An Overview of the LSAT Test Structure and Content

By Peterson's Staff updated on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized test required for admission into law schools approved by the American Bar Association. The LSAT test uses three types of questions to measure your skills in critical reading, verbal reasoning, and analytical thinking.

The LSAT has four sections that are scored. Each 35-minute section is made up entirely of multiple-choice questions.

Two Logical Reasoning sections assess your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments. Not only will you have to determine whether arguments are strong or weak, but you'll also have to understand precisely what causes that strength or weakness.

The Analytical Reasoning section, sometimes known as "Logic Games," assesses your skills in basic logic, including deductive reasoning and finding structure within organized data. These test items are of the type "Alan, Beatrice, Carmel, and David all buy flowers. There are five different types of flowers: germanium...." Some of the games require matching skills, others require sequencing skills, and still others will require both.

The Reading Comprehension section presents scholarly passages and assesses your ability to identify main ideas and details, draw inferences, and make extrapolations.

LSAT preparation can help improve scores in all areas of the test. Be aware, though, that doing your own LSAT review before the test requires a slightly different approach that that used for many other standardized tests. Your LSAT prep needs to focus your energies on honing your reasoning and reading skills over reinforcing your knowledge of facts. If you decide to put time into LSAT test preparation, concentrate on developing your skills in critical reading, verbal reasoning, and analytical thinking. And, because of the uniqueness of the Logic Games you will confront in the test, many people would argue that sharpening your analytical reasoning skills should be your highest priority during your LSAT prep.

Another section of the LSAT test, the experimental section, will look like any other section, but it will not be part of your score. This section is used to test new test items for future use and may appear anywhere in the test. You will not be able to determine which section of the test is the experimental section, and you should not try to do so.

The 30-minute Writing Sample, which comes at the end of the test, assesses your ability to argue one position over another, supporting one position while knocking down the other. This section is not graded, but the essay is sent to law schools to aid them in the admission process.

LSAT test structure

Logical Reasoning I
Question Type Number of Questions
Argument-based multiple-choice 24-26
Time Allotted: 35 minutes
Logical Reasoning II
Question Type Number of Questions
Argument-based multiple-choice 24-26
Time Allotted: 35 minutes
Analytical Reasoning
Question Type Number of Questions
Multiple-choice based on Logic Games passages 23-24
Time Allotted: 35 minutes
Reading Comprehension
Question Type Number of Questions
Passage-based multiple-choice 26-28
Time Allotted: 35 minutes
Question Type Number of Questions
Another Logical Reasoning, Logic Games, or Reading Comprehension section 24-28
Time Allotted: 35 minutes
Writing Sample
Question Type Number of Questions
Essay writing 1 essay
Time Allotted: 35 minutes
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