Written by Frank X.J. Homer, University of Scranton
Copyright © 2000 Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors.
All rights reserved. Revised: April 5 , 2001.
Facts About the LSAT
The LSAT is a five-section, multiple-choice, standard-scored "aptitude" test, followed by a 30-minute writing sample. Taking the test requires 3 hours and 25 minutes, not including rest breaks and the time needed for the distribution and collection of test materials, as well as other test center procedures.
The five multiple-choice sections, containing a total of about 120-130 questions, are separately timed at 35 minutes apiece, with a brief (usually 10-15 minutes) break in between the third and fourth sections. There are three different question-types:
Reading Comprehension--Typically, a section of this type will include about 26-28 questions, arranged into four sets, each containing a passage followed by 6-8 questions.
Analytical Reasoning--Also called Logic Games of the "matrix" type, they typically come in sections containing approximately 24 questions, arranged in four sets of analytical problems or "setups" with 5-7 questions apiece.
Logical Thinking--Typically, a section of this type will include around 24-26 questions that are not for the most part grouped into sets.
One section of both Reading Comprehension and Analytical Reasoning and two sections of Logical Reasoning questions are used to produce your LSAT score; a non-scored section, that can be of any type, is included in each test but cannot be identified as such while you are taking the test.
The LSAT score is a three-digit number ranging from 120 to 180, determined by the number of correct answers on the four scored sections, generally covering a total of about 96-104 questions.
LSAT scores are not absolutes: a 180 does not necessarily mean that every question is answered correctly (you could have as many as 2-3 incorrect answers on the four scored sections and still have a score of 180), nor does a 120 necessarily mean you answered every question incorrectly. Generally, you will need approximately 15-17 correct answers before your score moves above a 120. Once you reach that "threshold," each additional correct answer will help raise your score with, roughly speaking, about two points gained for every three additional correct answers.
While the four scored sections used for each administration of the LSAT are most likely to be the same for each test at every test center, there are different editions in which the non-scored section is not the same and the order in which the scored sections appear will vary. After the five-section, multiple choice test has been administered, and after a second short (c. 5 minutes) break, the writing sample will be administered. The writing sample is unscored; however, copies of your sample will be sent to each law school to which you apply.