About the LSAT
The Law School Admissions Test (the “LSAT”) is a half-day standardized test required for admission to law school. The test is administered four times a year— in February, June, September/October, and December. For a specific list of dates the test is being administered, please see here. The LSAT consists of four scored multiple choice sections, one unscored experimental section, and a writing section, which is unscored but forwarded to each law school to which a student applies. Each section is 35 minutes long. The entire test is three hours and forty-five minutes long.
The scored sections of the LSAT are: two logical reasoning sections, one reading comprehension section, and one analytical reasoning section. The LSAT seeks to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school- critical, careful thinking, issue spotting, reading of complicated texts, and logical reasoning.
Pre-Law students are encouraged to introduce themselves to and prepare for the LSAT well in advance of the test. Students may access a free LSAT test on-line at www.lsac.org. Additional practice tests are available on-line for $5 each at various web-sites, including www.cambridgelsat.com.
Pre-Law students may take advantage of an instructional LSAT course provided on campus in the spring (in preparation for the June LSAT exam). There is a charge for this class, which is taught by a professional LSAT teacher. Many students have found the campus course helpful in gaining a greater understanding of the purpose and structure of the test and in raising their LSAT score.
There are numerous LSAT test prep courses in the Philadelphia region. Pre-Law students should explore their options and choose a program that suits their needs and with which they feel comfortable. Options include:
- Chegg Test Prep
- LSAT Max
- Manhattan LSAT
- Next Step Test Prep
- The Princeton Review
- 7sage LSAT prep
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Re-Taking the LSAT?
Some Pre-Law students who are not satisfied with their initial LSAT scores ask whether they should retake the exam in the Fall of their Senior year. Students may take the exam again - - up to three times in any two year period, in fact. This does not mean, however, that taking the LSAT more than once is necessarily desirable.
In making the decision whether to re-take the LSAT, the following should be considered:
- Students are unlikely to increase their score by more than two to three points upon retaking the LSAT; up to 30% of re-takers will decrease their score.
- Students should make an honest assessment of their test preparation and experience the first time around. In the absence of poor preparation, an unforeseeable disaster (illness, tardiness, an accident), or debilitating test anxiety, a student’s LSAT score is unlikely to increase dramatically.
- Some law schools consider the average of LSATs taken, while other schools take into account only the highest score. Students should research the policy of the law schools to which they are applying.
- Timing is a critical factor. Many law schools consider applications on a rolling basis. Therefore, LSATs should be taken no later than October of one’s senior year.
- Proper LSAT preparation takes time and concentration. Re-taking the exam in the fall of Senior year will distract from preparing law school applications.
- Given all of these factors, the best policy is for Pre-Law students to prepare diligently the first time they take the LSAT.