The LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is a skills-based exam designed to test the critical reading and analytical thinking skills that are crucial for success in law school. According to Kaplan Test Prep’s annual survey of law school admissions officer, it remains by far the most important admissions factor, followed by undergraduate GPA.
Brief history of the LSAT: George D. Stoddard, a psychologist at the University of Iowa, and Merton L. Ferson, a dean at the University of North Carolina, developed the first standardized test for law schools in the 1920’s. In 1930, Yale created its own law school admissions test. These early prototypes of the modern day LSAT focused on exercises of synonyms and antonyms, verbal analogies, reading comprehension and recall. It wasn’t until the late 1940’s when law schools across the country came together to create one standardized exam for all law schools across the United States. Of all the standardized exams for graduate level education, the LSAT remains the only one not administered by computer and has seen relatively few changes over the years.
- Year created: 1947
- Number of tests administered in 2011-2012 cycle: 129,925
- Length of test: 3 hours and 30 minutes
- Test format: paper-and-pencil
- Sections on test: Logical Reasoning (2 sections), Logic Games, Reading Comprehension, Experimental Section (unscored) and Writing Sample (not scored but it is sent to law schools along with your LSAT score)
- Score range: 120-180
- Cost of test: $160
- How often the test it administered: 4 times per year, generally February, June, October and December
- Administrator of test: Law School Admission Council
- Interesting fact about the test: Although more students take the October administration of the LSAT more than any other administration, there is no advantage to taking the LSAT during one time of the year versus another.
*LSAT is a registered trademark of the Law School Admission Council, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.