LSAT Prep & Test Strategies

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

Graduate school admission tests tend to provoke anxiety for most applicants, but strategies for preparation and test-taking can make the experience easier to handle. This lesson will focus on strategies for taking the LSAT.

Applying to Law School

Brian is ready to start applying to law schools, and he knows that the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a required part of the application process. He has heard from other students that the test is quite involved and difficult, and he would like to learn some helpful tips and tricks before taking it. Let's see if we can help Brian prepare!

The LSAT - An Overview

The LSAT is a multiple-choice test which has been administered since 1948. Since then, results on the LSAT have been shown to correlate with success in law school, and the LSAT is recognized as a valid assessment by the American Bar Association, a professional organization that serves members of the legal profession.

The LSAT has five sections:

  • Two logical reasoning sections - focus on analyzing information, applying logic, and locating a central argument. A sample logical reasoning question might ask the test-taker to look at two different points of view and then determine how they differ from one another.
  • Analytical reasoning - uses ''logic games'' to test the ability to find acceptable outcomes within given rules and parameters through analysis and application of logic. A sample question in this section may provide the test-takers with initial information, then ask them to utilize it to draw conclusions.
  • Reading comprehension - requires test-takers to read passages and then answer questions about the material they read. The focus here is to draw conclusions from a text, determine main content, and test understanding of scholarly information.
  • Essay - asks test-takers to develop, express and support a fact-based argument appropriately in writing. The essay section is not scored, but the essay is sent to law schools along with LSAT scores and can serve as a writing sample.

One of the four multiple-choice sections of the LSAT is an experimental section that is not part of the test-taker's score. This section is used to test potential material for future versions of the LSAT. However, test-takers will not know which section was experimental until they receive their scores.

LSAT Test-Prep and Test-Taking Strategies

There are several test preparation strategies and tips that can help you maximize your chances for success in the LSAT. Some of them can be applied to the test as a whole, and others are specifically related to the logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and analytical reasoning sections.

General Strategies and Tips

Preparation is key to success on the LSAT. Its questions and format are different from those you would find on college exams. In order to do well, practice is required, including taking practice tests. Several helpful LSAT review guides and websites that can serve as study resources; in addition, here are some strategies to keep in mind during your preparation and on test day:

  • Deal with anxiety - even if you are well prepared, taking the LSAT can cause some anxiety. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization can help to alleviate anxiety. Consider taking a brisk walk the morning of your exam in order to clear your mind.
  • Timing - because the LSAT is a timed exam, it is important to time yourself during practice sessions and while taking practice tests. While it is important to answer questions correctly, it is equally important to make an effort to answer as many questions as possible.
  • When in doubt, guess - don't get stuck on a few questions. It is better to try to eliminate choices you are certain don't apply and use educated guesses to choose the final answer. Whatever you do, don't leave any questions blank.
  • Be confident - the more you study, the more you know. Trust your knowledge and walk into the testing environment envisioning success. Leave self-defeating thoughts at the door.

Tips for Specific Sections of the LSAT

Logical Reasoning Section:

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