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LSAT: What every aspiring lawyer should know

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is an entrance exam required for admission to most leading law schools. Source: Oli Scarff / AFP

Did you know some of the world’s most impactful leaders studied law? From former US President Barack Obama to Margaret Thatcher to Mahatma Gandhi, the field has proven to be a solid choice for aspiring leaders from all walks of life. Law is considered to be one of the oldest academic fields in history, a degree that is highly regarded and guaranteed to come with rewarding career outcomes. However, for most, the decision to pursue qualification stems from a passion to uphold justice. 

If you are an undergraduate ready to begin the process of pursuing a law degree, you’ll need to identify and execute the necessary steps — the first of which is passing the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Along with an impressive GPA, an above-average LSAT score is among the crucial factors law school admission officers take into consideration when reviewing applications. The exam is known to be an integral part of applying to law schools across the US, Canada, and a growing number of other countries — the only of its kind to be accepted by ABA-accredited law schools.

Administered by the US Law School Admission Council (LSAC), its website states: “The purpose of the LSAT is to test the skills necessary for success in the first year of law school. Those skills include reading comprehension, reasoning, and writing, and the test results help admission decision-makers and candidates alike gain valuable insight as to law school readiness.” The exam is administered in two parts. The first is a multiple-choice exam that consists of several 35-minute sections of reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning questions, followed by a 35-minute unscored variable section. 

Students take the admission exam for a place in the different face-to-face careers of Law, Criminology, and International Relations, at the University Center for Social Sciences and Humanities of the University of Guadalajara. Source: Ulises Ruiz/AFP

The second part is the LSAT Writing section that is now delivered with a new approach. The on-demand writing exam is now administered online using secure proctoring software to be installed on a candidate’s computer. This new approach was developed in response to feedback from previous test-takers. As a result, LSAT test days are much shorter and candidates are given more flexibility. 

The structure of the LSAT Writing section remains the same. The decision-prompt structure was designed to get candidates accustomed to excelling in the kind of argumentative writing they will be expected to produce in law school. The essay has to be completed in 35-minutes and has to be written in response to the prompt presented. Once completed, scoring is based on the number of questions answered correctly, known as a “raw score.” All questions are weighted the same and there is no deduction for incorrect answers. The “raw score” will then be converted to an LSAT scale, producing the score students receive in their report. 

The LSAT scale ranges from 120-180. While the average score is around 150, a score above 160 will definitely set you on the right path to getting into a top 25 law school. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, from Jan. to Apr. 2021 all LSAT administrations will be replaced by the LSAT-Flex, a remotely proctored version of the original LSAT. This three-section exam uses the same types of questions that will challenge students to live up to rigorous standards from a remote location.

The key difference between the examination structure of the LSAT and the LSAT-Flex is that the 35-minute unscored variable portion is excluded in the latter. The virtual test was first administered early last year and since then, 79,000 assessments were successfully completed. The upcoming US test dates for the LSAT-Flex exam are Feb. 20-21, 2021, and Apr. 10-11, 2021.