LSAT Exam Basics

The LSAT is an exam that is a pre-requisite for anyone wishing to attend law school. The LSAT is offered four times per year at various locations around the nation. Participants can take the LSAT more than one time if they feel that they can perform better given another chance. It is important to understand, however, that while some schools may accept the best score produced by an applicant, many schools will average the scores together. To understand your options, be sure to look into the policies of each law school that you will be applying to in order to make sure you understand what you are getting into with a retest. For example, if you are only dissatisfied with your LSAT score by a few points, it may not be worth the risk of retaking the test if your schools of choice average all test scores. In addition, you should remember that you could always test worse on the second attempt. This would lead to a reduction in your average score.

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In addition to retesting, you have the option of canceling your LSAT exam score. This must be done immediately after turning in your exam, prior to it being graded and a score being conveyed. If done properly, canceling your LSAT score will leave you with an empty exam record and schools will not see that you have taken the test previously. It is important to remember that this should only be done when you are reasonably sure that you have performed poorly on the exam. Also, this option requires that you understand where you are with LSAT exam dates and your overall application strategy. For instance, in order for canceling your exam to be a valid option, you should first ensure that there are other exams available prior to the application cutoffs for your desired enrollment date. The safest way to play this, is to make sure that you prepare for and take the earliest LSAT exam offered.

As for the LSAT exam itself, it consists of five, thirty-five minute sections, and a writing sample. The five, thirty-five minute sections are composed of multiple-choice questions. These five sections include the following subcategories:

1. Reading comprehension: Tests your level of understanding and application with respect to various reading samples.

2. Analytical reasoning: Tests your ability to follow a written description of various relationship structures and to answer questions based on those relationship structures. This is also referred to as the “games” section.

3. Logical reasoning (2 sections): Presents the participant with an argument. The participant must then either find the flaw in the argument or draw a conclusion from a valid argument.

4. Variable section: This section is a repeat of one of the aforementioned sections and does not count towards your LSAT exam score. It is merely a testing ground for the LSAT exam preparers. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine which section is the variable section, so the participant must approach each section assuming it will affect the score.


One of the best things you can do to prepare for the LSAT is to take a practice exam. There are a number of exams available that mimic the format and content of the LSAT. These sample exams typically include detailed answer keys, so that after you are finished you can look over the questions that gave you trouble. It is a good idea to take a practice exam early on in your LSAT prep process. This may seem counterintuitive; many students want to learn as much as they can before they test their knowledge. These students don’t realize that the primary purpose of taking a practice test is not to maximize one’s score but rather to identify areas that need improvement.

If you take a practice test right as you start your prep, you can focus your subsequent study on your weakest areas. On this initial practice test, you should not be concerned at all about your final score. Instead, concentrate on becoming familiar with the different question types and completing each section within the prescribed time limits. This latter goal, which should receive increasing emphasis in your preparation, is another important benefit of practice tests. A lot of students are perfectionists about their work, an excellent characteristic in many situations. On a timed exam, however, laboring too long over individual problems can adversely affect your score. By taking a few practice exams as part of your LSAT prep, you can develop a pace that enables you to complete every problem quickly but thoroughly.

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