steps in life where it’s crucial to have solid, non-familial, professional recommendations. Most graduate programs want recommendations from professors, but letters from internship advisors and workplace supervisors can also be helpful.

Know your deadlines!

We can’t reiterate how important this is. The process can take upwards of six months, so your research should be started at LEAST a year away from when you’re intending to start grad school. Set calendar reminders in advance just to be sure you don’t miss anything.

Present yourself for the task at hand

If you’re applying for law school, present yourself as someone who would make a good lawyer—and leave out the stuff that doesn’t relate. Admissions officers go through a LOT of applications—and don’t have time for fluff. Get down to business, explain and show why you’re a good fit—and leave the rest out.

Be prepared for your entrance exam

Just because a task is difficult doesn’t mean it needs to be stressful. By preparing as much as possible, your entrance exam doesn’t need to cause anxiety or add stress to your life! Sandweiss Test Prep can provide you with free diagnostic testing, full length prep courses, and private tutoring  to help you prepare for your exam and put a little sanity back in the craziness of the grad school application process.

After Acceptance

Once you are accepted to graduate school, there is still plenty to do before classes begin. Here are a few tips to help you excel, whether you are fresh from undergrad or going back to school after spending time in the workforce:

Have all of your documents prepared ahead of time

Financial aid and student forms all need to  be ready to file before the semester begins. Play it safe by making an appointment with your advisor to go over your scholarship and/or loan agreement forms. Failing to have any one of these complete before the semester begins can create serious problems when starting grad school.

Review ahead of time

As an incoming student, you should be able to access the syllabi and textbooks before classes begin. Use this time to get ahead of the curve. Familiarize yourself with the major themes you’ll be studying, read over the table of contents in your textbooks and review the professor evaluations from previous students to learn what your instructors will be expecting of you.

Get organized

Organization is key both to survive grad school to use the materials you create later on in your portfolio. You will need to get your act in triple-A shape right away to stay on top of your workload and manage priorities. And in the long run, you’ll want to have everything organized in such a way that you can easily pull out your prior work when updating your portfolio or resume.

Study to learn

The point here is not to cram for the highest grade possible and then forget everything as you move on, but to learn and retain information that you will be using for the rest of your professional life. If cramming helps you to retain information, great; but remember that you are no longer studying just to ace the next test, but to prepare yourself for a career.

Whether you are wrapping up undergrad or going back to school after some time in the workforce, best of luck on your search for graduate school. We’ll be here for you when it’s time to prep for your entrance exam!

Featured photo from here.

 

From Kiplinger, five graduate degrees that tend to pay off in the end:

  1. M.D.    Physicians’ incomes range from about $188,000, on average, for family practitioners to more than $485,000 for orthopedic surgeons. As the population ages, job prospects for physicians will continue to be robust.
  2. Master of Public Health.    Average income: $90,970. As the health care industry changes and expands, MPHs will be increasingly sought after.
  3. Doctor of Pharmacy.    Average income (pharmacist): $106,630. We all still and will continue to need medication, as well as help navigating the changing health insurance landscape.
  4. M.B.A.    Here’s a degree that’s necessary for hiring within certain firms. Some companies will even pay for their employees to get an MBA. Job growth for business management analysts should be strong over the rest of this decade.
  5. Lawyer.    In particular, jobs at big private firms, where new lawyers earn a median annual salary of $160,000. In our supersaturated legal job market, these jobs are harder to come by than ever.

Next June, an integrated reasoning section will be introduced to the GMAT. The new section will replace one of the essays, and will be heavy on data interpretation. The test will still take three and a half hours, and the verbal and quantitative sections will remain the same.

Head over to the New York Times to try your hand at the four new question types: multi-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, and sorting tables.

(And don’t forget that several b-schools are starting to accept the GRE!)

 

Now no one panic; this won’t be happening for years, 2015 at the earliest. But it’s an interesting prospect. Inside Higher Ed reports that a special panel has proposed the following changes to the MCAT:

  • Eliminating the writing section, which medical schools tend not to consider closely
  • Adding a behavioral and social sciences section to reflect “the evolving nature of medicine”
  • Increasing the length of the test (5.5 hours)  by 90 minutes
  • Changing the current verbal section to “Critical Analysis and Reading Skills”

The chair of the committee that drafted the plan explains the recommendation for a social sciences section:

It’s very clear that in this country a large proportion of illness is related to behavior and social and cultural problems. So we want to encourage the applicant to medical school to be thinking about those and reading about those early … you do need a solid foundation in the sciences, but you need more than that. You need to think critically and reason, and understand the differences in our society and the patients you see as a physician. We need people who are critical thinkers and people who have sensitivity and understanding of different cultures.

The new GRE format will be:

Analytical Writing: 1 Issue topic: 30 minutes

Analytical Writing: 1 Argument topic: 30 minutes

Verbal Reasoning: 2 sections, approx. 20 ques. each: 30 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning: 2 sections, approx. 20 ques. each: 35 minutes

Plus a possible unscored section, and a possible research section.

Please do check out newgre.org for more info.

 

On August 1st, it’s coming: the revised GRE.

The Good: The new GRE will more accurately measure test-takers’ skills that they will need in graduate school. This means no more analogies, but much more reading comprehension. (Check out the linked Times article for sample questions.) And students will be allowed to use calculators. Test-takers will also be allowed to return to previous questions on each section, and even skip questions.

The Bad: It’ll be harder, and 30 minutes longer, for a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes. But that’s why we’re here for you!

Stay tuned for everything you’ll need to know to conquer the new GRE.

Yes, according to The New York Times. The master’s is currently the fastest-growing degree, and is on its way to becoming the entry degree to a wide variety of professions, especially now that degrees are specific and utilitarian (think supply chain management) and often with internships built in.

So why the trend? Some blame the devaluing of the college degree. As colleges turn out more grads than the market can hire, a master’s becomes almost essential if you don’t have a Bachelor’s from a highly elite undergrad institution.

It’s not exactly bad news for the universities, for whom master’s programs tend to be unfunded (unlike the PhD track) and therefore cash cows. For students, some of the programs provide direct access to potential employers, who draw from the programs they know to provide effective job training.

Some worry that the trend signals a shift in graduate work from an intellectual pursuit to job training. But in an age when grad-school-as-intellectual-pursuit is landing students hardly any jobs, this shift seems practical. In fact, it seems to yours truly that the only graduate degree worth pursuing at this point is one that has a reasonable chance of helping students obtain a job that will allow them to pay off the debt accrued in grad school.