The short answer is 3 hours and 45 minutes from start to finish.
Many responses to the question “How long is the LSAT?” will say that it consists of five 35-minute sections, but that’s slightly misleading. When you take the real exam, you will complete six 35-minute sections, with a 15-minute break between the third and fourth sections. The entire exam consists of:
- 4 scored, multiple choice sections
- 1 unscored, experimental multiple choice section
- 1 unscored writing sample
- a 15 minute break between sections 3 and 4
You’ll take all 5 multiple choice sections first, and you’ll get your one and only break after the third section (more on that below). The order in which the five multiple choice sections appear will be random. In other words, you will not be able to identify the unscored section, so you have to treat it as though it were scored. If you’re worried about the unscored section, stop worrying! Read our post about it and rest easy.
The Writing Sample
The writing sample is always the last segment of the exam. While it is not scored, it is sent in its entirety to every law school to which you apply, so you’ll want to make sure you give it some thought and preparation before test day. If you’re interested in learning more about the writing sample, we’ve got a blog post on that, too! 🙂
In total (counting the break), the exam is 225 minutes long, or 3 hours and 45 minutes. You are only allowed to eat and/or drink during the 15 minute break (more on snacks in LSAC’s Candidate Information Sheet), so that means you’ll have to last at least 1 hour and 45 minutes without water unless you choose to leave the test room during a timed section to use the bathroom. Needless to say, I recommend trying to avoid that..
So the takeaway is, the LSAT is as much about endurance as it is about critical thinking. Plan ahead, eat a healthy, protein-heavy breakfast before it starts, and make lunch reservations at your favorite restaurant so you can reward yourself when it’s all over.
In the meantime, if you have questions about what your LSAT goal score should be and when to take the exam, take a look at When are the LSAT Test Dates?. And don’t forget to check back soon for more helpful information.