If you are considering applying to law school, it's time to think about when to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and how to prepare for it. The LSAT is a challenging standardized test that is required for admission to law school. Along with your undergraduate grades, it is one of the two most important indicators considered in the law school admission process. It is best to take the LSAT before the application season begins. The LSAT is offered four times each year, in June, October, December and February. Multiple scores are typically averaged by the law schools; you may take the test no more than three times in two years (cancelled scores are included in this count). We strongly recommend taking the FEBRUARY OR JUNE test before the Fall in which you plan to apply!!
The best preparation for the LSAT is a solid undergraduate program with emphasis on reading and reasoning skills, along with a familiarity about the LSAT essentials. There are a variety of study materials and courses available to help students prepare for the LSAT. Law School Admission Council research indicates that diligent practice on previously administered LSAT's is most effective in preparing for the test. Because the LSAT is an aptitude test, there is no finite body of knowledge that will be tested.
Many students wonder whether to take an LSAT preparation course. Although studies from the Law School Admission Council show that the average LSAT score of commercial test-prep course users is less than a single point higher than that of nonusers, a test prep course can give you the external structure to help you study and develop confidence in your test-taking ability.
Think about how you prepared for previous standardized tests, such as the SAT's--what worked and did not work. Your own learning style, time management habits, and budget are very important in this decision. Some students find that they learn best in a group (class) setting, while others work better on their own using real practice LSAT tests. In the Pre-law Advising Office, we've heard from students and alumni about many ways to succeed in LSAT preparation!
Free Diagnostic Test Opportunities: To begin your self-assessment as to how to best prepare for the LSAT, it is a good idea to take a practice LSAT exam. Here are some ways to do this:
• The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) offers a free real LSAT exam on its website at www.lsac.org, to help applicants determine their test preparation needs.
• Each LSAT/LSDAS Registration and Information Booklet, available in the Harpur Academic Advising Office, includes a free real LSAT test that can be used to diagnose your preparedness for the test.
• The Office of Continuing Education and Outreach at Binghamton University (777-6857) has teamed with Kaplan to offer Kaplan test prep classes on campus. Kaplan offers free diagnostic tests. Call 1-800-KAP-TEST or go to www.kaptest.com for more information.
• Kaplan/Office of Continuing Education and Outreach: Kaplan LSAT prep classes are now offered on the Binghamton campus. Call 1-800-KAP-TEST or go to www.kaptest.com for more information.
• Self preparation, using the Official LSAT Prep Series of actual past-administered LSAT's, which can be ordered at a reasonable cost at www.lsac.org. You can also purchase other written materials in book stores published by various commercial publishers.
• Various online test prep opportunities. If you are considering an online course, take advantage of any free practice lessons or practice opportunities first to make sure that the method and program will be useful and practicable. Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Test Masters are among many online test prep programs available.
Last Updated: 12/17/10