The LSAT ®: Hear From The Experts!

The LSAT®. You’ve heard a lot about it. You know it’s important; maybe even the most important part of the law school application process. But, what does it test? How important is it relative to other factors in the admissions process? How do law school admissions committees use the test to evaluate your application? Is there really a way to “prepare” for the test? Can you improve your score? What can you do you if you have a bad day on test day?

Law School Podcaster Host, Althea Legaspi, tackles these questions, and others, in our recent segment, “The LSAT®: Everything You Need To Know About The Test.” She spoke with law school admissions deans as well as test preparation companies to explore all the aspects of the LSAT®, including some of the myths surrounding the test, and the best approach for preparing for the test.

Just how important is the LSAT®? We went directly to the people who make the admissions decisions. Dean Sarah Zearfoss, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions at The University of Michigan Law School explains how schools use the test to evaluate applications: “As a general matter, it is just one piece of the pie, and I can tell you from my experience that what we’re looking for is an indication that the person has what it takes to do the work here. The LSAT® is a useful tool for helping us to assess that. But beyond that, once we’ve satisfied that question or satisfied our minds about that question, then we’re looking for all the other stuff that makes a class interesting and a student body great. ” While it is not the “be-all and end-all” that students may think it is, Zearfoss acknowledges that she “wouldn’t want to try to go through 5,600 applications without having some kind of apples to apples measure like that.”

So, is this a test students can really prepare for? Our guest Deans of Admission advise applicants to take the time to prepare. Chloe Reid, Associate Dean and Dean of Admissions for USC Gould School of Law, says that “[s]tudents can prepare, can study; if that were not the case, then I’m certain the Law School Admission Council would not be in the business also of providing [LSAT] test materials and copies of old tests for people to purchase and certainly study by, and certainly all these testing organizations wouldn’t necessarily be as successful as they are in their ventures in terms of the numbers of people who come to them for prep services.”

Our test prep experts also talk about their strategies for the LSAT®, the best ways to prepare for the test and provide advice that can help test-takers. Jeff Thomas, Assistant Director of Pre-Law Programs at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, provided us with specific insights about questions on the test. He says “that while there are multiple ways to answer some questions, there is one that is most effective and most efficient.” Thomas says that it is a “skills-based test” and “one that students can definitely improve performance on.”

David Killoran is the CEO and Director of Course Development for PowerScore Test Preparation and he has written several “Bibles” or studying guides that help students prepare for the LSAT®. He says that “there is a strategy to taking the LSAT® and that there are a variety of different levels of that strategy they give you in their courses.”

Listen to the full show to hear more detailed advice from our panel of experts about strategies for the LSAT® and learn more.