LSAT Test Prep Online: The essentials of the test

When imagining preparing for the LSAT, the image that comes to mind is far more likely to involve lengthy hours hitting the books at a campus library than diagramming logic games on your tablet, but, due to the LSAT’s 2019 switch to a digital format, plus the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, your LSAT test prep is almost certainly going to be online.   Fortunately, Inspirica offers LSAT test prep online, allowing you to prepare for your test from the comfort—and safety!— of your home. This guide will walk you through what you need to know about LSAT test preparation, including LSAT registration, LSAT test dates, LSAT scoring, the format of the LSAT, and the new LSAT-flex remote testing opportunity so you can go into your test with confidence.

LSAT Test Prep Online: Traditional vs. Flex

The LSAT format had been consistent for nearly 30 years—a pencil-and-paper administered test with four  scored sections and one unscored experimental section in a random order—until its switch to a digital format in the summer of 2019. Unlike the GRE or the GMAT, however, it remains a more ‘traditional’ test in that it is not adaptive; that is, your performance on a given question or section has no bearing on the questions that follow.

Since the LSAT is one of the more difficult graduate school exams, focusing on logical reasoning skills that are rarely taught as part of a standard college curriculum, LSAT test prep tends to be extensive. Programs may last for six months or more and entail numerous timed practice tests, formal logic training as necessary, and significant time spent outside of session refining diagramming, logical forms, and critical reasoning.

The LSAT is defined by its rigor, pace, and random ordering of sections, and this is by design—that is to say, the format of the LSAT is integral to its difficulty. Simply by familiarizing yourself with the LSAT format, you are giving yourself a huge head-start in the LSAT test prep process.

LSAT Test Prep Online: Traditional LSAT Format

Traditionally, the LSAT has consisted of the following, randomly ordered sections:

One Reading Comprehension Section

  • 27 questions
  • 35 minutes
  • 4 passages

One Analytic Reasoning Section (i.e., Logic Games)

  • 23 questions
  • 35 minutes
  • 4 games

Two Logical Reasoning Sections (i.e., Arguments)

  • 25 or 26 questions
  • 35 minutes

Experimental Section

In addition, the LSAT includes one experimental section pulled from any of the above types. This experimental section is designed to pretest questions and new question-types. Part of the difficulty of the LSAT is due to this section, which is indistinguishable from one of the scored sections. Testers will only know which section type was experimental, as it will appear one more time than it should (e.g., two analytic reasoning sections, or three logical reasoning sections). Since the experimental portion cannot be distinguished from the actual scored portions of the exam, all sections must be treated as if they count toward the overall score.

Writing Sample

Finally, there is the unscored writing sample, which takes the form of a pro-con argumentative essay based on a given prompt. As of June 2019, this section is administered separately at a time of the test-taker’s choosing. While it is not scored, it must be completed in order to get your score report, and it is made available to all schools to which a test-taker applies.

LSAT-Flex

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the LSAT format has gone through an additional change. Enter the LSAT-Flex, a remotely proctored exam that pares the LSAT down to its bare essentials. First administered in May of 2020, the LSAT-Flex removes one of the Logical Reasoning sections, leaving the test-taker with a three-section test. Timing remains the same for the remaining sections, and the writing sample must still be completed at a separate time before a score report can be generated. As of now, the LSAT-Flex is the only testing option for students until at least April of 2021. Whether this represents a permanent change to the LSAT or is purely a pandemic-times offering remains to be determined.

The LSAT-Flex has the same scale as the traditional LSAT, and its score report will notate that it was an LSAT-Flex administration.

LSAT Test Prep Online: LSAT Scoring and Score Reports

Raw scores

First, test takers will receive a raw score, which is simply the number of questions answered correctly. The LSAT does not have a guessing penalty—that is, it doesn’t deduct additional points for wrong answers—so it is in your best interest to leave no questions unanswered, especially if time is running low.

Equating

Raw scores are then converted to a scaled score through a process called equating; this score ranges from 120 to 180.  Since no test administration will have the exact same difficulty as another, a raw score on one test may equate to a different scaled score on another test. This is by design. Equating is an essential process in standardized testing as it ensures that scores from different administrations are equivalent for admissions offices. A 165 in June needs to count the same as a 165 in November.

Score cancelation

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.

Disclosed tests

Three times per year—in June, September, and November—the LSAC offers tests with disclosure. These tests are released to test takers along with their scores, allowing them to review questions in detail along with their actual scores. Once released, these tests then become part of the available LSAC testing materials and will never be administered again.

LSAT Test Prep Online: LSAT Registration and Test Dates

The LSAT is administered every one to two months annually, and there is no limit on the number of times a student can take the test. Generally speaking, it is in your best interest to test multiple times and registering for the LSAT early is highly advised. There is no late registration option for the LSAT, so if you miss the deadline, you will have to wait for the next LSAT test date, which may be a month or more away. Taking the LSAT can be a disconcerting experience the first time, and you will be more comfortable taking the test in subsequent administrations, potentially leading to higher scores simply by familiarity with the process. To see test dates and information about  LSAT registration, visit the LSAC’s website.

The Inspirica Approach to LSAT Test Prep Online

Inspirica’s approach to LSAT test prep recognizes the differing needs of students applying to graduate programs. Some students come in with an in-depth background in formal logic, but many do not. Some students need a refresher while others require an in-depth program to facilitate a particular score goal.  We are here to meet you where you are, wherever that may be, to help you reach your full potential.  Our team will work with you to find a tutor who fits your availability, and your LSAT test prep tutor will focus both on teaching technique and guiding your independent preparation as you practice those techniques on your own.

Like any standardized test, there are some aspects of the LSAT that cannot be replicated solely through homework. This is why regular practice tests are a mainstay in our programs. Your LSAT test prep tutor will work with you to develop a schedule of practice tests that will offer you to opportunity to practice your techniques learned in session while also helping you develop essential test-taking and time-management skills.

For LSAT test prep programs, you’ll take official practice tests released by the LSAC. After each practice test, you will review your results with your tutor to determine why your correct answers are correct and your wrong answers wrong. Your tutor will then help you revise your LSAT prep plan as needed to help you reach your full potential.

Get Started with LSAT Prep Online Today

To learn more, schedule a free phone consultation with our team of Program Coordinators today!