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
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
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.