Recently in my lifelong pursuit to attend law school I took the step that every law students has taken before me (well at least since the American Bar Association came about). I set aside 4 months of social life and spent every spare moment studying for the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test). If you plan on attending an ABA approved law school you will inevitably face this rite of passage. Each law school usually claims that they look at your entire application before making a decision on admission to their University; however, this having a poor LSAT score can dramatically limit your law school options.
Take this test seriously the first time! You do not want to take it again (some schools average your scores instead of taking the highest). The key to getting a good score is by learning from other people’s mistakes and successful test methods. Many of the tips below were gathered from high-ranking test takers who answered questionnaires about their habits on Top-Law-Schools.com (as well as a few tips from me).
Preparing is Key
The best studying tips are…
Ø Practice a new section daily and integrate weekly practice tests.
Ø Since this test measures logical and analytical thought, don’t bother wasting time coordinating a study group – study solo and focus on your own thoughts, not somebody else’s.
Ø Understanding how you came to your conclusion is just as important as the answer itself; focus on the thought process, which led you to the answer.
Ø Many test takers prepare and study for about 3 months.
Ø Take breaks to avoid overdoing it, there’s no benefit to being overstressed and sleep deprived on test day.
Ø Develop your own shorthand notation system
What to Expect from the Testing Process
Knowing what to expect is a very important part of being prepared for test day. The LSAT is administered only four times a year at centers across the world; this test is given in a half day with five 35 minute sections – analytical reasoning (aka- logical games), (2) logical reasoning sections, reading comprehension, and writing; note that logical reasoning makes up two sections and also counts towards 50% of the whole score. The writing section is not factored into the numerical score but is passed on to admissions personnel, which may end up being a major factor in their decision about your future at their school. While taking the test, answer every question to the best of your ability, unlike the SAT there’s no benefit in skipping any questions on the LSAT.
When all answers are tallied up, the highest score you can get is 180; there is no passing or failing score. According to the LSAT Center webpage, the average score is 150 and the top 25 law schools require a score of 160 or more to attend their classes (please note- with the increase in law school applicants this number is greatly on the rise. To be safe you should shoot for a minimum of 160). If you are unhappy with your score, you will be allowed to retake it, but don’t count on that making much of a difference; many people only see a very slight increase in their score the second time around. Most schools will access your full record and will see your original scores anyways. Retakes might not be a second chance, but if there was an extraordinary circumstance which caused you to get a score which you feel doesn’t accurately reflect your abilities, you can take the test up to three times in a two year period; just be prepared to explain to the admissions board what prompted the retesting.
Do you have any LSAT test taking tips?
Andrew Miller is an experienced Social Media expert and Author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. He is also an avid legal blogger and currently in the law school application process.