What you need to know about the LSAT

Student taking the Law School Admission Test.

The LSAT is one part of the admission process to law school in the United States, Canada, and some other countries. It includes five 35-minute timed sections of multiple-choice questions, of these types:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Analytical Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning

These three question types may appear in any of the five sections.

Your score on only four of the five sections will be counted. The remaining section is used to try out new test questions and will not be counted toward your score. This unused section will only be identified in your score report.

At the end of the test, you will have 35 minutes to construct a sample of your writing. This will not be scored, but a copy of it will be sent with your scores to each institution receiving them.

Your score report will include your current score, older LSAT scores in the past 5 years, and a percentile ranking that compares your score with other test-takers in the past 3 years.

What are the costs?

The basic cost to take the LSAT is $170 per sitting. There are additional charges for things such as test rescheduling, late registration, and test score reporting.

What should I bring?

On the day of the LSAT, be sure you have these things with you:

  • Your LSAT Admission Ticket: Print this the night before from your LSAC.org account so you will have the most current information about the time and place of testing. There are sometimes last-minute changes.

  • Valid government-issued photo ID on which the first and last name exactly match those on your admission ticket.

  • Recent passport-type photo. Look on the official LSAT website here for guidelines.

  • Three or four No. 2 or HB wooden pencils, sharpened. No mechanical pencils are allowed. The test center will not supply pencils.

You may bring a clear, one-gallon-sized zipper-seal type bag into the test room. It may only contain certain items. You can find details about this here.

You may want to note that no type of electronic device is allowed in the testing center, including a cell phone.

Be sure to use the restroom before you check in. When you have checked in, you will not be allowed to use the restroom until after the start of section 1 of the test.

What kind of job can I get?

A lawyer’s job is to represent the interests of individuals, businesses, and government agencies in legal matters. Lawyers typically work in private practice or they may be hired by corporations, agencies, or governments. Working hours are usually at least full time and can be exceedingly long, depending on the type of law you practice.

In order to practice law, you must have a law degree and pass your state’s written bar examination.

Am I eligible?

You are advised to prepare for the LSAT thoroughly and plan to take it only one time. You may take the test up to three times in a 2-year period, but scores do not generally improve on retakes and may actually go down. Law schools may only look at the most recent score, but many schools consider all scores or an average of them.

Why does it matter?

While your LSAT score will not be the only thing in your law school application, it will be an important part of it. Law schools do not generally cite a “cut-off” score for admission, but they usually do give a range of scores for those students they have accepted in the past.

Statistics show that scores on the LSAT do have a strong correlation with success in law school. LSAT scores tend to be a better predictor than a candidate’s undergraduate grade point average (GPA). This is why most law schools rely heavily on LSAT scores when making admission decisions.

What salary can I expect?

According to recent government data, the median pay for practicing law is over $113,000 per year. This compares to a median annual salary of just over $34,000 for all workers. Hourly pay for a lawyer would average over $54.00 per hour.

When is it available?

The LSAT is given four times each year, on Saturdays in the United States. Test dates are in June, September/October, December, and February. Special Monday sessions are offered for people who observe Saturday as a Sabbath. International administrations may fall on days other than Saturday. Check here for more scheduling information.

LSAT scores from December or before are usually required for law school applications for the following fall. It is highly recommended, however, that you take the test before December, such as in June or September/October, in case emergency rescheduling is necessary.

You will also need to consider choosing a date according to the availability of “disclosed” testing. A “disclosed” LSAT administration simply means that you will have access to a more complete score report. Most LSAT test dates in the U.S. are disclosed. Find more information about this topic on the official Law School Admission Council LSAT page here.

Tips & Tricks

Familiarity will be your ally when you take the LSAT. This test is divided into sections, but the types of questions are mixed within these sections. Become familiar with the types of questions you will see. Also, become comfortable working with a time limit. As you practice, do so with a timer. This way, you will not have any unpleasant surprises to distract you on test day.

Time Allowed

The LSAT is listed as a half-day test, but it is wise to allow a time span of about 7 hours for the entire testing process.

Practice using our expertly crafted questions!