The LSAT, or the Law School Admission Test, is taken by students across the world who want to enter Law School in the United States, Canada, and a growing number of law schools in other countries (e.g. Australia). It is designed to test the logical, thinking, and written communication abilities of test takers, with additional sections that test Reading Comprehension skills.
For an Indian student, the road to the best law schools in the world starts at the LSAT. The LSAT is the most important part of your law school application, so getting as close to the magic 180 score as possible is the aim!
Below, you can find the answers to the questions that we are most frequently asked about the LSAT.
Why is the LSAT so important?
There are three reasons for the importance given to the LSAT: first, the highest weightage in the application is given to the LSAT, over and above GPA, professional profile, essays, and LoRs. Second, the LSAT has proven to correlate very strongly with academic performance in law school; do well on this test, and you’ll probably go ahead to do even better. Finally, the LSAT is also a good predictor of salary in the first job after law school. Hence, this is an exam which can guarantee or predict your success in the short, medium, and long terms.
When should you take the LSAT?
The LSAT is offered 6 times a year (though, in India, it is usually only offered 4 times a year) with an approximate gap of two or three months between test dates.
Most law schools require an applicant for the fall semester intake to have taken the LSAT before December of the previous year, though taking it earlier is ideal (in case you want to improve your score.
What is the sections and test pattern of the LSAT?
The LSAT is an examination that lasts for about three and a half hours, and that has six sections (each of which last for about 35 minutes). Of these, four sections are scored, one is never scored, and one (the writing sample) can be used by law schools or not, as they choose.
- The Reading Comprehension section has approximately 25 questions, and consists of four passages, each of which has 5-8 questions asked pertaining to it. To do well in this section, you should be able to quickly determine the main idea in a passage and be adept at finding relevant information. It is not very different from the RC section in the GMAT / GRE.
- The Analytical Reasoning section is also logic based, and gives you 4-5 problems related to groups, and requires you to use the information to come up with conclusions. This can be made very easy with the right preparation. If you are able to use tables and diagrams to simplify information, you can get accuracy and speed in this section.
- There are two Logical Reasoning sections. Each of these is centric on an argument, and candidates are required to dissect the argument and come up with counter-arguments, and tests of validity.
- One variable section is unscored and is used to test out potential future questions, but it is never clear which one it is. Finally, the Writing sample is also unscored, and can optionally be used by law schools to test how clear and concise your writing skills are. More than 60% of schools say they make some use of this in their selection process, so it is useful to spend some time on this during your prep cycle.
What is the best way to prepare for the LSAT?
For an Indian student preparing for the LSAT, the key is practice. The LSAT, unlike many Indian exams, emphasizes mental agility and reasoning above rote memory. Therefore, the only way to get good at this is through multiple practice drills.
There are three key success factors for you to get a high LSAT score. First, choose a good mentor – this is ideally an institute where you can get access to many mock tests, and where you can be told how to improve on your weak areas. Second, give yourself enough time for preparation; for this, it is important that you start thinking about the LSAT early enough that you are able to give yourself 6-12 months of prep time.
Finally, you need to give yourself the chance to go through 10 to 12 realistic exam simulations. A large part of your competition will do the same, so you need to step up the preparation, rather than making the common mistake of thinking that, since the LSAT is logic or common sense based, it does not require careful preparation. The prep is needed to help you manage both accuracy and limited time in an exam situation.
What is the LSAT test fees?
The test fees for the LSAT amount to $190.
What is the LSAT syllabus?
The LSAT syllabus differs from section to section.
- For Reading Comprehension, the actual passages could be sourced from anywhere. However, the skills tested are fairly well known. The four most important skills are identifying the main idea of a passage, finding specific information when required from a long, dense passage, using information from a passage in a different context, and inferring the meaning of words or phrases based on the context of their usage.
- The Analytical Reasoning section tests whether a candidate can identify structures of a relationship between objects in an argument. The key skill here is to take a given condition, and to find out what it might imply. For example, if one is asked to arrange four friends around a table, and given a constraint, one will need to understand what arrangements are ruled out by the constraint.
- The two Logical Reasoning sections test five basic skills. The first, and most important, is to be able to break down an argument to its constituent parts, and to recognize the relationships between each part, and how they affect each other. Next, candidates have to be able to use analogy to better understand each part of an argument. Many arguments might have small errors; the third important skill is to identify such fallacies. To do this well, a candidate will need to recognize what is assumed in an argument, and to check each such assumption carefully. Finally, one will have to take all the information gained above, and come up with a coherent set of conclusions that are logically complete, and that do not contradict the logical portions of the argument.
- The Writing section primarily tests one’s ability to draw out or present a logical, well reasoned argument in the minimum number of words possible.
How do you register for the LSAT?
Registering for the LSAT is a simple process. First, you need to create an account on LSAC.org. Once you provide personal information and create your username and password, you can log in using these credentials for further registration.
Next, you need to choose a test date at your venue of convenience. As noted above, it is best not to wait till the last date in the year, since you do not get your LSAT score to send to law schools immediately. Once you choose a test date and time, you pay the LSAT test fee, and you are all set!
You can also use your LSAC login to assemble your profile credentials so that your applications to law school post LSAT become way easier.
From these points, it will be clear that the LSAT is a very important exam, both when it comes to entry into law school, and as a predictor of success in law school (studies have shown that a good LSAT score is more closely correlated with law school success than even the undergraduate GPA). To do well in this test, it is critical that you have full information about it, and that you know exactly how to prepare. If you want to arm yourself with all this, get in touch with Jamboree today!