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2012 - 2013 LSAT Dates, Deadlines, and Tips

How to Study for and Ace the LSAT

LSAT Quick Facts

The LSAT is a standardized test that is required by most institutions for admission into law school.  It's administered 4 times per year in various locations around the world and evaluates reasoning and reading comprehension skills.

LSAT Test Dates and Deadlines

The LSAT is offered 4 times each year, in February, June, October, and December.  The test is always given on a Saturday, except for in June when it is administered on a Monday.  Monday or Wednesday test dates are also scheduled in each of those months to accommodate those who observe the Sabbath on Saturdays.

June Test Dates and Deadlines
Test Date:  Monday, June 11, 2012 - 12:30 p.m.
Registration Deadline:  May 8, 2012
Late Registration Deadline by Mail:  May 15, 2012
Late Registration Deadline Online or by Telephone:  May 18, 2012

October Test Dates and Deadlines
Regular Test Date:  Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 8:30 a.m.
Saturday Sabbath Observer Test Date:  Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 8:30 a.m.
Registration Deadline:  September 4, 2012
Late Registration Deadline by Mail:  September 13, 2012
Late Registration Deadline Online or by Telephone:  September 14, 2012

December Test Dates and Deadlines
Regular Test Date:  Saturday, December 1, 2012 - 8:30 a.m.
Saturday Sabbath Observer Test Date:  Monday, December 3, 2012 - 8:30 a.m.
Registration Deadline:  October 29, 2012
Late Registration Deadline by Mail:  November 5, 2012
Late Registration Deadline Online or by Telephone:  November 9, 2012

February Test Dates and Deadlines
Regular Test Date:  Saturday, February 9, 2013 - 8:30 a.m.
Saturday Sabbath Observer Test Date:  Monday, February 11, 2013 - 8:30 a.m.
Registration Deadline:  January 8, 2013
Late Registration Deadline by Mail:  January 15, 2013
Late Registration Deadline Online or by Telephone:  January 18, 2013

Test Center Locations

You can find testing centers near you for the LSAT that's administered on regular test dates here:
http://www.lsac.org/JD/pdfs/TestCenterCodes.pdf

Testing centers for Saturday Sabbath Observer test dates are listed here:
http://www.lsac.org/JD/pdfs/SaturdaySabbathTestCenterCodes.pdf

LSAT Fees

Basic LSAT Registration Fee:  $160
Credential Assembly Service (CAS):  $155
Late Registration:  $69

Register

To register online for the LSAT, click here:
http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/lsat-registration-methods.asp

You can also register via phone by calling, 215-968-1001 on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (EST) from September through February, and between 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. from March through August.  Their busiest day is Monday, so call later in the week if you can.

Test Format

Total Test Duration:  3.5 hours
Multiple Choice: 5, 35 minute long sections each with 22-28 questions
Writing Sample:  35 minutes to write 1 essay

There are 3 different types of multiple choice questions that appear on the LSAT:

  1. Reading Comprehension Questions - These questions will test your ability to read and understand passages of text, similar to materials that you will need to read on a regular basis in law school.  The reading comprehension section is split into 4 parts, each containing text to be read and then 5 to 8 corresponding questions.
  2. Analytical Reasoning Questions - These questions will test your ability to apply a given set of governing rules and facts to a system to determine what can or cannot be reasonably true.  4 different logic problems are presented, each followed by 5 to 8 analytical reasoning questions.  For example, a logic problem may present a set of rules governing 8 guests being seated at a wedding.  With certain given rules (such as person 1 cannot sit next to person 2, and person 3 can only sit next to person 5 if person 5 sits next to person 4, etc.) you will be asked who can sit next to person 2.
  3. Logical Reasoning Questions - These questions will test your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments.  You will be given about 25 short passages (just a few sentences long) and asked to answer 1 or 2 questions about each one.

The writing sample section of the LSAT will the be final part of your exam:

For the writing sample,  you will be presented with a decision problem in which you will need to choose between two positions and defend your choice.  There is no "right" or "wrong" choice here; you can defend either side of the argument and your essay is evaluated on how well you can present that your selection is the best one.  The writing sample section is not factored into your LSAT score, but it is sent to all law schools that you apply to and they typically use it as part of their evaluation to determine whether or not you're admitted.  You also only have one sheet of paper (back and front) to complete your essay on, so make sure you use your allotted space wisely.

LSAT Study Tips

  1. Get Started Early - You don't want to be left cramming for the LSAT, so begin studying or taking test prep classes early (2-3 months ahead of time at least) so that you're well practiced when test day comes around.
  2. Find Your Weakness - Figure out your weakness by taking a practice test before you begin studying.  That way you'll know what sections you need to more highly concentrate your studying in.
  3. Use the Right Prep Materials - There are so many different test prep books out there, and different ones are going to work for different people.  Read reviews, talk to your professors, and get advice from others who have recently taken the LSAT before purchasing your prep books.
  4. Time Yourself - The LSAT is a timed test, so when you're running through practice tests, be sure to time yourself to see if you're completing the various sections within the allotted time limits.  If not, you may need to speed things up, and if you find  yourself with extra time leftover, you have time to slow down and pace yourself more effectively.
  5. Avoid Too Much Group Study - The LSAT is designed to test your personal strengths and weaknesses; it is not a test of specific dates and facts, but instead measures your analytical abilities.  These abilities vary greatly in skill and nature from person to person, so if you study with a friend, or study the test generally as opposed to focusing on your weaknesses, you may be not adequately studying for your particular ability set.

    According to Jeff Thomas, the director of pre-law programs at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, "Every student is unique...If a student and a buddy are prepping for the LSAT and if they go along the same course of action, same assignments, same prep exercises, they're going to have immensely different results. Every student is different."
  6. Wait Until Your Senior Year - If you plan to enter into law school immediately following your undergraduate studies, wait until your senior year to take the LSAT.  At that point your analytical abilities will be better developed through your classes and studying than they would be if you took the test earlier.

LSAT Test Taking Tips

  1. Get a Good Night's Sleep - You've heard it a million times but it's excellent and scientifically proven advice:  get at least 8 hours of sleep on the night before the exam.  Go ahead and review the toughest material before you go to bed (this tactic can make it easier to recall it when you're sitting in the exam room), but do not stay up all night studying.  Your body and mind need a good night's sleep to be in peak performance for test day.
  2. Eat Breakfast - Basically the same principal applies here; be sure to supply your body with a healthy breakfast on test morning.  Something high in carbs and fiber, like oatmeal, is the best fuel you can give yourself to power through this 3 and a half hour exam.
  3. Pace Yourself - Each section of the LSAT is timed, so be sure to pace yourself and not take too long on any one question.  If you don't know the answer, make your best guess and move on to the next question, or come back later to finish it.  At the same time, don't speed through the entire test and within reason, take the time you need to read each passage carefully and answer each question.
  4. Answer the Easy Questions First - Every question on the LSAT is worth the same amount of points, so answer the easy questions first to be sure that you get through all of the ones you'll be able to easily ace in case you don't have time to finish every question.  If you find yourself lingering on a question for too long, skip over it and come back to it later.
  5. Answer Everything - You do not lose points on the LSAT for getting questions wrong, so be sure to answer each question even if you have to make an educated guess on some.

Scoring

2009 - 2010 Average Score in the U.S. - 150.73

Source: "LSAT Performance with Regional, Gender, and Racial/Ethnic Breakdowns: 2003–2004 Through 2009–2010 Testing Years", http://www.lsac.org/LsacResources/Research/TR/pdf/TR-10-03.pdf

How the LSAT is Scored

180 is the highest possible score you can get on the LSAT, and 120 is the lowest.  Your raw score is based on the number of questions you answer correctly; no points are deducted for incorrect answers and each question is weighted the same.  Your raw score is then converted to the 180 to 120 point scale using an equating process that compensates fairly for any differences in difficulty on different versions of the test.