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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Political Science

What is the LSAT?

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a standardized test that allows law schools to compare the diverse pool of applicants who come from various schools around the country and study different subjects. Some schools and majors are more demanding than others, some "A"s are harder-earned than others, and some extracurricular activities are resume-padding, while others involve real effort and lead to real growth. But with the LSAT, all students are tested on the same instrument, allowing for comparisons and at least some degree of standardization. For this reason, the LSAT is very important in helping law school admissions committees decide whom to admit--it is arguably the single most important factor in the admission decision.

The LSAT includes five sections (each consisting of about 25 questions and lasting 35 minutes) of three different types of questions. There is one section of Reading Comprehension, one section of Analytical questions, and two sections of Logical Reasoning questions. The fifth section of the exam is unscored and is used for the purposes of evaluating potential exam questions; it could be in any of the above formats, and you will not know which it is when you take the test. The LSAT also includes a 30 minute writing sample that is not scored by the LSAC, but is sent to the law schools with your scores.

The exam is given four times a year: in June, in late September or early October, in December, and in February. (NOTE for you late-risers: the June exam is the only one held in the afternoon).  Most students should plan on taking the exam no later than October of the year before they intend to enroll in law school, as the results from the June and September/October exams arrive early enough for students to adjust their application strategy based upon their scores.

Students should prepare thoroughly for the LSAT, and should NOT take it on a whim or take it "just to see how I do."  If absolutely necessary, students may re-take the LSAT, but most law schools will average the results of multiple tests, so a low score received after inadequate preparation will stick around and could reduce your chance of admission. 

The Law School Admission Council administers the LSAT.  You can register for the exam at

When you register for the exam, be sure to check "yes" when asked whether you wish to allow your results to be reported to your university's pre-law advisor.  Your scores remain confidential and allow pre-law advisors on UNI's campus to give better advice to students.

How do I prepare for the LSAT?