The Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
Law School Admission Test (LSAT):
One of the primary determiners of whether you’ll get into law school is your LSAT score. The LSAT is an exam designed to test your reading and logical reasoning skills, and is a foremost factor when law schools review your application. Here is some information that may be helpful if you are planning on taking the LSAT test.
One student’s experience with LSAT preparation:
In 2021, I decided I wanted to go to law school and began studying for the LSAT 3 months before my test date using LSAC’s free resources, Khan Academy and LawHub’s LSAT Prep®, to familiarize myself with the content on the LSAT. However, because of my short study time and perhaps not the correct study resource for myself, I didn’t end up with the score I wanted.
I decided to try again for the 2022 LSAT test cycle, this time using Mike Kim’s The LSAT Trainer self study book for the first few months, then using the 7Sage online study course for the last 4 months, along with LSAC’s LawHub LSAT Prep Plus® for full access to all the practice tests. Because I applied for LSAC’s fee waiver and qualified, I ended up being able to use LawHub LSAT Prep Plus® for free, along with four months of 7Sage for $40 using their Fee Waiver Program. I feel that I’m grasping the LSAT concepts a whole lot better now and I feel much more prepared for my upcoming LSAT test date! It’s also a great feeling knowing that there’s resources out there for low-income students like me.
The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for law school. The LSAT consists of three scored multiple-choice sections that are 35 minutes each, including a logic game section, a logical reasoning section, and a reading comprehension section. There is also a fourth multiple choice section that is used for research. This section (sometimes called the “variable section”) is not scored, and students will not know which section is the research section.
Your LSAT score depends on your “raw score” — the number of questions you answered correctly. Each question is weighted the same, and there is no deduction for incorrect answers (meaning, it’s better to guess on a question than to leave it blank). Your raw score is then converted to an LSAT scale that ranges from 120 to 180, with 120 being the lowest possible score and 180 being the highest. This is done so that the LSAC can implement a curve if a test is slightly harder or easier than past LSAT administrations (this is determined from previous tests’ “variable sections”) to ensure continuity and reliability. You can learn more about the test itself by checking out this resource by the LSAC: LSAT Proven Track Record Brochure
What is a "good" score?
This depends on the schools you are applying to. Look on the LSAC website to see what the mean scores are for the schools that interest you. Those should be your minimal targets. For example, if you were applying to Willamette University School of Law, the mean LSAT score for the Class of 2025 was 154. Your score will be good for 5 years, so you can take a year or more off before actually applying to law school.
Some schools, including Willamette Law, have started taking Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores in place of the LSAT. If you are considering both regular graduate school and law school, the GRE might be a better test to take. But not all law schools take the GRE, so double-check before using this strategy.
LSAT-Flex for COVID-19
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, LSAC started administering live, online, remote-proctored tests in August 2021 using a software that is installed on the candidate’s own computer. There is a 10-minute intermission included between the second and third sections of the new LSAT. LSAC plans to continue using this format for a minimum of 2-3 years, with in-person LSAT testing centers potentially opening as an option, depending on how the COVID-19 situation evolves.
For more information on COVID-19 resources: https://www.lsac.org/covid-19-resources-law-school-candidates
LSAT Writing Sample
Apart from the multiple choice exam, test takers must complete the 35 minute proctored, on-demand LSAT Writing sample that is also administered through the proctoring software. This writing sample is unscored and kept in your file for prospective law schools to access. In the past, LSAT Writing was administered right after the multiple choice exam during in-person tests at LSAT testing centers, but is now administered online with more flexibility. The writing test is open for 8 days prior to every test administration, and you can take it whenever and wherever you want within that window. Keep in mind, however, that LSAT scores will not be released to you unless you have a writing sample on file.
Students who wish to reach their maximum potential on the LSAT should begin preparing for the test several months ahead of the test date. There are many different ways to study and prepare for the test, but here are some suggestions.
- The LSAC website offers some preparation materials for free, such as video tutorials, and sample questions.
- LSAC has partnered with Khan Academy to offer free, personalized prep materials to reach your LSAT goals.
- Past LSAT exams are available through LSAC LawHub. Some prep courses use their own materials in conjunction with LSAT Prep Plus offered through LawHub.
- Western Oregon University attempts to offer a weekend LSAT prep course every year, for more information contact Dr. Henkels at email@example.com.
- This Law School Admission Test Guide provides information on the structure of the LSAT, preparation for each section, crucial information regarding LSAT fees, score range and validation, along with tips for success.
- For students who excel at self-study and want a more affordable option, LSAT prep books are available for purchase online. Some of the highest scores earned by Western students have been by people who self-prepared using practice tests and guidebooks. The keys to self-preparation are practice, practice, practice, and to adjust your strategies if you are not achieving the scores you seek.
Many students also purchase LSAT prep courses. It is very important to consider carefully before purchasing such a course, as there is a wide variety of options. Pick the course that best fits your needs. Consider whether you prefer an online course or a live in-class course. Research on the quality of the course, and consider the price of each. Here are some of the most commonly used LSAT prep courses:
LSAT tutoring may also be extremely helpful during your preparation journey. Prep For Success offers students an affordable prep class opportunity including a customized study guide, access to 80+ practice tests, and 30 hours of live instruction. Check it out!
Here is one student’s experience when searching for an LSAT prep course:
“When I began looking for an LSAT prep course to purchase, I was reluctant to spend such a significant amount of money on the course, most of them cost between $800 and $1,200. When I did more research though I found out how much more scholarship money would be available to me by improving my LSAT score just a small amount. So I set out to do as much research as possible. At first I sought out a class that I could take in person, because I felt I would learn more that way. After significant searching, I found that there were no classes available within reasonable driving distance. So I decided to settle for a live online course (it was cheaper anyway). I then had to find a course that was rated highly, and offered a live online course. I narrowed it down to three, Powerscore, Princeton Review, and Kaplan. All three had strong reputations. After looking at available classes for all three, I settled on Princeton Review, although it was the most expensive, it had by far the most options available for class times. The last thing I did was get online and search for coupons. Pretty much every LSAT Prep course has discount codes available if you look for them, and you can get $100-200 off.”
The LSAC currently administers the LSAT 9 times per year: January, February, March, April, June, July, September, October, and November. Registration deadlines are approximately 4-5 weeks before each test. Deadlines also apply to test date changes, registration withdrawals, and registration refunds. More info at LSAT Dates, Deadlines & Score Release Dates.
When deciding to take the LSAT, be sure to leave enough time to retake the test and still turn in applications on time. If you receive a score that you aren’t happy with, you can retake the LSAT if you register before the deadline. Law schools will be able to see all of your scores on the test, but will typically only count the highest score. If you wish to cancel your LSAT before receiving your score, you may fill out the form to do so on the LSAC website, but it must be done within six days. Keep in mind however that you may only take the LSAT three times in any two-year period.
Visit https://www.lsac.org/lsat/lsac-policy-accommodations-test-takers-disabilities/accommodations-may-be-available-lsat for information on accommodations that may be available for the LSAT.