Preparing for the LSAT
About the LSAT
The LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is given four times a year (usually June, October, December, and February), by the LSAC (Law School Admissions Council). Students can register for the LSAT at the LSAC site. Results of the LSAT are reported through the LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Most applicants use the CAS to assemble their application information, including LSAT scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Applicants can choose which schools receive this information from LSDAS. However, the primary application forms themselves, including personal statements, must still be sent to each school directly.
The LSAT has four main sections: one Reading Comprehension, two Logical Reasoning, and one Analytical Reasoning. Each LSAT also includes an essay portion, and a sample section used by LSAT to develop new questions. This sample section is not included in the scoring, but you will not know in advance which section is the sample. Thus, each LSAT will include six separate sections: 5 multiple choice sections and one essay. Each section takes 35 minutes, so the test itself is three and a half hours even without breaks. Prepare yourself for a long morning, and bring a snack or drink to consume during a break, if permitted.
The five main sections of the test are scored by the number of correct answers, without any extra penalty for incorrect answers. In other words, it is to your advantage to answer every question. If you can narrow down the answer choices, your odds of answering correctly will improve.
The best way to prepare for the LSAT, in our opinion, is to take sample tests as often as possible. A complete practice test is available from LSAC, and you can also purchase books of real past LSAT exams from LSAC. It is best to time yourself while taking these sample tests, because time pressure is an important factor. Score your results, and identify weak areas to help target further study. Many commercial test-prep books are available in the UNO library, and from local bookstores. Companies and universities in the local area also offer commercial test preparation courses for a fee.
Most students find that a basic logic or critical reasoning course is extremely helpful preparation for the Logical Reasoning and Analytical Reasoning portions of the exam. A quick review of the difference between valid and invalid arguments, and the main types of fallacies, can also be helpful. You will find this information on many university websites (search for critical reasoning, fallacies, argument validity, and related keywords). Other courses which emphasize quantitative and analytical reasoning are helpful training, in general. Courses which emphasize careful reading and analysis of texts are helpful preparation for the Reading Comprehension portions.
For more information on the LSAT, visit the LSAC website.