The legal field is an ever more popular option for international students around the world. The LSAT exam is the exam that students will need to take in order to gain admission into top law schools around the United States. So what is the LSAT?
About the LSAT
The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is the official exam of law schools throughout the United States, and is required in order to apply for law schools. The LSAT is used to test applicants in a number of different areas such as reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and verbal reasoning skills. The test is administered by the Law School Admissions Council, where it is taken by nearly 130,000 students and administered four times each year.
The Importance of the LSAT
The LSAT is one of the most important facets of a law school application; LSAT scores carry the most weight in the eyes of admissions boards. Getting high scores can be the difference between being accepted into a top school or a low tier school.
LSAT Testing Format
The LSAT consists of 175 minutes of multiple-choice testing and a thirty-minute writing sample. On the LSAT, you will be required to think - thoroughly, quickly, and strategically.
You will receive one overall score for the LSAT, ranging from 120 to 180 (there are no separate section scores). Plus, you will also receive a "score band," which is a range of scaled scores above and below your score, indicating a "true score" at a reasonable level of confidence. Lastly, there's your percentile score, which ranks your performance relative to that of a large group of other test takers.
The LSAT exam consists of five multiple choice sections testing:
- logical reasoning
- analytical reasoning
- reading comprehension
There are two logical reasoning sections, designed to test the test-takers dissection of arguments.
Reading Comprehension Section
The reading comprehension section consists of 4-5 passages with 5-8 questions following each passage.
Analytical Reasoning Section
The analytical reasoning section consists of 22 “logic games” questions.
Unlike some standardized tests, there is a penalty for answering the questions incorrectly. If you do not know the answer, you will get more points for not answering it than missing it. The test can last for up to four hours, and breaks are given twice each test.
There are many great study materials available for students to ensure that they are fully prepared to take the LSAT. These materials include:
- practice books
- practice tests
- private coaches
Study books provide students with precise details about the test and give them an idea of potential testing material. Most of these test books will have a gradable portion at the end that will give students an idea of how well they are likely to do on the exam. These practice tests give real feedback on areas that a student may be struggling in and allow them to go back to the study sections and review material.
Practice tests are also an option for students preparing to take the LSAT. These allow students the opportunity to take real tests in a practice setting with real proctors, times, and rules. At the end students are given a real score and have the option to stay and learn information about testing centers and courses. These courses can be great for some students. While they can be a bit expensive, there are many testimonials by former test takers that claim their scores greatly improved after taking an LSAT prep course.
Private LSAT Coaches
Sometimes what a student needs is some one-on-one coaching with a certified LSAT instructor. This instructor helps a student to focus on their problem areas while also giving intensive instruction on testing material. Many students find that LSAT coaches can help improve scores by 10 to 15 points. These coaches are versed in the exam, and often stay sharp in their skills by taking a new LSAT exam each year, even though they are not applying to law school.
Directions: Each group of questions is based on a set of conditions. You may wish to draw a rough sketch to help you answer some of the questions. Choose the best answer for each question and fill in the corresponding space on your answer sheet.
Exactly four statues are lined up on the floor of a wax museum, on pedestals numbered 1 through 4, from left to right.
- Two of the statues are male figures, while the other two are female figures.
- Two of the statues represent famous athletes, one a famous gangster, and the other a famous inventor.
- Exactly one of the four statues glows in the dark.
- The statue that glows in the dark occupies either the first or the fourth pedestal.
- An athlete statue occupies the second pedestal.
- There is at least one pedestal occupied by a male figure between the two pedestals occupied by female figures.
- One of the athlete statues glows in the dark.
Which one of the following must be true of the third pedestal?
- A female figure occupies it.
- A male figure occupies it.
- The gangster statue occupies it.
- An athlete statue does not occupy it.
- Its statue glows in the dark.
Rules 3 and 7 both mention the glow-in-the-dark statue, so you can zero in on those rules to make the key deductions:
With one athlete concretely placed by Rule 5 on the second pedestal, the other athlete (the glow-in-the-dark statue) must occupy pedestal 1 or 4. With the two athletes placed, pedestal 3 must be occupied by either the gangster or inventor.
This question shows you the value of thinking through the situation up front: It allows you to scan the choices and quickly zero in on the answer. We're asked what must be true of the third pedestal, and we just deduced that pedestal 3 must be occupied by either the gangster or inventor, so it certainly can't be occupied by an athlete; therefore, (D) is the correct choice.
Taking the Test
You can find all the information about the LSAT and how to take and register for the test at www.lsac.org
The Night Before the LSAT
Students often get a little anxious about the impending test and can psych themselves out the night before an exam. The best thing you can do the night before is try to relax. If you have taken the time to study, then go into the exam confident! Try not to look at the exam material the day before, it only serves to stress you out further. You should eat a good meal, and watch some television or do something that is not too stressful. It might also be a good idea to get some exercise the night before. Go for a walk, jog, or bike ride.
There are a few things that every test taker should know on the testing day. First off make sure you set an alarm! You do not want to be late for the big test. Make sure that you eat a large, nutritious breakfast. A good breakfast makes for a well-functioning mind! Try to leave a little early for the test, in case of traffic or car troubles. Make sure you know where your testing location is; LSAT exams are usually administered on a local college campus or school, which can present parking problems. Students should do their research to be sure they know exactly where the testing building is and where they should park. Students are required to show picture before admittance into the exam area, as well as your registration ticket with you name on it.
Test scores for the LSAT can range from 120 to 180. Each law school will have a different requirement for their program, but the standard minimum score is usually around 153. In most cases, scores below 149 are considered below average. Students are put in a scoring percentage, meaning that their scores are compared against other test takers. A score like 180 would be considered in the 99th percentile. Many schools look into these percentages to get a better look at the student’s scores in comparison to other students.