Knowing exactly what to expect the day of your LSAT exam is going to do two things:
- Allow you to smoothly go through test day with as little stress as possible for a high-stakes exam.
- Keep you from making common test day mistakes that could cost you valuable time or test points.
Of course, nobody just shows up to the test center to take the LSAT—your road to test day will have begun several months earlier with choosing an LSAT test date, figuring out your LSAT prep options, and registering for the exam and your LSAC account. The day of the exam will be the culmination of all your studying, so you’ll want to honor all that hard work by making sure you’re completely ready for what the day will bring. Check out our ultimate guide to LSAT test day.
Getting to your LSAT test center
Getting to the test site sounds simple enough: You’ll drive, take public transportation or a rideshare, and there you are. Don’t take this step for granted because on-time arrival is crucial as you simply will not be allowed to enter the testing center if you’re late. Here are our top “getting there” life hacks:
- Did you know there are online forums and Wikis dedicated to rating test centers? Much like rating sites allow you to check out a restaurant before dining, these discussions will allow you to read experiences from previous test takers about everything from noise levels, temperature, access to parking, and more. If you have a variety of test centers to choose from, you’ll get good intel ahead of time and if you’re traveling from farther away, this is even more important.
- Do a pre-test day dry run. If at all possible, get to the test center using the same mode of transportation and at the same time as your test day. Look for construction delays, highway closures, traffic, and anything that might make your travel time longer.
- Is your test center located on a college campus? Map your route to your designated building and practice it. If you’re not familiar with campus, this step is crucial, as campus maps can be tricky.
- No cell phones or electronic devices are allowed into the test center at all so plan to leave your phone in your car, at home, or with a trusty friend who will pick you up. This means you’ll have to navigate without your maps app, so you may want to practice.
Night before and morning of the LSAT
- Pack your Ziplock bag (check LSAC for most current size allowance) with the items you’ll be permitted on test day, including your drink and snack. Practice this a few times before to make sure everything fits.
- The time of day when you’ll test really does matter, and you’ll want to practice going to sleep and waking up accordingly, as well as taking your practice tests at that time. If you know you’re not at your best early in the morning, plan to test during a noon administration.
- Don’t chug coffee or other beverages that you don’t normally consume. When you’re practicing at home, it’s tempting to get up and use the bathroom but on test day, you’ll be sitting for close to two hours or more at a time without a bathroom break. So keep hydrated but remember that being a bit thirsty won’t hurt you, but having to use the bathroom during a section might.
- Eat what you normally eat, think about a balance of proteins and complex carbohydrates that will keep you full and energized.
- Dress in comfortable layers so you can quickly adjust if the room is too hot or too cold.
- No cramming. Instead, pick a Logic Game you have done before or a few Logical Reasoning questions you’ve completed and run through them to boost your confidence and get warmed up.
- Check out our 6 tips for last-minute LSAT prep.
Checking in to your LSAT test center
Checking in to your LSAT test center can sometimes be an exercise in controlled chaos, and some test centers are historically better at the process than others. But no matter where you end up taking the exam, by choice or necessity, here’s what you need to know about check-in:
- Consult the most current version of the test center admission requirements page updated by the LSAC. There, you’ll find what you can and cannot bring to the testing center, as well as what you absolutely must bring.
- Make sure you have a valid photo ID and that your name on the ID matches the name you registered with EXACTLY. If these names do not match on test day, you will not be permitted to sit. Is your ID current? IDs expired for more than 90 days will not be valid.
- Your LSAT admission ticket will have the photo that you uploaded to your LSAC account. Check out the most recent LSAC guidelines for photos and remember that you will need to upload your photo to your LSAC account several weeks before your test day. An admission ticket without a photo on page 1 will not be valid.
- Be prepared to wait at check-in. Test centers vary wildly about when proctors and staff arrive, and lines might be long and move slowly. Don’t check in to your test room too early because you might be sitting there for a long time without a bathroom break, which you’ll only be able to take once Section 1 starts.
During the LSAT
Alright, it’s happening. Your LSAT examination time has begun and you’re reading, underlining, highlighting, and answering questions. By this day, you’ve already mastered question and section timing, and have gotten used to taking practice tests approximating test day as closely as possible. Here’s what you need to know about taking the exam:
- There will not be any breaks between sections 1, 2, and 3. If you’re used to taking breaks while practicing, stop. Build your stamina.
- While everyone will see an experimental section on the LSAT, i.e. an unscored section, do not spend time trying to guess which section that is. You don’t want to be wrong.
- Stick to your timing and don’t shy away from marking a question and coming back to it later. All LSAT questions are worth the same.
- During the break, use the restroom, hydrate, and eat a protein-filled snack that will keep you fueled up. You will not be allowed to leave the building.
- Avoid chatting with other test-takers, especially about test content. Don’t let anyone throw you off your game or introduce doubt.
You did it. You took the LSAT. You’ve just taken another step on your path to law school and becoming a lawyer—be proud of this accomplishment. So, now what happens?
- Try to not discuss the exam with other test-takers as you’re leaving. What’s done is done, and there’s no benefit to rehashing that weird Logic Game or that tricky Reading Comprehension passage.
- If for any reason you weren’t feeling well and had to leave during the exam, you have six calendar days to cancel your score with the LSAC. While this will show up as a cancelled score on your LSAC record, you can take the test again.
- Resist the temptation to cancel your score just because you’re feeling uneasy. The LSAT is a long, grueling exam and few people skip out of the test center with a beaming smile. Did something truly unforeseen happen where you couldn’t finish half a section or are you just tired? Sleep on it.
- You won’t receive your score for several weeks, but you can still work on other elements of your law school application, such as gathering letters of recommendation, writing your personal statement, and researching schools.