The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is one of the most significant determinants for admission into law school. The LSAT contains numerous difficult questions that doing well on the test is incredibly challenging even for the smartest student. However, you can, with the right preparation, ace the LSAT.
Before anything else, choose the top three law schools you want to attend to determine your goal score. Knowing your goal score will give you an idea of how much you need to study.
You should also make up your mind when you intend to take the LSAT. You need to start studying at least six months for the test. So, if you plan to take the test in July or September, you need to start studying in the summer.
What is the LSAT?
Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a five multiple-choice section test that is one of the requirements to get admitted into a law school. Four sections of the test are graded, and the 5th section is ungraded.
The ungraded section is not marked as such, so you must answer all parts to the best of your ability.
• One Section for Reading Comprehension
• One Section for Analytical Comprehension
• Two sections for Logical Reasoning
• Experimental Section (ungraded) that will cover any of the three categories
You will also need to do an ungraded writing sample that will be sent to the law schools where you will apply.
Lawyers do much reading. All readings related to the law are always long, complicated, and dense. Reading comprehension is, therefore, essential to determine the abilities of a lawyer. This section will provide law schools with the ability to assess the applicant’s ability to comprehend a given text and make an insightful analysis.
The Reading Comprehension section contains four subsections, each consisting of a lengthy text similar to what you will read in law school or actual law practice. After each passage, there are between 5-8 multiple-choice questions.
In one of the subsections – Comparative Reading, you will need to analyze two sets of texts and determine their relation to one another.
The content of texts in these sections can be from any of the various areas and topics of study, such as biological sciences, history, humanities, etc.
In this section, you will be tested on your ability to comprehend a lot of information within a short period. Your main job in this section is to identify salient points in the article.
This section of the test will test your ability to make logical conclusions from a set of propositions. This section has subsections, with each focused on one passage followed by questions. Each passage is not related to law; instead, the readings are about scenarios that require skills in critical thinking.
The questions in this part will test your ability to determine what must be true, given the scenario’s parameters. This part will test your ability to identify a set of rules and use your reasoning skills to arrive at a reasonable conclusion.
The two Logical Reasoning Sections aim to test your skills in identifying, evaluating, constructing, and your ability to refute arguments. There will be examples of arguments, and you need to assess each brief critically. The briefs will be coming from newspapers, magazines, and academic texts not related to law.
You will need to answer a few questions concerning the sample argument. To correctly answer the questions, you will need to know how to construct arguments and may use logic to reach a conclusion.
You do not need to know about arguing to answer this section correctly. You just need to have arguing skills such as identifying the premise arguments, and conclusion. This is a challenging section, so you will need to create a strategy to approach the arguments to get the right answers.
Both Logical Reasoning sections are the LSAT’s most important parts because they make up one-half of the test’s total points. It is, therefore, necessary to ace this section to get a top score.
Just like most standardized tests, the LSAT starts with more straightforward questions. The first 12 questions are simple and straightforward. Therefore, you need to trust your instinct in these questions so you can quickly answer the questions.
Take your time, though, with the more difficult questions, starting with eliminating what you think are the wrong answers. Make sure to answer the more straightforward questions first to ensure more correct answers. Leave the more difficult questions until the end.
If you do not know the correct answer, guess, because there is a 20% probability, you may have chosen the right answer.
Reading and reasoning skills are essential to ace the LSAT. It is, therefore, vital that you take your time to prepare and study for the test. Most law schools place a heavyweight on your LSAT score in their admission process.
When to take the LSAT
Many law schools require LSAT scores earned the December before enrollment. The test is administered seven times a year. Many aspiring law students prefer to take the test in the early fall, the June test schedule, to choose the law school to attend.
Register for your preferred testing schedule at least six weeks before the testing date to ensure you can secure a seat at your preferred testing location.
The LSAT score is between 120 and 180 and is valid for five years. Scoring 165 or higher will most likely get you accepted in the Top 10 law schools in the US.
While you can take the LSAT multiple times, you should take it only once. You can retake the test if you are not content with your score. However, more often, you will not be able to improve your score, and you risk getting a lower score.
Law schools treat multiple LSAT scores differently. Some law schools will consider your second score if it is higher than your first. Many law schools will take the average of your multiple scores. If you had a low score on your first test, your second test would need to be significantly higher to increase your average LSAT score.
If you took the LSAT multiple times, all your scores would be reported to the law schools you applied with, if earned in the last five years or the current year.
Your LSAT score will be released only to you and your prospective law schools. If you, for example, apply in January 2021, all your LSAT scores from June 2020 to May 2021 will be reported to the law schools as well as all scores earned the previous five years.
• June 2015 – May 2016
• June 2016 – May 2017
• June 2017 – May 2018
• June 2018 – May 2019
• June 2019 – May 2020
This means if you first took the LSAT in June 2015 and last took it in May 2021, only the scores you earned before June 2015 will not be part of your test report.
Top Tips to Ace the LSAT
A high LSAT will increase your chances of getting accepted to the law school of choice or even to the top law schools in the US. Here are some practical tips to ace the LSAT.
1. Pick your preferred LSAT Test Date.
Picking your LSAT test date and registering with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is the first and most crucial step to preparing for the test.
If you already know the exact date of your LSAT, you will not delay preparing for the test. You will know exactly how much time you have to study, and this will allow you to create a study schedule.
2. Get Acquainted with the LSAT Format
Before you begin studying, get acquainted with the format of the test. The test has five sections, and you have 35 minutes to answer each section. The test consists of one section each, for Reading Comprehension and Analytical Reasoning, and two parts for Logical Reasoning. Each section has multiple-choice questions.
The fifth section is ungraded and contains experimental questions. You will only get to know which part was ungraded when you receive your score. The LSAT also includes a 30-minute ungraded essay that will be sent to the laws where you will apply. You will be given 3.5 hours to complete the test.
3. Take a Benchmark LSAT Practice Set
Before buckling down to studying for the test, take your initial LSAT practice test. This will give you an idea of the areas in which you excel and where you need to improve. Analyze your scores in each section and determine which areas you need to focus on the most.
Your first LSAT practice test will also allow you to compare your score to the admissions scores of the law schools you plan to attend.
4. Pick your Study Materials
Selecting the best LSAT study materials is crucial to ensure your LSAT success. Choose one or two LSAT prep books. If you are struggling with discipline in handling a study schedule, enroll in a course with a definite schedule. You can also opt for online prepping.
5. Create a Study Plan
You need to put in the right number of study hours to learn your study materials. This will ensure you will pass the LSAT with a good score. You need to create an organized structure starting two to three months before your test date.
Make it your goal to study at least two to three hours each day and five days a week. Block your study time and stick to it.
6. Give more Emphasize on LSAT Logical Reasoning.
Devote more time to study for the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT because it covers two of the four sections or 50% of the test. Learn all you can about the types of reasoning questions and common correct kinds of answers.
Make sure to devote two Logical Reasoning exercises for every Reading Comprehension and Logic Games.
7. Do not Ignore the LSAT Writing Sample.
Never ignore the Writing Sample part of the LSAT. Study what goes into a Writing Sample, so you are not caught unaware when you see it during the test. The Writing Sample is in the tail end of the LSAT test. It could be challenging to write your Writing Sample for the first time after sweating it out with the other sections of the test for three hours.
Your Writing Sample will not be scored and will not be part of your LSAT score. However, law schools will probably want to read your LSAT Writing Sample when they review your application. A poorly written Writing Sample can make or break your application.
8. Take Lots of Practice Tests
You will need to allocate lots and lots of hours to do LSAT practice problems. Practice tests will help you get acquainted with structures of LSAT problems and how creators of the test will structure questions and answer to try to confuse you.
The purpose of practice tests is to be familiar with the type of questions, so you do not get overwhelmed when you see the actual test questions. Practice tests also will allow you to review your wrong answers to determine which section of the test you need to dedicate most of your study time.
Ideally, you should look at taking at least four practice tests. That means you will need to allocate about 14 hours of your study time for these tests. By taking all those practice tests, you will be familiar with the format and test structure of the actual test.
9. Prepare for D-Day
The day before your test schedule, prepare everything you need to take with you to the LSAT. Know the exact location of the test center, how you will get there, and what time you should be there. Make sure to have your LSAC permits and snacks, too. The more prepared you are for d-day, the more confident you will be to ace the LSAT. Have a good night’s sleep, also. You will be spending 3 ½ hours to complete the LSAT. Make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared for this grueling task.
On the day of the LSAT, make sure to eat well.
Cramming for the LSAT is a surefire recipe for failure. You cannot pick up a book the night before the test and absorb everything to ensure you get a score high enough to get accepted to your preferred law school. Taking to heart the tips mentioned above will ensure you will ace the LSAT.