Before the LSAT Test, you had the dream: the gleam of light reflecting off the polished wood of the benches; the bang of the gavel echoing in the quiet courtroom after a heavy sentence; the hush of the jury’s thoughts as the last word of your closing argument sinks in.
Yeah, you know you’ve dreamed of it. Now, how are you going to get there?
There is only one test between you and that courtroom (well, two when you include the Bar, but you can worry about that later). For now, you have to pass the LSAT Test, and before you can, you’ll need some basic info about it.
What Is the LSAT Test?
The Law School Admission Test, which is given four times a year, is a standardized paper-based test you’ll need to take and pass to get yourself into most law schools. It is currently only offered as a paper-based test, but the Law School Admission Council is researching viable methods of moving it to a computer-based or computer-adaptive test. You can take the LSAT by December for law school admission the next fall, but the LSAC recommends you take it earlier (like June or October) to guarantee your spot.
What Is on the LSAT Test?
Because you’re going to be reading a lot of complex case material (read dry, convoluted case material) during law school, the LSAT is heavy on reading comprehension and logic. If you can’t wade through the muck they throw at you on the LSAT, you’ll surely sink in law school.
You’re going to get five 35-minute multiple-choice sections on the test, four that are scored. You’ll also get a 35-minute writing section at the end. Although the writing section isn’t scored, the sample will be sent to all your prospective law schools, so it had better be good! The sections are as follows:
LSAT Logical Reasoning (Arguments)
These two sections basically ask the test-taker to evaluate arguments. What is the conclusion? Where is the faulty logic? What assumption is incorrect?
Two of the five sections on the LSAT
25 questions in each section
35 minutes per section
Finding the main point of an argument
Analyzing arguments for weaknesses/strengths
Applying logic to abstract concepts
Sample LSAT Logical Reasoning Questions
LSAT Analytical Reasoning (Games)
In the Analytical Reasoning Section, you’re going to be playing reasoning games like where to place guests at a table if Susie can’t sit next to Tom or Jack, and Jack must be placed by his third cousin, or which color hat to wear on each day of the week if Sunday is not a green or blue day, but red can only be worn on the day after yellow. You know, fun games like that. If you don’t know where to begin preparing for the LSAT, start here. Once you master a few basic strategies for cracking these questions, you’ll raise your score significantly.
One section on the LSAT
Determining relationships between concepts
Understanding a rule’s effect on an outcome
Drawing conclusions based on set guidelines
Sample LSAT Analytical Reasoning Questions
LSAT Reading Comprehension
Can you read complex text without falling asleep? Can you analyze, evaluate, and synthesize material? Can you answer multiple-choice questions based on the dreary stuff you just read? Let’s hope so!
One section on the LSAT
Fining the main idea
Understand intricate text
Sample LSAT Reading Comprehension Questions
How Is the LSAT Tes Scored?
Good question. The LSAT’s scores range from a 120 (low) to a 180 (killer). Even though the average score is a 150, you’ll need to score a 160 or higher if you want to get into one of the top twenty-five law schools in the country. Yale requires a 171.
Facts about the score you should know:
Only four of the multiple-choice sections count
The writing section isn’t scored
No points are deducted for blank or wrong answers
Most of the top law schools will average your LSAT scores if you make multiple attempts
How Can You Prepare for the LSAT Test?
The LSAC offers a free practice LSAT, but there are a number of ways you can prepare for this test and get the score you’d like!
Private tutors: Many different organizations offer private tutoring – Kaplan, Sylvan, TutorNation, and more. The caveat? They’ll cost you upwards of $1,000. The bonus? Guarantees. If you don’t score well, you get your money back.
Books: Sworn off of the old-fashioned paper-and-pencil? Don’t be too hasty! Those books have helpful practice questions and tips. Plus, they walk you through each question and solution.
Online Courses: If you’re self-motivated, and let’s face it – you probably are if you’re thinking about law school, taking an online course may be the best prep method for you. You can pace yourself between online seminars, practice questions, study groups and practice tests. Plus, you don’t have to pay the hefty fees of a private tutor.
Good luck getting the score you want on the LSAT, and getting into your top choice of law schools!