LSAT, the Law School Admission Test, is conducted by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for students who aspire to build a career in law.
It focuses on various skills of a candidate that is necessary for the domain of law to determine whether he is suitable for a legal profession.
This test is essential for admission in a law school in the United States, Canada, Australia, and in many other countries.
Many admission boards consider LSAT along with undergraduate GPA but the credence assigned to any one of the two differs from school to school as they use a different admission index formula.
Although the Eligibility requirements of the participating law schools providing admission to Law courses may vary the basic eligibility for LSAT exam is 10+2 for taking admission to 5 years integrated LLB programme or Graduation in any stream with minimum 50% marks may be the minimum percentage for some participating law schools) for admission to LLB and integrated LLB-LLM programmes.
The Law School conducts the Test four times in a year at designated test centers in different countries.
A candidate can take this test any number of times to improve his score but he can make only three attempts in a period of two years.
The test is held four times a year in the months of June, September or October, December, and February. The June examination marks the beginning of the new testing cycle for admission in the following year.
Typically, the September/October test is most popular among the students while the February one is the least.
LSAT has a total of six sections out of which four are scored ones while the two, the experimental and the writing, are unscored ones.
The unscored section is referred to as variable section and is used for the purpose of pretesting new test questions. At the end of the first four sections, candidates have to attempt the writing sample for which no marks are awarded.
However, the copies of the writing sample are sent to all the law schools to which a candidate has applied to judge his writing ability.
The test’s raw scores are converted to a scaled score with a high of 180, a median of around 150 and a low of 120. This is done through a statistical procedure known as equating that adjusts for minor differences in difficulty between test forms.
To maintain the integrity of the Test, LSAC provides different test forms within a test center, each presenting the multiple choice section in different order.
This is intended to avoid any instances of cheating or unfair practices.
Test scores are published as percentiles and can be accessed from the LSAT official website. The results are also sent by e-mail between three to four weeks after the exam.
LSAC also allows candidates to cancel their scores within six calendar days. However, without disclosing the score, LSAC does inform the law schools that the prospective student has already taken the test.
When an applicant applies for admission, the admitting law school considers the multiple scores from repeat test takers through a linked performance summary of three scores –most recent, highest and average and takes him according to its criteria of acceptability.
The LSAT-India is a paper-and-pencil test with four sections + 1 experimental section as given below:
|Section||Section Number of Questions||Timeing|
|Logical Reasoning I
Argument based multiple choice
|Logical Reasoning II
Argument based multiple choice
Multiple choices based on Games passages
Passage-based multiple choice.
Logical Reasoning, Logic Games, or Reading Comprehension
Analytical reasoning consists of games on logic. These games are 4 in number and fall under grouping, elements, order, and matching, along with various other categories.
Based on each game the candidate has to answer 4 to 7 questions which make for round 25 questions in the whole section.
These questions measure student’s ability to understand a structure of relationships and to draw logical conclusions about that structure.
He has to reason deductively from a set of statements and rules or principles that describe relationships among persons, things, or events. Analytical Reasoning questions reflect the kinds of complex analyses that a law student does in the course of legal obligations to solve problems.
The questions relate to basic mathematics concepts, numbers, percentage, profit, and loss, etc.
The two logical reasoning sections include questions based on statements, short passages, discussion, and arguments etc. These questions are designed to test a candidate’s ability about dissecting and analyzing arguments.
Each question has a short argument or set of facts followed by a prompt asking the student to identify errors or obvious lapses in the argument, to find another argument with parallel reasoning, or to choose a statement that would weaken or strengthen the argument.
The questions on logical reasoning demand close reading and sound comprehension abilities to exercise extra discretion. Choices seem similar and have to be selected with subtle discrimination.
Reading comprehension has 4 sets of comprehension passages. Each passage contains around 400 – 600 words. The questions measure the ability of students to read and understand the subtle facets of lengthy and complex materials similar to those commonly encountered in law schools.
The section contains four sets of reading questions, each consisting of a reading material, followed by four to eight questions that test reading and reasoning abilities.
This section is actually a writing sample that appears as the final section of the exam. The writing sample is presented in the form of a decision prompt, which provides the examinee with a problem and two criteria for making a decision.
The examinee must write an essay favoring one of the two options.
The decision prompt generally does not involve a controversial subject, but rather something mundane about which the examinee is not likely to have the strong bias.
While there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to the writing prompt, it is important that the examinee not only argues for his chosen position but also argues against the counter-position.
LSAC does not score the writing sample, it sends a digital image of the essay instead to admission offices along with the LSAT score. Different law schools, however, follow different policies about the readability and usefulness of the writing sample and may or may not consider it while evaluating an application for admission.
Also, some schools require their applicants to write a ‘personal statement’ which also sometimes becomes a factor in disregarding the writing sample.