What is the LSAT?
The LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) is the graduate exam issued by the LSAC (Law School Admissions Council) to provide law schools with a uniform assessment of applicants in order to guage their aptitude. Combined with your UGPA, it will be the chief driver of your admissions outcomes.
More information about the LSAT can be found at LSAC’s official LSAT information page.
Structure of the LSAT
The LSAT is divided into six 35 minute sections on test day. There is a 15-minute break between the third and fourth sections, and any time between the remaining sections is negligible. The first five sections will contain four sections – one analytical reasoning (logic games), two logical reasoning, and one reading comprehension – that contribute to your score out of 180 and an unscored experimental section. The experimental section will be an additional logic games, logical reasoning, or reading comprehension section, and it will be indistinguishable from the scored sections. The order of these five sections is entirely random. The sixth and final section is the often disregarded writing section which is unscored but visible to schools.
The LSAT is currently, and historically, offered four times a year, typically in June, September/October, December, and February. The only differences in test dates are that June starts later than the September/October, December, and February exams and February does not issue a detailed score report. June offers an advantage for late risers, and it gives you the opportunity to apply first thing in the cycle. September/October administrations will give you ample time to still have an early application for law schools for the ongoing admissions cycle. February, on the other hand, is a test that is, in most circumstances, to be avoided. The February offering is generally too late for most schools to accept for fall admissions during the year it is offered and, more importantly, February is not a disclosed test. You will not receive a score breakdown which is a tremendous disadvantage.
More information on the difference between disclosed and undisclosed LSAT administrations is available at LSAC’s test disclosures page.
Day of your LSAT
More information can be found at
LSAC’s day of test page.
Changes to the LSAT
While the test and numbers driven admissions has changed little over the years, there have been more rapid changes in the past year.
In regards to the format of the LSAT, LSAC piloted a digital version on May 20th, 2017. As of early 2017, this was only a pilot. The move is likely aimed to help reduce the turnaround time for scores.
In regards to the content of the LSAT, there has not been a terrible number of changes. There has appeared to be an increased tendency to include logic games that do not fall neatly into the commonly masterable formats of sequencing, grouping, etc. This is not something to worry about, but it is something to keep in mind during your studies.
In regards to its role in admissions, Harvard Law School stated in early 2017 that they will begin to accept the GRE in place of the LSAT for admissions, and, while they are not the first to do so, more schools are likely to follow suit in the years to come given Harvard legitimizing the practice. While it is hard to know how Harvard will use GRE scores or what GRE scores would be desirable for admissions, most tend to think that a high GRE will not replace a low LSAT –
i.e. someone with a low (for Harvard, anyways) LSAT on record will still need to improve their LSAT and a high GRE will not replace that still reportable LSAT. Ultimately, it will depend on a lot on how the GRE scores are reported in rankings.