ABA-approved law schools require applicants to take a standardized test called the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT assesses your knowledge and skills in Logical Reasoning, Logic Games, Reading Comprehension, and Writing. The LSAT is a test of endurance: five 35-minute blocks of multiple-choice testing, plus a 35-minute writing sample.
The LSAT is administered in a paper-based format and is offered four times a year: February, June, September/October, and December. Students should plan on taking the LSAT early, either in February or June so they have their score a full year before entering law school (for example, test in June 2012 to enter Fall 2013). A more detailed summary of the LSAT is on the PAC website.
*Note: February test dates are for the upcoming cycle (for example February 2013 LSAT is for Fall 2014 entry); Scores from February exams usually arrive too late for the application deadlines of the same year.
How is the LSAT scored?
You will receive only one score for the entire LSAT. Scores range from 120-180 on a bell curve, with 180 being the highest and 150 being average. Competitive scores begin in the 150s. The writing sample is not scored but is transmitted to schools along with the score.
How can I prepare for the LSAT?
Remember that almost everyone who takes the LSAT is academically strong, and that many ‘A’ students receive average LSAT scores. On average, students study an hour a day for 6-9 months prior to taking the exam. If you only have 3 months, prepare to study 2-3 hours per day. Consider using prep books by different companies to learn different techniques and perspectives on how to approach the LSAT. PAC offers a lending library program that is a good place to start.
Once you are familiar with the test, take as many timed practice tests as possible, imitating the LSAT test-taking environment as closely as possible. Be sure to analyze your results and figure out both how you found correct answers AND why you missed questions. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and will help you focus on areas for improvement.
The Only Official Test Preparation Material:
Guide to the LSAT and Practice Exams, available on the LSAC website.
There are many ways to prepare; choose whichever works best for you:
1. On your own
2. Study groups
3. Prep books
4. LSAT practice exams
5. Commercial prep classes
If you need the discipline of a class and prefer in-person and/or online instruction, consider taking a prep course (see Available Resources ). Even if you take a prep course, to get a competitive score, you must still prepare on your own outside of class.