CityinThree

The LSATS are a rite of passage for students headed towards law school. It's a 4 hour standardized test focused...

The LSATS are a rite of passage for students headed towards law school. It’s a 4 hour standardized test focused on logical thinking – you don’t need any prior law knowledge to ace it! This opens up law school admissions to anyone who has completed at least 3 years of undergraduate studies in full. Standardized testing has undergone criticism in recent years and the LSATS are no exception. Harvard Law School has scrapped the LSAT from their admission criteria and other universities in America have followed suit. The trend , unfortunately, has not made it north of the border except for Civil Law programs in Quebec, McGill University and the University of Ottawa (French Common Law stream only.) Those schools don’t require a LSAT score because the exam is only offered in English putting francophone students applying for a French program at a disadvantage. For the rest of us, here are some tips to help you make it through exam day.

1. Take a Prep Course

Before attempting the LSATS I enrolled in a prep course with Oxford Seminars and I found them really helpful. Listening to a teacher explain how to approach different question styles was a lot more interesting than struggling to read a massive LSAT prep book without falling asleep or getting distracted. Logic games were also a lot easier to learn when I had a teacher that could answer my questions right away. Class sizes are also limited so if you needed personalized instruction you could ask for one on one help. My instructor covered everything in the LSATS, taking care to give equal attention to each section including the writing sample. I found the tips they gave for how to approach logic games life saving. They also offer mock LSAT tests with a proctor so you know exactly what to expect on test day. Lastly, they have a free repeat policy. If you aren’t happy with the results of your first exam you’re able to take the course again for free. Oxford Seminars offers a 30-hour course and a 48-hour course. They will be offering courses starting July 6th, August 10th, and November 2nd at the University of Ottawa.

 
2. Download 7Sage

This app is a godsend. It has a built-in grader for every official prep test that has been published. Grading your work through the app lets you track your progress and see where you need to improve. They also have several proctor options so you can study under true exam conditions. It will time your 35-minute segments for you and will automatically move onto the next section just like the real test. It even mimics background noises like coughing and shuffling papers so you don’t get used to an absolutely silent test environment. My favorite function of this app is that it has videos clearly explaining every logic game published by LSAC from 2013 to 1991. If you struggle with logic games like I did, these videos are a must watch! If the videos don’t work on the app for some reason I’ve included a link to the same videos here. I like that they labeled each game with a category tag so you’re able to see which games are similar. Similar games use similar patterns to find the right answer, the more you practice the faster you will get at recognizing and solving them. 7Sage is free to use for iPhone and Android users.

 
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect! The best way to study for the LSAT is to run through as many full length tests as you can. This forces your brain to get used to concentrating for 4 hours. LSAC has published official prep books that come in single tests or as a collection of 10. These books come formatted like the actual test making them a valuable study tool, they even come with scantron sheets! Sit down for 4 hours (with a 15 minute break after the third section) and work through each test in full to make sure you don’t get used to doing one section and scrolling through social media before starting on the next. Doing mock tests gives you a feel for the questions that will be on the actual exam, it will be less intimidating and anxiety inducing if you’ve seen the instructions and the layout 20 times before! You can buy prep tests from Amazon by following this link.
 
 
4. Include An Experimental Section
The LSAT has four graded components and a writing sample. You will be marked on two sections of logical reasoning, one section of logic games and one section of reading comprehension. There is also an extra fifth section know as the experimental section. This is an extra set of questions thrown into the mix that isn’t graded, it’s used by LSAC to trial run questions for future exams. The extra section is chosen and placed at random. This makes it possible for your exam to have two logic game sections or three logical reasoning questions or two reading comprehension sections. You won’t know if it’s the first second, third, or last section either. Make sure you add an extra section to your practice exams so you are aren’t surprised when you get six sections on test day (5 multiple choice sections +1 writing sample).
 
 
5. Don’t Skimp on the Writing Sample

Some people don’t pay a lot of attention to the last portion of the exam because it isn’t graded. This never made much sense to me because it’s still being sent to every university you apply to. With this portion, schools are looking for your ability to formulate a persuasive argument for or against a question that has no wrong answer. You need to pick a side, stick to it, and explain why you chose one side over the other using only the information given in the short writing prompt. This is the very last section and you will be excited to be done but give this section your best effort. In order to do your best you need to practice formulating arguments on the spot with only half an hour to do it.

 
6. Bring a Wrist Watch

You only have 35 minutes to complete each section on the LSAT. Once a section is completed you are not able to flip back to any previous section which makes time management an important skill to have. How can you manage time effectively if you don’t know how long you have left? That’s where the wrist watch comes in, as long as it’s not a digital watch you’re able to bring it into the exam room. At the start of every section, set the watch at 12. You’ll be able to track 35 minutes with a quick glance without remembering what time it was when you started and trying to do the math. Keeping track of the time tells you if you spend too long on a question and when it is time to skip it and move on. There’s no guarantee your exam room will have a clock, so don’t take the chance

 
Good luck to all the prospective law students out there! You can do it!