LSAT

What is the LSAT?

• The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is a half-day standardized test administered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). The Princeton Review calls the LSAT “the single most important factor in all of law school admissions.” Applicants’ LSAT scores are used by virtually all ABA-accredited law schools as an admissions tool on the assumption that they are a reliable predictor of an applicant’s law school success. The LSAT is comprised of five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions in three areas: reading comprehension, logical reasoning (often referred to as logic games), and analytical reasoning. There is also a 35-minute writing section which is not scored but which is sent along with your LSAT score to each school you apply to. The maximum score on the LSAT is 180. For more information about the LSAT, click here.

When should I take the LSAT?

• The LSAT is administered by LSAC four times a year, usually in February, June, October, and December. Since most law schools begin accepting applications in October, you should plan to take the LSAT at the October sitting at the latest. However, most students prefer to take the June test if possible, so that they can take the test again in October if they wish. The LSAT is offered at hundreds of locations across the U.S. and abroad. The LSAC.org website has a list of specific test dates and test centers at this link.

How many times should I take the LSAT?

• Many students take the LSAT only once. Whether you should repeat the LSAT if you are not satisfied with your first score depends on a number of factors, including the average LSAT range for accepted students at the law schools you plan to apply to. Most students who do repeat the LSAT do not see a dramatic increase in their scores, but even a couple of points can make a difference in today’s very competitive law school admissions market. You should also be aware that on rare occasions, students’ scores do drop, and the law schools you apply to will see all of your scores.

• The score report that LSAC sends you will show your current test results, along with the results of all tests for which you registered in the preceding five years, including absences and cancellations. LSAC calculates and reports an average score when you have more than one reportable score. Thus, when you instruct LSAC to send your LSAT score report to a law school as part of the application process, the report it sends will include all of your test scores, not just the most recent. Most law schools place the greatest weight on your highest LSAT score, but some schools do use the average of your scores. You should contact the admissions office of the law schools to which you are applying to find out each school’s specific policy.

Should I take an LSAT prep course?

• Many students do just fine on the LSAT without taking a commercial prep course. These students tend to have good planning skills and good self-discipline; they set up a study plan for themselves using commercially available test prep materials, and they follow the plan carefully. The bottom line, though, is that you should not attempt the LSAT cold; you need to devote significant time practicing, and eventually you need to take one or more complete LSAT practice tests under simulated test conditions.

• Other students find that they benefit from the structure that the commercial prep courses offer. These courses are offered by various companies at various times in various formats. You should research several companies to find the one that best suits your schedule and budget. You should also conduct some due diligence to make sure that each company you are considering is reputable. Click here for information on some of the commercial LSAT prep courses available to you.

• There are many online LSAT prep resources available for purchase. A couple of the most popular ones are the Powerscore LSAT Bible Series and 7Sage. Many companies offer versions of their materials that are compatible with Kindles, Nooks, iPhones, etc.

How do I register for the LSAT?

• You will register for the LSAT through the LSAC website. You must create a personal LSAC Account before you can register for the LSAT. When you register, you should be prepared to pay the fee for the test (currently $165.00). There is an additional fee for late registration (currently $69.00). When you register, you will designate the test center where you wish to take the test. Once your registration is received, LSAC will send you a packet of materials and detailed instructions about the test day.

How long will it take to get my scores?

• If you have an online account with LSAC, you will receive your LSAT score by e-mail approximately three weeks after the test date. If you don’t have an online account with LSAC, you will receive your score by regular mail approximately four weeks after the test date.

Where can I find additional information about the LSAT?

• The LSAC website, LSAC.org, has a wealth of information about the LSAT and is the most reliable source of information. Click here to go straight to the LSAC.org site.