What Is the Law School Admission Test?

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Commonly known as the LSAT, the Law School Admission Test is a standardized test managed by the Law School Admission Council, or LSAC. According to the LSAC, the test "provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants." Most law schools in the United States and Canada require LSAT scores for admission. The LSAC administers the LSAT four times annually.

Format

  • The LSAT has five 35-minute sections, which require test takers to answer multiple-choice questions, and one 35-minute writing section.

Logical Reasoning Sections

  • The LSAT has two Logical Reasoning sections. They account for about half of an LSAT score. According to the LSAC, Logical Reasoning questions "require the test taker to read and comprehend a short passage, then answer a question about it." The 24 to 26 questions require test takers to apply rules, reason by analogy, recognize errors in an argument and draw conclusions.

Analytical Reasoning Section

  • The LSAT has one Analytical Reasoning section. It consists of 20 to 24 questions that require test takers to "draw conclusions, make deductions, or make predictions based on a predetermined set of rules," according to the LSAC. This section is also known as the logic games section.

Reading Comprehension Section

  • The LSAT has one Reading Comprehension section. It consists of four sets of questions, with a total of 26 to 28 questions. Each set presents "a selection of reading material, followed by five to eight questions that test reading and reasoning abilities," according to the LSAC.

Experimental Section

  • The LSAT always includes one section that the LSAC uses to try out questions to use on future tests. The experimental section, as it is often called, is either an additional Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning or Reading Comprehension section. Because the section will look the same as other sections of the same type, test takers cannot discern which section is experimental. The LSAC never includes this section in test takers' scores.

Writing Section

  • For the 35-minute Writing section, test takers must write a response to an essay question that requires a choice between two courses of action. According to the Princeton Review, test takers "must choose which action is better and support their decisions with reasons why." The LSAC does not score this section. It sends copies of the writing sample, along with the LSAT score, to all of the law schools to which the test taker applies.

Scoring And Impact

  • The LSAC uses the number of questions answered correctly on a test to determine a test taker's raw score. The LSAC converts the raw score to the LSAT scale, which ranges from the lowest possible score of 120 to the highest possible score of 180. Some law schools rely on LSAT scores more than others. Admissions officers at most law schools evaluate all of an applicant's credentials, not just LSAT score and grade point average.

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