Does LSAT writing matter? As you prepare to take the LSAT test, ensure you understand the impact of the essay writing portion, so you can impress the admissions team when applying for law school.
When you take the LSAT, many portions go into your final score. It’s easy for law students to focus on the things that get scored as they prepare for test day, and to ignore some of the writing. So while the LSAT writing portion may not be significant as the rest of the test, you should still give it attention.
Many law students are overwhelmed by the amount of LSAT prep they have to take and find themselves wondering, “Does LSAT writing matter?” Unfortunately, the writing portion of the LSAT does not factor into the LSAT score. However, this does not mean you can ignore the writing. On the contrary, it becomes part of your application packet for law school, so it is an integral part of the test.
- LSAT Writing Section May Be Your Deciding Factor
- LSAT Sections Are Not Scored Until You Write the Essay
- What Is In the LSAT Writing Section?
- The Setup For Test Administration
- What Law School Admissions Officers Want to See
- How to Prepare for the LSAT Writing Test
- FAQs About Does LSAT Writing Matter?
LSAT Writing Section May Be Your Deciding Factor
When you apply for law school after taking the test, the LSAT essay becomes part of the application packet sent to your chosen school. If the applications are tight for the school’s entrance program, and your test scores are similar to the test scores of other applicants, the writing portion may be what causes you to cut.
In addition, the writing portion lets the admissions team know that you have good writing skills. While they could use your statement to look at your writing skills, law students can get help writing that statement. If your writing abilities on the test and the personal statement seem very different, it may cause them to look past your application.
LSAT Sections Are Not Scored Until You Write the Essay
Another reason you need to write the LSAT essay is that your test will not be scored until you do. Therefore, the sooner you submit your essay, the sooner the test can be scored,d and you can begin applying for law school. While you have a decent amount of time leeway, the longer you wait to do the essay, the longer you wait to apply to law school. Since many schools have tight application deadlines, make the essay a priority after you’ve completed the rest of the test.
What Is In the LSAT Writing Section?
When you sit the LSAT writing section, you will have a digitally-administered 35-minute assessment. Each student receives a decision writing prompt. This writing prompt provides two courses of action and asks you to choose one and write an argument supporting your decision.
You will be given a window of dates in which you can take this digital writing test, so you don’t have to take it right after completing the rest of the test. Typically the writing portion is open for one year after you complete the main LSAT test. This schedule allows you to work on preparing for the actual test first, then brush up on your writing skills later.
The Setup For Test Administration
When you are ready to take the LSAT writing portion, you will have to log on to the LSAC website. This software uses a keyboard, webcam, and microphone to ensure you do the work independently. You will check in with your government-issued ID, show your workspace to the camera and start writing. The platform shuts down any messaging or browser applications during the 35 minutes you have to write your test.
When you start the test, you will have a randomly selected prompt. You must read the prompt, respond in writing, review it, and submit your paper. Some students choose to write an outline or basic ideas on paper before composing the essay on the platform. You will not be able to do any outside research, but the topic does not require it. With the essay, you are trying to show that you have sound logical reasoning and writing skills. Argue your decision on the prompt using reasoning, and you will have a strong essay.
What Law School Admissions Officers Want to See
Preparing well for the LSAT writing portion requires understanding what law schools want to see when they read the exam. Here are some things that most admissions professionals will look for when reading your LSAT essay.
1. Logical Reasoning
The admissions team does not care which side of the essay you pick. They want to see that you can choose a side and argue knowledgeably for that side. An excellent essay will convey your thoughts and the logical reasoning behind them.
2. Writing Skills
Avoid grammar and spelling errors in this essay. It would help if you showed that you have good writing skills that will work well in law school and future legal practice. For this reason, always proofread the essay a couple of times within your time limit before you submit it.
You will have a couple of pages on which to write your answer. Thus, make the essay a few paragraphs. In the first paragraph, state your position and a basic overview of why you chose that position. In the second paragraph, build on your main points. In the third paragraph, discuss the counterarguments to see why they should not impact your choice. Finish the essay with a conclusion that restates your main point and reasons in a new way.
4. Ability to Take a Side
As a lawyer, you must be able to take a side when battling another attorney in a legal case. The LSAT essay does not have any right or wrong answer, but the reader will be looking to see that you can make a choice and then argue for that choice.
How to Prepare for the LSAT Writing Test
The LSAT writing test is more a test of your abilities than your knowledge, so there is not quite as much prep to do. Most LSAT prep books will focus on the other sections of the test, simply pointing out what to expect from the writing test portion. You can prepare a bit by brushing up on your writing abilities. Learn how to write concise, clear sentences inane active voice. Practice building a four-paragraph essay with clearly outlined points. Learn how to brainstorm quickly to get ideas down on paper to help you write. If you can write well without much research and prep time, you will be ready for the essay writing portion of the LSAT.
FAQs About Does LSAT Writing Matter?
How long does it take to write an LSAT writing sample?
You are given 35 minutes to write the LSAT writing sample. While a strong writer may not need this entire time, you cannot get more time, so be prepared to write quickly.
Does the LSAT writing portion count for anything?
The LSAT writing portion does not affect your LSAT score. However, law school admission council members at your chosen law school may read it to determine if they will let you in. Therefore, it becomes an integral part of your admissions packet.
For help with this topic, read our guide explaining what is persuasive writing?
If you’d like to learn more, in this guide our writer explains how to write an argumentative essay.