What is the LSAT?
All students applying to law school must take the LSAT. This is a test of your general skills in reading, analysis, and logic, and your ability to deal with the unfamiliar, remain stable under pressure, and tolerate ambiguity. You do not need to have any legal knowledge to do well on this test.
When should I take the LSAT?
The “ideal” LSAT is the test given in the June of your junior year. Taking the June test frees you up to worry about putting together your law school applications in August and September and submitting them in October or November. Generally, you are less busy in June than you will be in the midst of a semester when other test dates occur.
Should I take it multiple times?
Plan to take the LSAT only once. Many schools average test scores if you take the test multiple times. Even if they don’t average the scores, the LSAC reports all your test scores to the schools you designate. Instead of planning to take the actual LSAT multiple times, do practice LSATs so you can get a sense of where your score might fall in the range of possible scores.
How do I register?
You can register for the test by picking up a free Registration and Information book in the pre-law advising office. This book contains a practice test, registration information and materials and an explanation and application for LSDAS. You can also register on- line at www.lsac.org. Regular registration closes approximately one month prior to the test date. A late registration fee ($50) is accessed to all registration materials submitted after the deadline.
Should I take one of the commercial LSAT preparation courses?
Approximately 40 percent of law school applicants have taken a commercial prep course. Students who have taken such courses say that they do familiarize the student with the format of the test and that it reduces test anxiety. They also report significant improvement in their scores. If you choose to take one of these courses, you should take it as near to the time of the actual test as possible.
Commercial prep courses are not going to harm you. On the other hand, if you have real discipline, they do not do anything for you that you cannot do for yourself. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) sells preparation packets which contain previously administered tests. If you supplement these tests with a good prep book, you can prepare yourself quite well.
Prep books can be found at virtually any college bookstore or ordered from online stores like Amazon. One benefit of taking a prep course is that you are more likely to sustain a preparation regimen if you have paid dearly for the opportunity. Prep courses are very expensive--ranging in price from $600 to $1,200. So if you think that you need the additional incentive, by all means, spring for a prep course.
Keep in mind that no prep course is going to be able to develop your analytical or reading skills in three or four weeks. Therefore, you should seek out courses at St. Bonaventure that will help you develop those skills over the entirety of your undergraduate education.
What if I think my LSAT score is wrong, or if I need to explain a low score?
You can request that your exam be re-scored by the LSAC. If your score is low, you may need to explain why in a separate statement included with your application. Generally it is better to do this in a separate statement, rather than in your personal statement.
What is a Good LSAT Score?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions of pre-law advisors—maybe the most frequently asked. Ultimately, how good your score is depends on one thing: how good your prospective law school perceives it to be.
You can obtain recent statistics for the law schools regarding what their median LSAT score was for last year’s admitted students. (A median means that the same number of folks scored above and below that score.) You can also obtain ranges: what percentage of folks with my score were accepted to which law schools. The ABA/LSAC Official Guide to Law Schools, found on-line at www.lsac.org, has a search engine that allows you to sort law schools by different kinds of data. This information is also available in the book version of the Official Guide, in the form of the grids provided by the individual law schools.
Can a good GPA offset a poor LSAT?
To a certain extent, yes, but not that much. A good LSAT is much more likely to offset a low GPA. If you look at the Official Guide in book form you will see on the various schools’ grids that, if you hold your GPA constant and raise your LSAT score, your chances of admission go up significantly at almost every school. The same is not so true if you hold your LSAT score constant and raise your GPA. Of course, a good LSAT score does not make you a “shoe-in” anywhere.
If you are one of those folks in the middle (75% of test takers end up there, remember), the higher you score, the more you will distinguish yourself. The folks in the middle are the tough calls for law school admissions committees: instant accepts and instant rejects are relatively easy to identify, but the group of applicants in the middle is large, and after awhile it becomes hard to tell who is more deserving, or who stands out more. When this happens, the best thing you can do for yourself is have a compelling, readable personal statement. If your personal statement is undistinguished, your application will likely be undistinguished, too. You need a way to separate yourself from the pack of who have “always wanted to go to law school.”
Should I go to Law School?
Preparing for Law School
The Application Process
Waiting for a Decision
Paying for Law School
American Bar Association
Boston College Law School Locator
National Assoc. for Law Placement
Law School Profiles
National Jurist Pre-Law Magazine
LSAT Test Prep
Get PreppedLSAT FlexPrep
Financial Aid Finder