Students who want to apply to law school understand that getting a good score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) exam is a critical factor in the admission process. Understanding the LSAT will help you better prepare and get that high score you need.
To help you better understand the LSAT scoring process, here are five fast facts you need know:
1. The LSAT Contains Approximately 100 Questions
The LSAT test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions. Four of the five sections contribute to the test taker’s score. The LSAT test uses three types of questions to measure your skills in critical reading, verbal reasoning, and analytical thinking.
Each LSAT test administered typically contains about 100 questions, and your score will be based on the total number of questions you correctly answer. This is called the raw score.
Then a unique score conversion chart is used to convert your raw score into a scaled LSAT score. The LSAT scaled score is between a 120-180, with 120 being the lowest possible score and 180 being the highest possible score.
Test takers actually have the option to cancel their scores within six days after the exam. Law schools will still be aware that you took the LSAT exam but they will not see a score. Test takers typically receive their scores by e-mail between three and four weeks after the exam.
2. Your LSAT Score Is The #1 Factor In Law Admissions
According to recent surveys, a large majority of admission officers look primarily at your LSAT score to determine admission into law school.
That means you could have an outstanding GPA and resume, but if your score is not high enough, you likely will not get into your law school of choice.
It’s not only the score, but the LSAT serves as a key measuring stick against other students to determine how well you will do in your first year of law school and how well you will perform on the bar exam.
Admissions officers also use your score to award scholarships, and your LSAT can even predict your future job salary.
So it’s critical that you earn a high score to give yourself the best chance to succeed.
3. The Writing Sample Section Of The Exam Is Not Scored
The final section of the LSAT is a writing section. The writing sample is presented in the form of a decision prompt. That means the test taker is presented a problem with two criteria for making a decision. The test taker then writes an essay favoring one of the two options over the other.
There is no “right” or “wrong” answer to the writing prompt, the test makers are looking for you to argue for your chosen position and against the other.
The writing sample is not scored. The essay is sent to admission offices along with your LSAT score.
4. You Should Never Leave A Question Blank On The LSAT
The LSAT does not penalize you for wrong answers. So you should never leave a question blank. Even if you are unsure, you should guess as you’ll have a one in five chance of getting each of the questions right.
There are many strategies for eliminating some answer choices so that you are not completely guessing. For example on argument questions, you can eliminate answers outside the scope of the argument. Some theories say that you can eliminate answers choices in the reading comprehension that contain extreme language.
However, for every answer you can effectively eliminate, you are greatly increasing your chances. By taking the time to learn some strategies, you are simply increasing your odds of getting a higher score.
5. Scores Are Valid For Five Years
Students may take the test only three times in a two-year period unless they are granted an exemption.
Every score within five years is reported to law schools during the application process, as well a separate average of all scores on record. For admission determination, many law schools use the highest score on record, some use the average score, and some use the highest score if the difference between the highest and lowest score is at or greater than a certain number.
The LSAC (Law School Admission Council) will remove some of your older scores after five years.