How LSAT Prep is Different From Traditional Tests

How LSAT Prep is Different From Traditional Tests

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is your ticket to law school. A good score on this exam can open doors, and a bad score can close them. The LSAT has a scary reputation, and for good reason: it’s not like other tests. Modify your LSAT prep accordingly and you’ll set yourself up for success.

It’s About Thinking, Not Facts

Until now, you’ve probably studied for countless exams and standardized tests that measured your knowledge of specific facts and ideas. You scored a 5 on your AP World History Exam because you knew dates and events. You aced the ACT because you knew how to solve equations. And you crushed the SAT because you honed your grammar and vocabulary skills beforehand. But the LSAT is not a test that measures knowledge. It’s a test that measures your critical reading, verbal reasoning, and analytical thinking skills. Memorizing subject matter for LSAT prep isn’t going to help you with this one. It’s all about your ability to critically analyze and interact with information.

LSAT Prep: What’s On the Test

The LSAT has five sections of multiple-choice questions, 35 minutes each:

1. Reading Comprehension: This section features four passages followed by 5-8 multiple choice questions that test your ability to read, interpret, and compare complex passages. Questions might ask you to identify the main point of an argument, how the author reasons, what can be inferred from the excerpt, as well as key differences between passages.

2. Analytical Reasoning (aka Logic Games): This section features short passages that establish a set of conditions or relationships between people, events, or things. Multiple-choice questions will test your ability to understand the structure of a relationship and draw logical conclusions about it.

3. Logical Reasoning: This section features short essays followed by a question that asks you to analyze the arguments in the passage. These questions might ask you to identify the flaw in an argument, an assumption that has been made, or how two people’s views differ. These questions will test your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments.

4. Experimental Section: One of the five sections will not be scored and it can be any one of the three section types . . . but you won’t know which one that is during the exam. This section isn’t scored because it includes experimental questions that the LSAC is trying out.

5. Writing Sample: The essay prompt is unscored and will ask you to take a position and argue it. There is no right or wrong side, but an effective response will assert either stance effectively.

The test is scored on a scale from 120-180. The average LSAT score is 150 but to get into a top law school, you’ll need a score of about 170+.

Here’s how the LSAT compares to other standardized tests:

Length 210 minutes 230 minutes (With Essay) 215 minutes (With Essay)
Sections Reading Comprehension
Analytical Reasoning
Logical Reasoning
Writing (Unscored)
Writing and Language
Math No Calculator
Math With Calculator
Essay (Optional)
Writing (Optional)
Format Multiple Choice Multiple Choice Multiple Choice
High Score 180 1600 36
Penalty for guessing?  No, guess away! No, guess away! No, guess away!
How is it scored? One point for each correct answer is added together to establish a raw score. The raw score is then converted to a score from 120-180. One point from each correct answer is added together to establish a raw score. The raw score is then converted to a score from 200-800 in each section. These two section scores are added together for your final score. Each section is scored individually from 1-36, and then overaged for an overall score of 1-36.
Cost $190
+$45/law school your scores are sent to
$47.50 (No Essay)
$64.50 (With Essay)
*Includes scores sent to 4 colleges
$50.50 (No Essay)
$67 (With Essay)
*Includes scores sent to 4 colleges
Number of times offered per year 6 7 7


The LSAT will be different from standardized tests you’ve taken in the past, but with effective LSAT prep, you can ace it just like you did those other tests. Looking to get your head in the game with a little practice? Exam Proctor simulates testing environments to increase your chances of success under pressure.

About the Author:

Mehran Ebadolahi graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 2004 with a B.A. in Business Economics and a minor in Accounting. The first time he took a practice LSAT, he scored a 148, which made him seriously reconsider his law school dreams. Through hard work and perseverance, however, he was eventually able to score a 174 on the December 2004 LSAT and he has been an LSAT instructor/private tutor ever since.

In 2010, Mehran graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. It was during his time at HLS that he co-founded BarMax (“the $1000 app”) in an effort to disrupt the bar exam prep space that had long been a monopoly. Since graduating from HLS, Mehran has continued to work on BarMax (now TestMax, Inc.) full-time and he is currently the CEO of the company.

About the Author