The Definitive Practice Test Guide for the LSAT
- About the LSAT
- Sections of the LSAT
- What to Expect on Test Day
- Best Ways to Study for the LSAT
- LSAT Tips and Tricks
- LSAT FAQ:
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.
There are two parts of the LSAT. The first is a series of five sections of multiple-choice questions that cover Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, and Logical Reasoning. Each of these sections contains between 23 and 28 questions and has a 35-minute time limit. These sections are followed by a timed essay, in which examinees have 35 minutes to create a sample that demonstrates their writing skills.
The essay is unscored, although a copy of it is sent along with your scores to the schools you selected. Similarly, only four of the five multiple-choice sections are scored. The fifth one is experimental and contains new test questions that are not counted.
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
To answer an analytical reasoning question on the LSAT, you need to formulate an answer based on a set of standards or relationships. This involves identifying what is explicitly stated, as well as applying direct statements to other situations.
The passages are not legally oriented, but require you to apply the same principles that lawyers do when crafting an argument, including the addition of new information to the given material. You will also be asked to substitute equivalent statements for given information and to make judgments based somewhat on your ability to use the information to make a prediction.
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. You do need to 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.
Reading comprehension questions on the LSAT are quite different and much more involved than those on a typical reading comprehension test. The idea is to see if you can read and comprehend material that is as complex as that which you will encounter in law school and in the actual practice of law. This includes material with which you are not expected to be familiar, but should be able to dissect in order to find answers to the 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 leaving for the testing center. These activities ensure that you aren’t distracted by drowsiness or hunger while taking the test, which is especially important given that it is a rather long test. It can take between a half day and seven hours to complete the entire testing process. It’s also 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
Prior to leaving on test day, you will need to electronically sign your LSAT Candidate Agreement. This action is required in order to print your LSAT admission ticket, which is collected during registration on the day of the exam. The admission ticket lists your exact test date, reporting address and time, and any additional instructions.
In addition to the admission ticket, you will be required to present a valid and current form of government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. The name on your ID must match exactly to the one on your admission ticket.
You may bring some types of personal items into the test room, provided they are placed in a clear ziplock bag. Items allowed include: ID, keys, wallet, medical products, tissues, and snacks/beverages. The snacks and beverages may only be consumed during breaks.
If you are taking the paper-and-pencil version of the LSAT, you may also bring 3-4 sharpened No. 2 pencils (mechanical pencils are prohibited), an eraser, a pencil sharpener, and a highlighter.
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 the practice tests will help you to become comfortable with the types of questions you will find on the LSAT. 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 for the LSAT can ensure that you spend time studying the full range of topics covered on the exam. Flashcards may also prove helpful.
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.
1. How much does it cost to take the LSAT?
The cost to take the LSAT, including the Writing portion, is $200 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 June 1 to May 31).