Do you dream of becoming a lawyer? Anyone with a passion for law, order, and justice knows that a career in law requires dedication and preparation. The hard work starts long before you will ever march into a courtroom. You probably already know that acing the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is your ticket to pursuing your dream career. However, you may not quite know how to get there from where you are today. Take a moment to learn all you need to know about the most important test any future lawyer can take.
What is on the LSAT?
The Law School Admission Test consists of five sections. You will have 35 minutes to complete each section during your testing session. In addition, a 15-minute break is built following the test’s third section. You can expect to be in the testing room for 3 hours and 30 minutes in total.
What can you expect once testing begins? The test is comprised of five scored sections and one experimental section. Here’s a brief summary of what you’ll see when you get started:
- The two-part Logical Reasoning portion requires you to read short passages and answer accompanying questions. This section tests your ability to draw well-supported conclusions, identify flaws in an argument, and display reason using analogies. You will be required to isolate and identify the different components of each argument that is placed in front of you.
- The Analytical Reasoning portion of the test is designed to measure your ability to draw conclusions by making deductions based on statements, rules or conditions that are presented to you. It consists of four logic games with multiple-choice questions. This portion simulates what law students do during the process of solving legal questions.
- The Reading Comprehension portion tests your ability to make sense of dense and complicated materials that you aren’t familiar with. You will be asked to identify the structure, purpose, and logic of the information that is presented to you. Topics that appear in this portion of the test aren’t necessarily related to law. You may be asked to write on topics related to humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and law.
- The Writing Sample portion is your chance to demonstrate how capable you are when it comes to arguing a position. This portion can be sent to law schools to distinguish your abilities from other candidates.
- The experimental section is simply a sample question that the test maker may choose to use on future LSATs. You should not spend a lot of time on this section.
When Should You Register and How to Study and Prepare for the Test?
The LSAT is administered six times per year. All potential test-takers need to be mindful of where registration dates for the LSAT land on the calendar. Registration should be completed four to six weeks before the test date.
Taking the LSAT is not a last-minute decision. You should be planning, preparing, and studying for the exam for several months before your test date arrives. You’ll need to acquire the right study materials and guides.
Also, sample test questions and practice tests should be part of your overall plan. Don’t forget that you can also take paid prep courses if you’d like to learn some tips and tricks for answering questions correctly. You can also join an informal study group in your area.
What Comes After You Take the Test?
You’ll need to be prepared for some nail-biting once you walk out of the testing room. It takes approximately three weeks to receive your score after your test date. Scores are sent by email. You may be wondering exactly what is used to determine your score. All scores range from 120 to 180. Your score is based on the number of questions you are able to answer correctly. You are not penalized for answering questions incorrectly. Here’s what you’re going to see when you receive your score online:
- Your current score.
- Results of all tests.
- An average score.
- Your score’s status based on a range of scores.
- Your percentile rank.
The score will not be made public. Only you will receive your score. Also, all law schools you have applied to will receive your score. You may also request to release your score to additional law schools after the fact. Don’t forget to follow up with law schools after your score has been sent to make sure they’ve received all of the information that is needed.
Getting Serious About Taking the Test
There are many careers and industries that don’t require you to follow a singular education path. A law career does not fall under that umbrella. The path to a law career is very rigid and specific. The path to becoming a lawyer starts with looking up registration dates for the LSAT. Making a commitment to take the test means that you will need to invest time and energy into studying and preparing.
What can you do today if you’re ready to start moving toward building a career in law? The first little step to a big career is simply looking up registration dates for the LSAT. An acceptance letter from your dream school could be on the other side of your test!