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Preparing for the LSAT exam

What is the LSAT exam?

LSAT examThe LSAT (Law School Admission Test) exam is used as admission criteria for institutes of higher learning.

What is the difference between the LSAT exam and the SAT exam?

The LSAT exam is primarily for people considering entering law school.  the LSAT exam tests:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Analytical reasoning
  • Logical reasoning
  • A writing sample that the student has to read and determine a course of action and defend the choice.

The SAT exam is an admission test for students considering entering into higher education, usually for high school students considering college (university).  The SAT is a multi-choice written exam.  The exam tests Math and evidence-based reading.  There is an optional Essay section.  The exam takes three hours, plus another 50 minutes if taking the optional Essay.

A brief introduction to the LSAT exam

The LSAT exam is designed to evaluate readiness for Law school by evaluating:

  • Comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight
  • The organization and management of information and drawing reasonable references from it
  • Critical thinking
  • Analyzing and evaluating the reasoning and arguments of others.

What does the LSAT exam consist of?

The LSAT exam has six 35 minute sections.

  • Analytical Reasoning section with four scenarios consisting of five to seven questions each
  • Reading Comprehension section with 26 to 28 questions
  • Two scored Logical Reasoning sections with 24 to 26 questions each
  • An unscored section that can be either – Analytical  Reading, Comprehension Logical Reasoning
  • One unscored writing sample.

The unscored sections are used to evaluate questions being considered for future tests. The results of this section do not go towards the final score.  You will not know which section is the unscored section, so it is best to answer all sections as if they all count towards the final mark.

The Analytical Reasoning section

This section consists of five to seven questions per scenario.  The questions are designed to assess the student’s ability to consider a number of facts and rules, and then determine what could or must be true.

As a lawyer, you would need to determine what could or must be the case, given a set of regulations, terms of a contract or the facts of a case. The LSAT Analytical Reasoning section is not necessary to do with the law.

The deductive reasoning skills section questions reflect the detailed analysis of relationships and sets of constraints that a law student must perform in legal problem-solving.  The questions require the student’s ability to:

  • Comprehend the basic structure of a set of relationships by determining a solution to the problem
  • Reason with “if-then” type conditional statements, and then recognize similar formulations of “if-then” analysis
  • Infer what could or must be true or false from a given set of facts and rules
  • Infer what could or must be true or false from a given set of facts and rules together with new information.

The Logical Reasoning section

Analysis of arguments is a critical element of legal education.  Students must analyze, construct, and refute arguments.  Students will need to be able to identify what information is relevant and what impact further evidence might have.  Students will need to reconcile opposing positions and use arguments to persuade others.

Each Logical Reasoning question requires the student to read and understand a short passage, and then to answer a question.  the questions access a wide range of critical thinking skills.

The Logical reasoning section tests the following skills

  • Recognizing parts of an argument and their relationships
  • Recognizing similarities and differences between patterns of reasoning
  • Drawing well-supported conclusions
  • Reason by analogy
  • Recognizing misunderstanding or points of disagreement
  • Determining how additional evidence affects an argument
  • Detect assumptions made by particular arguments
  • Identifying and applying principles or rules
  • Identifying flaws in an argument

The Reading Comprehension Section

Law Study and practice revolve around the extensive reading of highly varied, argumentative, and expository texts:

These include:

  • Cases
  • Codes
  • Contracts
  • Briefs
  • Decisions
  • Evidence

There are four sections in the LSAT Reading Comprehension section. These sets consist of reading material followed by five to eight questions. Three of the sets are a single reading passage.  One set contains two related shorter passages for comparative reading.

What skills do you need for the Readin Comprehension section?

Reading critically means distinguishing precisely what is said from what is not said. The LSAT Reading comprehension questions assess the student’s ability to:

  • Compare, analyze, synthesize, and apply claims, principles, and rules.
  • Draw appropriate inferences
  • Apply ideas and arguments to new contexts
  • Understand the unfamiliar subject matter
  • Get to the bottom of difficult and challenging material.

The Reading Comprehension questions may ask about the following characteristics of a passage/s

  • The main idea
  • Explicitly stated information
  • Information that can be inferred
  • The meaning or purpose of words and phrases in their context
  • The structure and organization of an argument
  • Application of information to a new context
  • Analogies to arguements in the passage
  • The author’s attitude as revealed through tone and word choice.

The Writing Sample

You will be asked to write an essay.  This essay is not scored, but copies of it will be sent to schools that you apply for.

The writing presents a decision problem. You will need to choose between two positions or courses of action.  Both choices are defensible. You are given facts on which to base your decision.  There is no correct position, so the quality of your response is key.  Your position must be well supported.

You have 35 minutes to plan and write the essay.  Read the topic and supporting materials carefully.

Study Material

10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests Volume VI: (PrepTests 72–81)

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Aaron Skudder

7 Comments

  1. Hello Aaron, gals to see you give the information on Sat and LSAT. I have actually heard of the sat exams before but I didn’t know what the LSAT meant especially because when I visited my elder sister, her first son was saying something about preparing for that exam. All the same, I’m glad to see it’s about law. What happens if a person fails this exam? Cana he still apply for law?

    • If someone fails the exam, they can take the exam again.  The exam results can determine if a candidate is admitted into law school.

  2. When do people take the LSAT exam? I understand the SAT exams that are given in high school, but do is the LSAT testing done while in a community college or at a university? Is there a charge to take this type of test? 

    I remember in high school taking the SATs and liking them just because we got out of regular classes to take them. LOL!

    Carrie

    • The LSAT exam can be taken by anyone considering entering law school.  There is a cost to take the exam.

  3. Hi Aaron,

    You are quite an inspiration. I wanted to start online tutoring, but a lot of the institutions require skilled teacher with the relevant qualifications. I’ve also been in IT some years back, but I’ve also been giving classes in that field. I’ve also been with a company where I had to compile training manuals, which I actually like a lot.

    So, your article gives me new hope that I should actually continue my pursuit towards online tutoring.

    Your entire explanation of all the different sections, explains in detail what the student can anticipate. Really good work!

  4. These are really nice tremendous tips on how to prepare and make the LSAT exam with flying colors…. The tips you have put forward here are good process carefully put into consideration and I believe you must have done a thorough research before presenting them…
    Thanks for your nice tips and I hope to make my LSAT this time putting these tips to practice

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