What is the LSAT Exam?


You may be wondering what is the LSAT exam? The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is an important part of the law school admission process in the United States and Canada as well as a few selected countries worldwide. The main aim of this exam is to test the necessary skills for success in your first year of law school.

It is not like your normal test in the academic world and among the skills tested are analytical thinking and critical reading that are integral for success in law school.

What does the LSAT test consist of?

Generally, the LSAT consists of five sections with multiple-choice questions. The sections are two Logical Reasoning sections along with reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and a variable section, which is usually unscored.

At the end of the test, a writing sample will be administered and though it will not be scored, it will be sent to the law schools you apply.

Each section takes 35 minutes

The logical reasoning, which comes in two sections, tests the skills to evaluate and analyze arguments. You will have to prove whether the argument is weak or strong as well as be able to understand exactly what causes the weakness or strength.

Analytical reasoning or as it is commonly known, “Logic Games” tests your ability in basic logic, such as finding patterns within organized data and deductive reasoning.

You will find games that require your matching skills, sequencing skills, or both set of skills.

Finally, reading comprehension provides some scholarly articles and tries to test your skills in identifying main details and ideas, draw extrapolations, and make conclusions.

While it may seem like a really tough test, but proper preparation can help you boost your chances for success in all sections of the test.

Can anyone take the LSAT?

The LSAT test is a standardized test that law schools in the United States and Canada require students who submit applications to go through.

It is the same as how you would take the SAT or ACT before submitting your application for getting into colleges.

Before applying for law school, you will have to take the LSAT test.

With that in mind, the test is only good for the law school, as the name suggests (Law School Admissions Test). No other college graduate program will take the test.

Also, though it goes without saying, you need to be capable of reading and writing English unless you want to go to Puerto Rico for your law school. Outside the island, the Spanish test will not be accepted in any college.

How hard is the LSAT?

The first thing most people like to know before taking the LSAT is how hard is it? This is because most students think or have heard from someone that the exam is very difficult.

Until you have personally taken the test you will not really know if it is difficult or easy.

Some people will do well and others will not, and so on? It depends on how prepared you are before taking the test.

Also, how difficult the test depends on a variety of factors. You can get 10% of the entire test wrong and still find yourself in the top 2%.

But what makes the LSAT really difficult is the following:

  • The test assesses skills that you might not have fully developed in undergrad. For instance, if you leaned mostly towards non-science classes, you might find the logic games section a bit difficult. Also, the level of concentration and focus required in the reading comprehension part of the test is quite different compared to the normal focus.
  • The test also does make it tough to complete all the sections. So, you must be amazingly fast and swift in recognizing the logical issues as well as their implications. Each section of the test is designed to take 35 minutes.
  • Colloquial communication is quite vague, and many people are used to analyzing the wrong portions of a statement. This test is extremely technical with the use of language, concentrating on certainty more than the normal person.
LSAT SectionTimeFormat
Logical Reasoning (has 2 sections)35 mins (each)24-26 questions (each)
Logic Games35 min22-24 questions
Reading Comprehension35 min26-28 questions
Experimental (Section)35 min22-28 questions

What is a good score on the LSAT?

When it comes to your admission to a law school, most will put more weight on your LSAT than GPA. Some colleges might actually weigh your LSAT score versus GPA at the ratio of 7:3.

If you care to translate that, it means that a test of just three-and-a-half hours can be weighed more compared to four years of undergraduate.

However, each school has a different scoring policy in terms of the LSAT and GPA scores.

The LSAT is usually scored on a scale of 120 to 180 points and the average score is around 150. However, to get into the most prestigious law schools, you will have to score over 160 points on your LSAT.

The total questions are around 101 and each correct answer is one point. So the raw score of 0-101 is then converted into a scale of 120-180 using a special formula designed for that specific LSAT test.

Is there Math on the LSAT?

Another common question students ask is “Is there Math on the LSAT”? Well, technically there is no conventional math as you are used to; you know the calculus, algebra, trigonometry, and so on.

However, the test explores the mathematical relationship in some sections, particularly logical reasoning.

Most often, the question will include someone making an argument with evidences about a percentage.

Also, in Logic Games section requires you to perform numerical distribution.  So in short, there are math-like questions in the LSAT, but not actual math problems.

With that in mind, you should have a decent math background if you would like to pass this test.

What is the hardest section on the LSAT?

One thing you need to understand about the LSAT is that each question is worth a point, so the moment you get the test make sure you focus your energy on the questions you find easy or the ones you think you can answer fast. 

Many students find the logic games section the easiest, but people are different. According to feedback from students, some found the logic section difficult while argument and comprehension are easy. 

Logic games are generally the hardest section of the LSAT because it is different from the kinds of problems you are used to doing.

The two logic games questions that many students tend to find a bit difficult are “Changed rule” and “fully determined” rules.

Changed rules types of questions require you to pinpoint an answer choice in which if a particular rule that was replaced, would have a similar impact on the game as the specified rule.

Fully determined type questions require you to pinpoint an answer option that, if true, there would only be a sole legal consequence for the game.

How much does the LSAT cost?

The cost of obtaining your law degree starts with paying for the LSAT test. Thankfully, the cost is not too high, as the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) only charges a fee of $200.

However, you might incur additional charges depending on your particular situation. For instance, if you live far away from a published test center and can’t travel to one, the LSAC can set up a nonpublished test center for you.

This comes at a cost, as you will have to pay an additional $295 for this request if you live within the United States or $390 if you live abroad. 

You may also have to submit additional funds once you take the test. For example, if you want the LSAC to hand score your test, you will have to pay an additional $100. 

You will also have to pay up for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Applying to a law school requires that you have a CAS account, which you will need to pay $195 as well as an additional $45 fee for every report demanded by law school through the account.

What types of questions are on the LSAT?

The LSAT is usually administered in two sections. The first section consists of 35-minute parts with multiple-choice questions while the second section also consists of a 35-minute test but an unscored writing sample.

Below are some of the example questions you can expect in the Analytical Reasoning sections of the LSAT.

Passage for Question 1

A university library budget committee must reduce exactly five of eight areas of expenditure—G, L, M, N, P, R, S, and W—in accordance with the following conditions:

  1. Then If both G and S are reduced, W is also reduced.
  2. If N is reduced, neither R nor S is reduced.
  3. If P is reduced, L is not reduced.
  4. Of the three areas L, M, and R, exactly two are reduced.

Question 1

If both M and R are reduced, which one of the following is a pair of areas neither of which could be reduced?

  1. G, L
  2. G, N
  3. L, N
  4. L, P
  5. P, S

Passage for Questions 2 and 3

Seven piano students—T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z—are to give a recital, and their instructor is deciding the order in which they will perform. Each student will play exactly one piece, a piano solo. In deciding the order of performance, the instructor must observe the following restrictions:

  1. X cannot play first or second.
  2. W cannot play until X has played.
  3. Neither T nor Y can play seventh.
  4. Either Y or Z must play immediately after W plays.
  5. V must play either immediately after or immediately before U plays.

Question 2

If V plays first, which one of the following must be true?

  1. T plays sixth.
  2. X plays third.
  3. Z plays seventh.
  4. T plays immediately after Y.
  5. W plays immediately after X.

Question 3

If U plays third, what is the latest position in which Y can play?

  1. first
  2. second
  3. fifth
  4. sixth
  5. seventh

Passage for Question 4

A charitable foundation awards grants in exactly four areas—medical services, theater arts, wildlife preservation, and youth services—each grant being in one of these areas. One or more grants are awarded in each of the four quarters of a calendar year. Additionally, over the course of a calendar year, the following must obtain:

  1. Grants are awarded in all four areas.
  2. No more than six grants are awarded.
  3. No grants in the same area are awarded in the same quarter or consecutive quarters.
  4. Exactly two medical services grants are awarded.
  5. A wildlife preservation grant is awarded in the second quarter.

Question 4

If a wildlife preservation grant and a youth services grant are awarded in the same quarter of a particular calendar year, then any of the following could be true that year EXCEPT:

  1. A medical services grant is awarded in the second quarter.
  2. A theater arts grant is awarded in the first quarter.
  3. A theater arts grant is awarded in the second quarter.
  4. A wildlife preservation grant is awarded in the fourth quarter.
  5. A youth services grant is awarded in the third quarter.

What are the LSAT exam dates?

The LSAT tests are ongoing currently across America and Canada. The opening date was August 29, 2020, while other dates are the Week of October 3 and November 7, 2020, and Saturday, 16 January, February 20, and April 10 next year (2021).

Check out current dates look at the Law School Admissions Council website.

What is the best LSAT prep course?

PrepScholar and Magoosh are two of the most common prep courses for students preparing to sit for the LSAT. The courses are designed to help you familiarize with the contents of the test 

Magoosh presents two LSAT preparation options that take three months and both include LSAT logic games and practice questions.

The 12-month plan offered by Magoosh features eight tests with over 7,000 LSAT questions with video explanations. It also comes with over 200 Logic Game elucidations, email assistance from instructors, timed practiced tests, and more.

How much do I need to study for the LSAT?

It is recommended that you spent at least 150 hours minimum and 300 hours maximum on your LSAT prep. This is spread over two to three months with up to 25 hours a week, which also happened to be a standard amount of prep hours for students.

Conclusion

You should know what the LSAT exam is now and what to expect when you go to take the exam.

The test will be hard so you need to study and take one of the prep study courses we suggest.

You are trying to get into law school so you need to do whatever it takes by studying and training to pass this test with a high score.

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