The Law School Admission Test
The LSAT evaluates the applicants’ abilities in the following domains:
- Logical reasoning
- Reading comprehension
It is crucial to understand that 3/4 of the test evaluate the applicant logical skills. Accordingly, developping your analytical/logical skills should be a priority during college. it might be very helpful to take a course in Logic, such as PHL 233 -- Introduction to Logic: Deduction, offered every term through the Philosophy Department.It is also important to understand that the LSAT tests your discipline just as much as your skills. It tests whether you are capable of sitting down through long hours of tedious work to reach an important but long term goal -- which is what you should be capable of if you want to be successful in law school and as an attorney.
The test consists in:
- four scored 35 minute multiple choice sections (1 section of logic games, 2 logical reasoning sections, 1 reading comprehension section);
- one 35 minute unscored multiple choice section (with experimental questions);
- one 30 minute writing test.
Candidates do not know which section is experimental: so they will have to do their best on each of the five sections.
Counting the 15 min. break, the test lasts anywhere from 4 to 7 hours.
The scores range from 120 to 180 points, with a national average around 150-155. An excellent score would be 170+. Obtaining less than 140 might prevent you from getting into any law school.
Several sessions are offered throughout each year: February, June, October and December. Which one should you pick?
The first answer is: when you are ready to get your best score.
This is because most law schools will average the scores of the applicants who have taken the exam multiple times.
Ideally you should plan to take the LSAT in June the year before you are intending to apply to law school.
The reason for this is that the application process is extremely time consuming, and so is the preparation for the LSAT. You should plan to get all your application material ready and apply during the Fall the year before you are planning to enter law school. So, if you are intending to go to law school right after college, you should plan on taking the LSAT in June at the end of your Junior year and apply during the Fall of your Senior year.
Practice, practice, and practice
Because the LSAT does not evaluate knowledge of a particular subject, but general abilities, the best way to prepare for the LSAT is to train on old exams, in order to get familiar with the test format, and to develop abilities to answer the questions not only correctly but also efficiently. Consistent focus and speed are crucial. These simply take a good amount of training under time constraints. You should consider taking a lighter course load for the semester during which you are intending to study for the LSAT.
Many students chose to self-study
Old tests are available at LSAC. They are indispensable resources for preparing for the test. LSAT test preparation books that include sample tests are also a good resource and are available at major bookstores. They are also great free resources online, such as the LSAT blog or the 7 sage logic game explanation videos.
LSAT preparation courses
There exist some private courses offering LSAT preparation. They are not necessary to succeed. They can be useful for applicants lacking the personal discipline to study by themselves. For such applicants, such courses give the structure they need for preparing for the exam. The Pre–Law Advising Committee does not recommend any specific institutions for these courses.
The University of Montana offers a very cost-effective course each Fall for the December LSAT through the School of Extended and Lifelong Learning (SELL). For more information about the UM LSAT course, check put the `LSAT Preparation Course' page.
LSAT Fee waiver
It is possible to get a Fee Waiver for the LSAT and related expenses for those who are really in need. Allow plenty of time if you are intending to apply for a Fee Waiver. You can apply online at LSAC.