Every student applying to law school must take the LSAT. The examination is used by the law schools as a predictor of success in the first year of legal studies.
The LSAT was originally designed as a means to standardize applicants across schools, given the difficulty in the comparative evaluation of students’ grade point averages at different undergraduate institutions. The LSAT is now taken on a tablet provided by the test location, and the test is offered on multiple dates throughout the year.
Unlike the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the LSAT assumes no prior knowledge of any particular area. In other words, it does not test any subject matter that you presumably have studied. Instead, the LSAT tests cognitive, reading, and analytical skills — abilities that an attorney must utilize on a daily basis. The scoring and timing of the test are unique.
You are given 35 minutes to complete each section except for the writing sample, for which 30 minutes is allotted.
The LSAT is deliberately a “speeded” exam, designed so that the majority of students do not finish. The score earned under such timed conditions is designed to be an indication of a student’s ability to make logical, critical decisions under pressure. Your best defense against the skewed timing of the LSAT is to be prepared for the test. Familiarity with the directions is helpful since the instructions are lengthy and complex. Familiarity with the question types is invaluable.
Plan to Take the LSAT Only Once
It is not an ordeal you will want to sit through more than once. If you do take it a second time, law schools can choose to average your scores or take the highest score, meaning you would have to do significantly better the second time to have any impact. Only under extenuating circumstances do we recommend taking it again.
Your score on the LSAT is built entirely on the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no penalty for wrong answers, so feel free to guess. NEVER leave answers unmarked! You may be lucky and guess the correct answer. You have nothing to lose by doing so.
The number of questions you answer correctly is your raw score. Your raw score is then scaled against other test-takers’ raw scores and finally calculated into a LSAT score ranging from 120 to 180. This score will also be assigned a percentile ranking based on the scores earned over the immediate three preceding years.
The Score Scale
The scale will extend from 120 to 180, with a mean of 150. It will have 61 distinct score points in it. This should provide a reliable measurement across a broad range of score scale. Reliable measure means that a test taker’s relative position in the applicant pool would be consistent if tested many times. It should also allow an evident distinction between more able and less able test takers.