How To Prepare For The LSAT: Resources And Common Questions (2024)

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Law schools are known for their demanding admissions requirements. To apply to law school, aspiring law students typically write a law school personal statement, polish their résumés and send test scores to demonstrate their readiness to succeed in a rigorous curriculum.

The only standardized test accepted by every American Bar Association accredited law school is the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)®. The LSAT tests your reasoning, reading comprehension and writing skills as they apply to concepts covered in law school. Law schools use the LSAT to determine whether applicants are well-suited for a J.D. degree program. While the test is not a legal aptitude test, law schools rely upon it because of its ability to predict academic performance in the first year of law school.

Find out what to expect from the LSAT in this guide, which explores the test’s subject areas, its structure and how to prepare for the LSAT.

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What Is The LSAT?

The LSAT—offered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC)®—is a standardized test for prospective law school students. The test examines your skills in reading, writing and reasoning, measuring your potential success in a law program. The LSAT features multiple-choice questions and a writing portion.

LSAT Questions

The multiple-choice section tests your critical thinking and reading comprehension skills through four 35-minute blocks of questions. The questions cover the following topics:

  • Reading comprehension. This section includes reading material typically found in law school. The questions gauge your ability to dissect information, draw conclusions and understand key points. The LSAT includes four reading passages, each with a series of follow-up questions.
  • Analytical reasoning. This section presents scenarios featuring facts, rules and relationships. You’ll answer questions using problem-solving skills to assemble the puzzle of each scenario while adhering to relevant rules or limitations. Starting in August 2024, this section will be eliminated, and instead the exam will include two sections dedicated to logical reasoning.
  • Logical reasoning. The LSAT’s logical reasoning portion includes source-based passages, each with up to two follow-up questions. The questions cover analogies, argument flaws and logical reasoning patterns.

The test also includes one unscored question section covering one of the above topic areas. LSAC uses these questions for quality assurance to strengthen the accuracy of future tests.

LSAT Writing®

LSAT Writing consists of a scenario prompt with two positions the writer can take. This section requires you to choose a side of an argument and use your reasoning and logic skills to support your choice in a persuasive essay. You complete this section separately from the rest of the LSAT, and you have 35 minutes to do so. LSAT Writing is monitored through live proctoring software, allowing test takers to complete it from their own homes, a development that came about, initially, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

LSAT Scoring

The LSAT counts each question you get right rather than subtracting questions you get wrong from a cumulative score. (In other words, there is no penalty for guessing.) LSAC does not score LSAT Writing samples.

The LSAT scoring scale ranges from 120 to 180. The final score report includes your score, your percentile rank compared to other test takers and a score band that highlights your proficiency in each area of the exam. LSAC sends your LSAT score report and writing sample to your law schools of choice.

Common Questions About the LSAT

How Long Does the LSAT Take?

The LSAT takes about three hours to finish, including all five sections and a break. You can take the 35-minute writing portion up to eight days before the day you take the multiple-choice portion of the LSAT.

The LSAT includes two 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions, followed by a 10-minute break. The test then continues with its final two 35-minute multiple-choice sections.

You can request additional breaks between each section if you qualify for accommodations.

How Many Times Can You Take the LSAT?

You can take the LSAT up to seven times. However, you are limited to five tests per five-year reportable scoring period. These rules only apply to tests taken from September 2019 to the present. Therefore, any LSATs you took before that time don’t count toward your limit.

You can’t retake the LSAT if you receive a perfect score in the current or past five testing years.

Is the LSAT Required for Law School?

The LSAT isn’t required for all law schools. Some schools also accept the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)® or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)™. Law schools that accept the GRE or GMAT also accept LSAT scores.

What Can You Expect on LSAT Test Day?

The LSAT is administered online with a remote proctor and in person at professional testing centers. You get a 10-minute break halfway through the test. You can leave the room during your break, but you may not use electronic devices and you must check in with your proctor before beginning the second half of the LSAT.

LSAC allows you to have earplugs, tissues, water in a transparent container and medication on your desk if needed. The test no longer allows scratch paper except as an approved accommodation, but the LSAT Writing interface includes a digital scratch paper section.

You can take the written portion before or after completing the standard LSAT. The LSAT Writing takes place online with a live proctor only.

What Is a Good LSAT Score?

LSAT scores range from 120 to 180, and the median LSAT score is about 152. However, each law school determines its minimum LSAT score for applicants, with more competitive schools preferring scores of 160 or higher.

Common Questions About LSAT Writing

Is LSAT Writing Required for Law School?

LSAT Writing is not required for law schools that do not require the LSAT for admission; you may instead take the GRE for these schools. However, if your school does require the LSAT, you’ll need to complete LSAT Writing. Your school will not consider your LSAT complete if it doesn’t include LSAT Writing.

Is LSAT Writing Scored?

No, LSAT Writing isn’t scored. LSAC sends your writing sample to the law schools to which you apply. Those schools evaluate your writing sample based on their own requirements.

Do Law Schools Actually Read Your Writing Sample?

Law schools that require LSAT scores read each applicant’s writing sample. A school can weigh the importance of LSAT Writing samples however they’d like when determining whether an applicant qualifies for admission.

Does LSAT Writing Have a Minimum or Maximum Word Count?

LSAT Writing does not set a minimum or maximum word count. Instead, test takers should focus on writing a well-planned, organized and thorough essay during the 35-minute testing portion.

Common Questions About LSAT Prep

When Should You Start Preparing for the LSAT?

Anyone preparing for the LSAT should study relevant content for at least several weeks. If you have a lot of time to study, you might feel ready after just one or two months of preparation. However, some test takers might need three months or more to feel better equipped for the LSAT.

What’s the Best LSAT Prep Strategy?

Preparing for the LSAT is an intensive process and systems like memorization that might aid in a college exam do not help when taking the LSAT. As a result, preparing for the LSAT is a process that normally requires months of study, rather than weeks. For example, a preparation cycle of three to six months is very common.

A good starting point is to simply take a full practice test, often called ‘a diagnostic’ so that you can establish a baseline score. In addition to working through a formalized curriculum it is important to remember that taking practice tests after completing that curriculum will form the backbone of your preparation and will also help you objectively assess your readiness to take the test formally.

Are There Free LSAT Prep Resources?

Yes, there are several free LSAT prep resources, including official LSAC LawHub practice tests. Khan Academy also provides a free online LSAT prep course. However, given the correlation between your LSAT score and the cost of attending law school, test takers are strongly encouraged to invest in their test preparation, although spending thousands of dollars is rarely necessary.

LSAT Prep Resources to Consider

Studying for the LSAT and practicing under test conditions should acclimate you to the test and the conditions you will encounter on test day, the idea being that it will help you counter test anxiety and properly understand this very difficult exam. Below are some of the most popular resources for LSAT preparation.

LawHub™

LSAC’s LawHub is free for test takers who want extra practice before taking the exam. The plan includes exam-like testing modules and four official practice tests with instant scoring to determine critical study areas. However, it is important to remember that the level of instruction is going to be very different from that experienced in commercial test preparation offerings.

LawHub Advantage

LawHub Advantage is a paid version of the LawHub free study program, priced at $115 annually. It includes about 60 practice exams, educational resources and a status tracker for law school applications. This is an excellent resource for someone who has learned how to understand the test and needs to practice the test under increasing amounts of time pressure, and under test conditions.

LSAT eBooks and Prep Books

LSAC provides several official eBooks and test prep books for purchase on Amazon and other online retailers. One of its most comprehensive books, “The New Official LSAT TriplePrep Volume 1™,” includes three recent practice tests with answer keys, a scoring conversion table and three LSAT Writing prompts.

Other books include a single or bundle of practice tests. Each book generally costs between $10 and $25, with lower-priced e-book versions available. However, experts note that learning the test through the use of a book alone can lead to learning bad habits that can cause plateaus and which can be difficult to break.

Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep

The Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep program is a free study resource that identifies which exam areas you may need to develop. It then uses that information to create a custom plan with lessons and skills practice. Khan Academy is an excellent starting place, but with law school tuition costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, even at average schools, investing in quality LSAT preparation is strongly encouraged.

The Cost of LSAT Prep

The cost of LSAT preparation programs varies widely and depends on the experience of the tutor, whether the content is provided in person (more costly) or online and the level of student to tutor interaction. For instance, some providers offer subscription fees under $100 but with minimal interaction. Others range from anywhere between $1,000- $5,500 but spending such a large sum is rarely necessary. Test takers will also be encouraged to note that many providers allow waivers for those with an LSAT approved fee waiver.

How To Prepare For The LSAT: Resources And Common Questions (2024)

FAQs

How To Prepare For The LSAT: Resources And Common Questions? ›

Get familiar with the types of questions on the LSAT. The best place to start is with LSAC.org

LSAC.org
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is a nonprofit, membership organization composed of all ABA-accredited law schools in the United States. LSAC provides many services to the member schools, including the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
https://dus.psu.edu › pre-law › what-lsac
since LSAC is the maker of the test. For an overview of the test visit About the LSAT. After you have read the overview, review the sample questions with explanations at LSAC's Types of LSAT Questions.

What is the best way to prep for the LSAT? ›

There is no one right way to prepare for the LSAT, and as you start your preparation, you have various options to consider. If you learn well through self-study, taking practice tests on LawHub™ — or with the extensive library of previously used LSATs that LSAC has published in book form — is a great option.

Can you study for LSAT in 2 weeks? ›

In general, if you are short on available time in the coming two weeks, focus on watching the Magoosh lessons, completing at least three to four practice sections a week reinforcing the lesson content, and taking one practice test a week (in one sitting).

How many hours should you prep for LSAT? ›

Average Recommended Study Time

Most LSAT experts recommend around 3 months of full times study, or around 150 to 300 hours; this breaks down to approximately 12 to 25 hours a week of studying every week. This is the study plan that suits most people and is the most customizable depending on your individual obligations.

What material should I study for the LSAT? ›

The New Official LSAT TriplePrep Volume 2™ is an essential LSAT preparation tool brought to you at an unbelievable price! Comprising PrepTests 155 through 157, this book includes: 3 official LSAT PrepTests. an answer key for each test.

What did Elle Woods get on the LSAT? ›

Elle Woods, a fictional character portrayed by Reese Witherspoon in the movie Legally Blonde, is known for her remarkable LSAT score—179 out of 180.

How many questions can you miss on the LSAT and get a 170? ›

To achieve a score of 170 on the LSAT, you can answer a maximum of 11 questions incorrectly. In other words, you should aim to correctly answer 90 out of the 101 total questions to reach your desired score of 170.

Is a 145 LSAT score good? ›

A 144-145 is generally considered to be the lowest acceptable score to attend law school. The median LSAT score is around 151-152, so 144-145 is significantly lower than this. As such, the majority of law schools will not accept scores below this.

What months are the hardest to take the LSAT? ›

There isn't one specific month that is the easiest or hardest to write the LSAT, and if there was, it would change each year since the students writing the LSAT change each year! The hardest test will be the one you haven't fully prepared for, regardless of the month!

Is passing the LSAT hard? ›

The LSAT is unlike any other admissions tests you might have taken in that it doesn't test knowledge. Instead, it is a skill-based test designed to evaluate if you have what it takes to be successful for the rigors of law school. LSATs are notorious for being one of the hardest admissions tests one can take.

What is a good LSAT study schedule? ›

In total, we recommend devoting about twenty hours per week for a period of three months (approximately 250 to 300 hours all together) as a good benchmark. Here are some tips for determining exactly how much time you should spend studying for the LSAT.

What is the average LSAT score without prep? ›

The LSAT is a notoriously difficult exam that evaluates logic and critical thinking skills rather than content knowledge or fact memorization. The average LSAT score without studying ranges from 135 to 145, well below the median at 151 in the 50th percentile.

What not to do when studying for the LSAT? ›

The LSAT: What NOT to Do
  1. (1) Use an old LSAT prep book you found on some shelf. ...
  2. (2) Do Logic Games in your head to save time. ...
  3. (3) Underline the entire passage of the Reading Comprehension section. ...
  4. (4) Practice for the Writing Sample. ...
  5. (5) Not take every practice test you can.

How can I prepare for LSAT at home? ›

Taking previously administered LSATs is the best way to prepare for test day. You can get started with the free Official LSAT PrepTests ® available in your LawHub account. However, most test takers will benefit from taking additional practice tests under actual, timed conditions.

What is the most difficult part of LSAT? ›

Typically test takers find Analytical Reasoning (logic games) to be the most difficult section of the LSAT. This is mainly due to the fact that many of the tasks involved are things that the test taker may not be familiar with, or that are particularly tricky.

What major best prepares you for the LSAT? ›

“You may choose to major in subjects that are considered to be traditional preparation for law school, such as history, English, philosophy, political science, economics or business,” their website says, “or you may focus your undergraduate studies in areas as diverse as art, music, science and mathematics, computer ...

Is 2 months enough for LSAT prep? ›

Two months is the optimal LSAT prep schedule for many students. While you can make great score improvements with one intense month of study, practice, and review, most expert LSAT faculty will recommend a longer schedule if one is possible for you.

Is there a trick to the LSAT? ›

Practice, Practice, Practice…

The more questions you practice and master, the more prepared you'll be for the test, and the less likely you'll be caught off guard by difficult questions. It's also helpful to practice your writing skills to prepare well for the LSAT writing sample portion of the exam.

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