The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized test developed by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Starting in September 2019, the LSAT will be administered digitally in North America. Learn more about the Digital LSAT. The LSAT is designed to predict a candidate’s potential for success during the first year of law school. The LSAT consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions in three different item types: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning and logical reasoning. A 35-minute writing sample may be taken after the test. LSAC does not score the writing sample, but copies of the writing samples are sent to all schools to which a candidate wishes to apply. The LSAT is scored on a scale from 120-180.
The LSAT is offered multiple times each academic year. For observers of Saturday Sabbath, alternative test dates are available. If you are planning to attend law school immediately upon graduation, it is advisable to take the LSAT by the summer preceding your senior year. This will allow you to get your scores back in time to participate in all early assurance/admissions programs and to be at the forefront of the application process at all schools the following fall. Furthermore, if you take the LSAT early, you will have the option to take the test again in a timely fashion should you decide to cancel your scores or retake the test later. Later LSAT administrations during your senior year can still be viable options, although the later release of the scores may somewhat negatively impact your candidacy at schools that operate on more aggressive rolling admission. Fewer law schools will accept scores from the February LSAT administration of the same year of expected matriculation although higher scores from this test administration may still be helpful to applicants on waitlists.
Law Services reports LSAT scores for five years, but some law schools will not accept a score that is older than three years. Consequently, if you plan on working for a while prior to applying to law school, check the longevity of your test scores at the specific institutions in which you are interested.
You must prepare for the test. Preparation efforts should focus both on becoming familiar with the types of questions asked and the ability to develop the stamina to endure the test within its set time limits. Introducing yourself to the LSAT early in your college career is a good idea, especially if you have a history of poor performance on standardized tests. Choose the kinds of courses that will help you develop the skills necessary for a strong performance on the LSAT: good reading comprehension skills, logical thinking, and the ability to read critically. Being able to think quickly and logically will help tremendously on a timed exam like the LSAT. While a preparation course may be a good option for studying for the LSAT, it cannot replace a disciplined regimen of self-study as well. Prior to paying the expense of a preparation course, it is a good idea to invest first in the excellent and free/affordable preparation materials available through the Law School Admission Council and especially the Khan Academy.
If you need special accommodations both in terms of time and/or equipment, you may request special arrangements in advance, although you may face a lengthy and cumbersome procedure. Be sure to initiate the process well in advance (at least six months) of the test registration deadline.
Note that an increasing number of law schools has started accepting the GRE in lieu of the LSAT and a few schools will even take the GMAT.