Understanding the LSAT: Law School Admission Test

Similar to how the SAT and ACT are used by colleges as a measure of whether a student will be successful, the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is used by law schools to determine whether an applicant will be an asset to a university. Almost all prospective law students are required to submit their LSAT scores as part of their application. (Some schools will accept a student’s GRE scores, but for the best chance of admission, the Law School Admission Council recommends submitting LSAT scores.)

What is the LSAT? The LSAT measures skills that are considered essential for success in law school. The LSAT is scored on a scale from 120 to 180. 12.5% scores 162 or above, 12.5% score 142 or below, and 75% score between 142 and 162. What is in the test? Five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions. The Analytical Writing section is not scored, but schools you apply to will receive a copy. The sections are: Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, Analytical Writing. When is the test? Visit lsac.org for the testing schedule and be sure to register at least 6-8 weeks ahead of time to avoid late fees. How much does the LSAT cost? $190. Visit lsac.org for additional fees. Are there fee waivers? Yes, fee waivers are available for candidates who cannot afford to pay. Visit lsca.org to see if you are eligible. Where does my score report go? Your LSAT test score will automatically be sent to every law school to which you've applied, but when you register for the LSAT, you will be given the option to have your score sent to additional schools. How should I prepare? Familiarize yourself with the types of questions you will be asked and take practice tests. Explore these resources: Kaplan, Princeton Review, LSAT Prep Book, Peterson's. What should I expect on test day? You need to bring your admission ticket, a government-issued photo ID, and three or four sharpened No. 2 pencils. You can bring additional items in a clear ziplock bag. Visit lsac.org to see what items are permitted.

Text and design by: Anna Palmer

Like other standardized tests, the LSAT tests your ability to comprehend and understand complex materials. You’ll have to sit through one section of each reading comprehension analytical reasoning, and writing, and two sections of logical reasoning.

  • In the reading comprehension section, you’ll be given a written passage, similar in difficulty to what you’ll be asked to read in law school and asked to answer questions about it; you don’t need background knowledge of the subject matter to correctly answer the questions.
  • Analytical reasoning questions are almost like logic puzzles. For example, you may be given a written set of statements and asked to draw conclusions about what else must be true based on the information that you have. Questions typically don’t relate to law.
  • The logical reasoning section provides you with a short passage and then asks questions that are designed to test your understanding of arguments. Not only will you need to be able to identify an argument, but you’ll also be asked to disprove arguments and identify relevant information.
  • The unscored writing section tests your ability to respond to a prompt, create an organized and well-developed argument, and appropriately use the English language.

Visit lsac.org to register for the LSAT, learn more about the format of the test, or request accommodations. Good luck!

About Anna Palmer

Anna grew up loving everything that involved art and creativity. She received a scholarship to attend Memphis College of Art where she studied graphic design. Graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Anna worked as a graphic designer until she decided to expand her skill set by studying advertising and marketing. She thought knowing how consumers think would help maximize her design skills. She then attended Portland State University where she earned her second degree, a BS in advertising management.

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