Morgan Galloway Daly, J.D. By: Morgan Galloway Daly, J.D.
What is the LSAT

The Law School Admissions Test, also known as the LSAT, predicts future lawyers’ success in law school.

A great LSAT score is one of the most valued markers in any law school application, so it’s important to fully understand the exam and how to prepare for it.

Summary: Review everything you need to know about the LSAT. If you want to begin studying, check out the best LSAT prep courses.

The LSAT is a standardized test taken by anyone who wishes to apply to law school.

While some schools may accept other tests, the LSAT is the gold standard when it comes to law school applications, and anyone planning on going to law school should consider taking it.

The LSAT is made up of four main sections, with a total number of questions between 99-102 multiple-choice questions.

The number of questions in each section varies between 22-28 questions (except for the writing portion, which is an argumentative response).

Each of the sections on the LSAT is 35 minutes (plus 35 minutes to complete the writing sample), for a total time of just under 3 hours.

Here is a quick breakdown of how long each section will take:

LSAT Section Time Limit # of Questions
Logical Reasoning 35 minutes 24-26
Logic Games 35 minutes 22-24
Reading Comprehension 35 minutes 26-28
Experimental (Unscored) 35 minutes 22-28
Writing Sample 35 minutes  

The sections on the LSAT will test your ability to perform certain tasks, solve complex problems, and draw conclusions.

Each section is also weighted separately, with some sections not scored at all.

Here’s what you can expect from each LSAT section:

LSAT Section Weight Composition
Logical Reasoning 33% 1 section
Analytical Reasoning (“Logic Games”) 31% 1 section - 4 “games”
Reading Comprehension 36% 1 section - 4 passages
Experimental (Unscored) 0% Either: logic games, logical reasoning, or reading comprehension
Writing Sample 0% 1 argumentative essay

Logical Reasoning Section Breakdown

The Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT tests your ability to quickly analyze and critique a given narrative.

You will be tasked with reading short passages and answering multiple-choice questions about each one.

Analytical Reasoning Section Breakdown

The Analytical Reasoning section, also known as “Logic Games,” will pose questions to you based on complex or ambiguous passages.

While this is often the most dreaded section amongst test-takers, it comes in a familiar multiple-choice format.

Reading Comprehension Section Breakdown

The Reading Comprehension portion of the exam consists of questions based around 4 passages:

  • 3 passages with one author
  • 1 combination of passages from different sources

You will be tasked with answering multiple-choice questions based on each passage. The questions will gauge your ability to draw inferences, determine main ideas, and understand difficult and scholarly language.

Variable Section Break

The Variable, or “Experimental” section of the LSAT is not scored, but you will not be aware which section is Experimental.

This may consist of an extra Argumentative, Games, or Reading Comprehension portion. This section is used by the LSAC for testing out new questions to see how they perform.

Writing Sample Section Breakdown

The Writing section of the LSAT is not scored per se, but it is still relevant to your law school application. You are not given a numerical score on your essay, but it will be submitted along with your other application materials and will be reviewed by an admissions team.

Test takers are allowed to complete the Writing portion of the exam separately, and can be submitted up to 8 days prior to your scheduled exam.

For more information on the exam, read through the FAQs on the official site.

There are three types of LSAT scores:

  • A Raw Score, or the number of questions you answered correctly
  • A Scaled Score, which is your “final score” and is some number between 120-180
  • A Percentile Score, which compares your scaled score to other test takers

Generally, being admitted into a top law school will require you to score in the 97th percentile or higher. Let’s see how your scaled score translates into an approximate percentile:

LSAT Scaled Score Percentile
180 99+%
175 99+%
170 97%
165 92%
160 80%
155 64%
150 44%
145 27%
140 13%
135 5%
130 2%

We dove deeper into the ins and outs of LSAT scores in our complete guide.

The LSAT is administered throughout the year, 1-3 times each month. To register, you will need to create an LSAC account online and must be completed at least one month before your desired test date.

For a complete list of test dates, check out the latest info on LSAT test dates.

The flat fee for taking the LSAT is $200, but there are also several add-ons that you may want to consider, such as:

  • Credential Assembly Service (CAS): $195
  • Law School Report: $45
  • Test Center Change: $125
  • Test Date Change: $125
  • Nonpublished Test Center: $295 (Domestic); $390 (International)
  • Hand scoring: $100

Because the LSAT is such an important exam, it can be very stressful. By familiarizing yourself with the exam format with the help of LSAT practice exams, you can boost your confidence while studying at the same time.

There are also a ton of in-depth LSAT prep courses out there that can provide you with more than just practice tests. Many of these courses offer personalized support and score guarantees.