The Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT, is an exam required of every potential student during the law school’s admissions process. It is required not only in the U.S., but also in Canada and many other countries. The general purpose of the test is to assess the reading and verbal reasoning skills a student has acquired thus far.
The test is broken into five sections. Four of these are graded and each is allotted a time limit of 35 minutes. All questions are in multiple-choice format. There is also a writing section at the end of the exam. The writing section is sent to each school for grading per the educational institution’s grading criteria. The writing section is allotted a time limit of 35 minutes as well.
This test assesses various skills deemed important for the success of students in school. They should be able to perform reading of complex passages with a keen level of insight and accuracy, comprehend details, as well as draw conclusions based on the context of the material. They should have the ability to organize material and obtain necessary details as needed to use in other situations. The ability to critically evaluate an argument and improve upon any weaknesses therein is also analyzed.
The test is administered at various locations throughout the entire year. A list of these dates may be found here. It is recommended that students take the LSAT in June or October before they attempt to gain admission to law school for fall of the following year. The deadline for this test is December for gaining fall admission to law school the following year. Schools have been known to consider other factors when determining admission to law school programs. These may incluse such areas as: undergraduate GPA, undergraduate coursework, any completed graduate work, schools attended, extracurricular activities, writing skills, personal statements, past accomplishments, and a variety of other criteria.
There are three types of multiple-choice questions encountered on the LSAT: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. Analytical reasoning assesses the student’s ability to understand and draw logical conclusions from sentences and their structure. Logical reasoning questions assess the student’s skill in evaluating, analyzing, and arguing scenarios as they relate to common written passages.
Reading passages for the LSAT are gathered from a diverse array of issues in the social sciences, biological sciences, humanities, and physical sciences, as well as law related topics. These questions can be based on areas in the passage such as: the main idea of the passage, explicit information gained from the reading content, information gathered from context clues, analogies regarding arguments in the passage, and tone or perspective assumed from the passage.
The LSAT writing sample is unique in the fact that each law school will evaluate this sample based on their own predetermined criteria. If a student takes the LSAT multiple times, the three most recent scores are sent to potential schools as part of the application packet. For further information about the LSAT, please visit the official LSAT site. For FAQ about this exam, potential students may click here.
One way to prepare for any standardized test is to practice on previously administered exams. Here is the June 2007 LSAT for you to get started with. It's also worthwhile visiting the official website of the Law School Admission Council.
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