LSAT Test Structure
The Basic Outline
Here is the basic outline of what you will encounter when you take the LSAT:
The LSAT has four scored multiple-choice sections, one unscored multiple choice section, and one unscored writing section. Each section is 35 minutes long.
There will be a ten minute break between the third and fourth multiple choice section of the test. The proctor will also call a 5 minute warning before the end of each section. During the multiple choice sections, you will NOT be allowed scratch paper.
The Four Scored LSAT Test Sections
The four scored sections break down as follows:
Two sections of “Logical Reasoning”
In these sections, a short paragraph is presented and you are asked a question based on its contents. You may be asked to identify the main point of the paragraph, find an answer that must be true based on the paragraph, find an answer choice that weakens the argument made in the paragraph, or find an assumption made by the paragraph. Each section of logical reasoning is 35 minutes long and contains a total of 24 to 26 questions.
One section of “Reading Comprehension”
This section contains four longer passages of about 500 to 600 words. Each passage is accompanied by five to seven questions based on the passage. The questions ask you to identify the main point of the passage and to make reasonable inferences based on the passage. The reading comprehension section is 35 minutes long and contains a total of 26 to 28 questions.
One section of “Analytical Reasoning” (also know as Logic Games)
This section contains four “games,” each accompanied by five to seven questions. Each “Game” describes a basic scenario that is accompanied by a list of rules. The questions ask examinees to identify what must be true and cannot be true based on the rules given.
These four sections compose the only four scored sections of the test. Together, the entire test has a total of 99 to 101 scored multiple choice questions.
Calculating Your Score
A candidate’s score is determined by tallying the total number of questions correctly answered and then using the score scale to convert this number into the scaled score. (The score scale varies slightly for each test.)
There is NO PENALTY for guessing on the LSAT. You should guess on every question, even if it is only a blind guess.
The scaled score for the LSAT is between 120 and 180. About 60% of the test-takers will score between a 140 and 160 on the exam. Approximately 12% of test-takers will score between a 160 and 170. Only about 3% of examinees will score a 170 or higher.
The Unscored Sections of the LSAT Test
On test day, the LSAT exam will feature four scored multiple choice sections and one “dummy” section which is unscored. The dummy section is used by the exam’s creators to test future questions. The dummy section will be either a logical reasoning section, a reading comprehension section, or a logic games section.
Because the dummy section isn’t marked, there’s no way for you to know if the section you’re on is scored or unscored. It’s best to not worry about it and do your best on every section.
The final portion of the LSAT is an unscored writing section. Examinees are presented with a scenario that has two possible choices and asked to write a short essay arguing for one choice over the other. The essay must be hand-written and examinees are given 35 minutes to compose the essay.
Just because this section is unscored does not mean you shouldn’t try your hardest, however. The section is still available for admissions committees, who use it to see your writing skills; it can also be an indicator of your comprehension and analytical skills outside of the multiple choice sections.