A good score on the LSAT is a critical part of getting into a top law school. The LSAT is designed to project and measure a student’s ability to perform in law school. This narrow focus makes the LSAT vastly different from other standardized tests administered in college or high school.
The Importance of a high LSAT score
Law School Admission Test scores range from 120 to 180 and the average score is about 152. A score of over 160 may get you into some law schools but a score of over 170 puts you in the 98th percentile, making you a better candidate for acceptance at a T-14 law school.
Many law schools consider the LSAT to be the most accurate measure of the applicant’s ability to excel in law school. Therefore, it’s given a lot of weight during the application process.
Use these tips and recommendations to prepare for the LSAT:
1. Understand the test structure and format
The LSAT is designed to determine how well you truly understand the questions throughout the various sections of the test and how quickly you can complete the answers.
The test has five main sections: Analytical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning (aka Logic Games), Reading & Comprehension, and Writing. The writing section is not scored. However, it is given to all the law schools to which you apply. The other four sections are 35 minutes long and feature 24 to 28 multiple-choice questions. With administration time and breaks, the entire process takes about 4 hours.
The analytical reasoning section tests your ability to understand complex relationships. The logical reasoning section carries the most weight, accounting for 50% of the final score. These sections are designed to test your ability to criticize and analyze the arguments presented to you. The reading and comprehension section tests whether you’ve understood what you’ve read in the limited time allowed.
2. Practice and analyze
Because of the unique nature of the LSAT questions, LSAT prep is critical. You should practice the questions and take LSAT practice tests on a regular basis to familiarize yourself with their format. Besides working through timed practice tests and recording your score, you should look very closely at the questions you missed and try to understand why you missed them before moving on.
3. Improve your critical thinking skills
Although the LSAT does not test content learned in college or high school, some classes can help prepare you for the test. For instance, taking classes in critical writing, philosophy and logic can get you in the right mindset to take the test because they usually require students to analyze complicated texts or theories and present ideas gathered from those texts in a logical and concise way, which is similar to what the Law School Admission Test demands. While these classes are not mandatory for law school preparation, they can make a significant difference. What really matters is how you learn to understand, analyze, and express complex ideas and concepts.
4. Practice logic games before taking the test
The LSAT logic games or analytical reasoning section is vastly different from what most students have seen on standardized tests. This section contains four games and each game poses 5 to 7 questions that require you to understand complicated relationships between multiple objects or parties. Although this section is one of the most difficult for many students, it is also the most coachable. LSAT tutoring, especially in sections that seem foreign such as the logic games section, provides you with the ability to identify and improve your weaknesses. There’s no penalty for getting incorrect answers on the LSAT and all questions are weighted the same. Therefore, it’s very important that you attempt each question. Simpler questions count the same towards your final score as their tougher counterparts. Start by answering all the easy questions and revisit the tough ones with the remaining time. This will help to avoid dwelling on difficult questions and rushing through simple questions as the time expires.
5. Consider LSAT tutoring
Sometimes self-study just doesn’t cut it. Maybe you’ve plateaued after maintaining a strict study regimen. Maybe you’re just not holding yourself accountable to study as much as you should. Or maybe you’re just not focusing on the best sections to achieve a more substantial score increase. A good LSAT tutor can diagnose your weaknesses and help you understand where your time is best spent during your studies. Experienced LSAT Tutors can also adapt to your learning style. Since everyone learns and consumes training differently, this could be the difference-maker in how well you grasp the strategies. Many LSAT Tutors will provide a free consultation to analyze your needs and provide you with expected results from their service.