If you are thinking about going to law school, then you need to prepare to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) exam. To help you better understand the LSAT, we’ve put together five facts that you need to know.
1. The LSAT Is a Key Part of the Law School Admission Process
The LSAT is an integral part of the law school admission process and provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use in assessing applicants.
The LSAT is offered four times a year: February, June, October (or late September) and December.
The average number of questions on the LSAT is about 100 and the test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions. Four of the five sections contribute to the test taker’s score. The unscored section typically is used to pretest new test questions.
The LSAT is scored on a scale of 120-180 points. Because most top law schools average multiple LSAT scores, it’s best to prepare as thoroughly as possible and only take the test once.
Finally, there is an unscored writing sample given at the end of the test. Copies of your writing sample are sent to all law schools to which you apply.
2. The LSAT Has Both a Raw & Scaled Score
The LSAT typically contains approximately 100 questions, and each LSAT score is based on the total number of questions answered correctly. This is known as your raw score.
The test takers then apply a unique score conversion chart to convert the raw score into a scaled LSAT score.
Since the test is not computerized but created by humans, the amount of questions per test has remained constant but the difficulty of each test varies. This makes predetermining the difficulty of each test challenging. As a result, the test takers adjust the scoring conversion chart to try make similar LSAT scores from different tests mean the same.
3. You Should Never Leave a Question Unanswered on the LSAT
There’s no penalty for wrong answers so don’t ever leave a question blank. As for which answer choice should you pick? Even LSAT prep companies don’t really seem to agree.
Though it may feel unnatural to simply take a wild guess on a difficult question, you have a 1-in-5 chance of happening upon the correct answer. In most cases, you should be able to easily eliminate at least one answer and therefore increase your odds of getting the question right even more.
Time constraints are also a significant element of the exam. As a result, when it comes to your strategy for answering these types of questions you should definitely choose quickly and move on.
4. Your LSAT 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.
5. Practice & Preparation Makes Perfect
Since schools put so much importance on your LSAT scores, you need to put in plenty of prep time. The good news is that everyone agrees that the LSAT an exam on where you will do better with practice. The number one reason that applicants score lower than they hope to on the exam is that they don’t spend enough quality time preparing.
Since you will be unsure of many of the types of questions you’ll encounter on the LSAT, you should practice regularly to get accustomed to their format. You should also not just simply tabulate your results on practice exams, but closely look at questions and determine what led you to that wrong answer.
Many LSAT experts agree that test-takers should spend at least three months preparing for the exam. There are many preparations resources available including guides, tutors, classes, online resources and more.