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LSAT Diagnostic Test: Your Guide

August 22, 2023


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 01/17/23

The first step of your LSAT test prep should be taking a diagnostic test to assess your baseline abilities. To learn more about the LSAT diagnostic test, read on.

Creating the perfect LSAT study schedule can be extremely overwhelming! With the slew of prep courses, textbooks, guides, and mock exams you’ll encounter at the start of your LSAT journey, knowing where to begin can be the biggest challenge. 

Luckily, there’s an easy way to begin your LSAT prep to gain the right insight to create the best study schedule to succeed – a diagnostic test!

If you’re wondering what an LSAT diagnostic test is, it’s simple! It’s a preliminary mock LSAT exam that you take before even looking at your first LSAT question. It gauges your base level abilities, so you can assess your strengths and weaknesses. 

To learn more about the purpose of this diagnostic test and which one to use, read on!

Tips on Taking an LSAT Diagnostic Test

Regardless of which diagnostic test you take, it’s important to keep these tips in mind:

Infographic outlining LSAT diagnostic test tips

Take a Timed Test

It’s best to take a timed test to get an accurate base score before you begin studying. Doing an untimed test gives you an advantage you won’t have during test day!

If you feel like taking a full timed test will be too draining to give you accurate results, you can take each timed section on its own with breaks in between. You’ll still be answering the same questions under the same time restrictions, but will have more time to reset between sections. 

Try Not To Skip Questions

While you’ll most likely skip a few questions on your LSAT diagnostic test, do your best to actually solve the questions before moving on. By trying to answer the questions, you’re already building your own problem-solving methods that you can then build on during your studies!

Be an Active Test-Taker

When you take the test, ensure you keep a mental or physical note of which sections and questions you found the most challenging and which ones were the easiest. Chances are, you’ll have a strong section and a weak one, which will allow you to create a more informed study schedule. 

Don’t Focus on the Numbers Too Much

Even if you get a 135 on your diagnostic, that’s completely fine! You shouldn’t expect yourself to score high on your very first LSAT because you’ve likely never encountered these types of questions before. 

Don’t let your score discourage you or define your potential. The diagnostic is only a tool to help you understand what level of improvement you need. With practice and persistence, you can drastically increase your LSAT score!

Find the Difference

Using your diagnostic LSAT test score, figure out how far you are from your target LSAT score. If you’re only a few points off, you likely won’t have to spend as much time studying for the LSAT as you would if you were 15 or more points off.

What LSAT Diagnostic Test Should You Take?

There are several options you can choose from when deciding which diagnostic test to take. For your diagnostic, you should only trust reputable websites that can provide real past LSAT tests for you to use as your diagnostic. Ensure you can also receive your score and the correct answers after completing your test.

Some of our favorite diagnostic tests to take are the ones provided by LSAC, the administrators of the LSAT. If you have an LSAC account, you can access several free timed practice exams that you can use as your diagnostic test. 

Another excellent resource is Khan Academy. With Khan Academy you can take a full diagnostic test, receive your score, and be given a general assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Or, you can take an express diagnostic with several short sections with general recommendations but no actual score.

Options for taking an LSAT diagnostic test
Source: Khan Academy

However, it’s important to note that none of these diagnostic tests can give you highly personalized recommendations and resources specific to your weaknesses and strengths.

But, Juris can! The first step Juris takes in LSAT prep is giving you a diagnostic test to create a personalized study schedule based on your results. These LSAT experts know exactly how to boost your scores in each section to give you the results you need to get into your dream law school.

What To Do After Getting the LSAT Diagnostic Test Results

The first step you should take after completing your LSAT diagnostic test is to breathe and pat yourself on the back! You have successfully begun your LSAT prep and are headed in the right direction to get to your target score.

Next, try looking at your score from an improvement standpoint. Don’t fixate on your first score, fixate on getting to your final score!

Analyze your diagnostic test and review the correct answers, so you can see where you want wrong. Try to re-do the questions you got incorrect to continue honing your own problem-solving methods.

Lastly, assess your level of need and explore the resources available to you. If your baseline score is way off from your target, you may want to consider working with an LSAT expert to help you get to your score with as little hassle as possible. If you’re close to your target goal, you can begin self-studying and focusing on your weaknesses.

Your diagnostic test should only be the first of several exams you complete during your studies. Customize your subsequent exams! For instance, if you’re struggling with reading comprehension, do two of these sections per practice exam rather than just one.

Is Taking An LSAT Diagnostic Test Worth It?

Taking an LSAT diagnostic test is absolutely worth it! Not only will you begin gaining confidence in completing the LSAT under time restraints, but you’ll also be working smarter, not harder.

By taking a diagnostic test, you can figure out which areas require more improvement and which ones don’t, which will help you create a personalized study schedule that will actually get you to your target score! 

A diagnostic test can also keep you motivated, especially when you see yourself moving further away from your original score and closer to your end score!

FAQs: LSAT Diagnostic Test

If you have any remaining questions about the LSAT diagnostic test, read on to find your answers.

1. What Is an LSAT Diagnostic Test?

An LSAT diagnostic test is a practice LSAT exam that allows students to figure out their baseline abilities before they begin studying. 

2. What Is the Average Difference Between a Diagnostic Score and a Target Score?

While it’s possible to reach your target score regardless of how low your diagnostic score is, most students need to improve by 8-12 points.

3. Is 150 a Good Diagnostic Score?

Since the average LSAT score is about 151, a 150 without any studying is a great diagnostic score! 

4. Is 155 a Good Diagnostic Score?

Yes! For lower-ranking schools, students will only have to improve by a few points to be considered competitive. They can meet high-ranking schools’ requirements if they improve by 10-12 points. 

5. What If I Get a 140 on My Diagnostic?

Your score doesn’t determine your potential! Like any test, without studying, you’re expected to have a relatively low mark compared to what you’d have after weeks or months of studying. 

So, if you get a 140, you should just dedicate more time to studying to ensure you’re able to reach your target score.

6. Should I Take a Timed or Untimed Diagnostic Test?

You should take a timed diagnostic test to determine the areas you need the most improvement in and to get a better understanding of how long you should give yourself to study.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what an LSAT diagnostic test is, how to use one, and the benefits of using one, you have the correct information and tools to officially begin your LSAT prep – a huge step towards your ultimate goal of becoming an attorney!

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