The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is unlike any other standardized test, and should be approached very differently from any other test you have ever taken or read about. It is NOT a test of any of your previous knowlege or intelligence, so it really does not matter what you majored in or how well you've performed on tests in the past. It is given on paper, and it's recommended that you prepare using the same format.
Here is some basic information for those considering taking the LSAT:
When to take the LSAT
- Plan ahead! Some testing sites fill quickly.
- UNH pre-law advising recommends that you take the exam by the fall of one year prior to when you wish to begin law school, or before.
- February or March LSATs are not recommended for admission the following academic year
- PowerScore provides a good explanation of this timeline.
Before Diving In
- Many students make the mistake of diving into LSAT prep, without taking the time to understand the LSAT first.
- Understand what the three sections are, how the test is scored, and what your score means.
- Law schools will still see a report of each score, and most will accept only your highest score.
- UNH pre-law advising still recommends that you take the LSAT once and prep extremely well.
- Retakes are only advisable if you realistically believe that you can increase your score by at least ten points, and if you plan to do something dramatically different in your test preparation before the second attempt.
Your Study Plan
- Develop a plan or schedule that works for you and stick to it, being honest with yourself about your ability to structure and follow through.
- Do not rely on your past success with standarized test to pull you through. The LSAT is very different from the SAT, ACT, and GRE.
- Treat the LSAT like an athletic event to be trained for, not an exam to be studied for. You need to improve your speed, timing, pacing, and build up stamina.
- After learning the skills necessary to perform well, plan to take as many full, timed tests, mimicking test taking conditions, as possible. Including a "test" section, like the real LSAT does, can help you with your endurance and ability to focus.
- Practice in noisy places, to increase your ability to block out distraction. Be sure to take the most recently retired official tests, as the LSAT has evolved over time. You should take two or three practice tests per week, at the minimum, for the six weeks leading up to the test.
Register for the LSAT Early
- Durham, N.H. is a popular test site and in the past has filled up, causing UNH students to have to travel to Maine and Massachusetts to take the exam.
- If you don't get your first choice location, put yourself on the waitlist for the one you want.
- Seats or rooms may be added to meet the demand, so do not panic if you are on a waitlist.
- The cost is ~$160.
LSAT Prep Course
- Whether or not to invest in a professional LSAT prep course is a very personal decision.
- It is very possible to do well on the LSAT without one if you are good at creating and following your own structure.
- Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.
- Classes can be expensive, but you can easily make that investment back in significant merit-based aid, application fee waivers, and improved employment options that come with a very strong score.
- Be sure to inquire about a prep company's cancellation policy, especially if you are planning to take the class that is offered in Durham, N.H.
- If you think you will walk into the room on test day and wonder, "Did everyone else here take a class?" then take one!
- UNH pre-law advising recommends PowerScore for test prep materials and affordable classes, but there are lots of other options available.
Prior to the Test
- Use your full legal name on on LSAC sites, and make sure it exactly matched the name on your identification, license, or passport.
- Stress levels can be high. This is a test to see how you perform under stress, so manage your stress in a healthy and productive way.
- Thoroughly read the LSAC's guidelines well before you take the exam.
- Make sure you've checked out parking, the exam room location, and all the restrictions on what you are allowed to bring and what is prohibited.
- Allow extra time for traffic, weather, construction, and the inevitable unexpected delays.
After the Test
- The days after an LSAT are full of second-guessing, with many testers wondering if they should cancel their score.
- You have six calendar days to cancel your score.
- This is a very individual decision, and it is recommended that you discuss your options with an advisor before acting.
- One item in the registration for the LSAT authorizes LSAC to release your LSAT, biographical, academic, and application information to your “home institution.” That’s us, the UNH Pre-Law Advising Office. Please check yes!
- This numerical data is extremely helpful to us in advising future students applying to law school.
- LSAC produces reports for pre-law advisors that help us assist other UNH students and alumni who are applying to law school, and assess their prospects of getting admitted to the school of their choice.
- Your personal information will never be released by the UNH Pre-Law Advising Office.