What is the LSAT?

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Updated August 4, 2020

If you are thinking about attending law school, then you are also likely wondering what is the LSAT and how you can prepare for passing this admissions exam. Administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the LSAT is designed to assess the proficiencies of prospective law school candidates to determine whether they are ready to face the challenges of pursuing a degree in the legal profession. Since being established in 1948, the LSAT has been utilized by admissions committees at law schools in the United States, Canada, Australia, and a growing number of nations worldwide to provide a standardized method for evaluating applicants aside from undergraduate GPA. Below you will find a complete overview on everything you need to know to disprove common myths about the LSAT, according to the Princeton Review.

Structure of the LSAT Exam

As the single most important element of law school applications, the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) has been specifically designed as a half-day standardized exam that consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions as well as a 35-minute writing sample administered at the end of testing. The LSAT measures the skills that are considered essential for success in law school, including reading comprehension, logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and writing. In the first two sections of logical reasoning, you can expect questions that test how you apply logic to abstract concepts and analyze arguments. Within the analytical reasoning section, you will be evaluated based on how you determine relationships between concepts and draw analytical conclusions. In the four sections of reading comprehension, you will need to understand scholarly texts and determine main ideas of complex passages.

How the LSAT Exam is Scored

After completing the test over the allotted three hours and 30 minutes, the LSAT exam is scored on a scale of 120 to 180 points. Although the average score received is around 150, candidates who are seeking to gain admissions into the nation's top law schools will likely need a score as close to perfect as possible, typically over 170. Similar to other college admissions exams, there is no penalty for wrong answers of the LSAT, so it is never wise to leave questions blank. Since most accredited law schools today will average multiple LSAT scores together, it is recommended that students prepare thoroughly the first time and only take the test once.

Ways to Prepare for Taking the LSAT

Despite popular belief that the LSAT only tests innate abilities and basic skills that cannot be improved through studying, there are several ways that you can prepare for taking the LSAT to dramatically improve your score results. The truth is very few individuals achieve their fullest potential on the LSAT without putting in some effort for preparation. According to Petersons, at minimum, you should review practice tests, complete LSAT practice questions, and compose a writing sample under the actual time constraints to familiarize yourself with the structure. Most law school candidates will also purchase prep books for the LSAT to build test-taking techniques and strategies, or pursue a preparation course with private or small group tutoring.

Related Resource: GMAT

Administered four times throughout the year at testing centers around the globe, the LSAT is a standardized exam that is heavily relied upon by admissions committees of ABA-approved law schools to form admission and scholarship decisions. Now that you fully understand what is the LSAT exam, you have the knowledge needed to get ready for passing the test with flying colors and receiving an acceptance letter from your top-choice law school.

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