The Ultimate LSAT Guide Pt. I

This article will detail some of the key information you need to know leading up to the LSAT.

By Mackenzie Roberts — April 3, 2023

The Ultimate LSAT Guide Pt. I

Curious about law school? There is a good chance that you have heard of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). If not, keep reading. The LSAT requires careful preparation and smart studying. It differs from the tests you have taken in the past such as the ACT. One of the best ways to prepare for something like this is to familiarize yourself with the structure and basics of the test. This article will detail some of the key information you need to know leading up to the LSAT.

What is the LSAT?

The LSAT is designed to test the likelihood of success in a student's first year of law school. The Law School Admission Council describes the test as an integral part of a student's admission to law school. The test is broken up into four multiple-choice sections and includes a separate essay called LSAT Writing which requires a written essay. Your experience with this test may help you decide whether law school is the correct path for you.

When to Take the LSAT

The decision of when to take the LSAT is based on multiple factors. One of the first things you should consider is the application deadlines of your preferred law school(s). It is ideal that you have your LSAT score by the time you start applying. In addition, you want to give yourself plenty of time to study for the test. The LSAT requires a significant amount of preparation. You do not want to cut yourself short on studying time. The Princeton Review suggests students should study at least 250 to 300 hours within a three-month time frame. You should consider this three-month period when selecting an exam date and time. If you know your schedule is busy, give yourself additional time. Visit the Law School Admission Council website for a list of official test and registration dates and deadlines. The LSAC is where you will register to take the test as well.

A Quick Look at the Test Sections

The LSAT consists of four multiple-choice sections assigned in no specific order. In addition to the multiple-choice section, the test requires a written section of the LSAT that is unscored. Test takers will have 35 minutes to complete each multiple-choice section. One of the multiple-choice sections is known as the Logical Reasoning. This section tests your ability to read and reason. You will learn more about each section's requirements as you begin to study.

The Reading Comprehension portion of the test's format may look familiar to what some students saw on the ACT. This portion of the test consists of four passages followed by a series of questions based on the passage you read. However, this section is designed to test you differently than you have been in the past. You should not spend any less time studying this portion. Do not be deceived by its appearance.

The third section is known as the Logic Games section. This portion of the test will present you with a scenario followed by different rules. You will create a diagram based on the elements and rules and answer a series of questions. This section may seem intimidating as you take your first practice test, however, it is the section easiest to improve with practice.

The written portion of the test is unscored. You may ask what the point of it is. When reviewing applications, many law schools will use students writing samples to see how well they can organize evidence and argue a position. Though not scored, the LSAT Writing is not an area you should take lightly. Give yourself some time to practice the written essay and develop your skills. This portion of the test opens eight days prior to your test administration to allow more flexibility for test takers. You will be required to have a writing sample on file before you may see your score and before it is released to schools.

Studying for the LSAT/Materials

As with any big test or exam, the LSAT requires careful preparation. How you choose to study is ultimately up to you. While some students will register for LSAT learning courses, others will deem it unnecessary. A course on the LSAT is NOT required and you can study and succeed without one. If you do choose this route, make sure the course is licensed with official LSAT material. The official LSAC website encourages using LSAT prep books and Khan Academy as methods for studying.

One way to begin studying for the LSAT is by taking a practice test. A practice test will allow you to see the areas you may need to spend extra time on and will also allow you to track your progress. Free practice tests are available on Khan Academy and are also available in LSAT workbooks that you can purchase through Amazon. Studying for the LSAT does not have to cost you hundreds of dollars. Linked below are the study materials that I find most helpful.

How you study matters. It is important that you study in a way that proves to be beneficial for you. More than likely, this material will feel unfamiliar and will require you to start from the beginning. As you study, come up with a routine for how, when, and where you will do so. It may not be wise to save your studying for when you get home from work at 11 o'clock at night and are exhausted.

It is also important that you set dates to take full-length practice tests to measure your progress. If you notice your score not improving, it may be time to make an adjustment to your study methods. Remember, your goal is to familiarize yourself with the test as much as possible to avoid any surprises on test day. If you want to learn more about the LSAT, don't forget to check out Part II of this article.

Recommended LSAT Study Materials

The LSAT Trainer: A Remarkable Self-Study Guide For The Self-Driven Student

10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests

LSAT Logic Games Bible

LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible

LSAT Reading Comprehension Bible

Mackenzie Roberts

Mackenzie Roberts

Mackenzie Roberts is a senior at William Penn University majoring in History and Political Science. On campus, Mackenzie is an active presence, enjoying her roles as Student Ambassador and the Department Assistant for Social and Behavioral Sciences. Mackenzie loves college student life and expanding her knowledge on various topics.
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