Taking the LSAT

Taking the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized admissions test. It is required as part of the application by the vast majority of law schools.

About the Test

The test requires a half of a day to complete. It consists of five 35-minute multiple-choice questions and one 35-minute writing sample. The multiple-choice questions are designed to objectively measure students’ skills in reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning.

The LSAT score is comprised of four out of the five of the multiple-choice sections. One of the five sections is not scored. The section that is not scored is used to evaluate potential questions for new tests. The writing section is also not scored. Copies of the writing sample are sent to the law schools with the LSAT score.

Preparing for the Test

It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the format of the test and the types of questions on it. It is also helpful to the practice taking the test. There are many commercially available preparation books and classes to help students prepare for the LSAT. The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), the LSAT administrator, provides free and commercial preparation resources on their website (https://www.lsac.org).

What to Take to the Testing Center

It is important to only bring the materials allowed in the testing room. Purses and book bags are not allowed into the testing room. Authorized items can be carried in a plastic Ziplock-type bag up to one gallon.

Authorized Items:
  • Admissions ticket
  • Keys
  • Wallet
  • Identification
  • Wooden pencils
  • Erasers
  • Non-digital wristwatch
  • Medical or hygiene products
  • Beverage (No aluminum cans)

Repeating the Test

If students are unhappy with their LSAT score, they can retake it. However, students cannot take the LSAT more than three times within two years. The exception to this is when the law school you are applying to requires a more recent test score than you have. This requires special approval.

If you are considering retaking the LSAT, you should keep in mind that in most cases retaking it does not substantially improve scores. There is also a chance that your retest score may be lower than your original score. However, in cases with extenuating circumstances, such as illness during the first exam sitting, retaking the LSAT might significantly improve a your score.

In many cases law schools will average applicants’ LSAT scores taken from multiple test sessions. Therefore, if there were extenuating circumstances to explain why your second sitting of the LSAT produced substantially higher scores than your previous score you should inform the law school admissions department so they can take the information into consideration.

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This content was written by Susan D. Bates. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Eliza Morrison Nimmich for details.