Free LSAT prep taking off

The New England Patriots. The Golden State Warriors. Lady Gaga. And the Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep course. 

All are on serious rolls.  

Less than a year after launching the first free and official online prep for the LSAT, the nonprofit organizations Khan Academy and the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) released new data showing rapid growth in use of the LSAT prep course by aspiring law students. And that growth is particularly strong among African Americans, women and economically disadvantaged students.

That's important because minorities, on average, don't score as well as whites and Asians on the LSAT. One of the reasons is the high cost of prep courses, some argue. A higher percentage of minorities come from lower socio-economic households and can't afford to fork over big money for such help. And they are the ones who are using the service in the greatest percentages, the nonprofits report. 

According to a blog post on the LSAC website: 

"Based on responses to surveys of all first-time LSAT test takers between June and November 2018, students from disadvantaged economic backgrounds are recognizing the benefits and opportunity of our Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep. Students who rated their family income as 'below average' or 'far below average' compared to other members of their communities had the greatest proportion of test takers who prepared using the free LSAT prep."

The new survey data underscores the importance of free tools and resources that, over time, could help create greater opportunity and stimulate more diversity in the legal profession that is more reflective of the society it serves, the nonprofits said. 

Since launching in June 2018, Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep use has grown steadily. Today, 40,000 students use Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep every month.

A survey of students who took the LSAT for the first time in November 2018 found:

  • 52 percent of African American respondents report using Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep to prepare for the exam.
  • 47 percent of Puerto Rican respondents report using Khan Academy to prepare.
  • 46 percent of women respondents report using Khan Academy to prepare.
  • 42 percent of Native American/Alaska Native respondents report using Khan Academy to prepare.
  • 41 percent of Hispanic respondents report using Khan Academy to prepare. 
  • 38 percent of Asian respondents reported using Khan Academy to prepare.

In comparison, 43 percent of white students and 41 percent of male respondents report using Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep.

“Our long-standing commitment to equity motivated us to help level the playing field by creating wide access to a top-notch program that develops the critical thinking skills required for success in law school and a wide range of careers,” said Kellye Testy, president and CEO of LSAC. “We are excited that so many students are taking advantage of the free tools that LSAC and Khan Academy are offering together. Increasing opportunity for all students will, over time, ensure that our legal system truly reflects the diverse needs of society.”

Unlike commercial test prep, which can cost hundreds of dollars to more than $2,000, LSAC and Khan Academy have partnered to ensure that Official LSAT Prep by Khan Academy is free. And there is no catch. And it's catching on fast. 

“When you decrease barriers to education and increase access to free resources and tools, all students can really thrive,” said Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy. “Khan Academy and LSAC share a goal of expanding opportunity for all students no matter who they are, where they are from, or their ability to pay. We’re proud to have created one of the best LSAT prep programs out there to help all students reach their dreams.”

In an era when many young people graduate college with high levels of student debt, the introduction of free LSAT prep from Khan Academy helps open doors for low-income students and those who have significant student loans. Based on survey responses from first-time LSAT takers between June and November 2018, 37 percent of students who reported undergraduate debt up to $39,999 say they used the free Khan Academy tools to prepare for the LSAT. For respondents reporting $40,000 or more in debt, the number was even higher — 41 percent used Khan Academy.

Official LSAT Prep on Khan Academy diagnoses each student's strengths and weaknesses, and guides students through lessons and practice questions at just the right level for them. Videos, articles, and explanations cover every concept on the LSAT and, as weaknesses turn into strengths, students track their progress toward a goal.

Last year, nearly 100,000 prospective law school students took the LSAT. The LSAT is the only standardized test accepted by all accredited law schools in the U.S., providing an assessment of critical reading and reasoning skills considered essential for success in law school.

The partnership with LSAC continues Khan Academy’s track record of providing free, official practice for critical standardized exams. In 2015, Khan Academy launched Official SAT Practice with the College Board and in 2018, announced its partnership with ETS to develop free test prep for Praxis® Core tests, key exams for candidates entering teacher preparation programs, which will launch in summer 2019.

Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep, provided in collaboration with LSAC, is available free at KhanAcademy.org/lsat.

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