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Preparing for the LSAT - Law School Admissions Test
I hold a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida; so, needless to say, that I am very familiar with having to take the law school admissions test known as the LSAT. People often ask how often or how much they should study, what is on the test, how do I get a high score on the test, etc. These are all valid questions. This article will help to prepare you for the LSAT so that you can be on your way to the very first step in getting into law school.
1. What is the LSAT? The LSAT measures reading and verbal reasoning skills which are critical to success in law school. The LSAT is one of the factors law schools use in the admissions process. While the scores on the LSATs are critical, law schools review student applications using a holistic approach considering grade point average, curriculum, college attended, personal achievements and successes, among other factors.
2. What is on the LSAT? The LSAT is made up of multiple choice questions that cover three major areas: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. Unlike other standardized tests this is not the kind of exam that tests your knowledge of history, English or mathematics. It measures “reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.” (http://www.lsac.org/jd/LSAT/about-the-LSAT.asp).
3. Studying for the LSAT: Based on what I mention in #2, it is important for the test taker to understand he or she is getting tested on following directions and question types; and it is imperative that the test taker should be studying test taking techniques and related strategies.
4. Books and materials: There are any number of books for sale on taking the LSAT or your local library may have them. There are also courses you can take to help prepare you for the exam. Free materials are available through the Law School Admissions Council online at http://www.lsac.org/JD/LSAT/lsat-prep-materials.asp.
5. How long to study for the LSAT: Those who do well have prepared for the test. As far as the amount of time to invest, there is no set rule. What matters is what you are studying – test taking techniques and types of questions.
6. Practice exams: Do a number of practice exams before taking the test and do at least a few that are timed like the LSAT. This will help reduce anxiety and you won’t have any surprises on the exam. It will also help to show you your strengths and weaknesses so that you can focus on particular issues.
7. Examination dates: The LSAT is offered four times per year but test takers cannot take the exam more than three times per year. For 2012, the LSAT is offered in June, October and December; and it will also be offered in February 2013.
8. Finally, Strive to do your personal best and avoid any negative thinking that you can't do it, it's too hard, or that you will fail. Then you will surely be successful.
One thing that is important to remember is that law school admission committees use a holistic approach in selecting their student body. A good LSAT score is important but is not a deciding factor. Law schools consider undergraduate GPAs, work and life experiences, writing samples and essays, awards, and more. Each law school has their own admissions policy but one thing is standard: they want students who are capable of meeting the rigorous demands of law school and who can contribute in diverse ways. Therefore, if you don't do as well as you would like to on the LSAT, not all is lost. There are several ways to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you are a worthy candidate.
By Liza Lugo, J.D.
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