All American Bar Association approved law schools require you to take the Law School Admission Test
(LSAT), a 3-1/2 hour standardized test. Law schools regard the LSAT as a
crucial part of the application; in fact, many law schools give the
LSAT as much or more weight than your GPA. Comprehensive LSAT
information is available on the Law School Admission Council website.
What are the components of the LSAT?
The current LSAT consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions, plus a writing sample.
Reading comprehension: measures your ability to read with understanding and insight.
Analytical reasoning: measures your ability to understand a structure of relationships and to draw conclusions about the structure.
Logical reasoning (2 sections): evaluates your ability to understand, analyze, criticize and complete a variety of arguments.
Variable section: an
experimental section that takes the form of one of the 3 aforementioned
test sections that is used to help formulated new LSAT questions. This
section will not count toward your LSAT score. You will not be told
which section is the variable one.
Writing Sample on
a prescribed topic. The 35-minute writing sample is not scored, but is
sent to law schools to which you apply. Some law schools compare the
writing sample to your personal statement to measure consistency in your
When should I take the LSAT?
Take it Early: The LSAT
is given four times a year. While many people take the early fall test,
the June test has real advantages in that the scores are available in
plenty of time to plan out an application strategy and/or take the early
fall test, if necessary. With the importance placed on the LSAT, it is
hard to choose schools effectively without the score.
How many times should I take the LSAT?
Take it Once:
The LSAT should not be taken for practice. Get ready and do it once.
Some of you will want to repeat it if the initial score was
disappointing. However, many repeaters do not improve; some lower their
scores. Many schools will average multiple scores, which means you will
have to get a significantly higher score on your second test to raise
your overall LSAT score. But, some law schools will use the second score
if it is considerably better than the first. Contact your law schools
of choice to determine how they handle multiple test scores.
What is a "good" LSAT score?
The scoring range on the LSAT is 120-180. Over the past five years,
Cal students who have been accepted to law schools have averaged 161 on
the exam. Generally, a score of 165 or higher is a competitive score
for the top 20 law schools.
How should I prepare for the LSAT?
the LSAT is a very important factor in admissions decisions, preparing
in advance for it is crucial. Most students start preparing for the LSAT
at least 4-6 weeks prior to their test date. People prepare in
different ways, depending on the manner in which they learn best, their
financial situation, etc. The Career Center does not endorse or
recommend any particular course, or even that a course be taken. This is
an individual matter based on need, learning style, etc. Many take a
review course; others do not. Opinion varies on the value of the
courses. There is extensive study material provided through the Law School Admission Council, including suggested approaches to questions, explanations, and LSAT Prep Tests.
How do I register for the LSAT?
The easiest way to register is through the Law School Admission Council's website.
If my LSAT score is low, should I re-take the test?
The answer to this question is not an automatic "yes." First, ask yourself:
When you took the LSAT...
· were you sick?
· were you going through something emotionally stressful?
· were you not able to give your LSAT preparation 100%?
· knowing what you went through (and all the things you still have to do), do you want to do it again?
positive response to one/any/all above special circumstances may mean
you should re-take the test. But, keep in mind that most people who
re-take the LSAT fail to score substantially higher on it the second
time around. Some even score lower. Also, keep in mind that most law
schools average multiple test scores, so you would have to score
significantly higher the second time around. Finally, keep in mind the
timing of your application. Is the next LSAT administration too close to
Are accommodations available for students with disabilities?
accommodations for the LSAT are available for students who have
documented disabilities. To find out more about these types of
accommodations, please see the Accommodated Testing section of the LSAC website or contact the Law Services Testing Accommodations Section at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 968-1001.
How long are LSAT scores valid?
LSAT scores are valid for 5 years.
Do I need to take a test preparation course to do well on the LSAT?
to enroll in a test preparation course is up to you and should be based
on your individual needs (not on apprehension created by peers or LSAT
preparation providers). If you feel you would benefit from the structure
that a course provides, you may want to consider signing up for one,
keeping in mind that it can be expensive. On the other hand, if you have
the self-discipline to set up your own study schedule and stick to it,
you may want to utilize a study guide and/or practice LSATs. At the
Career Center, we have heard positive and negative reports on all forms
of test preparation. In addition, students who have used self-study or
classes have experienced both high and low scores. In general, we advise
that you take LSAT preparation seriously and that you plan to spend as
much time preparing for it as you would attending and studying for an
extremely challenging course. But when it comes to particular methods
and vendors of books and courses, you will need to use your best
How can I request a LSAT/CAS fee waiver?
Information about fee waivers and downloadable forms are available on the LSAC website.
CAS and Transcripts---
What is the CAS?
CAS stands for the Credential Assembly Service (previously known as the LSDAS). It is a service administered by the Law School Admission Council (the same organization that administers the LSAT) that standardizes your grades and sends them as a part of a report to the law schools you want to attend. Almost all American Bar Association
approved law schools require applicants to use the CAS. Your LSDAS
subscription is good for 12 months, so sign up for it just in advance of
the time period in which you will apply to law schools.
How do I sign up for the CAS?
You may sign up for the CAS through the Law School Admission Council's website.
What's in my CAS report?
CAS facilitates the law school admissions process by compiling and
disseminating most parts of the law school admission application. The
CAS report contains:
- LSAT scores and writing sample
- CAS GPA
- Copies of all transcript(s), including all undergraduate coursework taken at other institutions
- Copies of letters or recommendation processed by the CAS
What is a CAS GPA?
of the wide range of grading systems used by US colleges and
universities, the CAS converts records into a standard format. Your CAS
GPA may be different from your Cal GPA. For example, the CAS assigns an
A+ a value of 4.3, while at Cal, an A+ is equivalent to 4.0. Since the
CAS also takes into account all undergraduate coursework taken at other
institutions, your CAS GPA will probably be different from your Cal GPA
if you took classes at other colleges or universities. Detailed
information about CAS GPA calculations can be found on the LSAC website.
Do I have to send transcript(s) to each law school I apply to?
Send all college transcripts to the CAS. Once you send a copy of all
transcripts to CAS, it sends a copy of your transcripts to each law
school you apply to. Each transcript you send to the CAS must be
accompanied by a CAS transcript request form, available through the LSAC.
Should I wait for my fall grades before sending my transcript(s) to CAS?
go ahead and start your CAS subscription without your senior year fall
grades. Applying early in the admissions season can be advantageous,
especially if you apply to schools that use rolling admissions. So,
don't wait for fall grades. Once your fall grades are posted, forward a
copy of your updated transcript to the CAS that will send a new report
to the schools to which you've applied.