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The Definitive Practice Test Guide for the LSAT

About the LSAT

The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, was designed to test the competency of those who are applying to law school in the United States, Canada, and other countries. It is used to measure a student’s likelihood of success in law school. The test is designed and administered by the Law School Admission Council and has been in use—in one form or another—since 1948.

The Law School Admission Test divided into two main parts. The first part consists of five sections of multiple-choice questions, which assess various skills relevant to the study of law. These sections cover three main areas: Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning (also known as Logic Games), and Logical Reasoning.

Each of these five sections has a time limit of 35 minutes, totaling 175 minutes (2 hours and 55 minutes) for the entire first part of the LSAT. However, it’s important to note that one of these sections is not scored and is used for research purposes by the test administrators. During the exam, you won’t be informed which section is unscored, so it’s crucial to give your best effort on every section.

The LSAT writing section is the second part of the exam. It is available up to eight days prior to the multiple choice portion and given remotely via secured proctoring software. It involves a single prompt, and test-takers are required to develop an argumentative essay within 35 minutes. The essay isn’t graded and there are no right or wrong answers. However, writing samples are sent to the law schools to which you apply, allowing admissions committees to assess your writing skills as part of their evaluation process. The evaluation of the writing sample is typically holistic, considering factors such as clarity, organization, persuasiveness, and coherence of your essay.

Achieving a good score on the LSAT is imperative to getting into a good law school. Scores are adjusted to reflect the likelihood that some test administrations are more difficult than others. Adjusted scores fall in a range between 120 and 180. While there are no “passing” or “failing” scores for the LSAT, many law schools set a minimum score for admission. Adequate preparation and studying can help you to achieve the target score for your selected school.

Sections of the LSAT

Analytical Reasoning

Analytical Reasoning questions on the LSAT assess your ability to analyze a set of facts and rules and determine what could or must be true based on them. These questions, sometimes referred to as “logic games,” come in sets based on a single passage, describing scenarios involving ordering or grouping relationships. Though unrelated to law, they mirror the skills used in legal problem solving, where detailed analysis of relationships and constraints is crucial.

The questions are designed to test your deductive reasoning skills, such as understanding relationships, reasoning with conditional statements, inferring truths, recognizing logical equivalences, and using new information presented in hypotheticals. No formal logic training is required, and you can expect to encounter 22-24 questions in this section.

Logical Reasoning

Logical Reasoning questions on the LSAT involve analyzing, evaluating, and completing arguments using ordinary language and terms. You do not need to know complex legal terms like those used in legal arguments, but you should be able to understand and use terms such as argument and conclusion.

The passages are not generally legal in content, but may be taken from numerous sources, including journals and other publications available to the public. Some passages are simply records of a conversation between two people in which there is a disagreement about an issue. You will typically see 24-26 questions on this section of the exam.

Reading Comprehension

The LSAT Reading Comprehension section assesses the ability to comprehend lengthy and challenging materials similar to those encountered in law school. It consists of four sets of reading questions, including single and comparative passages. Comparative reading questions focus on the relationships between two passages, reflecting the need to understand the connections between different texts in legal work.

The reading selections in LSAT cover a wide range of subjects and are characterized by dense writing, advanced vocabulary, and complex argumentation. Reading Comprehension questions require accurate reading, inference-making, understanding of structure, and the ability to apply information to new situations. They may address the main idea, explicit information, inferences, vocabulary usage, organization, principles, analogies, author’s attitude, and the impact of new information on arguments. This section typically has 26-28 multiple choice questions.

What to Expect on Test Day

Completing the LSAT is a major academic milestone; it is often the first step in your journey to becoming a lawyer. Because a good score is often critical to gain admission into law school, the test can be incredibly nerve-racking. However, having a good idea of what to expect on exam day and feeling as though you have studied and prepared sufficiently can do a lot to calm your nerves and ensure that you are focused and ready to perform your best on the day of your LSAT.

In addition to spending a lot of time preparing in the weeks leading up to the test, it’s also a good idea to ensure you get sufficient rest and eat a nutritious meal before exam day. These activities ensure that you aren’t distracted by drowsiness or hunger while taking the test, which is especially important given that the testing experience is typically around three hours. If you are taking the test in person, it’s a good idea to leave early and allow yourself extra time to get to the testing center; this can come in handy in the event that you have a hard time finding the location or experience any delays in the registration process.

What to Bring

Before you take the LSAT, you will need to electronically sign your LSAT Candidate Agreement. Generally speaking, you will be required to provide a current government-issued ID, one or more writing utensils, five pieces of blank scratch paper, an eraser, a highlighter, tissues, and a small drink in a clear container. Be sure to review the specific Prometric guidelines:target=”_blank”}{:rel=”nofollow”} so you know exactly which items are allowed and which items may be banned or need prior approval.

What Not to Bring

Electronic devices are not allowed in the testing room, including all cell phones, tablets, computers, and smart/wearable devices. In addition to this, any personal items that are not expressly contained in the list of allowable items are prohibited. You should plan to leave these items at home or in your vehicle while taking the exam.

Best Ways to Study for the LSAT

Take Practice Tests for the LSAT

The best way to prepare for the LSAT is by taking plenty of practice tests, especially since the majority of questions are multiple choice and timed. Taking LSAT practice tests will help you to become comfortable with the types of questions you will find on the exam. Practice tests can also help you to identify any additional areas that you may want to study, which is especially important given the breadth of topics that may be found on the test. Questions may include topics such as math, government, economics, finance, political science, journalism, marketing, sociology, and criminal justice, among others.

Use Alternative Study Methods

Since preparing for the LSAT can take a monumental amount of work and time, many students find that alternative study methods, when added to practice tests, can enhance their studying experience and help them to perform better on the day of the exam. Materials such as study guides can ensure that you spend time studying the full range of topics covered on the exam.

Simulate the Testing Experience

The LSAT is a timed exam, which means that simulating the testing experience is a great idea. Simulations help you to understand how you will perform under pressure and with time constraints. Knowing this information before taking the exam can help you to develop a plan to pace yourself and make sure you complete all of the sections of the exam.

LSAT Tips and Tricks

Start preparing early

The LSAT is not an easy exam, and the scope of questions is tremendous. It pulls in information that crosses many disciplines. To ensure that you perform your best, it’s crucial to start preparing early and develop a plan that dedicates time to studying all of the topic areas you may encounter on the LSAT.

If you don’t know an answer, guess

There is no penalty for guessing, so be sure that you complete every question in each of the sections, even if you have to guess on several of them.

Keep a steady pace

You will have 35 minutes to complete each section, which may contain anywhere from 23 to 28 questions. Many examinees find it is helpful to complete the easy questions—ones for which they know the answer quickly—first. Then, you can determine how many questions and how much time you have left and set a pace that will allow you to complete all of the questions for the section.

LSAT FAQ:

1. How much does it cost to take the LSAT?

The cost to take the LSAT, including the Writing portion, is $222 per exam. If you are rescheduling or register late, there may be additional fees.

2. Is there any recourse if I feel like I scored poorly?

Yes, after the day of your test, you have six calendar days to cancel your score. Canceling your scores will be rejected on your law school report, although your actual scores will not be reported. This process ensures that the schools will know that you were exposed to test questions, even if you elected not to report your score during this instance of taking the exam.

3. When and how will I receive my LSAT scores?

It generally takes between three and four weeks before examinees receive their LSAT score. The score will be emailed to you within this time frame after you have completed the exam. You may also log into your LSAC.org account anytime to view your scores.

4. How many times can I take the LSAT?

Individuals can take the LSAT up to seven times over their lifetime. You may not take it more than five times within the current and last five testing years or more than three times in a single testing year (from August to June).

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