Tips for Taking the Law School Admission Test
A prerequisite for admission to most law schools, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) challenges even the strongest applicant. The multiple-choice test includes sections on reading comprehension, analytical reasoning (also known as logic games), and logical reasoning (also known as arguments). Additionally, students complete an unscored writing sample.
Using precise study methods, students can gain aptitude and improve their LSAT test scores. First, students should try a few sample questions. Available on the Law School Admission Council website, these questions familiarize students with the types of questions they will see on the test.
The next step is to take a diagnostic, or practice, test. Students should expect to feel slightly overwhelmed by this first test. They should also remember that nearly everyone finds the first test difficult, and that it provides information to help refine their study strategies. Students should consider taking the practice test as if it were a real LSAT, allotting 35 minutes per section and taking a 10-minute break after the third section.
A timed diagnostic test will provide an idea of the pace required to finish all questions, along with a taste of the pressure test-takers might feel. It will also provide a snapshot of a student’s specific areas of weakness.
After grading and reviewing the diagnostic test, students should acquire a selection of these tests to aid in their studying. While the LSAT changes over time, the same types of questions appear in every iteration. Completing a variety of tests offers the best chance to perform well on the actual test.
Most students tend to superficially review the questions they miss on a practice test before moving on to the next. This allows minimal opportunity to improve their understanding. Devoting significant time to the review process is one of the best ways to master the LSAT.
As students move through practice tests, they might note questions they are vaguely unsure about. They should review not only the incorrect answers, but also the correct answers about which they were less than 100 percent confident.
Practice tests come with answer keys, and many students go straight to the answer explanation for a missed question. A better tactic may be to look at the correct answer, then work backwards to try to get that answer; this way, students can detect a new strategy without time pressure. When they come up with the correct method themselves, rather than simply reading the answer, they tend to retain the information much better and avoid the mistake in the future. In addition, reflecting on and keeping a record of each missed question can provide powerful feedback for future test-taking.
Another helpful test-prep strategy is to create a practice schedule. LSAT takers may be in school or working a full-time job, and test prep can easily move low on the priority list. By scheduling study time each day, as well as one practice test per week, individuals can make measurable progress. Even if they only have 30 minutes a day, this will produce results over time.