In your pursuit of a legal career, the importance of the LSAT has probably been stressed so many times that by now you're wondering if there's any chance you'll pass it! Fear not, however—the Law School Admissions Test is but another examination in your long academic career. While it is no doubt an important step, your ambition suggests that you likely possess the other tools needed for a great score—intelligence, determination, and preparation.
Possibly the most important thing to remember in LSAT preparation is that the exam is not meant to trick you. The LSAT is a standardized aptitude test that is offered four times a year by the Law School Admission Council. It is made up of five sections of multiple-choice questions (which are all weighted exactly the same in scoring), and a 30-minute writing sample that has no bearing on your score, but is used to demonstrate your writing and thinking skills to your prospective school(s). The test as a whole aims to measure your ability to successfully navigate the intellectual rigors of a law school education.
Since law schools are very specific about the minimum LSAT score they will accept, it is important to understand what the score means. LSAT scores are reported on a 120- to 180-point scale, and each score corresponds to a percentage rating that reflects where your score falls in relation to all LSAT test takers. In general, a score of at least 165 is considered competitive and will grant entry into some of the nation's top law schools including Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, NYU, Northwestern, and UCLA.
Since all of the questions on the LSAT are given the same value, it is important to answer the questions that are easiest for you first, skipping (temporarily) the ones you're unsure about. Later, before the end of each section, you can fill in empty responses. You might suddenly remember these answers or, if that fails, you can use a process of elimination to decide. Be sure to provide an answer for each question because while an incorrect answer will not lower your score, taking an educated guess will give you a better chance at finding a correct answer and boosting your score.
If you decide that you will in fact take the LSAT, doing your best the first time will guard against having to take it twice. However, if your first score is not what you expected, keep in mind that most law schools take the average of multiple tests, making it very difficult to raise (and in some cases even lowering) your original score. Before you commit to retaking the LSAT, reflect on your first attempt and ask yourself the following questions:
- Was I uncharacteristically tired or sick?
- Was I emotionally ready to take on a big challenge?
- Did I commit 100 percent to studying/preparing for the test?
- Having been through it once, do I want to go through the exam again?
If you have sufficiently examined your experience and you still believe that a second try could be beneficial, best of luck to you! Remember that nothing but your own
By Hannah Roberts