Have you ever watched series like Suits or The Good Wife and wondered – damn, I want to become a lawyer like them. I mean the way Harvey Spector, a Harvard law graduate, and Mike Ross, a gifted charlatan, solve cases while showing the culture of a law firm has surely inspired many. If you want to become a lawyer in the US, Canada, and a few other places, you need to take the standardized test, LSAT. What does the LSAT stand for? Simple, Law School Admission Test.
What is it all about?
The LSAT test is held as an aid to predict the student’s capability to survive law school. Critical thinking, comprehension, analyzing reasoning, and arguments of people are some of the most important skills to have a successful legal career. The LSAT is designed to test these skills in aspiring lawyers.
Overview of the LSAT sections
The test consists of five sections including an unscored writing section. All sections are 35-minutes long. Let’s discuss them briefly.
This section is designed to test your ability to evaluate different arguments. There are 2 sections each containing 25 questions. To solve the questions, you have to find the logic, concept, and relevant information and possibilities in the questions. For a clearer idea, check out some samples here.
The analytical section which is the logic games section has four sets of games. There will be 25 questions altogether. The questions include matching, ordering, grouping. The main theme is to find the logic behind each problem and relationship.
As you have already guessed from the title, it’s going to be scouring answers from passages. There will be four passages – three long passages and one short passage. The questions are basically related to finding certain information, grasping the main idea, and interpretation of the text.
Variable section (unscored)
This section is more like an experiment for the future exams. You won’t know what questions this section will have, so there is no point preparing for it. You won’t even know which section was the variable until the very end when you get the score.
In this final section, you will be provided with a problem and given two criteria. You have to decide how to solve the problem and then, write an essay explaining your decision, arguments, and counter-arguments. Although this is also an unscored section, unlike the other variable section, the score of this section will be sent to the admissions along with your LSAT score. This section tests the student’s ability to form an argument based on given facts.
However, the new LSAT test which will be administered from June 2021 does not include this section.
The scoring is based on the number of correct answers. There is no negative marking for the wrong answers. They calculate the raw scores and then convert into the scales score which ranges from 120 to 180. For getting into the top law schools and competing for financial aids, you must score above 170. The median score for Yale Law School which currently ranks as the number one law school in the world is 173. The score for Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School are 173 and 171. Competitive, right?
LSAT – Flex
Considering the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, LSAT-Flex– a remote proctored version of the traditional LSAT test, was introduced in June 2020. . The students are supervised by a live proctor while AI software records. The LSAT-Flex has only three sections – one Logical Reasoning, one Reading comprehension and one Analytical Reasoning. There is no break between the sections. The LSAT – flex is said to continue till June, 2022.
However, they will return to the old LSAT practice of adding an unscored variable section from August 2021. This version will also add the short breaks. This version is said to be the format for the next several years.
Important LSAT details
As a parting note, here are some important details that will answer many of your questions.
- A bachelor’s degree is the prerequisite of the Law School. Your undergraduate GPA will play an important role in the admission process.
- You can take the LSAT three times in a span of two years.
- You can take LSAT internationally in Canada, Caribbean, Middle East, Europe, Asia, South America, New Zealand and Mexico. For more details about the LSAT test centres, visit this page.
- The average cost for LSAT is $175. However, you can ask for a waiver from LSAC (Law School Admission Council). There is an application to fill out. You will have to meet the specific requirement to be eligible. Check out the Eligibility section. The LSAC will then review the application, tax documents and notify you through mail about their decision. If you have received the waiver, it will be applicable for two years.
Good luck becoming the next Harvey Spector in real life!