What is the LSAT? Do you need to take it to get into law school? No matter what your LSAT-related questions are, we'll cover them below. Read on to have all your burning questions definitively answered!
If you’re wondering “What the LSAT is”, you’ve come to the right place. The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a standardized test to gain entry into law school. The LSAT is designed to test for the skills first-year law students need to succeed.
The first LSAT was administered in 1948 and included ten sections that took an entire day. Today, the LSAT is a lot more manageable at three hours long.
Over the last ten years, 100,000 to 170,000 test-takers have taken the LSAT annually. The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) releases data annually about test-takers. These are recent test-taker highlights from a complete cycle:
Source: Law School Admissions Council
The last complete cycle showed a 35.7% increase in LSAT test-takers from the previous year.
No, you don’t necessarily have to take the LSAT to get into law school. Many law schools, including UCLA, Stanford, and Yale, accept GRE scores instead of the LSAT. Some schools may even accept the GMAT.
However, check all requirements for the schools you want to apply to first before deciding to take the GRE over the LSAT. The LSAT is still the most popular admissions test used for law school.
The LSAT’s content is designed to predict your first-year law school performance. According to the LSAC, LSAT scores are the best predictor of your success, even more so than your undergraduate GPA.
So, what’s on the LSAT? These are the LSAT sections:
The unscored section can include question types from all sections. The goal of this section is to validate future LSAT questions.
Many people wonder, “How many questions does the LSAT have”. There are approximately 100 questions on the LSAT, although this number may be slightly higher or lower (for example, 99 or 101). These 100 questions are spaced out fairly evenly among all sections, including the experimental section.
There are four multiple-choice sections on the LSAT, although some may say five since the Logical Reasoning section is broken down into two parts. If you count the LSAT Writing Sample, too, there are six LSAT sections. All multiple-choice sections are 35 minutes long.
The LSAT Reading Comprehension section demonstrates your reading comprehension and comparative reading abilities: essential skills needed for law school and beyond.
The questions you’ll be asked may revolve around these themes:
The LSAT Analytical Reasoning (AR) section tests your problem-solving skills and logic. The questions are designed to:
“assess your ability to consider a group of facts and rules, and, given those facts and rules, determine what could or must be true."
All of the LSAT Analytical Reasoning questions aim to test your deductive reasoning skills:
Technically making up two LSAT sections, Logical Reasoning (LR) is meant to assess:
“your ability to examine, analyze, and critically evaluate arguments as they occur in ordinary language.”
Logical Reasoning will assess skills such as:
Below we’ll talk about the LSAT experimental section.
The experimental section is unscored and can include question types from the other LSAT sections. Try your best to do as well as you can!
The LSAT Writing Test is also 35 minutes long. It's used to test your persuasive writing skills and can be completed up to eight days before your LSAT test day.
LSAT scores don’t expire. They remain on record indefinitely with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). However, some law schools might prefer more recent scores when considering applications. Check the policies of your chosen law schools to answer the question “when do LSAT scores expire”.
The LSAT is made up of four 35-minute test sections. There's a 10-minute break between the second and third sections. The whole test usually takes about 3 hours for most people.
On the LSAT scale, the highest achievable score is 180, while the lowest is 120. This conversion from raw scores to the LSAT scale is performed to enable easy score comparison across different LSAT administrations. The score reported on the score report is a result of this conversion.
The LSAT is a reasonably long test. Including a break between the second and third sections, the LSAT takes approximately three hours to complete.
Your LSAT score can range from 120 to 180 points. Your score is based on how many questions you answer correctly; all questions are weighted the same. This "raw" score is then converted to the LSAT scale.
For the most part, the LSAT is hard. The LSAT is meant to measure your preparedness for law school by assessing your critical thinking and reasoning skills – you can't get away with memorization and must understand how to apply your knowledge and skills.
However, practicing with LSAT questions and developing a consistent LSAT study schedule can make your test day easier.
The best way to prepare for the LSAT is to build confidence and familiarity with test content through consistent review. These tips can help you prep for the LSAT:
You may be wondering how long you should study for the LSAT. For most students, aiming for three months of preparation, putting in about 20 hours per week, is a good target. Remember, this is a general estimate, and everyone is different.
Now that you know what the LSAT is and what is on the LSAT; you're one step closer to your dream law school. Although the LSAT is a challenging exam, you can ace it with enough time and preparation!