The LSAT is one of the most important exams in your academic career. After all, your score on it will determine what law school you’re admitted to and possibly influence your career path. With this in mind, obtaining a strong score on the LSAT can seem like a daunting task. You can make this goal more achievable with proper preparation.
Preparing for the LSAT begins with knowing what’s on the exam. Although the format of the exam underwent a minor change in 2007, the bulk of the test stayed the same. It’s organized into four main sections: Reading comprehension, logical reasoning, analytic reasoning and a writing sample. We’ve outlined what’s included in each section and the best ways to prepare below.
You’ll be given around 26-28 questions during the reading comprehension section. You’re given four passages to read, each with a cluster of questions regarding it. The purpose of this section is, obviously, to test your comprehension of each passage.
Scoring well on the reading comprehension section is a matter of preparedness and practice. Taking English courses that focus on intensive reading will be beneficial. Otherwise, there are sample LSAT readings available to practice from. It’s important to read at an appropriate speed and always try to find out what the author is trying to convince you of. Being able to broadly understand the passages will help tremendously in answering the questions.
The logical reasoning and analytic reasoning components are closely related. Logical reasoning is broken into two sections with around 27 questions each, while analytic reasoning is one section of 24 questions. Logical reasoning combines logical arguments with reading comprehension, asking you to read a statement and answer questions about the validity of different arguments based on it. Analytic reasoning, commonly referred to as logic games, focuses purely on answering logical arguments.
Preparation for both of these sections can involve similar sections. Introductory courses to symbolic logic can be hugely beneficial. They’ll teach you the method of thinking that’s required in answering these questions, particularly on the logic games section of the exam. If courses aren’t an option, a large resource of free logic games prep exams is available online.
One mistake that many students make is focusing too much on the logic games section of the LSAT. While it does make up roughly one-quarter of your score, other parts of the exam are weighted equally. If logic games are a weakness for you, you should certainly study for them – just not at the expense of other sections of the test.
For most people, the writing sample is the part that requires the least preparation. This section of the exam isn’t graded, and is instead sent with your score to universities. The writing sample is all about forming a persuasive and well-structured argument, so any writing exercises will be beneficial.
Finally, your preparation should be about the environment and knowing how the test is scored. The exam is only scored on how many questions you answer correctly. Therefore, it’s important not to leave any questions unanswered. For further resources, the Law School Admission Council has a number of free materials available to help you as well. Study hard, don’t get too stressed out and you’ll do great.