LSAT Prep Options: Fox Test Prep

Fox Test PrepWe’re excited to initiate a series of interviews with various LSAT prep companies, exploring their approach and getting some tips for success. (If you’d like to be featured, let me know.)

Today, we’re talking with Nathan Fox, founder of Fox Test Prep. Nathan personally teaches every class, and he’s not afraid to curse if it improves your score!

Find out more below.

Could you talk a bit about Fox Test Prep: What’s your philosophy? What type of instruction do you offer? How are you different from other LSAT prep courses?

The biggest difference between Fox Test Prep and everyone else is that all my classes are taught by me. I scored 179 on the test, and I’ve written five LSAT books, but technical mastery is worthless without a passion for teaching. I’m the sole instructor, and I’m also the owner of the business. My students have my cell phone number (415-518-0630) and my email address (fox.edit@gmail.com) and are encouraged to use them.

If you were ever unhappy with my class, then I wouldn’t want your money. In almost seven years of teaching nobody has ever asked me for a refund.

That’s because I love teaching the LSAT, and I’m committed to the success of my students.

Of course, it would be easy for anybody to just say that. So if you want to know what you’re really getting into, you should start by reading reviews on Yelp. You can also see me in action for free…I just made the first 15 hours of my online LSAT course open to the public. Give it a shot, I think you’ll get a lot out of it.

The prep industry tries to convince students that the test is hard, bordering on impossible, but the secret truth about the LSAT is that it’s actually easy.

My students are some of the brightest, hardest working people I have ever met. My job is simply to demonstrate an expert approach to the test. Once they see me do a couple dozen logic games on the board, they realize that it’s really just a series of baby steps, and that they’re plenty smart enough to master it. Students start out saying “wow, Nathan makes it look easy.”  Soon, they say “oh, I see, the LSAT actually is easy.”

I don’t teach overly complicated “strategies,” I require very little memorization, and I avoid trademarked buzzwords at all costs.

Ninety percent of the LSAT is common sense.

Take Reading Comprehension, for example. Students do not benefit from 1,000 pages of bullshit techniques on highlighting, underlining, circling key terms, writing notes or making diagrams…it’s reading, for Chrissakes. Not an art project. If you don’t already know how to read, you might want to rethink your plan to become a lawyer.

Here’s my approach to RC: Step One: Read. Step Two: Comprehend. That’s basically it.

When you’re done reading the passage, you either did, or did not, understand the author’s main point. If you got the main point, then you’ll have no problem with the questions. If you missed the main point, then you just didn’t read carefully enough. No amount of “strategy” is going to substitute for patience and strong reading skills. My classes focus on Logic Games and Logical Reasoning…these are the areas where most students can really improve.

I also avoid lecturing — you’re never going to see me stand in front of the class and read a lesson out of a book. My classes are consultative and improvisational. It’s a lot like group tutoring. My classes are built around real LSAT tests. Students attempt each test on their own, then ask me questions about that test in class. That way, we’re never wasting time working on concepts that the students already understand.

The final difference between me and everybody else is that I put a lot of time into helping students with their entire admissions package, and admissions strategy, rather than just purely teaching LSAT.

Anybody taking the test also needs help navigating through the complicated world of personal statements, letters of recommendation, where to apply, when to apply, and most importantly, how to get scholarships. That’s the most fun part of what I do. I love springtime, when students email me saying “I got a full ride.”

What type of student is most likely to benefit from taking an Fox Test Prep course?

I’ve had success with a wide range of students. This cycle, I have students heading everywhere from Stanford to Golden Gate. No matter what level students are at, I prefer those with a sense of humor. Most of my students are either working or in school, and showing up for a four-hour LSAT class at the end of a long day requires an incredible amount of energy.

In an effort to keep people awake, I drop more than a few effbombs in class.

I believe that students do better if they’re willing to have a laugh. Oh, and I also like students who drink…I always take the class out for cocktails to celebrate on the last night. (Don’t worry, you can have club soda if you want.)

Generally, students who start out strong in Reading Comprehension and weak in Logic Games are the best candidates for improvement. But I can help anybody who is willing to do the homework, show up, and ask questions.

Who would your course not be a good fit for?

Students who start out with an very low score (sub-130) are fighting an uphill battle. It’s certainly not impossible to improve from 125 to 150, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. The test is much easier for folks who have very strong reading and vocabulary skills.

I don’t want to crush anybody’s dreams, but it’s not true that anybody can (or should) be a lawyer.

Lawyers are gladiators who do battle in the English language. If you don’t love to read and write, this might not be the path for you.

That said, if you’re sure that you want to be a lawyer and you’re willing to bust your ass, then the LSAT is not going to stop you. I’ll do everything in my power to help you, no matter where you start.

I’m getting ready to choose an LSAT course. What should I look for to ensure the one I select is a good fit?

Two things: First, read reviews.

Next, make sure you can speak to your instructor before the class starts. With bigger prep companies, you might get a great instructor or you might get a rookie who was hired over the telephone. (I know, because that’s how I started out.)

Don’t shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars before you know who your teacher will be, and know that you get along well with that person.

A five-minute phone conversation can tell you a lot. (And if they won’t even let you speak to the teacher before the class starts, that tells you that you should run.) When you speak with the teacher, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly whether they genuinely care about students or if they’re just trying to make a buck. (One way you’ll be able to tell is by how quickly they try to get off the phone.) You’ll learn more from somebody you trust, who can make you laugh, and who’s willing to take the extra time to make sure you’re successful.

How much time do you suggest students spend to prepare for their first LSAT? Can it be done on top of school/work?

It will take different students a different number of weeks in order to reach their own personal best level of scoring. My classes are designed to be modular; students can start out in a 4-week class and then upgrade into an 8- or 12-week class if they want.

To get the most out of my class, students should devote 15-20 hours per week, half in class and half homework.

It can definitely be done on top of school and work…most of my students do one or the other (or both.) Lawyers are incredibly hard-working people! If you don’t enjoy putting your nose to the grindstone, this is not the right field for you.

What are your three best tips for doing as well as possible on the LSAT?
  1. On the Logic Games, you need to realize that there is a single, objectively correct answer for every question. There’s no debating, or choosing the “best” answer, like there is on the other sections. Students usually worry so much about speed that they miss the connections between the rules and end up guessing, or half-guessing, on the questions. This is a terrible strategy…not only does it cause low accuracy, but it also makes the games seem impossible and ends up taking longer. On Games, students need to take a deep breath and focus on answering the questions with 100% certainty. At first, you might only be able to do one game in 35 minutes. But this is fine! You have to walk before you can run. The student who does one perfect game is in a much better position to improve than the student who half-asses three or four games.
  2. On the Logical Reasoning, you need to argue with the speaker. This is my “Thou Shalt Be a Dick” of the LSAT. If you can tell me why an argument is bullshit, or why it’s incomplete, then you can answer any type of question. If you know why an argument is bullshit, you know how to make it better. You know how to make it worse. You can tell me what the conclusion is. You can tell me if the argument has made any assumptions. Spend more time with the argument, and you’ll find yourself predicting the answers before you even read them. Novice LSAT students spend 80% of their time on the answer choices. Experts spend 80% of their time with the argument, which is where the answers really lie.
  3. Focus on actual LSAT tests. There are 60-something released practice tests, and it would be silly to spend time on anything else. (For this reason, you should throw away any crappy Kaplan or Princeton Review book that you might have, since those guys frequently save money by creating their own fake questions.) Do timed 35-minute sections, and then review your mistakes. Focus on the earlier questions in each section…these questions tend to be easier, and you’ll learn quicker by correcting these common mistakes. (Harvest the low-hanging fruit first!) When reviewing your tests, a study partner can be a great help, if you don’t have the resources to hire an expert.

For lots more tips you can check out my blog, which has dozens of practice questions in Logic GamesLogical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension, as well as an “Intentionally Blasphemous Ten Commandments.”

— – —
Thanks, Nathan! (Having had lunch with him, I can attest that Nathan is a super nice guy, and very smart.)

Ways to find out more about Fox Test Prep:
Call me, or email me!  415-518-0630 / fox.edit@gmail.com. If you get in touch, I’d love to send you a free copy of “Introducing the LSAT.” It’s a “quick and dirty” LSAT primer–you can probably read it in a day–and it could save you weeks of banging your head against the wall.

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More LSAT Prep Options:

Trying to decide which LSAT prep course is right for you? Check out some of our other interviews for different options:

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And check out Applying to Law School 101 for tips on all the pieces of your application, and Should I Go? to figure out if law school’s really the right choice for you!

Got LSAT questions? Leave them in the comments!


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