Every aspiring lawyer has to eventually take the LSAT, but what is the LSAT? The LSAT is a standardized test that is administered by the Law School Admission Council. LSAT stands for law school admission test.
The test is an essential element of law school admissions criteria in Canada and in other countries around the world. The test is meant to assess the abilities and skills that are required for law school students. Along with your GPA, personal statement, and letters of recommendation, the test allows law schools to assess whether prospective students would be successful in their studies. It is worth noting that some law schools prioritize LSAT scores over your undergraduate GPA.
Did you know that the 2-Year Senior Status LLB in the UK doesn’t require you to take the LSAT?
LSAT Structure and Sections
The test consists of two parts:
The first part is a multiple-choice section, which is split into 4 parts. This section includes:
- logical reasoning questions (arguments) – 2 sections with 24 to 26 questions per section
- analytical reasoning questions (logic games) – 4 logic games scenarios with 4 to 8 questions for each scenario
- reading comprehension questions – 4 passages with around 7 questions per passage
- unscored experimental section – this section can consist of either logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, or reading comprehension
The second part of the test is the LSAT Writing Sample. This part of the test is a written essay. The essay is unscored by the LSAC; however, the essay is sent to law schools along with our LSAT score. Admissions offices assess the writing sample for readability, writing skills, and argument structure.
How Long is the LSAT?
The test is 3 hours and 30 minutes long.
- logical reasoning questions (arguments) – 2 sections, each section is 35 minutes long
- analytical reasoning questions (logic games) – 35 minutes long
- reading comprehension questions – 35 minutes long
- unscored experimental section – 35 minutes long
- LSAT Writing Sample– 35 minutes long
LSAT Questions Timing
Time management is crucial during the test, and it is worth noting how much time you have per question.
- logical reasoning questions (arguments) – about 1 minute 25 seconds per question
- analytical reasoning questions (logic games) – about 1 minute 10 seconds per question
- reading comprehension questions – about 1 minute 10 seconds per question
- unscored experimental section – can be anywhere from 1 minute per question to 1 minute 30 seconds per question, depending on the question category
- LSAT Writing Sample– 35 minutest per writing sample
Types of LSAT Questions
The test is known for the variety and difficulty of its questions. Below are the types of questions that the test consists of:
- logical reasoning questions (arguments) – this type of question is meant to assess your ability to derive main points from arguments, evaluate arguments, apply logical thinking, and understand abstract concepts.
- analytical reasoning questions (logic games) – this type of question is meant to assess your understanding and evaluation of rules, relationships between abstract ideas, understanding and evaluating abstract situations and applying rules to those situations
- reading comprehension questions – this type of question is meant to assess your ability to make inferences, understand essential elements of text scenarios, comprehending complex academic texts and locating necessary information
- unscored experimental section – depends on the question category
- LSAT Writing Sample – this section is meant to assess your ability to construct strong arguments relevant to the facts of the question.
The LSAC scores the test on a scale from 120 to 180. The lowest score that you can get is 120 and the highest is 180. The average score is usually around 153. LSAT Percentile will compare your score to everyone else’s from the previous 3 years.
It is worth noting that your percentile rank is the percent of people who scored lower than you on the LSAT. Your LSAT score and your score percentile are important criteria by which law schools assess the success of your application. Therefore a good test score really depends on which schools you are applying to. See the table below in which percentile different LSAT scores would fall under.
What is LSAT-Flex
LSAT-Flex is an online proctored exam, it consists of the same types of questions as the traditional LSAT and does not differ from it in any way. LSAT-Flex will likely continue to be offered in the upcoming years due to popular demand
LSAT Dates Canada
LSAT and LSAT-Flex are offered very frequently in Canada. Please check with the LSAC for an up-to-date schedule of test dates.
When to Take the LSAT?
The most important thing to consider when scheduling your test is the admissions cycle of the law school that you are planning on applying to. You should note that for most law schools the application period opens in the fall and the deadlines are usually around the end of December.
Thus, it would be practical to complete your test in the months before like June or July. This will allow you to receive your score back in time for applications. Most law schools operate on rolling admissions, meaning that they will offer spots early on and not wait to assess applications after the deadline. For this reason, many believe it is crucial to apply early in the application cycle.
Where to Take the LSAT in Canada?
In Canada, LSAT can be taken at any accredited and recognized location around the country. LSAT-Flex can be taken online from anywhere in the world.
How to Prepare for the LSAT Exam
There are various things you can do to prepare yourself for the test and improve your LSAT scoring.
You should aim to give yourself at least 3 months from the test day to study for the test. In reality, the time you will need to fully prepare for the test will really depend on how well you do in practice exams and overall how well you understand the LSAT study material.
One of the most important things you should do is to practice as much as you can. There are plenty of free LSAT practice tests available online. You should aim to practice the test in a real test environment by timing yourself and not allowing any extra time for yourself.
Your practice should be as close to the real test as possible. It is often that your performance on LSAT sample tests will be a good indicator of what you might score on the actual test.
LSAT Test Prep Courses in Canada
It is worth noting that there are plenty of LSAT preparatory courses. Students should have enough study material such as guides, prep courses, and webinars which will allow students to fully prepare for the test.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the commonly asked quires about this topic:
Can anyone take the LSAT?
In principle, anyone can take the test. However, the test is used as a standardized assessment tool by law schools to assess applicants’ chances of admission. You should really only take the test if you are interested in applying to law schools
Is there math on the test?
The test is not made to assess your mathematics skills. You will need to know enough math to complete some simple calculations. You should be familiar with percentages and numbers. You will not encounter any mathematical formulas or equations on the test.
What does the test actually assess?
The sections of the test were created to assess your logical, analytical, and reading comprehension skills. These are the sections that the test will score you on. To a degree, the test also assesses your writing skills and ability to construct arguments.
What are the best strategies for preparing for the test?
The best strategy is to allow yourself enough time to prepare, to have suitable study material, and practice, practice, practice. Your goal is to be as comfortable as possible with every type of question on the test, and with the allotted time per section.
What is it like to take the LSAT?
Taking the test can be quite stressful. Many feel the pressure of time constraints and the need for fast-paced decision-making. However, with enough preparation, you can decrease the stress and the pressure experienced during the test. It is all about being comfortable with the test.
Is a law degree as tough as the LSAT?
The two are hardly comparable. The test only assesses some of the core skills that lawyers should have. On the other hand, during your law degree, you will be required to learn the law, become familiar with it, and become proficient in applying the law to various scenarios. You will most likely develop even more skills in law school and even build on your core legal skills.
How do bar exams compare to the LSAT in difficulty?
The bar exam is mainly based on the material that you will study during your law degree. It is impractical to compare them. However, although you cannot technically fail the LSAT, you can fail the bar exam.