What Does the LSAT Consist Of?
The Law School Admission Test or LSAT is one of the most critical elements of the law school application. The LSAT is typically offered nine times each testing year. For the 2021 -2022 testing cycle, the LSAT will be offered in August 2021, October 2021, November 2021, January 2022, February 2022, March 2022, April 2022 and June 2022.
The test consists of five 35-minute multiple choice sections, four of which are used to determine the test taker’s score ranging from 120-180. A 35-minute unscored writing section will be administered separately from the main sections.
Starting in August 2021, the LSAT will continue to have three scored sections — logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension — and will return to the pre-COVID practice of including a fourth, unscored variable section that will allow LSAC to validate new test questions for future use and ensure that they are free from any form of bias. With the addition of this fourth, unscored section, the LSAT will include a 10-minute break between the second and third sections.
There are three multiple-choice question types featured on the LSAT:
- Reading comprehension questions measure the ability to read, with understanding and insight, examples of lengthy and complex materials similar to those commonly encountered in law school.
- Analytical reasoning questions measure the ability to understand a structure of relationships and to draw logical conclusions about that structure.
- Logical reasoning questions assess the ability to analyze, critically evaluate, and complete arguments as they occur in ordinary language.
Test-takers will only be permitted to take 3 official LSATs per testing year (June 1 to May 31) and 7 times over a lifetime. Students who took the LSAT prior to the September 2019 administration will not have those previous tests factored into the limited 3 LSATs per testing year.
With the introduction of the LSAT-Flex to provide a safe and effective mechanism for candidates to earn scores during the COVID-19 emergency, LSAC made the decision that the May, June, July, and August 2020 LSAT-Flex tests do not count toward these limits. Tests beginning with the October 2020 administration will count toward LSAT testing limits.
In addition, test takers will not be permitted to retake the LSAT if they have already scored a 180 (perfect score) within the current and five past testing years.
Before You Take the LSAT
Take the LSAT in the spring or summer of your junior year if you plan to apply for the following cycle and you are well-prepared. This allows you to focus on the other elements of your applications during the fall of your senior year. Taking the LSAT early also allows you to retake it in the fall if you do not make the score you desire and still get your applications in early.
Find resources that work for you
Carefully consider the resources you use to prepare for the LSAT. Find resources that work for you. Do some self-assessment regarding how you learn best to determine whether an in-person class, online class, or a self-study plan would work best for you. Check out our updated LSAT Prep Guide: http://prelaw.ua.edu/lsat-resource-guide/
Study with a purpose
Begin studying in earnest five to nine months before you plan on taking the test. Block off time in your weekly schedule specifically for LSAT prep and have an idea what you want to accomplish during that set time. After learning the fundamentals of each section and question type, take numerous practice tests under timed conditions. Completing each section in the 35-minute time window is the greatest obstacle most students face.
Be prepared the first time you take the LSAT. Most law schools will take your highest score, but all of your scores will be reported to the law schools you apply to. You want to be as prepared as possible, giving yourself the best chance to make the score you want, the first time you take it.
On Test Day
Make sure you are aware of the test center rules including what items you need for check-in and what items are prohibited. Bring appropriate clothing in case your location is hot or cold. Check out your test center ahead of time, so you know where you’re going.
Get your mind ready
Get your mind right for test day. Get a good night’s sleep and eat something appropriate to get you through an ~6-hour test. Take your dog for a walk, meditate, work out, read a book or do whatever else will put you in a relaxed state of mind prior to taking the test.
Don’t get distracted. During the test, you have only one job: to answer as many questions correctly as you can during each 35-minute section. Any time spent thinking about the importance/implications of what you’re doing, worrying about the other test-takers around you, or letting your mind wander to other things is time wasted. Stay focused on the task at hand.