10 Things You May Not Know About the LSAT

Most everyone knows going into the LSATthat your knowledge of ‘the law’ will not give you an advantage on the test.  Rather, it’s more about critical thinking and complex problem solving, so studying up on a legal hold will not be as effective as keeping your reading comprehension sharp and understanding what really makes for a successful LSAT score.

No news here. The LSAT can make or break a law school application for a prospective student. So, most students devote a whole lot of time preparing for the half day test so they’ll receive the best score possible. If you are planning to apply to law school, understanding the test and how it is used is crucial. Although you may think that you know all there is to know about the LSAT, consider the following 10 facts:

1.    The LSAT, which is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), is given four times a year all over the world. Not only do law schools within the United States require a prospective student to take the LSAT, but law schools in Canada, Australia and some other foreign countries also use LSAT scores when evaluating a prospective applicant.

2.     A committee within the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education is currently reviewing the accreditation standard that requires all law schools to use the LSAT, or a comparable test, and plans to propose revisions, according to a recent article in Inside Higher Ed. Interestingly, other professional schools, such as medical schools, do not make completion of an admissions test part of the accreditation standards.

3.     The LSAT includes an “experimental section”. This section is used to test potential questions for future exams. The applicant does not know which section is the experimental section and the scores from this section are not used in determining an examinee’s final score.

4.     You have the option to cancel your test score after taking the test. A recent article in U.S. News illustrates how this option can help an applicant. If you finish the test, and are certain that you did not do well, you may cancel the score. Cancelation can be done in writing within six days of taking the test. Law school admissions offices will not see your score, however, the test will count toward your limit of three tests within a two year period.

5.     Although three of the four yearly tests are administered on a Saturday, anyone who observes a Saturday Sabbath can take the test on a weekday following the Saturday test.

6.     If you are a lactating mother, new rules instituted by LSAC following a campaign by the ACLU and other similar organizations now allow you request additional break time, or additional breaks, during which you can pump milk. The policy, highlighted in a recent ACLU article, applies to women who have given birth within the last year.

7.     You may retake the LSAT, but all test scores are reported to each school, not only your highest score. The only scores that are not reported are canceled scores. Individual school policy dictates whether they will average your scores or simply use the highest score.

8.     The test is given in February, June, October and December; however, most schools consider December to be the latest test date for consideration for the following Fall.

9.     You may qualify for a fee waiver if your household income below a certain level.  If granted, your fee waiver will entitle you to take the LSAT, register for LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service, and provide you with a copy of the Official LSAT SuperPrep free of charge.

10.     Your LSAT score will be between 120 and 180. Although the average varies each year, it is typically around 150. Acceptance into a top tier law school, however, usually requires a score above 160.

For more information about the LSAT, check out Law School Podcaster’s full shows:

Waiting on your June 2012 LSAT scores?  Here’s a post for you: LSAT Scores: The Waiting Game