Registering with LSAC
Before you can register for your LSAT test, you must open an account with the Law School Admissions Council website. Opening the account is free, but you will need to eventually pay for the Credential Assembly Service, which is currently $195. The CAS is the service that simplifies the law school application process by gathering your information and providing it to law schools. For each school you apply to, LSAC prepares a law school report costs $5 each. CAS registration is good for five years, and LSAC will keep your transcripts for that period of time. Open your CAS account before you take the LSAT so that you have plenty of time to supply the information and correct problems.
Once you register, have a transcript sent to LSAC directly from each college you attended. There are procedures for submitting international transcripts, which are detailed on the LSAC website. Later, when you get them, CAS also collects your letters of recommendation and runs the evaluation process.
The LSAT currently costs $200. Register as soon as you have decided when/where you will take the test. Some locations sell out.
Preparing For and Taking the LSAT
NOTE: The information below refers to the in-person LSAT which, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been suspended indefinitely. In its place, LSAC now administers the virtual LSAT-Flex, an online version of the LSAT that prospective law students take at home. Each test taker is paired with a remote proctor who monitors the test-taking environment before and during the test.
Because of proctoring issues and other considerations, the LSAT-Flex is significantly shorter than the in-person LSAT. Rather than four 35-minute sections, the LSAT-Flex includes only three 35-minute sections, one each of Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games). There is no second Logical Reasoning section, nor an experimental section. Another important change is that, unlike the in-person LSAT, the LSAT-Flex is offered over multiple days of test week at many different times.
At this time, it is unclear how long the LSAT-Flex will be administered in place of the in-person LSAT. This is in part because of the unpredictability of the COVID-19 crisis and in part because LSAC may or may not continue administrating the LSAT-Flex for the foreseeable future, regardless of what happens with the pandemic.
If you are preparing to take the LSAT-Flex, click here for a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions.
The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex tests with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and argument of others. The test has five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions and an essay. There are roughly 100 scored questions on the test. The score is derived from four of the five multiple choice sections. One section is un-scored and is used to screen new questions. You should not try to guess which section is experimental—even seasoned professional test takers have confessed that they don’t know. The written section is not scored, but it is sent to law schools.
You should plan to study for a minimum of 3 months. If you are great at standardized tests, you might get by with 2 months. If you are terrible at standardized tests, you should plan on budgeting even more time.
With a little practice and familiarity, your score will improve by a few points immediately. It will usually take another 150 hours of study before any more significant improvement occurs. You will probably experience early gains by learning a few little logical tricks, and then you will plateau for a while. If you want to see real improvement, and not just a small bump of five points or so, then you need to understand that studying for the LSAT requires consistent effort. The writers of the LSAT have stated (off the record) that a person should study for six months if they want to do well.
The One LSAT Rule You MUST Follow if you want into Law School
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER, take the LSAT until you are ready to do your absolute best. Do not go into this exam thinking that you can “just take it again” if you don’t like your score. Although the LSAT is not the only factor in determining whether you get into law school, it is the most important factor. This test determines which law school you will go to, and whether you can go to law school at all. It is a test that should be taken very seriously. Having multiple scores can hurt your chances for admission to law school.
It should nevertheless be noted that the American Bar Association (ABA) recently changed the requirements for LSAT reporting from member law schools. While the ABA used to request score averages of accepted students for the purpose of ranking law schools, they now only require the highest score. For that reason, even if you only think you can boost your score by 2 or 3 points, it may still be worth retaking, as maximum scores are much more meaningful to law schools than in the past.
That said, be fully prepared to take this exam only one time, and do your best. Law schools respect and reward preparation for this test.