Future JD Students

What You Should Know about the LSAT

  • The LSAT is an integral part of the law school admission process in the United States, Canada, and a growing number of other countries.
  • The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school.
  • The test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions of three different item types, as well as a 35-minute writing sample, which is administered at the end of the test. LSAC does not score the writing sample. Copies of the writing sample are sent to all law schools to which you apply. Some schools place greater weight than others on the LSAT; most law schools do evaluate your full range of credentials.
  • The LSAT is given four times a year in designated testing centers around the world.

How should I prepare for the LSAT?

Don't let the fear of standardized tests keep you from preparing well. It's a good idea to allow yourself several months to prepare for the test. Research indicates that test takers who prepare for the LSAT perform better than those who do not. Preparation does not mean learning specific answers to specific questions. Nor does it mean intensive focused study of particular coursework. You cannot prepare for the test by making a last-minute effort to master a specific subject area. The best preparation for the test is a solid undergraduate education with an emphasis on reading and reasoning skills, linked to familiarity with the essentials of the test. Your preparation should help you become familiar with question types and answer formats, understand the rules and structure of the test, and adjust to the rigors of the time limitations. At some point before the test date, test takers should simulate the actual testing conditions they will encounter, using a disclosed LSAT form and actual timing constraints.

The most widely accessible and least expensive form of preparation are the actual, disclosed test questions and test forms that have been published and are available for purchase from LSAC along with free test preparation materials available on this site.

If you decide additional coaching or instruction will help you, you will be best served by coaching before you take the test the first time. Various courses are offered by both colleges and commercial companies. LSAC does not endorse or evaluate any of these courses. You must determine for yourself whether you believe that such a course would be useful to you. Some people believe that these courses offer a disciplined context in which to prepare. Beware, however, of courses that advertise certain shortcuts or tricks with which to "beat" the test. Ask others who have already taken the course for their evaluations.

How many times should I take the LSAT?

You should prepare adequately and take the LSAT only once when you are best prepared. Scores for each test taken will be reported to the law schools to which you apply. Some schools may consider only your most recent or highest score, whereas others may consider an average of all scores. Unless your preparation for the LSAT changes substantially from the way you prepared for previous tests, your subsequent LSAT scores will probably not improve significantly. It is possible that they will remain the same or even decline. Your best course of action is to prepare thoroughly for the LSAT and take the test only once.

What LSAT score is required for admission to law school?

There is no single "magic" score. Each law school generally publishes either the range of LSAT scores for its entering classes, or its median score. The range encompasses all scores from the lowest to the highest, whereas the median score indicates that half the class had scores below that point and half had scores above. Acceptable score ranges, like other admission factors, vary from school to school.

Some law schools may offer admission to students with low numerical qualifications AFTER successful completion of a course that is usually offered in the summer before first-year classes begin, but admission is not guaranteed. The individual law school can provide more information about these conditional admission programs (PDF).

As a starting point, you can obtain a copy of The ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools from LSAC or your local bookstore or you can access the online version. It contains charts indicating the number of applicants who applied and who were accepted nationally based on UGPA and LSAT percentile. Use these charts as a guide. Then investigate further by speaking to a prelaw advisor and to the particular law school's admission office. You may want to ask the admission office about the UGPAs and LSAT scores for the students admitted the previous year, keeping in mind that LSAT scores and admission to law schools hinges upon how your score competes with those of other applicants to the law schools to which you apply.

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