LSAT For Dummies
If you want to be a lawyer, taking the LSAT is a requirement for getting into law school. Prepare for the LSAT with these test-taking tips on analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and writing. You'll take the LSAT with confidence!
Tips for a Successful LSAT Testing Experience
If you're thinking of going to law school, taking the LSAT is a must. To help you prepare and get through the test smoothly and confidently, use these tips:
Before the test:
Register ahead of time — at least two months ahead of the test date because some centers fill up quickly. Check the Law School Admission Council for official regular and late registration deadlines.
Start studying early; don't wait until the night before the test. Taking several timed practice tests is the best way to improve your score.
Make sure you know where to go to take the test. Take a practice drive to the site, if it'll make you feel better, and look for parking.
The night before:
Set your alarm; give yourself enough time to get there. Plan what to eat for breakfast the next morning — you don't want to walk out the door with an empty stomach.
If you have time and want a warm-up, work some LSAT sections that you've already taken.
Assemble the following supplies:
Driver's license or other official photo ID (such as a student ID)
Coins in case there's a vending machine, or snacks such as nuts, energy bars, or other brain food
A list of four law schools you want your scores sent to
Several sharp No. 2 pencils and a pencil sharpener
A watch with seconds (digital or hand) that doesn't beep
The morning of the test:
Get to the testing site early enough to park and find your room without panicking.
Visit the restroom before testing starts.
Take a deep breath and plunge into the LSAT.
Feel confident that you have prepared well for the LSAT and are ready to take the test. Envision yourself making a strong performance on the test and picture yourself a soon-to-be winner!
During the test:
Answer every question — there's no penalty for guessing.
Fill in the bubbles completely.
Keep track of your time.
If you get stuck, guess and move on.
Keep concentrating, even if you're bored out of your mind.
Take an occasional short break (no more than 30 seconds, though).
After the test:
If you want to cancel your score, do it before you leave the test center or within nine days of your test date.
Wait for your score to arrive; use this time to research law schools or do something fun.
Repeat the LSAT if necessary.
Tips for Taking the LSAT Analytical Reasoning Section
The analytical reasoning section of the LSAT offers four logic problems followed by 5–8 questions for each problem. The LSAT analytical reasoning problems can be tough, but don't despair. If you work the problems correctly, the answers are usually instantly clear. Try these tips for taking the analytical section of the LSAT:
Stay calm; keep focused.
Work one problem at a time; work the whole problem, and then move on to the next one.
Do as much thinking as possible before you tackle the questions.
Read the facts carefully.
Draw a diagram and rewrite the rules in shorthand.
Make connections and deductions.
Read the questions carefully.
Check all answers; eliminate the wrong ones.
Choose an answer and hit the next question.
When you finish one problem, forget it, and clear your brain for the next one.
LSAT Reading Comprehension Tips
Studying law requires lots of reading; the LSAT reading comprehension section tests your ability to understand and apply what you've read. This LSAT section has four passages pertaining to different subjects; after reading each section you have to answer several questions about it. Use these helpful tips for the reading comprehension part of the LSAT:
Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate — even if you're bored.
Work one reading passage at a time; answer all the questions, and then move on.
Skim the questions first.
Read the passage aggressively; take your time.
Focus on the big stuff and gloss over the details, going back to them if the questions ask you about them.
Mark important points in the passage, but don't mark too much.
Think about the passage before you start the questions.
Refer to the passage as often as necessary.
If the questions direct you to a specific word or line, read several lines above and below it, so you understand the context.
Try to answer questions yourself before reading the answer choices.
Don't use any information not contained in the passage — forget what you know or believe about the subject.
Read all answers and eliminate the wrong ones.
Choose an answer.
When you finish a passage, forget it and clear your brain for the next one.
Tips for Taking the LSAT Logical Reasoning Section
The logical reasoning section of the LSAT consists of short paragraphs, or "arguments", followed by single questions. This section of the LSAT tests your understanding of how arguments are constructed and how well you can strengthen or weaken the arguments. Use these tips when working on the logical reasoning section of the LSAT, which is half your score:
Be quick but careful.
Read the question before you read the argument.
Read the argument. Identify the conclusion and the key evidence.
Try to answer the question in your head before you read the answer choices.
Read all the answers and eliminate wrong ones.
Choose an answer.
Forget about that question and move on to the next one.
Tips for Taking the Writing Sample of the LSAT
The writing sample portion of the LSAT provides a topic with two courses of action; choose one and write a convincing argument for it. The LSAT writing sample isn't scored, but every law school receives a copy of the writing sample along with your LSAT score, so don't blow it off. Some law schools have even rejected applicants because of non-answers or facetious responses. Try these helpful writing hints:
Read the question carefully and think for a moment.
Pick a side — either side will do. There's no right answer.
Take a moment to outline your essay.
Write the essay in four or five paragraphs.
Explain your position and ward off any potential attacks.
Finish the essay smoothly; don't just drop your reader when you reach the end of the page.
Write carefully and legibly.
Don't end the section early. If you have extra time, proofread!
Don't leave more than a line or two blank. Though it isn't scored, it could make or break your entrance into law school if you're being compared with other similar-candidates.
Don't sweat this one — it's not scored.