Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT is given four times a year -- a Monday in June and a Saturday in September or October, December, and February. If at all possible, we recommend that you take the LSAT in June when you are better able to concentrate on it. If for some reason you are not able to take the June LSAT, the next best time to take the exam is in October. We do not recommend the December test since school pressures will be at their greatest. Furthermore, many law schools have rolling admissions, and your application will receive delayed consideration with a late LSAT score. It typically takes three weeks to receive your LSAT score. We do not recommend the February LSAT in your junior year, because you will be at a disadvantage compared to students who have four more months under their belts when they take the June test. In general, you cannot take the February test in your senior year and be admitted for the following fall -- your LSAT scores will be received too late for consideration that year.
The LSAT has five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions and one 35-minute writing section. There are three types of multiple-choice questions on the LSAT: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. Four of the five multiple-choice sections are graded, while the fifth is not. The writing section is not graded, and therefore its quality is not reflected on your LSAT score; instead, your writing sample is sent to each law school to which you apply. For more details on the LSAT, read thoroughly the description of the LSAT at the LSAC website. Since June 2007, one of the four reading comprehension questions is a comparative reading question.
The deadline to apply to take the LSAT (without paying a late fee) is generally one month before the exam. We recommend applying earlier, so that you have the best possible chance to take the exam at your preferred location. You can register at www.lsac.org. If you cannot register online, telephone LSAC at (215) 968-1001. Once you have been assigned a test center, make sure you know, before the day of the exam, exactly how to get there so you have no problems the day of the exam. If you have a disability and require accommodations for taking the LSAT, they can be arranged. Please visit this page on requesting accommodations for more information.
The LSAT score is based on the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no deduction for wrong answers. Therefore you should answer all questions (until you run out of time). Additionally, all questions are weighted the same. Therefore, a correct answer has the same value regardless of what section it is in.
The LSAT is deliberately speeded. You may not have enough time to finish a section.
We definitely recommend that you take preparing for the LSAT very seriously. This may involve taking a prep course. Taking such a course may help your score through practice tests, strategic insights, and alleviation of stress. If you do better learning complex material in a classroom environment where everything is planned and structured by someone else who can answer questions that arise for you, you will likely benefit more from taking a course. If you do just as well mastering large amounts of complex material on your own, you may not need to spend the money on a course. Your options include:
- All of the free resources at UNC's Learning Center: This includes free info sessions and practice tests, as well as study groups and a library of prep books you can use there.
- Commercial prep courses: There are a number of commercial courses available in Chapel Hill and Durham. Many students have taken these courses and been pleased with them. Be aware that they are generally very expensive. Some, but not all, of these courses offer financial aid.
PLEASE NOTE: Any fliers or other materials distributed by the Office of Pre-Law Advising featuring vendors of LSAT prep services, or the appearance of any such vendor in the Pre-Law listserv are purely informational and do not constitute any form of endorsement of the vendors or their services. Neither University Career Services nor the Office of Pre-Law Advising at UNC-Chapel Hill conducts any background checks or any other investigations of test prep vendors. Students are responsible for researching any vendor to make sure that they are trustworthy and that the services they provide are worth the time and money they require. We strongly recommend that face-to-face meetings between LSAT prep vendors and students take place in a public location.
- On your own: You can purchase old LSATs from the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) or sample tests from a variety of publishers. Again, the Learning Center has built a library of test prep materials available for students to use for free at their location, including books which give strategies and information similar to what is given in a prep course.
While you may retake the test, we do not generally recommend it. Law schools differ as to whether or not they average two LSAT scores. If, however, you think that your score does not reflect what you can do on the exam and you think you can do at least ten points better, you should consider retaking the test. You may ask an individual law school what its policy on retesting is.
While you have the opportunity to cancel your score, either at the test center the day of the test or in writing received by LSAC within six calendar days after taking the test, we do not generally recommend that you do this. If you cancel a score, law schools to which you apply will be notified of this.
If you are unable to pay the fee to take the LSAT, you may request a fee waiver. The LSAT/LSDAS Information Book includes instructions on how to request such a waiver. Fee waiver requests are now available online at www.lsac.org or from the pre-law advisor.