LSAT Frequently Asked Questions

LSAT Blog Frequently Asked QuestionsI've already posted an LSAT FAQ and some book recommendations.

But you asked for more, so here's the next edition of LSAT FAQ:

What are the most effective methods for preparing for the LSAT?

Before taking full-length practice tests, build a strong foundation in the basics of the exam. Learn which techniques and strategies work best for you, then move on to completing several recent practice tests under timed conditions where you apply those techniques.

Develop effective diagramming techniques for the Logic Game section. Develop an efficient and minimalistic notation system for the Reading Comprehension section. Figure out which systems work best for you, and putting them into practice before Test Day.

Approximate the test-day conditions as closely as possible. Time yourself strictly (no food or bathroom breaks during test sections!) and take at least a few tests in a mildly-distracting setting. The published practice tests only contain 4 sections, but you'll take 5 sections on test day due to the insertion of the experimental section. For this reason, insert an extra section from another exam to build endurance.

After taking a full-length practice test, spend several hours reviewing anything that gave you difficulty - whether you answered it incorrectly or not. This includes questions where you were down to two choices and guessed. In the final weeks before the exam, this is where the greatest score increases come from. After all, you're not simply taking practice tests to gauge your performance and impress your family and friends with great practice scores - you're taking them to learn about what's holding you back from your goal score so that you can avoid similar mistakes in the future.

How long should I spend preparing for the LSAT?

I generally recommend a minimum of 3 months. This gives you time to learn strategies and practice them under timed conditions. Some factors that may determine how long you should spend preparing are:

-your prior history with standardized tests (are you a naturally-good test-taker?)
-your work/school/life schedule (do you have many other obligations?)
-your goal score / desired law school
-your college GPA (a lower college GPA means you'll probably need a higher LSAT score to make up for it.)

What strategies should I use while taking the LSAT on Test Day?

Since the Comparative Reading passage in the Reading Comprehension section requires a slightly different approach than the 3 longer passages, test-takers may want to do this passage first or last in the section.

There are 35 minutes per section and approximately 25 questions per Logical Reasoning section. This means the test-taker has approximately 1 minute and 24 seconds per question. Questions in the Logical Reasoning section are presented in a general order of difficulty. For these reasons, test-takers who intend to complete all questions in the section should work through the first 10 questions of the section in less than the average time allotted per question. This allows the test-taker to have more than the average amount of time for the tougher questions where more time is needed.

Similarly, there are 35 minutes per section and 4 games per Logic Games (Analytical Reasoning) section. Although this creates an average of 8 minutes and 45 seconds per game, not all games are of equal difficulty. When completing a particular game, think about how difficult it is compared to the games you practiced. If it's on the easier side, try to complete it in less than 8 minutes and 45 seconds so that you'll have more than 8 minutes and 45 seconds for the tougher games.

Which college courses best prepare students for the LSAT?

Philosophy and logic courses are helpful but not necessary. Reading dense material, reading and making logical arguments, dissecting logical arguments, getting a foundation in formal logic, etc.

Philosophy majors tend to do much better than the average test taker (and much better than English majors).

See this breakdown of average LSAT scores by major to get a sense of who does the best.

However, as you will learn from your LSAT prep, correlation does not guarantee causation. Perhaps the type of people who tend to major in philosophy already have the skills/ability to do well.

As I said, majoring (or taking classes) in philosophy does help, probably more so than majoring in something like English. Pick whichever you like more, though. You can prepare to get a super-high score no matter what your major or classes (even underwater basket-weaving, although even a 4.0 GPA in that course of study would not impress adcomms).

Photo by bjmccray


  1. Hey Steve, I just got my score back, a 163, and a solid 8-10 points below where I'd been consistently scoring on the many practice tests I'd taken.

    In my search for an explanation, I've found that my answer sheet shows 60% of my incorrect answers came in the very last section. Section 5 was, incidentally, Reading Comprehension, the section I'd practiced least often as I'd never done particularly poorly there (and certainly better than the 12 wrong on test day).

    Rather than own up to the likelihood that I should probably have practiced that section more, my pride is telling me to accept the excuse that my poor score is more a matter of test-taking endurance (long test, phenomenally uncomfortable seat). Is there much that I can do about that? I work a full-time job and rarely have the ability to sit for the back-achingly long 5 1/2 hours that were ultimately required on my test day. Clearly, I intend to retake the test in October, and I'd love to hear your advice.

  2. What would give me a better chance of acceptance (none of my schools average, by the way)? Apply to schools in September with a 159 3.38 GPA, or re-take the test in Oct. (meaning I would apply Novemberish) and possibly get a 160-162 with a 3.38 GPA? Ahh, and to think, I thought the stress was over when I left the test center :/.

  3. Hi Steve,

    I'd guess that this is not a "frequently" asked question but I was just curious if you were aware of any statistics related to perfect scores received by INTERNATIONAL students. (I know there are approximately 5 to 20 perfect scores in a year but I don't know if any of them are received by an international student)

  4. @Danny

    Sorry to hear about the test-day drop.
    1. Study more reading comp.
    2. Make the time to do several 5-section practice exams. When that absolutely isn't possible, do 3 sections back-to-back with no break, then take a break, then do 1 section.


    Sorry, I really can't answer that question for you. Ask law schools and please let me know what you hear.


    No one's ever asked me that before, haha.

    I don't believe LSAC releases this information. You can always ask them (lsacinfo at Please let me know if they give you an answer.

  5. Steve,
    I sent them an email and I'll let you know what/if they reply. My guess is that no international student has gotten a perfect score on the test.

  6. Nick, why hasn't any? Because English isn't their first language? What about those from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries with English-speaking minorities like India, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Africa?

  7. I clicked on the link to see the ranking for LSAT scores according to majors. I cracked up laughing when I saw prelaw was ranked second to last and criminal justice was last. LOL

  8. Hi Steve,
    in terms of preptest, I see Kaplan makes preptests which have date and number in it(1-70's). Can I assume this is the real one? Thanks!

  9. Hello Steve,

    I am 32 years old with an undergrad in construction management. I have been interested in law school for many years. I want to specialize in more construction law but I have had some bumps along the way. I have a drug possesion charge and it doesn't come off my record for another year. I live in the great state of Kentucky so there are no laws against me becoming a lawyer (as a convicted felon). My question is do you think any law school will accept me with a criminal record?? The lawyers I have spoke to said it is possible if I do really good on the LSAT and my undergrad 3.4 GPA will help as well. I was just curious on your opinion. Thanks I really enjoyed the blog it answered many of my questions except the obvious one I just asked you.