If you’re just starting to prepare for the LSAT, you likely have some questions about just what you’re getting into. Some of the most frequently asked questions include what’s on the exam, how to sign up for it, how to study it, and how scoring works. There’s a lot to keep track of, and the changes to the exam since the outbreak of COVID-19 mean that a lot of information online has become outdated. Here, we’re going to answer some of the most common questions about the current format and contents of the LSAT in 2021 and beyond: how you take it, how you study for it, and much more.
Table of Contents
- Before the LSAT: Registration, Format & Content, Prep
- Test Day FAQs
- After the LSAT: Scores and Retakes
Before the LSAT: FAQs
Where can I take the LSAT?
From now through at least June 2022, the LSAT is still being administered as an online-only exam. So most examinees will take the LSAT at home. Some test-takers, though, have chosen to take the LSAT at a hotel to guarantee a quiet, private testing environment.
How do I register for the LSAT?
To register for the LSAT, you must first create an account with the LSAC (the folks who make and administer the test), then select a date through that account. You can read about the registration process in greater depth in our guide to upcoming LSAT dates and deadlines.
When is the LSAT given?
Since 2019, the LSAT has been administered seven times a year, with test dates bunched up a little during the fall (to coincide with law school application season) and spread out more in the winter and spring. The move to an all-online exam means that these are actually test weeks, and you pick a time within a given week to report for your exam.
How do I cancel my registration?
The option to cancel (“withdraw”) your registration is available through your LSAC account, the same place you registered for the exam in the first place. You can cancel any time up to the night before, but the deadline to get a (partial) refund is typically a few weeks before the exam. Read more about LSAT cancellation practices here.
How much does it cost to take the LSAT?
The short answer is $200, which is the “basic fee” that you pay to take the exam once, including the writing section. However, there are various other fees associated with changing your test date, submitting additional score reports, and so forth (we run through the different possible fees here). Some students qualify for a fee waiver based on their financial situation; if you think that might apply to you, it’s totally worth taking a look.
Format and Content
What is the LSAT format?
Although the name “LSAT-Flex” is being phased out, some of the changes from the Flex era are being kept. From August 2021 through at least June 2022, the online, remote-proctored LSAT will consist of three different scored sections—Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension—plus one unscored section. (“Analytical Reasoning” is the official name for Logic Games, which are still alive and well in the current version of the exam.) There’s also an unscored essay that you can complete at a separate date from the rest of the exam.
Each of the four sections takes 35 minutes, so the test is about 2 ½ hours including breaks and setup. Your score is given on a scale from 120 to 180, and as with most tests, a higher score is better.
Is the LSAT hard?
It’s hard to give a simple yes or no to an LSAT FAQ like this. 🙂 Most test-takers find that the LSAT is a mixture of familiar tasks and new challenges; some questions are easy, some are hard, and most are in the middle. The Reading Comprehension section will likely remind you of similar sections on the SAT, ACT, or other standardized exams you took in high school. The Logical Reasoning and Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) sections often feel more challenging because they ask you to understand and apply the rules of logic, something that most people do not study formally until college (if at all). Travis, one of our LSAT instructors, breaks down the topic of LSAT difficulty in much greater detail in How Hard is the LSAT?.
How do I prep for the LSAT?
At a minimum, getting ready for the LSAT means going through some official practice tests to check that you understand the question types and get used to the pacing. Some test takers will be fine with just that, but most will benefit from a much more intensive approach that involves a guided review of the question types, an introduction to formal logic, and section-by-section practice to improve in weak areas. We go over some different LSAT prep and practice options here, and you can also see sample LSAT study schedules that show the sort of preparation we recommend.
LSAT Test Day FAQs
What should I expect on LSAT test day?
A great way to understand what test day is like is to hear the perspective of a student who has already taken the LSAT. (Although the video refers to the LSAT-Flex, it provides a good window into the computer-based format and setup procedure for the exam.)
How do I handle test-day anxiety?
There’s a lot to say about beating test stress, but it’s good to remember that surprisingly simple things can make a difference. Double checking that you have your materials ready the night before, eating a nutritious dinner and getting a good night’s sleep can all help. Even just taking the time to take a few deep, mindful breaths can get you back on track if your anxiety levels start rising during the exam.
After the LSAT: FAQs
What’s considered a good score on the LSAT?
Simply put, a good score is a score that gets your application considered by the schools you want to attend. For top-14 programs, that typically means a score above about 162; for many of the top 50 programs, a score above 154 will do the trick. Here’s a rundown of LSAT score stats for the top 100 law schools.
How long does it take to get my scores back?
LSAT scores are released on a set schedule, typically about three weeks after the exam. You can find the upcoming LSAT score release dates here.
How do I cancel my score?
You can cancel your score through your LSAC account (the same account you used to book your test date in the first place) within six days of the test.
How will my scores be reported?
Scores get posted to your LSAC account on the score release date (see “How long does it take to get my scores back?” above). In most cases, you will apply to law schools through a service provided by LSAC, and once your scores are on file, they will be automatically sent to target law schools as part of your “Law School Reports.”
How many times can I take the LSAT?
Currently, you’re allowed to take the LSAT three times in a calendar year, five times in a 5-year window, and seven times total. See our post on How Many Times Can You Take the LSAT? for more information.
Does taking the LSAT twice hurt you?
Taking the LSAT twice does not, in itself, hurt you except insofar as it costs time and money to retake the test. For years, law schools held to a practice of averaging LSAT scores for repeat test-takers, but this is now largely a thing of the past.
With that said, retaking the LSAT is generally only helpful if you can show a significant improvement over your original score. If your performance on test day was way worse than you expected from your practice scores, or if you are planning to retake after several weeks or months of additional study, then the retake may be worth it.
LSAT FAQ: Conclusion
Those are all your top LSAT FAQs answered! We hope you find this resource useful as you gear up to take the LSAT. Good luck!