The Law School Admission Test
The Law School Admission test (LSAT) is a (roughly) half-day standardized test administered by the lovely folks at the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Pretty much all the common-law schools across North America think the LSAT is a pretty big deal for admitting students, which is a pretty good reason for you to care about it. Unless you're not applying to law school, which means you're probably reading this for someone else. That's cool too.
So the LSAT is a multiple-choice administered on a tablet since switching to its new format in mid-2019. The nature of the questions hasn't really changed, they simply switched from a paper version. It's now administered up to nine times a year, generally in the months of: July, September, October, November, January, February, March, April, and June. Test times tend to either be at 8:30am or 12:30pm, depending on the administration.
The test is made up of five sections, each 35 minutes long. There is one break between sections three and four, and otherwise the sections are taken back to back. The sections of the test are given relatively randomly, but there will definitely be:
There will be two scored sections of Logical Reasoning (often referred to as the Arguments section). In this section, you'll be faced with 25-26 short texts, each of which will be followed with a single question dealing with the argumentative implications of the text.
Overall, Logical Reasoning will be responsible for roughly half of your LSAT score.
There will be one scored Reading Comprehension section. In this section, you'll have four extended reading passages, each of which will be followed by a 5-8 questions about the contents of the passage that you read.
Overall, Reading Comprehension will be responsible for a bit more than a quarter of your LSAT score.
There will be one scored section of Logical Reasoning (often referred to as the Games section). Here, you will be faced with four "games", each of which will present you with a set of strict rules regarding a certain "game" scenario. Each will be followed by 5-7 questions based on the logical relationships presented.
Overall, the Analytical Reasoning section will be responsible for a bit less than a quarter of your LSAT score.
In addition to the others, there will be one extra section that we refer to as the 'experimental'. This is actually going to be an extra one of the other sections (so you could end up with a third Logical Reasoning section, for example). This extra section, however, is not going to be scored.
Why does it exist? LSAC basically uses this section to generate data about new questions they plan to use on future tests.
Will you know which one is experimental? Nope, that wouldn't make for a very good experiment now, would it?
The LSAT is scored on a scale of 120 (just for writing your name) up to 180. There is no weighting between the different questions, so each question is worth exactly the same (no matter the difficulty). Essentially, your score is calculated by adding up the number of questions you got correct, and this total is then converted into an LSAT score.
Because tests do vary in difficulty between each other, LSAC also slightly adjusts the number of questions that you have to answer correctly to get a certain score from test to test (often referred to as the 'curve'). For example, while one test might require 77 correct answers to score a 160, another test might require only 73 correct answers to score a 160.
As far as LSAT scores are concerned, 120-180 is definitely an arbitrary scale, but the significance of each score is that it effectively ranks you against other test-takers. Each score corresponds to a specific percentile ranking, which stays pretty stable. That means that, for example, if you score around a 160 (generally a comfortable score for most Canadian law schools), that means that you're scoring roughly in the 82nd percentile, which means you're scoring better than 80% of all test takers.
To get an idea of how raw scores convert into LSAT scores and what percentile ranks each LSAT score converts to, feel free to select one of the options below. Note, however, that while LSAT scores vs percentile ranks stay pretty stable, raw score conversion into LSAT scores can vary significantly.