What is the LSAT?

IMG_0342Are you new to prelaw?

If so, you are probably wondering why every prelaw student keeps talking about prepping for this crazy test called the LSAT at all hours of the night.

What is the LSAT?

According to the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), the people who invented the test, the Law School Admissions Test (aka. LSAT) is a “half-day standardized test administered four times a year” that “provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants.”

Many law schools say the three factors that carry the most weight in admissions are an applicant’s

  1. Bachelor’s degree GPA
  2. LSAT score and
  3. Personal statement.

In other words, your LSAT score is a crucial and important part of your law school application.

But what exactly is on the test?

Glad you asked. The LSAT is comprised of the following.

  • One Reading Comprehension section
  • One Analytical Reasoning (aka Logic Games) section
  • Two Logical Reasoning sections
  • One more of any of the above sections that is unscored (used to test new questions)
  • One Writing Sample section

Each section lasts 35 minutes.

You don’t know which of the sections is the unscored one, so try to do well on all of them.

The writing section is unscored but a copy of your writing sample is sent to all the law schools you apply to. I have heard from several law school admissions officers that the writing sample is looked at when the admissions committee has concerns or questions about the applicant’s writing ability. They will compare the writing style and diction of the writing sample to see if it matches, in general, the writing style and diction of the personal statement. So, even though it is not scored, you should still try to do your best on the writing section.

That’s the LSAT in a nutshell, folks. In future posts, we’ll discuss when to take the LSAT, money-saving LSAT prep tips, and more. Make sure you don’t miss a single post! Scroll to the bottom and SUBSCRIBE.

Have questions or comments about the LSAT? I’m here to help. Post your questions below and I’ll respond.

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2 thoughts on “What is the LSAT?

  1. Thanks so much for your insights! I’m really appreciative of your postings. As a first gen student, navigating undergrad was difficult enough so law school is truly unchartered territory, even amongst my educated friends.

    Which brings me to the my question. I want to work for the public interest. My undergraduate degree is in an emerging field, involving civic organizations. I have graduated from an honors program with an outstanding GPA, received many awards and accolades, and completed an internship in DC for a member of the House. I have experience abroad and 8 yrs worth of work experience. Despite this, I attended a public university not held in high regard. I recognize the importance of goin to a good law school and have been studying hard for the LSAT. Nevertheless, because of my alma maters lackluster rep, do you think it best if I get a MPA degree before law school? I want good schools to look twice at my app, and I need funding.

    Any advice you could offer would be so appreciated. Sorry for writing you a novel.

    All the best,

    Amanda

    • I like detailed questions, Amanda. So, I’m glad you wrote in! First, CONGRATS all your achievements–being a first-generation college student, graduating with a great GPA, earning awards and 8 years of work experience–these are all wonderful accomplishments.

      How are you going to overcome the lackluster rep of your alma mater? You are going to get a high LSAT score, that’s how. Truly. If you earn a LSAT score that is at the median or the 75th percentile for where you want to go, no school is going to have a problem with your high GPA from a more lackluster university.

      In terms of whether you should earn a MPA before your JD, you should only do that if you truly want to learn the skills and content areas of a MPA. And if you want to learn these things in an academic program. Because you can learn these things through work experience too, as you may have already experienced. But earning a Master’s degree isn’t going to help with your worries that your undergrad institution is not held in high regard. Again, get a high LSAT and law schools will definitely pay attention to your application. And you will be up for scholarships as well.

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