About Zen

Zen of 180 is adaptive learning for the LSAT. At its simplest, what you miss on the LSAT tells us how to teach you. At its most complex, we're getting a patent on our algorithm that applies item response theory and task-based learning to standardized tests.

Our two co-founders both scored perfect 180s on their LSATs and are currently finishing up their JDs from Harvard Law School. One is an award-winning teacher and curriculum geek, and the other is a coding and statistics nerd. We're building an army of HLS students who are writing free explanations for the LSAT while we develop our fully interactive and adaptive curriculum.

John in his New York City 8th grade classroom,
being filmed as 1 of 5 finalists for Teach For America’s
highest national award.
Daniel showing off our in-development mobile
application, which will make data-entry easier.
Our goal is to make ourselves and other LSAT teachers/tutors obsolete, by leveraging our algorithm into a tutorless tutoring service. Our algorithm is already better at recognizing patterns in your mistakes and pinpointing the lesson you should learn next; we're busy feeding it the content so it can also teach you. In the meantime, here are the services we currently offer, including some that already leverage our algorithm and curriculum:
  • LSAT PrepTest Score Analyzer, our a free online LSAT self-prep tool to input your missed question data from the Official LSAT PrepTests 19-68, analyze your LSAT score, get explanations, and target your self-study review.
  • Google Calendars for each LSAT test date, available in the left-side toolbar, which you can adjust to fit your own schedule.
  • Test-taking strategies for all sections and specific task standards
  1. analytical reasoning (logic games)
  2. logical reasoning
  3. reading comprehension
  • Digital Official LSAT PrepTest store with only the official LSAT materials from LSAC, where you can buy the absolutely cheapest Official LSAT PrepTests and real LSAT practice materials
  • Journals of current Zen students as they prepare for the LSAT and the law school application cycle
  • Interviews with law school admissions officers, deans, and current students

We take a unique, task standards based approach to LSAT self-study, derived from the training used by our founder, John Bennett. His LSAT score improved from a 172 in September 2007 to a 180 in December 2007, and we've been fine tuning the techniques since then. Our first client, from way back in May 2008, achieved a clean sweep of Harvard Law, Yale Law, and NYU Law. John, the developer of the Zen system, is currently a part of the Harvard Law School class of 2013. If your question isn't answered here or at the Online LSAT Tutoring page, please don't hesitate to send in an e-mail to support@zenof180.com. 
Why is it called Zen of 180?
Scoring well on the LSAT requires intense training, as well as a calm, clear mind on the day of the test. Thus, Zen of 180 refers to the mental state of scoring the perfect LSAT. 
Where is the comprehensive list of all the Zen task strands and standards and how I can recognize them?
At the LSAT Library, where you're also find free explanations for a growing list of logical reasoning questions.
What LSAT materials do your suggest, and in what order?
Only official LSAC-published LSAT PrepTests. We differentiate the LSAT PrepTests for our students by analyzing their individual weaknesses on each task strand, passage structure, or logic game rule type.  We have posted a few thoughts about this process for the logical reasoning and reading comprehension sections.
What would I need for an effective X month plan to prepare for the LSAT?
The suggested Zen of 180 LSAT self-study calendar is posted in the Google Calendar in the left toolbar, ready for all LSAT dates that are upcoming and within a reasonable timeframe.  If you would like help personalizing your LSAT self-prep schedule beyond a week by week basis, you should consider scheduling an initial consultation.
I've already started using PrepTests, some other company's program, or am planning to retake the LSAT.  What should I do about my used materials to adapt to the Zen Calendar?
This post covers these issues.
What is your tutoring availability? Are you more available now or later, etc.?
Before law school, our tutors worked part time during their two-year Teach For America experience. Currently, both of our tutors are 3Ls at Harvard Law School, and we have even more time to tutor! You can sign up for our online tutoring services here.
It seems like a lot of hours would be expected in private tutoring. What does that look like?
We are extremely flexible with meeting the time and LSAT needs of our tutoring clients.  Thus, each client's session and LSAT schedule can vary greatly, although we definitely have a system that we suggest as best practice.   We have made tremendous gains from the 160s to 170s with clients in a few sessions, and have also guided clients from the low 130s to the high 160s over a series of months. Because we tailor our approach to each person and their unique set of strengths and weaknesses, we cannot say with certainty how many hours you should plan for your LSAT prep until we have analyzed your data from several PrepTests. Questions and personalization as to the format, how often we meet, how to structure your LSAT practice, etc, are taken care of during an initial consultation.
What is your rate and how do you process the payment?
An initial half-hour consultation is free, while any individual hours for any LSAT or law school admission related service beyond that are billed at $125 per hour. We offer discounts based on package rates--$1000 for a 10-hour block--as well as significant discounts for Pell grant recipients and AmeriCorps participants. Payment is available through PayPal and Google Wallet and we require invoices to be filled prior to a given session.
I currently receive a Pell Grant or received a Pell Grant in the past; what kind of proof do I need to show this?
Please e-mail a PDF copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) from www.fafsa.ed.gov.
How often will I be invoiced?
Our scheduling service, Appointy, handles all payments through Google Wallet or PayPal. You will receive an invoice for each payment that looks like the one on the right.
What technical requirements would I need to have for the online tutoring sessions?
An iPad is the best device you can use to access our digital whiteboard space, but the software works on any modern laptop. 

You can download the iPhone or iPad app here, and you can test your computer's hardware and software, as well as enter an example virtual session, here. As long as your computer can run the most recent web browsers, you should be absolutely fine. 

A microphone is required--almost all laptops have one built in--as it makes the sessions much more speedy and meaningful; similarly, a fine-point input device like a mouse or wacom pen are handy for discussing how you highlight and/or diagram.
Do you offer any other kinds of discounts for non-Pell Grant recipients?
By invitation only, we offer at most one current client to be the author of blog posts for the Zen Student Journal. This discount is $125 for 2 hours of tutoring, effectively 50% off. For instance, once a week you could you write a blog post about your LSAT prep and/or law school application cycle. For each week, you'd be entitled to 2 hours of tutoring at a flat $125 rate. However, we don't offer this discount for less than 2 hour blocks. As this spot offers a 50% discount and requires extensive writing flair, we sadly cannot offer it to more than one client at a time. If there is no current series of student journal entries or you would like to try and book this discount for a future LSAT test date, please submit a writing sample and your proposed timeline to tutoring@zenof180.com
Do you still offer any tutoring [however close it is] to the actual LSAT?
The short answer is, "Yes," as long as it's not within the week prior to the LSAT.  Our tutors have worked with clients for as few as three sessions and still helped them grow their score by 10 points or more.  There is no substitute, however, for extensive and disciplined practice.