Becoming a lawyer can be long and tedious. Not surprising since a law degree is seen as one of the greatest feats one can achieve. Not only is the required coursework intense, just getting your foot into the door is challenging. Every year law schools around the country receive thousands of applications. Of these thousands of applicants only a few hundred are accepted. So how can you make sure your application ends up on the acceptance pile of a dean of admissions desk? One of the most important things a dean of admissions looks at when considering a candidate is his or her Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score. Administered about four times a year, the LSAT is an aptitude test that tests a students ability in critical thinking and analyzing. The results of the test have a strong correlation for success in the first year of law school. Since the exam is an aptitude test, a student cannot study before hand. However a student can learn test taking strategies which increase the chances of doing well on the exam.
The LSAT is divided into five parts. The first four are multiple-choice and test a students ability in logic, analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, and argumentation. The fifth section is a written portion and is ungraded. The writing sample is used to show the Dean of Admissions a student’s writing ability and does not count toward the exam’s score. One of the multiple-choice sections is ungraded, as well, and is used as an experimental portion for future LSAT questions. The grading for the LSAT ranges between 120-180. Every year the results of the LSAT are averaged and the national average sets the standard for admissions. Typically, those who score 150+ have better chances of getting into law school than those who score lower.
So how can you ensure the best results? Many institutes such as Kaplan offer LSAT prep courses year round. These courses use LSAT questions from previous exams and allow students to get a feel for the exams under real time constraints. The courses also offer one on one tutoring for students. These courses help students learn important test taking strategies and maximize their chances for success on the LSAT. One problem with these courses is that they tend to be pricey, usually $1,000+. If you can afford this, than you should not hesitate to take one. However, this may not be an option for many students.
Those who cannot afford a prep course may want to look into buying a prep guide for study at their own pace. The guides are inexpensive and offer valuable information for preparing for the exam. The best way to do this is to buy two guides: one from LSAC and another from an institute such as Kaplan or Princeton review. This is because LSAC administers the exam and include real tests in their prep guide that have been retired. Only from LSAC do you get real exam questions. Another option students can consider is looking for free prep courses through a colleges pre-law institute.
Whatever option you decide on make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the LSAT. Though it is only one of the criteria for admissions, it is one of the most important when applying to law school.