Starting in August 2021, with standard timing, the in-person LSAT consists of four 35-minute multiple-choice sections:
The four sections of the LSAT occur in no particular order, and there is a break following the second section. The experimental section, which does not count toward your score, is included to assess questions that may be used on future versions of the exam. You will not know which section is experimental when taking the test, so you should treat each section as though it will count toward your score.
The LSAT-Flex (offered from April 2020 to June 2021) is identical but does not include an experimental section.
In addition to taking your LSAT or LSAT-Flex, you must also complete the LSAT Writing, which asks you to produce a well-reasoned argument in response to a question. While your writing sample is not calculated into your LSAT score, it will be sent to every law school to which you apply. Faculty readers at some law schools take the writing sample seriously as evidence of your ability to write under time pressure, an important skill in law school. LSAC will not release your scores until you complete the LSAT Writing.
The administration of the LSAT significantly changed in 2019. In July 2019, the LSAT introduced digital testing on Microsoft Surface Go tablets at select test sites, with a full transition to digital testing in September 2019. The format of the multiple-choice sections of the LSAT has not otherwise changed from the paper LSAT, and the content remains the same.
Additionally, as of June 2019, the LSAT Writing is no longer administered at the test site on the day of testing. Instead, students complete the writing sample on a secure online platform “at a time and place of their choosing” (according to the LSAC’s website). If you retake the LSAT, you do not have to complete multiple writing samples as each candidate is required to submit only one. LSAC will not release your LSAT scores until you complete the LSAT Writing.
In response to COVID-19, LSAC introduced the remotely proctored LSAT-Flex. Since April 2020, all LSATs have been offered as LSAT-Flex tests, and LSAC will continue to offer the LSAT-Flex until June 2021. With only one logical reasoning (arguments) section and no experimental section, the LSAT-Flex is shorter than the standard LSAT. The LSAT-Flex is still scored on a scale of 120 to 180. Note that LSAT-Flex tests taken from April to August 2020 do not apply toward testing limits (the number of times an applicant is allowed to take the LSAT within a given period), but all LSAT-Flex tests after this period will apply to the testing limits.
Starting in August 2021, the LSAT will have four sections (instead of the traditional five sections). There will be one logical reasoning (arguments) section, one reading comprehension section, one analytical reasoning (logic games) section, and one unscored experimental section. The LSAT will still be scored on a scale of 120 to 180. LSAC will continue to offer a remote proctoring option until at least June 2022 and may also provide an option for students to take the LSAT at test centers once they can safely do so.
LSAC began imposing maximum testing limits with the September 2019 LSAT administration.
These limits do not apply retroactively, so tests taken before September 2019 do not count toward these limits. Due to the global pandemic, LSAT-Flex tests taken from April through August 2020 also do not count toward these limits.
Note that if you have received a perfect score (a 180) on the LSAT in the past five years, you cannot retake the LSAT.
Yes, you can move your LSAT administration to another test date within the testing year (defined as June 1 through May 31) for a $125 fee prior to the test date change deadline (usually about five weeks in advance of the test). You can withdraw online from a test date up to the day before the test. If you withdraw prior to the withdrawal refund deadline (usually about a month in advance of the test), you will receive a $50 refund from LSAC.
If you do not expect to perform your best on the official test, feel free to change your test date. If you take the test and cancel the score later, you will not be able to see your score; moreover, law schools will be able to see that you canceled your score (unless you have canceled your first LSAT score through the Score Preview feature). Most law schools will ignore the first cancellation, but all schools will expect or require an explanation for two or more canceled scores.
Yes, you can take the LSAT without a bachelor’s degree. However, you must have earned a bachelor’s degree to enter law school. Many students apply for law school the fall of their senior year of college and then enter law school the following fall, after receiving their bachelor’s degree. However, other students may choose to apply to law school a few years after completing their undergraduate degree.
If you plan to apply directly after finishing your undergraduate degree, we recommend that you start studying for the LSAT in the spring of your junior year, focusing primarily on LSAT preparation the summer between your junior and senior years. This approach allows time to retake the test later in the fall, if necessary.
Most schools require that you submit LSAT scores with your application, though an increasing number of law schools will accept GRE scores in lieu of LSAT scores (and some have even begun to accept MCAT or GMAT scores). Before applying to most law schools, you still need to take the LSAT.
You can, however, start the application process before taking the LSAT. As you begin your LSAT preparation, you should determine to which schools you intend to apply so that you can set a realistic goal. You can also start planning your application essays and letters of recommendation while preparing for the LSAT.
Each LSAT administration costs $200. When you apply to law schools, you must also use the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), which costs an additional $195. Each individual score report sent to Law Schools costs $45.
LSAC (Law School Admission Council) also offers package discounts on these fees:
You can change your test date for a fee of $125. You can change your test center for a fee of $125. You can learn more about LSAT fees here.
For every official in-person LSAT administration you must bring:
You may also bring into the test room the following items in a one-gallon Ziplock bag:
Yes, scratch paper is allowed on all multiple-choice sections of the in-person LSAT. You will be provided scratch paper and a pen to use during official LSAT administrations. You should also bring your own pencil and eraser for notes in the provided scratch booklet. You cannot bring your own paper or pen. The digital test interface also allows you to highlight and underline with a stylus provided at the start of the test. You cannot bring your own highlighter or stylus.
You are allowed to use your own scratch paper on remotely proctored LSATs.
No, the LSAT does not explicitly test math. You may see some questions about percentages in the logical reasoning (arguments) section, and some analytical reasoning questions (i.e., logic games) may resemble math problems, but these questions are designed to test your logical reasoning, not your mathematical knowledge.
It depends. Some students would score better on the GRE, while others may score better on the LSAT, as these exams test different content in different ways.
Some law schools accept the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT. Note that applicants who have official LSAT scores must submit them whether or not they have also taken the GRE. If you are planning to apply to law schools that accept the GRE, you should take a full-length practice GRE and a full-length practice LSAT. Compare your scores and overall comfort with each test, and prepare for the test on which you will do better.
The LSAT is administered eight times per year—in June, July, August, October, November, January, February, and April. Many students take the test in the summer before or in the fall of their senior year of college. However, other students may choose to apply to law school a few years after completing their undergraduate degree.
Because the LSAT score carries so much weight in the admissions process, it is imperative that you take the test only when you are ready (as determined by practice test scores). Though most law school admissions are rolling, submitting a weaker score to a school earlier will usually result in a lower chance of admission than submitting a better score later. It is important to be confident in your abilities and in your preparation, but it is a mistake to take the LSAT before you are fully ready to perform at your highest possible level on the official test.
You should also be conservative in trying to project an official LSAT score from your practice test scores. It is unusual for students to match, much less exceed, their highest practice test score on an official test. It is much likelier that you will generate an official score that is somewhat lower than your highest practice test score. If a score in that range is not sufficient to accomplish your goals, consider delaying your test.
If you generate multiple official LSAT scores, LSAC will report an average of those scores to law schools, and a few schools will use the average score in their decision-making process. In addition, law schools will see a record of any score cancellation (except for first-time scores canceled through the Score Preview feature), and most will ask for a written explanation of two or more score cancellations.
With more than 30 years of experience, Advantage Testing has determined optimal program lengths required for students to achieve their best possible scores for every standardized test. We have found that it takes most students about four to six months of focused preparation to do their best on the LSAT. In that time, we recommend students take as many full-length (including experimental sections) practice tests as possible.
We recommend that most students begin studying in the spring before they plan to apply to law schools. With this start, you should have enough time to devote to focused LSAT preparation. Furthermore, we discourage students from pursuing internships or jobs during their summer LSAT preparation, unless they commit no more than 20 hours per week to these other activities. LSAT preparation is most effective when it is your primary focus.
You should also incorporate a potential retake into your timeline. For example, if you are planning to submit a fall law school application, you should consider taking the test for the first time in June to give yourself the option to retake the test in July or August; if you are planning to prepare intensively over the summer, you should consider taking the test in both August and October.
While you can study for the LSAT on your own or in a class, we have found that one-on-one tutoring provides the most effective preparation for the LSAT. An excellent tutor will be able to determine and address your individual strengths and weaknesses and tailor a preparation plan that will enable you to achieve your best score.
However you choose to prepare for the LSAT, be sure to study the underlying concepts on all of the sections of the test and then practice taking as many timed, full-length practice tests as possible. Taking practice tests is a key element to any preparation plan because you will practice completing questions under timed conditions. Note that one of the most challenging components of the LSAT is completing each section within the allotted time. By taking full-length tests, you will become familiar with the logistics of the official test and develop the stamina needed to complete a full test.
We highly recommend purchasing a subscription to LSAT Prep Plus, which will give you access to more than 70 official practice tests.
Determining whether an LSAT preparation course is “worth it” depends entirely on the course specifications (i.e., length and cost) and your individual goals. Studying the core question types, following a study plan, and receiving feedback on test performance can certainly help you prepare for the test. We have found that individual tutoring is the most effective and efficient way to prepare for the LSAT. An excellent tutor will be able to determine your individual strengths and weaknesses, tailor a suitable preparation plan, and impart the tools you will need to achieve your best score. A tutor will also help you find the best way to approach every type of logical reasoning argument, analytical reasoning game, and reading comprehension passage on the LSAT.
Preparing for the LSAT requires significant time and a serious commitment. Advantage Testing has found that it takes most students about four to six months of focused preparation to achieve their best possible LSAT scores. However, if you are able to commit a significant portion of each day (at least 6 hours) to your preparation, you can study for the LSAT in just three months.
If you are preparing for the LSAT within a condensed time frame, focus on taking full-length practice tests. The LSAT challenges students to finish sections under extreme time pressure. The best way to get better at the LSAT is to take as many timed practice tests as possible so that you learn to complete sections under the same time constraints that you will experience on the day of the official test. Most importantly, be sure to carefully review each test taken, paying close attention to every question that you answered incorrectly and every question on which you had to guess.
It is not harmful to your admissions chances to take the LSAT twice. We recommend that students allow time for retaking the test when they plan their preparation program. For example, if you are planning to submit a fall law school application, you should consider taking the test for the first time in June to give yourself the option to retake the test in July or August.
However, it is a mistake to take the LSAT before you are fully ready to perform at your highest possible level on the official test. If you generate multiple official LSAT scores (except for first-time scores canceled using the Score Preview feature), LSAC will report an average of those scores to law schools, and a few schools will use the average score in their decision-making process. In addition, law schools will see a record of any score cancellation (except scores canceled through the Score Preview feature), and most will ask for a written explanation of multiple score cancellations.
Also note that taking the LSAT more than three or four times will diminish the impact of your strongest performance—with that many official scores on record, law schools may begin to use, or at least consider, the average score.
Law schools will not see if you withdraw online from the LSAT prior to the official administration. Law schools will, however, see if you cancel a score after you take the test—unless it is canceled via the Score Preview feature for first-time test takers. Therefore, we recommend that you take the official test only when you feel comfortable with the content and pacing and sufficiently prepared to achieve your best result.
Note that if you withdraw within a certain time frame (usually about a month in advance of the test), you will receive a partial refund. After the withdrawal deadline, you will not get any refund. Within a certain time frame (usually about five weeks in advance of the test), you can also change your test date for a fee.
To determine what is a “good” LSAT score for you, you should take into account the mean scores at the schools to which you are planning to apply, your practice test scores, and the other strengths of your law school application. For example, if your score is well above the 75th percentile of students admitted to your top-choice law school, you can feel confident that you have a “good” score.
LSAT scores are scaled from 120 to 180. The mean score of students who took the LSAT between June 2014 and February 2017 was 150.75, the 80th percentile score was 160, and the 95th percentile score was 168. Selective law schools often have average scores that are considerably higher than these national averages (e.g., the median LSAT score of students enrolled at Harvard Law School and Yale Law School is 173). You can look up the relevant range of scores on the websites of the schools to which you are applying, or on national ranking sites, to determine what LSAT score you will need to present a strong application, or you can use LSAC’s “UGPA and LSAT Score Search” tool.
The LSAT is a law school admissions test. LSAT scores should thus not be considered “good” or “bad” in themselves, but only relative to your goals. When setting goals, you should take into account the average scores at the law schools to which you are planning to apply and the other strengths of your law school application.
LSAT scores are scaled from 120 to 180. The mean score of students who took the LSAT between June 2014 and February 2017 was 150.75, the 80th percentile score was 160, and the 95th percentile score was 168. Selective law schools often have average scores that are considerably higher than these national averages (e.g., the median LSAT score of students enrolled at Stanford Law School is 171). To determine what LSAT score you will need to present a strong application, you can look up the range of enrolled student scores on the websites of the schools to which you are applying, or on national ranking sites. You can also use the LSAC’s UGPA and LSAT Score Search tool to get a rough idea of the likelihood of being admitted to a particular school with a given combination of LSAT scores and GPA.
The LSAT is a difficult standardized test, but there is no “passing” LSAT score. If you need to increase your score, don’t worry! The skills needed to achieve a high score can be learned with rigorous study and long-term practice.
One-on-one tutoring is the best method for LSAT preparation. First, an excellent tutor can help you develop an individualized program tailored to your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to construct the best strategy to approach every type of logical reasoning argument, analytical reasoning game, and reading comprehension passage you may encounter on the test. Second, a tutor will identify and explain concepts that you may initially find difficult, helping you gain skills and confidence until you have mastered such concepts. Finally, a tutor will assign a consistent practice test schedule, helping you gain familiarity applying the skills you learn at the pace of the official test.
If you are taking the LSAT for the first time, the Score Preview feature offers an exceptional advantage. This option will allow you to preview and choose to cancel or accept your score before it is added to your score reports.
After your first official LSAT, if you have reason to believe that your official test went significantly worse than a typical recent practice test (e.g., you uncharacteristically failed to finish an entire reading comprehension or analytical reasoning passage), then you should consider canceling your score. However, it is completely normal to feel uncertain about how well you’ve done on your official test, so don't cancel your score too hastily.
If you do decide to cancel, note that cancellation requests must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the sixth day after your LSAT administration. Besides scores canceled using the Score Preview feature, law schools will be able to see that you canceled your score. Most law schools will ignore the first cancellation, but many schools will expect or require an explanation for two or more canceled scores.
Yes, except for first-time scores canceled using the Score Preview feature, when you take the LSAT more than once, LSAC will calculate an average score that will be printed on your score report along with the scores from all of your individual test dates. Most schools say they consider only the highest score in admissions decisions; however, some schools say they consider all the scores on record, and a small minority of schools say they use the average score. Additionally, if there is a significant difference between your scores (usually five points or more) some schools will ask you to submit an explanation with your application. Always check with the admissions committees of the schools to which you are applying to get up-to-date information on test score policy.
Beyond not earning points for incorrect answers, there is no additional penalty for wrong answers. LSAT scaled scores are based only on the number of questions that you answered correctly on all scored sections of the test (i.e., excluding the experimental). If you do not know the answer to a question, you should guess. Take the final minute of each section to complete answers for any questions that you did not have time to answer, and leave no questions blank.
There is no single LSAT score that will guarantee or preclude admission to Harvard Law School. While the LSAT factors heavily in admissions decisions, Harvard Law School also looks at your entire application. Criteria for admission include: the rigor of your undergraduate curriculum, undergraduate GPA, application essays, work experience, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and other factors.
Students admitted to Harvard do score very high on the LSAT. The median LSAT score of students enrolled at Harvard Law School is 173, the 75th percentile is 175, and the 25th percentile is 170—all scores at the 97th percentile and above.
Note that you can take the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT for admission to Harvard Law School.
The LSAT is weighted heavily in the law school admissions process, in many cases as much as or more than your cumulative undergraduate GPA. While your academic credentials (GPA and LSAT) are weighted most heavily, law schools tend to look at applications holistically, also taking into account the rigor of your undergraduate curriculum, undergraduate GPA, application essays, work experience, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and other factors when making admissions decisions.
LSAC provides a very helpful UGPA and LSAT Score Search tool, which takes the two key data points of your undergraduate GPA and your LSAT score and generates a percentage range for your chance of admission at various schools (note, however, that some law schools, including several highly selective law schools, do not provide data to participate in this search).
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