Saddleback College Pre-Law Society President Pontus Goeransson speaks at the LSAT debate on Tuesday, April 19 in Mission Viejo, California. (Matthew Kirkland/ Lariat)
The Saddleback College Pre-Law Society held a debate on the Law School Admissions Test on Tuesday, April 19. Representatives from different LSAT preparation companies gave students advice and spoke on behalf of their programs.
“The reason we wanted to have the LSAT debate is because Saddleback has a community with a lot of students that wish to be lawyers in the future,” said Pontus Goeransson, president of Pre-Law society.
Goeransson, who wants to attend either Columbia University or Cornell University, moderated the debate and prosed questions about the test. Representatives from Test Masters, Score It Up and Blueprint provided insight. A fourth speaker, from Velocity LSAT preparation, was unable to make the debate.
The purpose of the event was to provide students with information about the LSAT and the companies that provide preparation courses. Each representative spoke about the differences between the companies, the success of their courses and the cost.
“There are so many different prep course companies out there that [students] have to choose between,” said Goeransson. “A lot of students don’t know what the differences are between these companies, so by hearing the companies and their representatives speak it gives the [students] a heads up to what is on the test and they also receive discounts just by being here so that’s also a huge advantage and a reason we wanted to do this.”
Speakers answered questions from the moderator and from students in the audience. Mark Sacks, owner and founder of Score It Up, believes that these informational panels help future lawyers.
“My sense is that it is very beneficial,” said Sacks. “I think a lot of the questions we got were really good questions and there was a lot of information conveyed that most students, understandably, just don’t know about until they’ve heard it form people who have been through it many, many times.”
Preparation for the LSAT is very important. The score a student receives on the test is usually valued five to seven times higher than their undergraduate grade point average when applying to law school, according to the representative from Test Masters and the Pre-Law society president.
“It is a very important test that weighs more than your grades do, your GPA.” said Goeransson.
The LSAT website says the test is an integral part of law school admission in the United States, Canada and a growing number of other countries. It provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants.
“It is a logic based exam,” said Sacks. “It is learning how to handle brain teaser types of puzzles and questions to develop the skills to understand and direct arguments.”
Mark Sacks, owner and founder of Score It Up LSAT preparation talks to students at the Pre-Law society debate on Saddleback College’s campus on Tuesday. (Matthew Kirkland/ Lariat)
Students can take the exam at anytime but can only take the test a maximum of three times in a two year period. The test is offered in February, June and December and costs roughly $175 but a fee waiver may be obtained by students who qualify.
The test is broken up into five sections containing about twenty five multiple choice questions that students have thirty five minutes to complete. After the scored portion, students submit an ungraded written assignment that is also turned into law school along with the LSAT score.
Speakers were also able to provide students with anecdotal advice to pair with the statistical information. Pamphlets and handouts were available to take home after the debate.
“I think it definitely helped me a lot,” Thomas Columbus a public policy major said. “In that it gave me a better idea of how long I need to prepare and what I need to do to make my score better.”
Columbus, who hopes to transfer to USC or Georgetown, plans to take the LSAT after he transfers and during his junior year of college.