All About the LSAT and How to Prepare for It
Dec 21, 2018
By : Manhattan Review
You’ve decided you want to go to law school; you’re organizing your list of preferred law schools; you’re outlining what a career with a degree in law would look like—what’s the next step? Well, this is where the LSAT comes into play. The LSAT is a test required by most law schools, and LSAT scores factor heavily into the acceptance or rejection of law school applications for thousands of students worldwide. Success on this test quite simply equals greater chances of admission to the school of your dreams. Frankly speaking, there is a lot riding on your LSAT score.
Preparing for the LSAT is an investment of time, energy, and money. Whether you’re working with a top-tier teacher from Manhattan Review or another reputable academic services firm, you will surely encounter consistent practice exercises and evaluative mock exams. Understanding how this test works, why it’s important, and its relationship to specific law schools are all vital to initiating an effective program of LSAT prep. Let’s dive in and break down this crucial exam so you can begin your studies with confidence.
Before we delve into LSAT specifics—such as school averages, acceptance rates, test section details, and scoring—let’s take a broad look at the structure of the test in an attempt to shine some light on what to expect. Below you will see the LSAT outlined by section, number of questions, scoring, and timing. This is a useful table to keep handy—after all, doesn’t it always ease anxiety to have a firm idea of what’s ahead?
The LSAT consists of six sections, each lasting 35 minutes. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the order in which the first five sections will unfold, but you can rest assured the essay section will always come last. You will encounter at least two Logical Reasoning sections, each having 24-26 questions.
Additionally, the LSAT has at least one Analytical Reasoning section (also referred to as “Logic Games”) and at least one Reading Comprehension section. Analytical Reasoning consists of 22-24 questions, while Reading Comprehension has 26-28 questions.
There’s good news for students concerned about their scores—two of these six sections on the LSAT are unscored. There’s an experimental section (also known as a “variable” section), which can be either Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, or Reading Comprehension (you won’t know which one it is until after the test). The experimental section is intended to evaluate potential future exam sections in terms of content and level of difficulty.
Finally, the essay is the other unscored section; this will revolve around one essay prompt. In the end, your LSAT testing experience will last anywhere from four to five hours, including administrative tasks and breaks. Hence, an ability to work diligently with great focus is key! The best way to familiarize yourself with the test is to take some of Manhattan Review’s LSAT practice questions.
Now that you know the basic structure of the LSAT, let’s delve further into each section, breaking down particular question types so you’ll know what to expect during your studies and on test day. Each section of the LSAT is intended to help you display important skills needed in law school and the law profession. This breakdown will aid you in your LSAT prep.
Logical Reasoning, as stated above, is the subject of two sections of 24-26 questions each. In total, Logical Reasoning questions make up about half of the LSAT as a whole—so frankly, they’re very important (don’t forget about the experimental section, which is a bit of a wild card and can wind up being Logical Reasoning as well).
Logical Reasoning on the LSAT evaluates your ability to break apart an argument, which is a vital skill for successful lawyers. Logical Reasoning questions will generally present an argument in a few sentences and you are asked to take apart said argument and determine the faulty assumptions or falsehoods.
Analytical Reasoning, as noted before, is 35 minutes and consists of 22-24 questions. At its essence, the questions posed in the LSAT Analytical Reasoning section measure your ability to comprehend a system of relationships and draw logical conclusions about such relationships.
This section is a little different, as it’s broken down into logic games that consist of five to eight questions. A typical 35-minute Analytical Reasoning section on the LSAT looks like this:
- Logic Game #1 (5-8 questions)
- Logic Game #2 (5-8 questions)
- Logic Game #3 (5-8 questions)
- Logic Game #4 (5-8 questions)
Reading Comprehension consists of four passages of 400-500 words, each with a set of 5-8 questions (total of 26-28 questions). Think of these reading comprehension questions as more difficult SAT reading comprehension exercises; they are dense, complicated passages with specific questions meant to confuse you.
The Writing section on the LSAT is unscored—good news, right? It will always come at the end of your testing session and may even feel like an afterthought. Basically, you are given 35 minutes to write a persuasive essay in favor of a particular choice from among two different options.
While this is unscored, schools do get a copy of it and they may take it into consideration, especially if they are undecided between you and another candidate. In the end, it’s important to approach the LSAT essay with seriousness and skill.
The lowest possible scaled LSAT score you can receive is a 120 and the highest is a 180. The average LSAT score is 150. Your raw score is determined by the number of questions that you answer correctly. Your raw score is converted to a scaled score through a process called “equating,” and it is this scaled score with which you apply to law schools.
LSAT average scores and percentiles vary with each school. Naturally, elite schools will have lower acceptance rates and higher average LSAT scores. It’s important to know the median, 25th-percentile, and 75th-percentile LSAT scores reported by your chosen school or schools. Yes, studying for this test is cultivating valuable skills, but it’s also reaching a goal in the form of a number. Naturally, given steep competition, law schools value this end result greatly.
“As far as an LSAT score to aim for in order to be competitive for admission to law school, it really does depend on the particular school and how competitive it is,” said Kellye Testy, president and CEO of LSAC, the makers of the exam. “In general, scores in the high 160s and 170s [out of 180] are usually considered very competitive.” More information about LSAT Percentiles is available through Manhattan Review’s Dossier Series.
LSAT Study Tips
Naturally, enrolling in a rigorous prep course or working with a private tutor at Manhattan Review is the optimal way to achieve your highest LSAT score. Our tutors and teachers are the best in the industry and know the test inside and out. They are willing to work with you in-person, or you can study with them digitally from the convenience of your home or office.
There are so many important study tips to keep in mind when approaching this exam, all of which can be assimilated through a high-quality prep course. Here are a few of the most effective preparation strategies:
- Utilize full-length mock exams. By exposing yourself to LSAT practice exams, you are getting a feeling for what to expect on test day. Practice testing helps build your timing, endurance, and confidence, ultimately making you feel ready, willing, and able to tackle the complicated questions this test hurls your way. Thankfully, Manhattan Review has a variety of practice exams at your disposal when you join us as a student.
- Keep an error log. Yes, we want to focus on the positive growth we are making in terms of this test, but you also want to keep track of all of your weaknesses. Try keeping a notebook handy so you can log all of your mistakes, whether it’s through one-on-one practice with a tutor or the evaluation of your mock exam results. This way, you can keep track of the areas in which you need improvement. In the end, it’s very rewarding to see your errors decrease and your score go up!
- Practice, practice, practice. Well, this one should go without saying, but many students forget the value of consistent practice. Give yourself the benefit of time and allow 2-3 months of preparation. Don’t attempt to cram at the last minute; it won’t do you any good for this test. Many of the necessary skills and test-day strategies must be cultivated over time for implementation on exam day. Try setting a solid number of hours you will devote to studying for the LSAT each week and do your best to meet that goal. Better to be too prepared than ill prepared, right?
LSAT Test Centers in the Philippines
The primary and perhaps only testing center for the LSAT in the Philippines is in Quezon City at the University of the Philippines. You can contact them at +63 2 952 7818 regarding testing dates, times, and logistics.
LSAT: The Takeaway
As you can see, a lot goes into preparing for the LSAT, and success requires ardent focus and real discipline. This exam has been the gold standard for law school admission for decades and is really the only viable test out there to screen candidates. Naturally, you want the highest score you can possibly attain, which will only increase your chances of admission to the school of your dreams.
Whatever course of study you pursue for your LSAT journey, remember to approach it with an even mixture of patience and confidence. Many of the skills required to excel on the LSAT will help you later in life, either as a lawyer or in another profession. By studying consistently for this test, you are making an investment that will pay off in due time, especially if you achieve your ideal results!
The world of law presents many people with a myriad of possibilities. The LSAT is an exciting first step in achieving a fantastic and lucrative career. To find out about LSAT preparation options with Manhattan Review in the Philippines, please check out this website or fill out this form to receive further information.
About Manhattan Review:
Manhattan Review is an international test prep firm that mainly offers preparation for admissions tests needed to apply to US-based universities and schools, including the SAT, GMAT, LSAT, SAT, ACT, SSAT, ISEE, and TOEFL. Founded in 1999 by Dr. Joern Meissner, an internationally renowned business school professor, the company helps students gain entrance to their desired degree programs by working to improve their admission test scores. Headquartered in New York City, Manhattan Review offers LSAT Prep in the Philippines and many cities in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Kukatpally, Begumpet, Jayanagar, Mehdipatnam, Himayatnagar, and Hong Kong. Please also check out our official website for Manhattan Review India.
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