What is the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)?
- The Law School Admissions Test is a half day exam required of all future law students prior to applying to law school.
- The LSAT is the best predictor of success during the first-year of law school.
- Offered four times per year:
- June - best option, afternoon exam, scores released around July 4.
- October - second best option, taken during midterms if still in school, scores released around October 31.
- December - typically coincides with final exams, all schools will accept December scores, scores released around January 1, early application deadlines will have passed.
- February - considered either very late (if using for current cycle) or very early (if using for the next cycle), not all law schools will accept February scores, scores released around March 8, some applications will have passed by the time scores come out.
- The LSAT is a half-day standardized pencil-and-paper test.
- It contains five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions.
- No questions are asked of a factual nature. In other words, no questions on the exam require test takers to "know the law."
- Four out of the five sections are calculated for the test taker's score relative to other test takers, and the remaining section is for experimental purposes. The sections are randomly ordered, and the test taker does not know which section is the experimental one.
- The following are the five sections:
- Reading comprehension - Test takers are asked to read lengthy and complex passages to test reading and reasoning abilities. There are four sets of passages followed by 5 to 8 questions.
- Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) - Measure the ability of the test taker to understand a structure of relationships and to draw logical conclusions about that structure. Usually deemed the most difficult section by test-takers, but also the easiest to improve upon in practice.
- Logical Reasoning - Assesses the ability of the test-taker to analyze, critically evaluate, and complete arguments as they occur in ordinary language. Test takers are asked to read and comprehend a short passage, and then answer a question about it. Makes up 50% of the exam
- Variable/Experimental Section - You will receive one of the above sections that is experimental, designed to prepare items for future tests. It can be any section of the exam, so be sure to practice taking five sections when preparing.
The writing sample is another component of the LSAT. It is a 35-minute writing sample in which test takers are required to express their ideas clearly and fluently. The writing sample is not scored; however, copies are sent to the law schools to which candidates are applying.
- Test is scored anywhere between 120 and 180 points; the national average is a 151.
- The test taker's raw score is based on the total of correct responses.
- Since there is no penalty for guessing, test takers should never leave a question unanswered.
- Test takers should be prepared to take the test only once. Law school applicants may take the LSAT up to three times in a two-year period. But taking the test again does not necessarily mean the new score will be higher. It could be lower.
- All scores will be reported to schools to which a candidate applies.
- LSAT scores are good for five years. Check individual school requirements to be sure.
Candidates to law school should only plan on taking the LSAT once. All scores within the last 5 years will be reported to the law schools. Most schools will use the highest score for admissions purposes, though some still average scores. Please check with individual law schools about their policy.
There is no "right" way to prepare for the LSAT. Most students will spend between three and six months studying for the LSAT. However, 97 percent of students do some sort of preparation prior to taking the LSAT. I recommend you start by taking an untimed practice LSAT to familiarize yourself with the question types and formatting of the exam.
The Law School Admissions Council offers free official resources to begin preparing for the LSAT. I recommend starting with LSAC to understand the exam and see where you stand. Also, check out their YouTube page for videos about preparing for the LSAT.
Buy LSAT SuperPrep I and SuperPrep II. LSAC's Superprep series features 3 full-length exams with explanations for every single question, including why the right answer is right and the wrong answers are wrong. Buying both books means you will have over 600 questions with explanations written and vetted by those who actually wrote the exam, all for less than $100. LSAC also offers books of 10 actual LSATs for use in practice. These exams do not include explanations, but are a great practice resource.
Arizona State University has partnered with the Princeton Review to offer ASU students free or discounted test preparation resources.
Eligibility requirements for free online test prep courses:
- Must be an ASU student and currently attending this semester
- LSAT and MCAT students must have taken at least 60 credit hours
- GRE and GMAT students must be currently attending
- Must take the exam within 1 year of registering
Other Test Preparation Options
- TestMasters (ask about their discount for ASU students!)
- PowerScore LSAT Prep
- BluePrint Test Prep
- Kaplan Test Prep
- Steps to the LSAT by Jay Cutts
- LSAT Blog by Steve Schwartz, professional LSAT tutor (lots self-study resources and videos)
- Next Step Test Prep: One-on-one tutoring