Even if you are only thinking about starting your lawyer’s career or would like to find out more about legal studies in the United States and beyond, the chances are high that you have already heard about the LSAT test (and some rumors about this particular exam) that represents an evaluation that most law schools in the country require as they choose their potential learners. While it is often associated with failure and one can read a plethora of negative experiences online, it is not among the hardest exams out there that a Law student will encounter during one’s law school studies.
What is the LSAT Test?
First of all, you should not fear failing this test because it encompasses standard knowledge and rules in the field of legislation. LSAT stands for Law School Admission Test, which means that it is one of those specific exams that will prove your applicability for an average Law School in the country. The only crucial matter about this test is your ability to apply critical thinking and deal with the arguments. In other words, this test will not focus on legislative aspects alone but will determine your level of comprehension, processing of certain information, strategic thinking, and analysis. It is what helps the admission committee to see whether you are skilled enough to be admitted based on your LSAT exam results. As a rule, this particular test is taken before any Personal Statements or recommendation letters are being sent. If you pass this test with acceptable results, it means that you are most likely to get accepted.
Is LSAT Test Obligatory?
Since it has been approved by the American Bar Association, it remains the golden standard for the Law schools as they choose applicants among the thousands of aspiring Law students in the United States and abroad. Even if your school is not accredited by the ABA, passing this test will increase your chances of earning relevant legal certificates and even future employment as your scores are mentioned in your CV.
When & Where Can I Take The LSAT Test?
The LSAT test can be taken four times per year which usually happens in February, then in June, during September or October, and finally in December. The reason why December represents the final deadline is that most Law schools in the United States ask to have it ready by December, which would provide you with some time to get enrolled the following fall semester. It is also recommended to do your best and take the LSAT test as early as you can.
In terms of how to register and LSAT requirements for taking the test, you should contact one of the LSAC-approved testing centers in the country or at various international locations if you are not in the United States. It is important to register sometime in advance because this test has a limited number of available seats, which is why you should take care of securing your place. The registration will cost about $180. Each law school report submission will be additional $35. It is also possible to change your test date or testing location after registering by paying $100. You can visit the LSAC website to see the complete list of LSAT test centers with relevant dates and locations.
As for the test itself, it represents an examination that you do on paper.
Learning to Understand LSAT Test Sections
According to the LSAT study guide, students will encounter five sections in total that will relate to the testing of certain skills and knowledge. Each section will last for thirty-five minutes, which means that if the Logical Reasoning part has two parts, it will last for 70 minutes in total. Here is what each section encompasses:
- Logical Reasoning Test. It consists of two test parts and contains about 25 questions per section. In terms of content, it includes short text passages that a student has to understand by showing an ability to identify the critical parts of some argument, to apply critical thinking to some abstracts, or discover particular information in the text passage that would help make a solid conclusion. Your task is to evaluate the piece of writing critically and analyze an argument that has been made by the author. In most cases, students will encounter multiple-choice questions that will be based upon the assumption, strong or weak points, flaws, principles, or argumentation methods. As it has been mentioned, you have 35 minutes per section.
- Analytical Reasoning. It consists of a single 35 minutes long test of 23-24 diverse questions. What you will encounter represents four diverse sets of logic puzzles with five to six relevant questions that must be analyzed without overdoing it! It has a purpose to test your ability to identify relationships between various concepts and determine how certain rules affect the outcomes and decisions a person makes. You will be asked to analyze situations that are based on clear guidelines and implement logic when dealing with unclear and not so common scenarios. Once again, you have a multiple-choice system with a set of rules and constraints. The logic tests will deal with ordering, systematization, and grouping of things. In most cases, you will have to link various concepts to the right answers.
- Reading Comprehension. It will last for 35 minutes and contain from 25 to 28 multiple-choice questions. Regarding its content, you will deal with four text passages and 5-8 related questions per each text section. You will encounter three long texts and one of them that will be shorter with a slightly deeper meaning. This test evaluates your ability to read, comprehend information, and identify critical points brought up by the author. You have to identify certain ideas, pick information that is relevant, and make conclusions regarding the analytical value of the original text. The content mostly deals with social sciences or humanities with a focus on complex, philosophical, and rhetorical structures and arguments. The shorter text focuses on the comparative skills of a student and asks to identify relationships and logic between several texts.
- Unscored Section. It also lasts for 35 minutes and contains from 24 to 28 multiple-choices questions. They are used as the preparation or specific testing before any new questions and are generally used as a way to outline the future LSAT exams. While they are mostly for technical purposes these questions may be related to anything from the previous sections. As a rule, it is not made clear during LSAT examination and may be encountered after any text section that you have already passed.
- Writing Sample. It is done in the essay format and will always be during the last 35 minutes of your test. You will have to compose an essay on an assigned topic. Your task is to make a bold, confident decision based on two positions regarding your prompt or a topic. You must implement existing criteria and bold facts to compose an acceptable response. Remember that this test does not have either right or wrong response per se because it is our ability to defend your position that matters here.
Know Your LSAT Scores or How is The LSAT Test Graded?
LSAT scoring system includes three Graduate Record Examination sets, which are Raw, Scaled, and Percentile. Since the exam usually has about 100 questions (minimum 99), your total number of correct answers determines the final LSAT score. Your wrong answers are never calculated against the total score.
- Your Raw Score will include the number of questions that you have answered right. If you have an 81/100 raw score, it means that you have answered 81 questions correctly.
- The scaled Score result evaluates your success between 120 (the lowest score) and 180 (the highest you can get).
- Percentile Score. It portrays the score of a student in percentage form in relation to other students who have taken the exam. Let us assume: a score of 155 falls in the 81st percentile. It means that the person taking the text belongs to the top 19% of all students who have taken the LSAT test.
For example, if your raw score is 89 and a sealed score equals 170, you belong to 96.37% of the estimated percentile. Likewise, scoring 58 for the raw result and having 153 for your sealed score, you end up with 45% of your estimated percentile.
Preparing For The LSAT & List of Helpful Resources
Even though this demanding exam represents one of those nightmares that many Law students encounter, the key to success is in LSAT preparation and determination to use logic for every part of this examination. It is still possible to learn how it works and practice methods that will help you get better.
You can turn to self-study, which is the most "affordable" solution. It requires discipline and browsing through online materials that are not always good enough. Alternatively, you can choose LSAT prep courses or personalized tutoring. While both options can be expensive and quality will vary, you have better study materials and learn the basics before you take the test. Some other good tricks include:
- Start Early and develop a plan for your learning routine.
- Master the basics of every part that we have analyzed above by passing through various logic-based questions.
- Seek old LSAT college tests online or discover free resources to see what your strong and weak sides are.
- Test your confidence by replying to questions aloud.
- Remember that it is your accuracy, not how fast you can fill in the answers. Keep thinking!
- Purchase official LSAT practice tests and practice.
- Focus on reading and the way how legal texts and brief cases are composed.
As a way to help you, we came up with a list of 15 helpful LSAT study tools and resources:
- Law School Admission Council. It has all the necessary information for LSAT exam preparation, the latest changes, and special condition discounts.
- The Girl's Guide to Law School. It is not meant for female students only as it is only created by a Columbia Law School graduate who took her time to help future law students. It has great information and offers advice.
- Manhattan Prep. It has online LSAT training courses, private tutoring services, and a friendly community blog.
- The Princeton Review. Anything from practice tests to personalized help can be found here.
- PowerScore. A plethora of amazing LSAT information, textbooks, free resources, and admission process recommendations.
- Kaplan Prep Courses. Penned by expert instructors, it provides interactive LSAT evaluation that has video lessons and explanations.
- Magoosh LSAT. It offers over 500 practice questions and video lessons that are sorted well to let you address every aspect of this examination system.
- Test Max. It has a monthly transcription system and has analytics, message boards, and over 4200 preparation for the LSAT questions to help you train your skills.
- BluePrint Online Test Preparation. If you want to keep things fun as you learn, join this animated study course and learn the way that fits you.
- 7Sage Explanatory Preparation. It is based on real LSAT questions and has explanations, which matters a great deal as you learn why some answers are correct.
- Velocity Test Prep. It was created by LSAT experts, which makes it for a great service with a money-back guarantee and over 5000 question explanations by the best instructors.
- Fox’s Complete Online Course. Created by a law graduate for future law students, it has anything from LSAT books to check to personal phone consulting with the site's creator.
- Next Step Test Prep With Private Tutors. You can choose LSAT or any other law tests for your particular school. One of the best for in-person instruction.
- Varsity Tutoring. If you want to focus on some area for your upcoming exam, they will pick a suitable expert in your subject who will address your academic insecurities.
- Thumbtack LSAT Tutoring. You can set your own price and communicate with Law graduates as you choose your personal exam trainer.
We hope that these resources will help you discover your suitable preparation strategy. Most importantly, have no fear, take breaks, and study without stress and anxiety. It is your confidence, patience, logic, and rational thinking that should set the scene for you. Keep reading, discuss questions, read analytics, practice, practice again… and you will achieve success, passing the test with flying colors!