What is the LSAT?
The LSAT is a half-day standardized test required for admission to almost all law schools.
When should I take the LSAT?
I recommend taking it in June of the year that you will apply. For example, if you plan to apply in fall of 2010 (to begin law school in fall 2011), you should take the LSAT in June 2010. Certainly you should not take it later than October. Most law schools operate on a rolling admissions basis, which means that they give first consideration to the applications received first. In some instances, this means that if your application is received near the deadline (e.g. late January) you may have a harder time getting in because many spots will have been filled by the time that your application is considered. If you take the LSAT in June, you can submit a complete application in early fall. Of course, all of this will vary depending on which schools you are considering.
How should I prepare for the LSAT?
Success on the LSAT is absolutely critical to your admission prospects. Your ability to improve your score will depend primarily on how hard you practice and study. Taking a prep course can be helpful, but they are expensive and your success will ultimately hinge on how much effort you put into the course. If you buy some LSAT prep books, work through the study guide, and take as many practice tests as possible you will improve your score. However, some students perform better if they have the external stiumulus of a prep course such as those offered by Kaplan or Testmasters. Another option is a MI company, TestGuru, that provides one-on-one tutoring with someone who scored a perfect 180 on the LSAT, Rich Klarman. Be sure to take your practice tests under the required time constraints in order to simulate actual conditions.
What are the costs and what can I do about it?
You will need to pay a fee for the LSAT and another fee for the LSDAS, which compiles your transcripts, letters of recommendation and score reports and sends them to schools to which you are applying. You can request fee waivers on the lsac.org site.
Where can I find a practice LSAT?
You can buy practice tests in 3 sets of 10: "10 Actual, Official LSAT Preptests", "Next 10 Actual, Official LSAT Preptests" and "10 More Actual, Official LSAT Preptests" from LSAC.org or Amazon.com. Also, GVSU offers a free online test to students. Go to gvsu.edu, click on library, then databases, then L, then Learn a Test, then Graduate School Entrance Exams, then LSAT.
Can I retake the LSAT?
I recommend that you only take the LSAT if you are completely prepared. Do not go into it thinking that if you don't do well, you can retake it. Every time you submit a score report to a law school, all of your scores are included. Some law schools simply average the two scores, although according to a recent Kaplan survey reported in preLaw, fall 2007, 74 percent of 170 ABA-accredited law schools now use the candidate's highest score, due to a change in the way the ABA collects data.