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Mastering the LSAT

While the relationship between your test scores and your admission prospects is nebulous at best for the GRE and a few other standardized tests, for the LSAT, it’s fairly straightforward. After all, the name itself is an indicator: you’re taking the Law School Admission Test, administered by the Law School Admission Counsel. All law schools want high-quality applicants, and a high LSAT score is considered a good indicator of your potential law school performance.

Most law schools use an admission index consisting of a combination of your LSAT scores and undergraduate grades when reviewing your application. Your statement of purpose and letters of recommendation supplement this information, but in most cases, your tests scores will be a major factor in your application’s chances of success.

Preparing for the LSAT

Since the law school application process is competitive and the LSAT plays a major role in admissions decisions, it’s important to perform well on the test. Luckily, a variety of preparation materials are available to prospective students, ranging from free online practice questions to intensive one-on-one tutoring and LSAT classes.

Standardized test prep classes and tutors can cost hundreds of dollars or more. While they may make guarantees about score increases, it’s not exactly certain that their services will actually make a significant difference in your LSAT score or be worth the money you pay for them. So before you enroll in an expensive test prep program, make use of the resources that are available to you at no or low cost.

To prepare for the LSAT, you will need to hone your reading comprehension skills, your analytical skills, and your knowledge of logical reasoning. Brushing up on what you learned in your English, philosophy, and speech classes will help you, especially when it comes to the reading comprehension and logical reasoning sections. Practice might be the best way to familiarize yourself with the test’s questions and format, though, especially since the type of questions the analytical section of the LSAT asks are a little different from what you’re likely used to seeing on tests.

Taking the Test

The LSAT consists of three multiple choice sections and a writing sample and is scored on a scale of 120 to 180. The writing sample isn’t scored, but is sent along with your score to schools. Some law schools weight it heavily when considering your application, while others discard it entirely (it’s handwritten, after all, and legible handwriting seems to be a dying art) and focus on your personal statement or application essay.

The amount of time spent on the LSAT is comparable to other standardized tests, so you can bid farewell to a Saturday morning. The LSAT is only offered four times a year, and only at designated testing centers, so if you live in a rural area, you may need to drive some distance to take the test. You are able to retake the test multiple times if you leave yourself enough time to do so before your applications are due. Some schools will average your LSAT scores, but other law schools will only consider your highest score in admission decisions. If you need to cancel your LSAT score, the LSAC will allow you to do so at the test center or via letter within 6 days of completing the test.

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