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How Difficult Is the LSAT, Really?

Last Updated On: June 8, 2021

Many students enter their undergraduate careers with the dream of going to law school. Law schools require the LSAT for entry to a J.D. program. If you are planning to enter a legal program, then you might be aware of how hard the LSAT can be. We won’t sugarcoat it, this is a difficult exam. But, exactly how hard is the LSAT, and is it hard for everyone?

After hours of research, we put our heads together to come up with a guide to the LSAT and how to beat the difficult sections of the exam. Take a look at our tips and tricks for how to increase your LSAT score.

What is the LSAT?

A vector representation of LSAT

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is one of the standardized tests created by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). It is required for entry to a JD or LLM program.

If you want to be a lawyer in the United States, you will have to take this test to get into a legal program [1].

The LSAT is 3 hours and 30 minutes long. It is one of the hardest standardized tests that a student can take for entry to a graduate program. Continue on to find out why this test is so difficult.

Concepts Tested on the LSAT

1. Reading Comprehension

The reading comprehension section of the LSAT was designed to test your ability to analyze and critically read passages and answer questions about them.

Lawyers have to read dense material such as cases, laws, contracts, briefs, and summaries. This section was meant to challenge your ability to read comparative passages and draw conclusions. In law school, you will have to do this every day.

This section consists of 27 to 28 questions based on small passages. You will have 35 minutes to complete the reading comprehension section of LSAT.

2. Analytical Reasoning

The analytical reasoning part of the LSAT is also known as the “logic games.” For this part, you will be given a set of rules and statements. You are expected to use these rules to answer questions about each set. The games on the LSAT are designed to evaluate your ability to use deductive reasoning to draw conclusions and examine statements.

This 35-minute section is broken down into four logic games with about 8 questions per game. Most students find these sections to be the most difficult, but your LSAT score can be improved with practice.

3. Logical Reasoning

The logical reasoning section of the LSAT will test your skills in using evaluation, analysis, and critical reasoning when it comes to arguments. The LSAT test will challenge students to analyze two different arguments and determine the differences or similarities between them.

These questions typically consist of two small passages or arguments. You will be expected to read them and answer questions based on their content.

This tests your skills in making analogies between arguments, drawing conclusions, and recognizing misunderstandings.

This part of the LSAT has two sections with 24 to 26 questions in each section. You will have 35 minutes to complete the questions.

4. Writing

The LSAT essay is similar to most other standardized test essays. You will have to complete an argumentative essay by choosing a side of the prompt to argue for or against.

This section is not scored, which might surprise some test takers. It will be sent to all the law schools you apply to for review.

How is the LSAT Scored?

A close up photo for an answer sheet

Your LSAT scores will be given in a range from 120 to 180. This score is based on the number of questions you answer correctly regardless of their difficulty [2].

You will not be penalized for incorrect answers. This is called a raw score.

The average score on the LSAT is around 151. Any score above 166 is in the 90th percentile. Only about 2.5% of test-takers will receive a score of 170 or above, which shows just how challenging the LSAT really is.

How Hard is Each Part of the LSAT?

The LSAT exam is one of the hardest exams that students will have to take to enter into a graduate program. The LSAT exam is so hard because it tests students on content that they do not necessarily learn in their undergraduate courses. LSAC designed the exam to be different from any other test.

Another reason the LSAT is hard is that you will probably not have enough time to complete every question. While it is possible, the average person will struggle with the time constraints.

Most people consider the writing section to be the easiest since it is not scored. The reading comprehension section tends to be the next easiest since most people are familiar with this test method.

The logical reasoning section, when taking the LSAT, seems to give people some trouble. It requires advanced skills that many people have to develop through practice tests.

By far, what makes the LSAT hard is the analytical games section. So, how hard is the LSAT logical section? Most people will be completely unfamiliar with logic games and how they are supposed to study for them.

We recommend signing up for a prep course for at least this part of the test. The good news is that once students learn the tricks to this section, they can study and improve their score significantly.

Tips and Tricks When Preparing For the LSAT

A busy person studying for an exam

No Penalty For Wrong Answers

The LSAC designed this test to be compiled as a raw score. You will not be penalized for any wrong answers. A great tip for beating the LSAT is when you hear the 5-minute warning during testing, you should guess the remaining answers.

If you have 10 questions left on test day with only a few seconds left in testing, you should quickly mark down an answer for the remaining questions. You might guess the correct answer.

Study For the LSAT Logic Games Extensively

Before you take the LSAT, you should dedicate the most time to improving your analytical reasoning score. During your LSAT prep, we recommend taking a prep course on at least this section. You should practice this part every day.

When studying, it is important to challenge yourself with complex logic questions. If you improve this part, you will be one step closer to your perfect score. It would help if you utilized practice tests in your LSAT prep.

Read Carefully

The LSAT is full of dense and sometimes confusing material. You should focus on really reading the passage carefully to ensure you are gathering all of the nuanced information in the passage. It is important that you understand how to actively read dense material.

Take Notes

To help you gather information when studying, you should take notes. We recommend taking at least three critical notes for each passage. You can certainly take more, but we recommend aiming for at least three.

A guy taking notes when reviewing

Understand Formal Logic

How hard is LSAT logic? Take it from us, it is very hard and complex. When studying for the LSAT, we recommend taking a logic course in your undergraduate studies. While the material is not exactly the same, most students found it could help them tackle the complex logic of the LSAT. It could help you get used to dealing with formal logical criteria.

Tackle Each LSAT Logic Game in the Same Way

One of the most critical tips we can give you is to tackle every logic game using a diagram regardless of difficulty and type. You should have a scratch piece of paper covered with diagrams. The next time you tackle a game, you’ll know just what to do.

Work on Your LSAT Writing Sample

The LSAT may not score the writing part of the exam, but it could be read by every school you apply to. This might decrease its difficulty and importance, but we recommend practicing at least a few times before test day.

Don’t Run Out of Time to Study

Considering the difficulty of this exam, you should not leave your LSAT preparation until the very last minute. We recommend setting up a study plan to prepare for this challenging exam every day.

Recommended Article: When to Start Studying for LSAT?

How Hard is the LSAT? The Bottom Line

So, exactly how hard is the LSAT? We can’t lie, it is a very difficult test. Test takers tend to score somewhere near the average when they take the exam. Only about 2.5% of people score 170 or above. The LSAT might be hard, but with our guide, you should be able to improve your score and get into the legal program of your dreams.

References:

  1. https://crushbarexam.com/how-to-become-a-lawyer/#:~:text=Taking%20the%20LSAT%20is%20an,school%20for%20the%20following%20fall.
  2. https://www.lsac.org/lsat/taking-lsat/lsat-scoring#:~:text=Your%20LSAT%20(or%20LSAT-Flex,are%20weighted%20exactly%20the%20same.&text=The%20LSAT%20scale%20ranges%20from,being%20the%20highest%20possible%20score.

About the author

Jordan Coleman

Jordan Coleman

Jordan is a teacher who is in love with English literature and quality content. He uses his teaching experience to help both his own students and others around the world to improve their knowledge and self-confidence.

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