The LSAT, or Law School Admissions Test, is the test used by all accredited universities in the U.S. to assess potential law students’ capabilities. A prerequisite to admission into nearly all law school programs, the LSAT is considered to be one of the most difficult standardized tests. The following information includes a basic breakdown of what’s covered on the LSAT, how to best prepare for the LSAT, and how the LSAT will affect a person’s chances of being accepted into law school.
The LSAT: What to Expect on the Test
The LSAT is composed of five sections that are all administered at once. These five sections test reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, and writing ability. While the writing section is important, it is not scored; so the bulk of a person’s score is based on the first three sections. There is a fifth logical reasoning section that is used to test out new questions, but this section is also not scored. However, test takers will not know which section this is, and therefore should try their best on all test sections.
Each of the sections is thirty-five minutes long. The logical reasoning sections are each approximately 25 questions long and can vary in length. The analytical reasoning section has 25 questions, and the reading comprehension section is composed of 27 questions.
The logical reasoning section of the test is designed to asses a test taker’s ability to understand main points of an argument, apply logical concepts, and analyze arguments. Meanwhile, the analytical section assesses a person’s ability to make connections between points and relationships, and to draw conclusions based on a set of given information. Lastly, the reading comprehension section tests the ability to understand text, understand the main idea of passages, and find information in relatively complicated material.
Preparing for the Test: A Good Approach to Take
Test takers can spend up to a year studying before taking the test, and a minimum of six months of study time is recommended before test day. In order to prepare for the test, test takers should first take a practice test to understand a) what’s on the test and b) what their natural strengths and weaknesses are. Following this, at least one hour a day should be set aside for practicing and studying. At least one timed practice test per week should be taken; the more practice tests a person takes, the more likely he is to receive a higher test score. If struggling with a particular section, a variety of companies–such as the Princeton Review and Kaplan–offer study courses and materials.
A Good Score: What Universities are Looking For
The highest a person can score on the LSAT is 180 points, and the lowest score a person can receive is 120. On average, most scores fall around the 150 range. However, top-tier schools–such as Harvard and Yale–will usually require a score above 171. On average, most high-quality law schools and upper -tier law schools require around 165. Some universities will accept applicants with a score as low as 140 if the applicant has other quality attributes or a high GPA.
The LSAT cannot be taken more than three times in a two-year period. However, test takers can retake the LSAT with no penalties if they believe they can score higher with a retake. The LSAT costs $165 dollars and is administered year-round.
Bobby Hudson writes on education, test prep, certification programs, exam guides and other associated areas. In addition to the LSAT, Bobby is also interested in tech certification exams; those who may need study materials for such an exam should check out the A+ certification study guides from Total Seminars.
Image credit goes to J. Jeff Rose.