The LSAT: Everything You Need to Know
The LSAT is the standardized exam and key predeterminant for law school admission counselors to determine an applicant’s future success in law school. There is some debate as to whether the LSAT will still be required in the next few years, but for now it is sticking around. The LSAT is now offered virtually or in-person. It is up to you which method you take it in.
It is comprised of three sections and one unscored section:
- Analytical Reasoning
- Reading Comprehension
- Logical Reasoning
You will get one of these sections twice. They are each 35 minutes long. There is also an unscored writing section of the exam that is made available for you to take up to 8 days prior to your actual exam date. Therefore, you can actually upload your writing section without having to worry about having enough time to focus on the multiple-choice part of the exam. The writing section is there to showcase your persuasive skills and writing style.
You can typically expect exam results around 3-4 weeks after your test date, so make sure to factor that into your application timeline. For a breakdown of all the LSAT sections and study tips, please see LSAC’s guide.
The LSAT is by far the most difficult portion of your law school application. In order to properly study for it, it is highly recommended that students spend between 4-6 months prepping for the exam, generally starting at 10 hours/week and ramping up to 15-20 hours a month or so before the exam. But due to the variations in learning style and LSAT preparation methods, how you study for the LSAT is up to you.
The best way to prepare for the LSAT is to take LSAT practice tests so you can determine a baseline score and then see how you improve over time. There are several ways to take a practice exam – LSAC.org has a free practice test you can take, and so does Khan Academy, which also has free LSAT prep content. Additionally, many LSAT prep course companies offer free practice LSATs when you sign up for their content/courses.
Remember: don’t let a low LSAT score on a practice test discourage you; it’s practice! Use your practice test score as a baseline and as a motivator to keep improving.
Here are some considerations when you are weighing your options:
- What are you able to afford when it comes to LSAT preparation? (review LSAT fees on LSAC’s website).
- How much time can you devote on a weekly basis? (many prep companies suggest 10-20+ hours)
How did you prepare for the last standardized test you took? (SAT/ACT?) And did that preparation method work? Why/why not?
- One-on-One Tutoring
- Prep Course (in-person or live online)
Villanova University does not endorse any specific LSAT preparation companies or methods, but here is a list of popular options that other Villanova students have used:
- Khan Academy (free!)
- Princeton Review
The Law School Admissions Council is committed to assisting candidates with disabilities with requests for accommodations needed to take the LSAT. For the most up-to-date information on LSAC’s accommodation services and policies, please visit their website to learn how to request accommodations, provide documentation, contact information, and more.
For a full list of free prep materials, please visit our LSAT Prep Career Connections page.