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Pre-Law Program

What is the LSAT?

  • LSAT stands for the Law School Admission Test. It is required by almost all law schools for admission. Although mentioned elsewhere on this website, it should be taken as early as possible. For example, for those students who wish to be admitted to law school for the Fall 2011 term, you should have either already taken the June LSAT, or registered for the October or December LSAT. You can register for the LSAT at www.lsac.org. The fee (2011) is $139 to register and take the exam.

  • Information concerning the LSAT can be found at http://www.lsac.org/jd/LSAT/about-the-LSAT.asp, and in the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools (2012 Edition). The test will take you ½ day to complete, and is typically scheduled from 8:30 to 12:30 (but always check your test admission ticket to confirm the time!). The list of necessary skills for law school really becomes what the LSAT attempts to measure, such as your ability to read, critically analyze fact patterns or situations, organize or synthesize a great deal of information, advocate for someone, counsel or give advice to people, and your ability to write. These critical areas will be tested through reading comprehension questions, analytical reasoning questions, logical reasoning questions, as well as a writing sample. Typically you will be given 35 minutes to complete each section, and there is one additional section that may have test questions, etc., always added to each exam. The writing sample will be sent to all law schools to which you apply, although it is not scored. It is designed to provide law schools with a sample of your argumentative writing ability. For example, you may be presented with a topic, and told to pick one side or the other and support your position. There will be no correct answer, but instead a review to see how well you "argued" your position.
  • Preparation is important for the LSAT. This is not like studying for most exams. You will not memorize information or facts, but instead you need to prepare by taking sample tests, timing yourself (remember - only 35 minutes per section), understanding the types of questions that will be asked, and practicing, practicing, practicing. The LSAC publishes "The Official LSAT Handbook", which is available through www.lsac.org. It describes in detail the types of questions, and provides a number of hints on how to prepare. There are a number of LSAT prep tools available through www.lsac.org, ranging from $28 to $40. These can be ordered through LSAC.

  • Taking sample LSAT exams is a great method of preparation. On this website there is a link to a sample LSAT test through Lovejoy Library. That sample test is free. In addition, each year Kaplan is on campus to provide a free LSAT practice exam, typically in the fall. Check with our Career Development Center for each fall's test date (2011: October 22). There are also companies that provide LSAT prep courses, and information concerning some of those is available by clicking on the LSAT Prep Course Information link on this website.
  • You want to go in as prepared as possible the first time you take the exam, and score as high as you can! The scores range from 120-180, and clearly the higher the better, both for admission possibilities at your law school of choice, and for increased scholarship and grant opportunities. So, preparing well may save you money in the long term! The James Madison University Pre-Law Program website reports that for the most recent source (2009), over 107,000 students took the LSAT, and 10.7% scored 163-180. You can check out the law school(s) you are interested in attending, and most will have the median incoming LSAT score on the website. Then you will know the range in which you need to score to put yourself in a great position. Should you take the LSAT multiple times, all scores will be reported, so preparing for that first attempt is crucial.

Acknowledgement is made to the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, 2011 Edition, and The Official LSAT Handbook (2010), for much of the information provided on this page, as well as the various websites referenced herein. Some information was also suggested by the James Madison University Pre-law Program website.

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