About the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is unlike any test you've ever taken in your academic career. The LSAT is a skills-based exam designed to test the critical reading and analytical thinking skills that are crucial for success in law school. Before you begin your LSAT prep, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the exam so you can be prepared for what is on the LSAT.
First, let’s dig into the new LSAT-Flex test, before dissecting the different LSAT sections, including length of time and how questions are presented.
WHAT IS THE LSAT-FLEX?
The LSAT-Flex is a remote exam option that is available in place of in-person testing. The format will be identical to that of the Free LSAT Prep practice tests found on LSAC’s LawHub, but LSAT-Flex will be composed of three 35-minute scored sections instead of the traditional four scored sections and one unscored section. The final LSAT-Flex will be administered in June 2021.
How long is the LSAT?
The LSAT breaks down into four sections, each 35 minutes long with a 15-minute break after the second section. This adds up to 140 minutes of LSAT test time—or 2 hours and 20 minutes, excluding the break. You will take the LSAT on your own computer at home or another quiet place of your choosing. You will select a testing time from a variety of times available in each testing window.
If you do not have access to reliable technology, the internet, or a quiet testing place, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) can help make special arrangements for you.
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What's on the LSAT?
What kinds of questions can you expect on each of the six sections of the LSAT? Let’s take a quick look at each individual LSAT section.
Reading Comprehension, worth ~36% of your total score, is an LSAT section you’re probably familiar with from past standardized tests. It tests your ability to make sense of dense, unfamiliar prose—but unlike other standardized tests, on the LSAT you need to understand the passages’ structure, purpose, and various points of view, rather than the facts. On the LSAT, you’ll see four passages, each with a set of 5–8 questions to answer. One of the passages will be “paired passages” with questions asking you to compare and contrast the passages. This is the section in which preppers often find it toughest to improve.
Logical Reasoning, worth ~33% of your total score, tests your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments. Logical Reasoning requires you to read short passages and answer a question about each one.
Logic Games, worth 31% of your total score, tests you on basic logic, systems of order, and outcomes—or, in simplest terms, analytical reasoning. You’ll be asked to make deductions from a set of statements, rules, or conditions. These questions are posed in sets based on a single passage. This is the section many preppers are most intimidated by at first, and often find most challenging, due to its unfamiliarity.
The LSAT Experimental Section is a wild card. Used by the test maker to see how questions will perform on future LSATs, it is not scored and will look exactly like one of the other sections. In other words, don’t waste test time trying to identify it. If you have two Logical reasoning, reading Comprehension, or Logic Games sections, you will know one of those two
What is LSAT Writing? LSAT Writing is a separate 35- minute on-demand essay that you will complete at any time convenient to you. The Essay is available beginning 9 days prior to your scheduled LSAT. You much complete LSAT Writing in order to receive your LSAT score. If you take the LSAT multiple times, you will only need to complete LSAT Writing once. While LSAT Writing isn’t scored, it is sent to law schools along with your LSAT score and can be used to choose between relatively equal candidates, so it is still very important! Your writing sample is most frequently used as a comparison tool to confirm your personal statement.
Understanding your score
When you receive your LSAT score, it will include the following:
- One overall score ranging from 120-180
- A "score band" a range of scaled scores above and below your score
- A percentile score, ranking your performance relative to the scores of a large sample population of other LSAT test takers
[ READ: What's a good LSAT score? ]
Receiving your LSAT score
You'll receive your score via email approximately three to four weeks after the test. If you take the LSAT more than once, law schools will see all scores earned within the past five years, though most will evaluate your candidacy based on your highest score. Law schools will also see if you canceled a score, withdrew, or were a no-show at a test administration. Your score is only released to you and the law schools to which you apply.
Canceling your LSAT score
You have six calendar days after you take the LSAT to cancel your score in your LSAC account. You will not see your score before you decide to cancel. If you take the exam more than once, LSAC reports the average score, each separate score, and each cancellation. Most schools will not question one cancellation on your record, but will question multiple ones. If you are a first-time test-taker, LSAC also offers a Score Preview option where you can see your actual score, then decide to keep or cancel it. There is a cost associated with the service which varies depending on if/when you decide to purchase the Score Preview option.
How is Your LSAT Score Used?
Your LSAT score is a crucial factor in determining where you go to law school—or if you go at all. Law school admission committees look at your LSAT score to determine if you have the skills required for success in law school. It helps admissions officers compare your record with those of students from other schools. While law schools using a holistic review process, law school admissions officers frequently cite the LSAT score as the most important admissions factor, as the test has been specifically designed to test your readiness for law school and has a greater correlation to law school success than any other admissions factor.
[ READ: The importance of your LSAT score ]
How can your score help you?
If your grades are lackluster‚ an outstanding LSAT score can help make the case that you are capable of handling the academic rigors of law school. Alternatively‚ if you've been out of college for some time‚ your score can show that you still have the skills necessary to succeed.
An outstanding LSAT score won't necessarily get you into your target school; but a low score will certainly keep you out.