Unlock LSAT success with our comprehensive guide, navigating you through every aspect of the exam for confident preparation and optimal performance.

The LSAT is a standardized test required for law school admission in the United States, Canada, and other countries. It stands for Law School Admission Test and evaluates critical thinking, analysis, reasoning, comprehension, and data organization skills needed for success in the first year of law school. As an essential component of the law school application process, the LSAT results provide valuable information for both applicants and admissions decision-makers. In fact, the LSAT is often considered a better predictor of first-year law school success than an undergraduate GPA. Hence, adequate preparation for the LSAT is essential for prospective law students to enhance their likelihood of gaining admission to their preferred law program.

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A Quick LSAT Overview

  1. How long is the LSAT?
    The LSAT is a 3.5-hour test with six sections, each 35 minutes long, containing 99 to 102 multiple-choice questions. The exam is intentionally designed to be difficult, with most test-takers unable to complete all the questions within the time limit.
  2. How hard is the LSAT?
    The LSAT is a challenging exam that demands commitment, persistence, self-control, and a well-structured study strategy for effective preparation months before the test date.
  3. How many times can you take the LSAT?
    Candidates can take the LSAT up to three times in a single testing year, up to five times within the current and past five testing years, or a total of seven times in their lifetime. The testing cycle begins with the August 2024 test.
  4. When do you take the LSAT?
    Law schools usually require applicants to take the LSAT by December for admission to the following fall semester. The LSAT is administered four times yearly in February, June, September/October, and December.
  5. How much does the LSAT cost?
    The LSAT costs $200, including the LSAT Writing fee.
  6. How long are LSAT scores valid?
    Typically, five years is when the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) reports scores to law schools for consideration.

What Is the LSAT?

So, what is LSAT all about? The LSAT assesses critical reading, analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and persuasive writing skills, all essential for success in law school. All ABA-accredited law schools in the United States require LSAT scores for admission to their graduate law programs, including the Master of Legal Studies.

Administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), over 100,000 prospective law school applicants worldwide take the LSAT annually. The LSAT was divided into two sections in June 2019. The first section is a multiple-choice exam held several times yearly at various testing centers worldwide. The second section is LSAT Writing, which consists of a written essay. This section is taken online using safe proctoring software installed on the candidate’s machine and can be taken from the comfort of their own home or another convenient venue.

Important Update: In the United States (including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) and Canada, the multiple-choice component of the LSAT began its transition to digital in July 2019 and became completely digital in September 2019. The LSAT is now available on a tablet in these areas but continues to be conducted in the conventional paper-and-pencil form in other parts of the world.

What’s On the LSAT Exam?

This section provides information about the LSAT format and answers to common questions like “What is a good LSAT score?” and “How many questions are on the LSAT?”

LSAT Format

In all, there are four main sections in LSAT:

  • Logical reasoning, which is also known as Arguments;
  • Analytical reasoning, which is also known as Logic Games;
  • Reading Comprehension; and a
  • Writing Sample, which is also known as an Essay.

The LSAT also includes an Experimental Section. Both the Writing Sample and Experimental Sections are unscored sections.

This is the breakup of all the sections in LSAT:

SectionNos.TypeNo. of QuestionsAllotted Time
Logical ReasoningTwoScored24 to 26 Questions each35 + 35 Minutes
Analytical ReasoningOneScored5 to 7 Questions each, for 4 Scenarios35 Minutes
Reading ComprehensionOneScored26 to 28 Questions35 Minutes
Writing SampleOneUnscored1 Essay35 Minutes
Experimental (Logical Reasoning, or Analytical Reasoning, or Reading Comprehension)OneUnscoredVaries35 Minutes

The LSAT test consists of 6 sections of 35 minutes each, totaling about 99 to 102 questions, and 3 hours and 30 minutes.

LSAT Test Scores

How is the LSAT scored? 

The LSAT is scored on a scale of 120 to 180 points. Candidates should remember that almost all law schools will average the test scores of multiple LSAT results. Therefore, it is best to thoroughly prepare for the exam and take it only once.

The average test score is approximately 152 points, meaning one needs to get at least 60 questions out of the 99 to 102 odd questions.

The LSAT percentile compares the candidate’s score with those of others who have taken the LSAT in the prior three years. Small gains in the LSAT score can have a major impact on the percentile, as the table below shows:

LSAT ScoreApproximate Percentile
18099.97%
17097.37%
16591.71%
16080.37%
15563.80%
15044.37%

The LSAT percentile score is based on the candidate’s score compared to those who have taken the LSAT in the previous three years. A five-point increase can result in a significant change in percentile ranking. However, the percentile rank may vary depending on the year it is reported, and these figures should be considered estimates only.

In conclusion, a good LSAT score is considered 160 or higher, and candidates who score above 165 have a better chance of being admitted to the top 15 law schools in the United States.

How Much Does the LSAT Cost?

The cost of the LSAT is a common question for many candidates, and the fee structure is outlined below. The basic LSAT fee, including LSAT Writing, is $200. The Credential Assembly Service (CAS) fee is $195, which compiles all undergraduate transcripts, LSAT scores, and letters of recommendation. The Law School Report, generated by CAS and sent to the candidate’s prospective law schools, costs $45.

Apart from these basic fees, other auxiliary fees may apply. A test date change is free if it occurs up to two weeks before the LSAT-Flex administration. However, if it is less than two weeks before the commencement of the LSAT-Flex administration, the cost is $125.

For first-time test-takers, a Score Preview is available for $45 if signed up before the first day of testing for a specific administration. However, if signed up during a specified period after testing has concluded, the cost is $75.

If a candidate cancels the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), they are eligible for a refund of $50. It is important to note that the fees listed above are subject to change, and candidates should always refer to the official LSAT website for the most up-to-date information.

How Is the LSAT Administered?

The LSAT is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) at designated test centers and dates throughout the year. Candidates must register online to take the exam and pay the applicable fees.

On test day, candidates must arrive at the test center early and bring a valid ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. LSAT is administered in a paper-and-pencil format and consists of multiple-choice questions. The test consists of four sections: Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and an unscored experimental section. The LSAT also includes a Writing Sample, completed online separately from the rest of the exam.

Each section is timed, and candidates cannot use calculators or electronic devices during the test. The total testing time for the LSAT is 3 hours and 30 minutes. After completing the exam, candidates can cancel their scores, but they must do so within a specified period.

LSAT scoring is based on the number of questions answered correctly, and there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Law schools generally consider the highest score, but some schools may average multiple scores. LSAT scores are typically valid for five years; candidates can take the exam up to three times in a testing cycle.

Can You Take the LSAT Online?

Yes, candidates can take the LSAT online. The LSAT-Flex was introduced in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is currently available for candidates to take from the comfort of their own homes. The LSAT-Flex is a shorter version of the LSAT, consisting of three sections: Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension.

To take the LSAT-Flex, candidates must have a reliable internet connection, a computer with a webcam and microphone, and a private, quiet location to take the test. The LSAC provides more specific guidelines on its website, including the type of computer and internet connection requirements and the acceptance testing environment.

The scoring for the LSAT-Flex is the same as the traditional LSAT, with a range of 120 to 180 points. The LSAT-Flex also includes an unscored writing section administered separately from the test. Candidates receive their scores within two to three weeks after taking the LSAT-Flex.
It is important to note that not all candidates are eligible to take the LSAT-Flex and that test-takers must meet specific criteria to be considered for the online exam. Candidates can check their eligibility on the LSAC website1 and register for the LSAT-Flex through their online accounts.

How to Start Studying for Your LSAT Exam

The LSAT is often perceived as a challenging test. Still, candidates can increase their chances of achieving high scores with adequate preparation, the right approach, access to the right materials, dedication, and discipline. 

The time needed to prepare for the LSAT varies depending on the candidate’s determination and commitment. Some may begin their preparation a year or more in advance, while others may take only a few months. However, studying for 150 to 300 hours in total is generally recommended.

Three primary ways to study for the LSAT: Self-study, Prep courses, and Private Tutoring. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, as outlined in the table below. Choosing the preparation method that suits your learning style and study habits is essential.

LSAT preparation offers different options, such as self-study, prep courses, and private tutoring, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Study TypeAdvantagesDisadvantages
Self-StudySelf-study is the most cost-effective option, as it is free. It allows candidates to study at their own pace and in their unique style.Self-study can often lead to procrastination and slacking. It is also challenging to discern what is essential and what is not, and it requires immense dedication at all times.
Prep CoursesPrep courses offer structured study paths and come with ready-to-use materials and resources to aid study. Prep courses can be expensive to sign up for, and choosing the right course can be challenging as each course takes its own independent approach toward study and preparation.
Private TutoringPrivate tutoring offers one-on-one tuition and complete attention to the candidate. It also provides access to ready help, doubt clarification, and personalized lesson plans.Private tutors tend to charge by the hour, which can be considerably expensive. Additionally, finding the right tutor with the proper credentials, especially those competent with LSAT, can be challenging.

As far as how to study each of the LSAT sections is concerned, candidates must first understand them and the kind of questions they can come to expect. Here is a quick analysis of all the sections in the LSAT:

  1. Logical Reasoning
    This section assesses the ability to identify the central points of an argument, locate pertinent information within a text, analyze and evaluate an argument, and apply logic to abstract concepts. See sample questions2.
  2. Analytical Reasoning
    This section assesses the ability to establish relationships between concepts, analyze situations, draw conclusions based on predefined guidelines, and apply logic to ambiguous or complex situations. See sample questions3.
  3. Reading Comprehension
    This section assesses the ability to locate relevant details within a text, make inferences from it, decide the key points of passages, and comprehend a dense, scholarly text. See sample questions4.
  4. Writing Sample
    In this section, which is unscored, the ability to construct an argument based on given evidence, endorse one, and express an idea in written English is assessed.
  5. Experimental Section
    This section, which is also unscored, may contain other components such as games, reading comprehension, or arguments.

12 Best Ways to Prep for Your Exam

Preparing for the LSAT test can be a daunting task that requires months of hard work and dedication. Here is a simple yet effective step-by-step guide on how to study and prepare for the LSAT:

Step 1: Get a head start. Allowing enough time for LSAT preparation is the first step candidates should take. Starting early and preparing well ahead of the test day is always recommended.\

Step 2: Understand the requirements. Before beginning with LSAT prep, candidates must understand the requirements of LSAT – its various sections, topics that may be covered, types of questions, etc., instead of blindly hitting the books.

Step 3: Set a target. Prepare a list of preferred law schools to seek admission to and check each school’s requirements of LSAT scores and/or percentiles. Based on this, set a target to aim at.

Step 4: Test the waters. Take an old LSAT test (say about 6 to 8 years old) just to see what this test is all about and to get a better idea of its structure, format, and questions. The score for this test should not be considered, as this test is only to better understand the ‘look and feel’ of the LSAT and not to check proficiency or knowledge.

Step 5: Prepare a study plan. After factoring in steps 2, 3, and 4, prepare a study plan complete with topics, sections, objectives, timelines, and any other information one desires to put in. Be realistic with schedules and daily goals.

Step 6: Get down to the basics. Now that steps 2 to 5 are complete, candidates should start their preparation by building up, strengthening, and mastering the basics for each type of question. Having strong fundamentals will go a long way in tackling more complex areas as the study advances.

Step 7: Identify strengths & weaknesses. After a fair amount of study, identify strong areas that could do with lesser attention and weaker ones that may require more concentration and focus, and then adjust the pattern and/or schedule of study accordingly.

Step 8: Build up on accuracy. Instead of focusing on how long it takes to answer a question, candidates would do well to focus on getting the question right instead of improving their basics and thought processes. After all, the LSAT is deliberately not designed to be entirely completed in the stipulated time.

Step 9: Test along the way. It is always best for candidates to periodically take practice tests to gauge their progress, strengths, and weaknesses. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) administers official LSAT practice tests5, which should be preferred over third-party options elsewhere.

Step 10: Stay sharp. Rather than concentrating their efforts on the answer to a question, candidates should stay sharp by building up their analytical, rational, logical, and critical thinking skills. In other words, mastering the ‘process’ – or how the question must be approached and answered- will yield more accurate results.

Step 11: Build endurance. Make it a habit to gradually build up study times, going up to three and a half to four hours at a stretch. Doing so is important because the LSAT is an arduous test requiring the candidate to be seated, pinned down, and focused for a good three hours and thirty minutes.

Step 12: Pause & break. Lastly, the LSAT preparation should be considered more of a marathon than a quick dash to the winning post. Candidates should take reasonable pauses and breaks from their prep and find ways to unwind, relax, and de-stress. This will give the brain some much-deserved rest and refresh it, ready to take on more.

How to Prepare for the Day Before Your Exam

Preparing for the day before your exam is crucial for achieving success in the LSAT. Having a checklist of important things to avoid any last-minute stress or confusion is essential. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the day before your exam:

  1. Prepare a Ready Reckoner/Flashcards: Consider making a ready Reckoner or flashcards for tricky or critical points that have always proven difficult. But make sure that these are not too long or too many. Take the rest of the day off from studying or preparing for LSAT.
  2. Check & Confirm the Admission Ticket: Log in to the LSAC website6 and review all details of the admission ticket along with all instructions again. Check for any last-minute official updates and announcements as well.
  3. Pack Only What is Necessary: Keep in mind the guidelines and rules to be followed for being admitted into the test room, and pack accordingly. (Check the next section that lists these guidelines.)
  4. Do not Practice: Avoid taking practice exams the day before the LSAT. Doing so will potentially increase anxiety and nervousness levels and not provide additional knowledge in any way.
  5. Unwind and De-Stress: Relax and unwind by speaking with friends, watching TV, or doing any simple activity that can de-stress. Stay away from doing anything related to LSAT, especially post-noon or late noon.

Eat Right & Sleep Well: A light meal and going to bed early are always recommended. Make all arrangements for a comfortable and peaceful night’s rest, such as a comfortable mattress and a suitable room temperature. This will help you wake up fresh, well-rested, ready to take the LSAT.

5 Tips for Exam Day

The LSAT Test day can be nerve-wracking for many students. However, being familiar with what to expect and what to bring can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Arrive Early:

It’s important to arrive at the test center before the reporting time to allow for smooth check-in. The test will only begin once all candidates have been checked in and assigned their seats.

Check-In:

Candidates must bring a printed copy of only Page 1 of their admission ticket to successfully check-in. The admission ticket displays the exact test date, reporting time, reporting address, and the candidate’s uploaded photo. Since October 2019, candidates must also have electronically signed the LSAT Candidate Agreement, which outlines all the rules and conditions for taking the LSAT.

Verify:

Candidates must present a physical and valid government-issued ID that is current (or has expired within six months of the test date) and displays a recent and recognizable photo. The first and last name on the ID must match the first and last name printed on the admission ticket. Some acceptable forms of ID include a passport, driver’s license, state- or province-issued ID card, US military ID card, and certain Canadian health care benefits cards. IDs that will NOT be accepted include social security cards, birth certificates, and photocopied IDs.

Permitted Items:

Candidates are allowed to bring only a clear plastic Ziplock bag into the test room, which must not exceed 1 gallon or 3.79 liters and should be stowed away under their chairs. The bag may be accessed only during the break and must strictly contain the following items: a valid ID, wallet, keys or car-key fob (without a data port), feminine hygiene or medical products, No.2 or HB pencils, a highlighter (for paper-and-pencil LSAT only), an eraser, a pencil sharpener, tissues, and a beverage and snack in a plastic container or juice box (no aluminum cans allowed). Candidates are also allowed to wear only an analog (non-digital) wristwatch.

Key Guidelines:

Candidates taking the paper-and-pencil LSAT must use only a No.2 or HB wooden pencil to record their answers on their answer sheets. Stray marks on the answer sheet are not allowed, and extra time will not be given to clean up or transfer answers. Test officials will ensure that candidates mark their answer sheets correctly and are working in the appropriate section of the test, and a remaining time warning of five minutes before each section will be sounded out by the room supervisor, who is also the official timekeeper.

Remember that any other item not on the list of permitted items, including cell phones, is prohibited. Being aware of the guidelines and prepared with the necessary items can help you stay focused and perform at your best on test day.

How to Find Free LSAT Practice Tests

LSAT practice tests are extremely helpful for students who are preparing to take the LSAT exam. They allow students to familiarize themselves with the test format, question types, and time constraints. Practicing with LSAT practice tests can also help students identify areas of weakness and work on improving them before the actual exam.

Here are some reliable resources for finding free LSAT practice tests:

  1. LSAC.org: The Law School Admission Council (LSAC)7 offers free practice tests on their website, which are actual past LSAT exams. Students can simulate the real test-taking experience and get a feel for the actual LSAT exam.
  2. LSATMax: LSATMax8 offers a free trial of their LSAT prep course, which includes practice tests. The practice tests feature real questions from past LSAT exams and are adaptive, giving students an accurate representation of their LSAT scores.
  3. 7Sage LSAT Prep: 7Sage offers9 a free LSAT course with over 30 hours of video lessons and practice tests. Their practice tests are designed to be very similar to the actual LSAT and provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the test.
  4. Magoosh LSAT: Magoosh10 offers a free trial of their LSAT prep course, including practice tests similar to the actual LSAT. Their adaptive practice tests provide students with targeted feedback and help them prepare for the test effectively.

FAQs about LSAT Test

Frequently Asked Questions

When to take the LSAT?

The LSAT is offered seven times a year. It is best to schedule the test early enough to send in the score to the first law school and meet its application deadline. The official LSAT test schedule11 should always be checked to apply on time.

What is the average LSAT score?

How to register for the LSAT?

Can anyone take the LSAT?

How long does it take to prepare for the LSAT?

Can you retake the LSAT?

 Is the GRE easier than the LSAT?

Is the GMAT easier than the LSAT?

Additional Resources for LSAT Test

When preparing for the LSAT Test, candidates could do with all the help they can get. Here are a few resources to get started or to further one’s study:

Velocity Test Prep13 Velocity Test Prep has some very useful resources for LSAT candidates, including explanations, information on question types and scoring, online courses, and more.

Manhattan Prep14  Manhattan Prep provides a host of free LSAT resources for prep, such as practices and events. It also has a blog and forum that connects candidates to an ever-growing LSAT community.

Khan Academy15  Khan Academy’s Official LSAT Prep is arguably the gold standard in prep courses. Recognized by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), Khan Academy offers prep material of high quality and a deeper insight into LSAT on the whole.

Law School Admission Council16 Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is quite naturally the best place for students to stay up to date with the latest LSAT and is the official guide for test preparation. There are detailed guidelines, data, and resources, and this site is where candidates need to register for the LSAT. Help on applying to law school is also available.
PowerScore17  PowerScore offers private tutoring for LSAT preparation. The site also has a wide range of LSAT resources, prep books, admissions consulting, and free resources.

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