LOS ANGELES, April 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In just a few short months, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) will phase out its traditional paper-and-pencil test and begin administering the LSAT exclusively in an all-digital format. TestMasters, the leader in high-end LSAT preparation, has created a system that lets students take 20 full-length practice LSATs in a digital format that precisely mirrors the new test. In the process, it has become the only organization to provide this service – full-length digital practice LSATs aren't available anywhere else, not even on the LSAC website.
Motivating the company's undertaking was the need to give test takers enough practice with the new format. "This is the biggest change to the LSAT in almost 30 years, and our students count on us to prepare them for what the test experience will really be like," said Rachel Sheffield, TestMasters' Director of Academic Support. "It wouldn't be fair to them if we adopted a wait-and-see approach."
Indeed, TestMasters' digital practice tests are the product of more than a year of research and development. "We knew there would be major changes when LSAC started recruiting people to field test the new format in 2017," said Natalie Storey, a project manager in TestMasters' R&D department. "We've been working on our response ever since."
What her team discovered was that taking a digital LSAT is a fundamentally different experience. Test takers will be able to view only one question at a time (which makes it harder to cross-reference questions on a logic game or a reading comprehension passage) and may not be able to view an entire reading comprehension passage all at once. "You can't write directly on the test," Storey said, adding that an abundance of scratch paper will be provided on test day.
She also noted that the new format includes a number of features that help address the changes. Test takers can resize, highlight, and underline text; they can also collapse, expand, and cross out answer choices, flag questions for review, and jump immediately to a specific question within a section. An on-screen digital stopwatch displays the time remaining in each section and a warning is provided when five minutes are left.
Due to the text resizing feature, the reading comprehension section no longer includes line numbers for reference; selected parts of the passage or question stem are highlighted instead. For greater accessibility, test takers can toggle between a view that shows the passage only (in both columns) and one that shows a scrollable version of the passage in the left column and a question on the right.
The TestMasters digital practice LSATs incorporate all of these features. "We spent countless hours testing to make sure our system would have the look and functionality of the real thing," said Storey. Given that the practice tests are virtually indistinguishable from LSAC's field test version, the efforts appear to have paid off.
The official version of the digital LSAT will be administered exclusively on Microsoft Surface Go tablets, which will be provided at the test center (stylus included). In contrast, the TestMasters exams can be taken on practically any modern computer or tablet with sufficient screen size. "As a result, our students don't have to buy a $400 tablet just to prepare for the test," said Steve Hayden, TestMasters' Southeast Regional Director.
In addition, Hayden expressed concern that some test prep companies are misleading prospective customers about the digital LSAT materials they have available. "Just because a company claims to have 'digital' resources doesn't mean that it's getting students ready for the experience they'll encounter on test day," he said. "Incredibly, one of the better-known companies is providing PDFs of paper-and-pencil tests and calling them digital LSATs." Nevertheless, he doesn't believe that those preparing for the test are likely to be duped. "People who are serious about law school do their research before enrolling in a prep course."
Since 1991, TestMasters has helped hundreds of thousands of students prepare for the LSAT. The company's proven methods have received widespread acclaim and its online resources — which include 160 hours of professionally-filmed video instruction, thousands of written explanations, numerous interactive drills and quizzes, and 24/7 academic support — are unmatched by anyone. Its version of the digital LSAT is the latest in an ongoing series of innovations designed to help students achieve phenomenal LSAT scores.