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What Is the LSAT? Your Burning FAQs Answered

December 21, 2023
4 min read


Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 10/19/23

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!

A man is writing the LSAT

What Is the LSAT? 

If you’re looking for a clear definition of the LSAT, you’ve come to the right place. The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a standardized test to gain entry into law school. It’s designed to test for the skills first-year law students need to succeed. 

Source: Law School Admissions Council

About the LSAT (Facts & Figures) 

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 the 2023 - 2024 cycle: 

LSAT Test-Takers Category Number of Students
Registered 101,110
Total Test-Takers 34,020
Reportable Scores 26,031
Number of Students Taking the LSAT for the First Time 19,407
Percentage of First-Time Test-Takers 57.0%

Source: Law School Admissions Council

Do You Have to Take the LSAT to Get Into Law School?

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. 

What’s On the LSAT?

Understanding what is on the LSAT is key to acing it. 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: 

  • Reading Comprehension 
  • Analytical Reasoning 
  • Logical Reasoning (two sections)
  • An unscored, experimental section
  • The LSAT Writing Test 

The unscored section can include question types from all sections. The goal of this section is to validate future LSAT questions. 

male student writing the LSAT with female student in background

How Many Questions Are on the LSAT? 

The amount of questions on the LSAT can vary, however, there are approximately 100 questions on the LSAT. These 100 questions are spaced out fairly evenly among all sections, including the experimental section.

How Many Sections Are on the LSAT?

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 writing sample, too, there are six LSAT sections. All multiple-choice sections are 35 minutes long. 

LSAT Reading Comprehension 

The reading comprehension section demonstrates your reading comprehension and comparative reading abilities: essential skills needed for law school and beyond. 

The LSAT Reading Section Description
Number of Questions Four question sets, each containing five to eight questions for approximately 26 to 28 questions.
Passage Type Breakdown Three passages are single, and one comprises a set of two shorter selections to test your comparative reading (evaluating the relationship between the two passages).
Passage Fields The passages you’ll see can be drawn from the humanities, sciences (biological, physical, social), law-related areas, and more.

The questions you’ll be asked may revolve around these themes: 

  • Passage main ideas or purposes 
  • Explicit and implicit information 
  • How words and phrases are used contextually 
  • How the writing is structured 
  • Applying the information presented in a new context
  • The selection’s principles 
  • Analogies to claims or arguments 
  • The author's tone/attitude based on the wording 
  • How new information impacts claims or arguments 

LSAT Analytical Reasoning

The LSAT analytical reasoning 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.”
The LSAT AR Section Description
Number of Questions Approximately 22 to 24 questions.
Passage Content Sets of questions are based on passages that involve ordering or grouping relationships. These passages and questions are typically not law-related.
Examples of Problems Examples of scenarios include scheduling employees, assigning teachers to classes, ordering tasks by importance, and more.

All of the analytical reasoning questions aim to test your deductive reasoning skills: 

  • Determining relationships to propose a complete solution 
  • Reasoning using “if-when” statements
  • Inferring the truth or what could be the truth based on facts 
  • Inferring the truth or what could be the truth based on facts and new information 
  • Identifying when statements are logically equivalent in context  

LSAT Logical Reasoning 

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.”
The LSAT LR Sections Description
Number of Questions Approximately 24 to 26 questions.
Format Each question will be based on a short passage based on arguments drawn from newspapers, magazines, scholarly publications, advertisements, and informal discourse.

Logical Reasoning will assess skills such as: 

  • Recognizing the parts of an argument and how they relate to each other
  • Recognizing reasoning patterns 
  • Making conclusions based on information
  • Reasoning by analogy
  • Recognizing misunderstandings/points of disagreement
  • Determining how evidence impacts an argument
  • Identifying assumptions
  • Recognizing and applying principles or rules
  • Finding flaws in arguments
  • Identifying explanations

Below we’ll talk about the LSAT experimental section.

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 

The writing test on the LSAT 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. 

How Long Do LSAT Scores Last?

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. Look at the rules of the law schools you're interested in to see how long LSAT scores are valid.

What Is the Length of Every LSAT Section?

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.

What Is the Highest Score on the LSAT?

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.

Male student studying for the LSAT

How Long Is the LSAT? 

The LSAT is a reasonably long test. Including a break between the second and third sections, the LSAT takes approximately three hours to complete.

How Is the LSAT Scored? 

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. 

How Hard Is the LSAT? 

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 study schedule can make your test day easier. 

How Can I Prepare for the LSAT? 

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: 

  • Create a consistent study schedule 
  • Understand the LSAT interface through LSAC LawHub
  • Take a practice test to identify your initial score and create a tangible goal 
  • Go through LSAT practice questions
  • Consistently take practice tests to become more comfortable with test content

You may be wondering how much study time you should set aside 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. 

How Do I Register for the LSAT? 

You can register for the LSAT online through your LSAC account. Take a look at LSAT test dates and deadlines to choose the best time for you. 

Get Ready for the LSAT to Get Into Your Dream Law School 

Now that you know what to expect from 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!

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Plan Smart. Execute Strong. Get Into Your Dream School.

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