The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the first step in applying to almost any law school approved by the American Bar Association. This daunting test is designed to determine a test-taker’s ability to handle the rigorous curriculum at law school and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some basic understanding of the format and components of the LSAT can help you in your study and preparation for exam day.
This exam is one of the more difficult standardized tests out there and will take up about half of your day as it consists of six separate sections. Each of the sections take 35 minutes each so after factoring in any possible breaks, you’ll be at the testing center for quite some time.
Plan on spending exam day at one of many testing centers around the world where the LSAT is administered four times a year, in June, September or October, December, and February. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the association that administers the exam, announced that they will begin testing six times a year in the 2018-2019 school year to open up more opportunities as people prepare to further their education.
Your exam score will come from four of the six sections while the other two sections include a non-graded experimental section (often referred to as the variable section) and a writing section that isn’t graded but is sent out to each of your prospective law schools. The four graded sections include two separate logical reasoning sections, reading comprehension and an analytical reasoning section.
The graded sections are made up of multiple-choice questions. The variable section is mostly for questions and formatting that LSAC is experimenting with for future tests. Finally, the writing section is exactly as it sounds, a timed written essay based on a prompt where the test-taker must make a decision about a small, non-controversial topic and argue their side.
Graded on a scale from 120-180, the LSAT is designed to measure an individual’s comprehension and logical reasoning abilities. The exam has proven to fairly accurately predict a test-taker’s aptitude in the skills required to succeed in law school including critical thinking and analysis.
Although some of the sections sound similar to those found on other standardized tests, like reading comprehension and analytical reasoning, the LSAT is advanced with questions to test clear understanding and critical thinking in extremely long and complex scenarios.
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