LSAT Orientation


What is The LSAT?

"LSAT" is an acronym for the Law School Admission Test. It is the exam administered to law school hopefuls and serves as the "gatekeeper" for law school admissions. A poor score on the LSAT will prevent you from gaining admission to the best schools, and may even keep you out of law school. A good score on the exam promises admission to a good school (in proportion to your score) and if good enough, lots of scholarship money.

The LSAT is graded on a curve. The lowest score, a 120. The highest, a 180. Each number coincides with a percentile rank. So, if you have scored a 180 (like yours truly) you have scored better than 99.9% of all testakers (the .1% are the other 180's which I did not score higher than - just equal to).

The LSAT consists of 4 scored sections and a 5th unscored section. There is also an unscored writing sample.

1) Formally called Analytical Reasoning, I will refer to it as the Games section. The games contain rules that impose conditional relationships between variables. The game then adds scenarios which force you to deal with the rules. An oversimplified example: Derek must sit next to Brandon in a three seat bench. Brandon sits in seat three. Your job is to select answer choice “Derek sits in seat two.”
Each Games section contains 4 games, giving you an average of 8 minutes, 45 seconds to complete each game. In order to solve the games within the time limit you must learn solid diagramming techniques.

2) Formally called Logical Reasoning, I will refer to it as the Arguments section. This is the only scored section of the LSAT that appears twice. On average, each arguments section contains 24-26 questions. Each question is a short paragraph (usually an argument with a premise and conclusion) which asks you to perform tasks like “weaken the argument” or to "identify a required assumption of the argument.” Close, precise reading is imperative for this section.

3) Reading Comprehension. The section is as it sounds. The testmakers present 4 articles, which are edited to increase their density, and then proceed to ask you questions like: “Which of the following would the author be most likely to agree with.”
Recently, the test has changed and one of the four long articles has been dropped in favor of two short articles that are presented together. The questions for this “set” are substantially the same as the other three, except that there are some questions that are unique to the double article format. For example, “which of the following was mentioned in passage "B" but not passage "A".”

4) The Unscored section. This section is a repeat of one of the former section types. You will not know which section is the experimental until you are out of the exam (or if you break the rules and speak during the break).
The reason for this section: in order for the test to be fair, the exam must be consistently hard each year. Otherwise, my 180 may not be worth any more than someone's 160. The LSAC accomplishes this by classifying question difficulty and using the same distribution of level 2, 4, 5 questions in every LSAT exam…
They know the question difficulty, by testing it out on you first!

5) The Writing Sample. This is an argument prompt. LSAC give a scenario with two possible solutions. The instructions ask you to choose a solution and back it up with arguments based on the facts.

There is no right or wrong answer so your conclusion does not matter. The purpose, and what they are testing, is to see how you get there.