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May 08, 2006 - Image 12

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-05-08

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 8, 2006

LSAT SCAMS
continued from page 8
companies have been locked in a bitter
struggle over the domain name testmas-
ters.com, currently controlledby the Texas
Test Masters. Both sides have dirtied their
handsinthefight.TheU.S.districtcourtin
Houston called the California company's
litany of lawsuits against the Texas Test
Masters "a campaign of terror."
The New York State Consumer Protec-
tion Board has also warned the public that
the Texas Test Masters is attempting to
defraud students using Singh's reputation.
Corporate deception is not the only
thing students need to watch out for. Uni-
versity students often fall victim to false
advertising by private tutors as well.
Mayssoun Bydon, founder of the Ann
Arbor-based 180 LSAT Company said
one of her students went on to teach sev-
eralcourses byimpersonating Bydon,who
charges $250 an hour for private lessons.
"There's so much of this fakeness,"
Bydon said. "It's astonishing. It's
everywhere."
Bydon saidthat inher 11 years working
in the area, she's seen tutors use false refer-
ences and test scores and had friends pose
as references on the phone.
Bydon estimates there are about 25 pri-
vate LSAT tutors in the area, but said she
would only consider hiring three of them.
"(While shoppingforaprep course) we
recommend students truly do their home-
work,' said Mariella Mecozzi, a senior
assistant directorat the University's Career
Center. "It's just like buying a car. You

want to check all their sources, preferably In the race to achieve the perfect score,
more than once." some students overlook the possibility of
Dineil Diaz was a student at Pace Col- self-teaching, Mecozzi said.
lege in New York when she enrolled in "I'm not saying preparation courses are
the Texas Test Masters course under the not necessary, but that shouldn't be a start-
impression it was Robin Singh's TestMas- ing point," she said. "It's not something
ters. where somebody has to necessarily hold
Diaz said she yourhand."
learned of the differ- "There's so much Mecozzi said some
ence between the two of the best scores
companies after she of this fakeness. It's come not from the
had attended the class smartest students,
for several days and astonishing" but those who were
it was too late to get - Mayssoun Bydon disciplined and
a refund. Upon com- motivated enough
pleting the course and 180 LSAT Company to study and teach
retaking the test, her themselves. She
score stayed the same. also said that students who work extra
Diaz, who has since enrolled in Test- hours to pay for increasingly popular
Masters, abandoned her hopes of attend- and expensive one-on-one tutoring
ing New York University School of Law may sacrifice hours they should be
and will be eurolling in the Benjamin N. preparing for the test.
Cardozo School of Law in the fall. Diaz In Ann Arbor, most group classes
recently received a letter from the Attor- costbetween $1,000 and $2,000, while
ney General of New York informing her private tutoring costs range from $35
that the Texas Test Masters has accused to about $250 an hour.
her of espionage. Most instructors consider a dif-
"It's been a process that's been very ference of five to 10 points out
expensive," Diaz said. "I just wish I would of a possible 180 a success story.
have known." Although the importance of LSAT
But,itcanbedifficulttocheckevery fact scores varies with each law school
about a potential course or instructor. Rich admissions policy, the scores are
Klarman,a local LSAT tutor said he might often given greater weight than
not want to teach a student who insisted on grade point averages.
checking every fact about him. Nearly 1,200 University students
"On the one hand, you want to be and alumni applied to law school in
careful in life, and on the other you 2004-05. Twenty-two percent were
don't want to become a paranoid freak," rejected from every school to which
Klarman said. they applied.

VOLKOW
continued from page 8
high enough doses are known to
result in psychosis.
Not all drugs are the same and
the consequences of taking drugs
will be different for every person,
Volkow said. Because individu-
als are not aware of their genetic
composition, they do not know the
effects certain drugs will have on
them.
"In many cases, it's like playing
roulette," she said.
Researchers like Volkow look at-
the genes that code for such con-
nections in the brain.
For example, dopamine, widely
known as the brain's pleasure chem-
ical, provides feelings of enjoyment
and reinforces certain behavior.
Drug addicts, who tend to have a
lower expression of dopamine D2
receptors - mechanisms that regu-
late the release of the chemical -
may seek out drugs to compensate
for this deficit, Volkow said.
To study the role of receptors in
addiction, scientists injected the
gene that codes for D2 receptors
into animals.
While this research revealed
that a heightened amount of D2
receptors results in reduced intake
of drugs, Volkow said we cannot
claim there is a causal relationship
between the amount of D2 receptors
and the degree of pleasure experi-

enced from drug use. It is only one
factor that may influence behavior.
Another factor is a person's
metabolism. Because each person
breaks down drugs differently, neg-
ative experiences with drug use may
be due to an inability to metabolize
the drug, she said.
The Barrett Lecture series began
in 1990 to honor Albert Barrett, the
first chair of the University's psy-
chiatry department, who is believed
to be the first full-time psychiatry
professor in the United States.
Volkow carries on the exemplary
trail of Barrett lectureships. Volkow
is the great-granddaughter of Bol-
shevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky
and grew up in the Mexico City
house in which Trotsky was killed
on Stalin's orders in 1940.
After graduating from the Nation-
al University of Mexico's medi-
cal school, she came to the United
States. She has since established
herself as an international leader
in research on addiction and brain
imaging.
Volkow became director at the
National Institute of Drug Abuse
in May 2003. Before coming to the
NIDA, she held leadership posi-
tions at Brookhaven National Labo-
ratory.
Before Brookhaven, Volkow was
a professor in the department of
psychiatry and associate dean of
the medical school at the State Uni-
versity of New York-Stony Brook.

14

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