The Foundation of LSAT Test Prep: The essentials of the test and how to use them
The LSAT is a more “traditional” test than the GMAT and GRE: though it transitioned to digital administration beginning in July 2019, it is not an adaptive test, which means that students will receive the same pre-selected set of questions regardless of their performance during the test. Due to the LSAT’s non-adaptive nature, LSAT test preparation primarily covers building concrete analytic skills, developing familiarity with the LSAT format, and establishing good time management early on. Inspirica’s approach to LSAT test prep focuses heavily on instilling proper technique for the different question-types so that you can head into test day knowing that you won’t be surprised by anything the LSAT throws at you. Our LSAT test prep tutors build a program tailored to your specific strengths and weaknesses to best help you reach your goals. In this post, we will provide a complete overview of the LSAT, LSAT strategy, and the LSAT test prep process.
LSAT Test Prep Essentials: The Format of the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is created by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) and is used for admission to law schools throughout the United States. As the LSAT is the most difficult of all the standardized tests used for graduate admissions, LSAT test prep tends to be extensive, often lasting six or more months and involving numerous practice tests. Most students test two or three times, with the dates scheduled far in advance.
The LSAT consists of five multiple-choice sections, four of which contribute to the tester’s score. By design, the ordering of sections is random and is part of the format of the LSAT. The scored sections include:
- One Reading Comprehension section
- 27 questions
- 35 minutes
- One Analytical Reasoning section (a.k.a. logic games)
- 23 questions
- 35 minutes
- Two Logical Reasoning sections (a.k.a. arguments)
- 25 questions
- 35 minutes.
- An additional section of one of the above types will be included with each test. Although this section will not affect a tester’s score, it is not identifiable by the testers in any way, forcing them to complete it as if it were a scored section. This variable section is designed to pretest questions and new question-types for upcoming tests.
The LSAT also includes an unscored writing sample, and, as of June 2019, this portion of the test is administered separately from the multiple-choice test at a time and place of each test-taker’s choosing. Visit LSAC’s Writing FAQs page for complete details on this process.
The LSAT is defined primarily by both its rigor and its pace—in other words, the format of the LSAT is designed to increase its difficulty. Every section forces students to process information of varying types and in varying formats while operating under severe time constraints. Combined with its nearly three-hour length, that challenge makes for a tough afternoon.
This is exemplified by the Analytical Reasoning (or Logic Games) section, which presents students with several scenarios of varying types; each scenario contains a number of rules, which interact in multifarious and convoluted ways. Students must plot out each scenario and answer questions that either introduce new information or require them to deduce certain immutable facts about the overall scenario, all while remembering to keep an eye on the clock. If this sounds challenging, that’s because it is! Fortunately, our LSAT test preparation programs focus heavily on mastering strategies for each distinct question-type, with the primary emphasis placed on the sections for which each individual student needs the most practice. After going through our LSAT test prep, you’ll go into test day ready for the unique challenges of the LSAT.
LSAT Test Prep Essentials: How the LSAT is scored
Test-takers receive a raw score for the test which is simply equal to the number of questions correctly answered. The LSAT does not deduct points for incorrect answers.
Then, using a process called equating, the LSAT will produce an overall scaled score for the entire test that ranges from 120 to 180; this ensures that scores from different LSAT administrations are comparable over time. The scaled score, which is reported along with an LSAT “score band”, is the best representation of a student’s performance on the LSAT, particularly since the LSAT does not calculate individual section scores as most other standardized tests do.
After each test date, unless cancelled within six calendar days of the test, a student’s scores are added to his or her score report. Each LSAT score report includes all of the following:
- the score from your most recently completed test
- results of up to 12 tests completed since June 2013, including notations marking any cancellations or absences.
- An average score, if you have more than one reportable score since June 2013 .
- a percentile rank for each reported score; these percentiles indicate the percentage of testers over the last three testing years whose scores were lower than the tester’s reported scores.
When the student applies to law schools, the entire score report is submitted with the application; the LSAC does not offer the option to pick and choose which scores are submitted.
Three times each year — in June, September, November — the LSAC offers tests “with disclosure.” These tests are released directly to test-takers along with their scores, allowing them to review the questions in full along with their scores. Once released, these tests become part of the publicly available set of official test materials and are never administered again.
LSAT Test Prep Essentials: Test Dates and Registration
The LSAT is administered every one to two months year-round at test centers approved by the LSAC, and there is no limit on the number of times a student can take the test. It’s generally to your advantage to test more than once: part of conquering any test is allowing yourself as many opportunities as necessary to succeed, and taking the test multiple times can be a great way to maximize your improvement. To search for nearby test centers, check out LSAT test dates, and register to take the exam, visit the LSAC’s website.
The Inspirica Approach to LSAT Test Prep
Inspirica’s approach to LSAT test prep recognizes the differing needs of students applying to graduate programs. We’ve seen every type of student, from those who are in college and want to enroll in law school immediately upon graduation to those who have been out of college and working full-time for years. Our team will work with you to find a tutor who fits your availability, and your LSAT tutor will focus both on teaching technique and guiding your independent preparation as you practice those techniques on your own.
Like all other standardized tests, there are certain aspects of taking the LSAT that are impossible to replicate through homework alone, which is why regular practice tests are a staple of our programs. Your LSAT test prep tutor will help you set up a schedule of periodic tests that will give you the opportunity to practice the techniques you’ve learned in the context of a full test while also familiarizing you with the experience of taking the full test. Though the format of the LSAT is more traditional than that of either the GRE and GMAT, the experience of taking the test must still be practiced, as the combination of length, difficulty, and timing can make it a grueling experience.
For LSAT test prep programs, you’ll take official practice tests released by the LSAC. After every test, you and your tutor will review the results together in order to pinpoint exactly why and how your right answers were right and your wrong answers wrong. You’ll then use the insight gained during this process to revise your practice plan; you’ll be able to both see the product of your hard work and determine what part of the test to attack next.