LSAT Writing is a required form of writing that students complete in their day, week, or even month after the test. We’ve put together this guide to explain LSAT writing tips, what you’re expected to do, how it’s administered, its overall importance, and how to write the most compelling essay possible.
It is advisable to read the topic and accompanying instructions carefully. It is helpful for many students to spend some time thinking about a topic and organizing their thoughts on paper before writing. In your essay, do not forget to fully develop your ideas, leaving time, if possible, to review what is written. Do not write on a topic other than the one specified.
What is LSAT?
LSAT Writing is a 35-minute task that requires you to write a compelling essay in favor of a choice of two options. You will have 35 minutes to plan and write an essay on the proposed topic [this will be a randomly selected hint]. Read the topic and accompanying instructions carefully. It’s probably best to spend a few minutes thinking about the topic and organizing your thoughts before you start writing. In your essay, do not forget to fully develop your ideas, leaving time, if possible, to review what is written. Do not write on a topic other than the one specified. It is inadmissible to write on a topic of your choice.
Is LSAT mandatory to enter law school?
Your file will not be completed until you provide at least one written sample. LSAC takes this seriously! Your report from the law school (collection of your school records, test results, sample writing, letters of recommendation, etc.) will not be sent to any law school to which you have applied until it has been done.
You officially have one year from the date of testing to complete a written sample. Our advice is to end this sooner rather than later. You don’t want to drop the ball and miss the application deadline! Keep in mind that LSAC states that it may take 3-4 weeks to process the sample and update the file.
How does LSAT work?
No special knowledge is required or expected for this written exercise. Law schools are interested in the argumentation, clarity, organization, use of language, and mechanics of writing that are reflected in your essay. How well you write is more important than how much you write.
You can use scratch paper to sketch out any notes or initial thoughts. Use it to write down the pros and cons and develop a game plan for your overall reaction. Before you begin, you will need to show the camera both sides of any paper. If you finish the job early, you will have time to read your text and make quick edits if necessary. And believe me, there will almost certainly be some mistakes that need to be corrected.
LSAT writing section
In the LSAT writing section, you will be presented with a specific scenario and you will be asked to make decisions based on the decisive factors provided. There is no right or wrong answer. Instead, your response will be judged on your ability to organize strong arguments and explain them clearly in writing. On the day of the test, you will have a total of 35 minutes to read the hint, plan your answer and write the essay.
LSAT writing format
The hint format is always the same. First, it represents the decision that needs to be made. He then proposes two criteria to consider when making a decision. He then presents more information about each choice.
This may seem like a confusing format, but it will become clear when you read a few examples. Start with a sample tip from the LSAC Admissions Council. Here you will read about a clothing company called BLZ Stores, which is planning to expand. It has to choose between a regional plan and a national plan. Each has its advantages and potential risks, which must be weighed against the company’s priorities, which are to increase profits and ensure long-term financial stability.
Other sample tips can be found at Khan Academy, which is the official free LSAT training partner.
LSAT Writing tips to help you pass in 2023
· Choose a side and go with it.
If you are prompted to choose one of two sides in the tooltip, JUST CHOOSE. Both sides will always be the same, and there is no “right answer”. Wasting a lot of time trying to choose the “best” argument will eventually hurt you. You need to be able to write equally well in support of both parties. If I were going through LSAT today, I would go with a plan to write about the first choice presented, no matter what it is. If you choose your side quickly, you will have more time to carefully compose a thoughtful essay. Thirty-five minutes go by very quickly, and you don’t want to waste precious time on a decision that doesn’t really matter.
· Do not enter third-party information.
As tempting as it may be, do not enter any extraneous information that you think supports your argument. Remember that admissions committees want to make sure that you can argue well… whatever the arguments. Entering external information to reinforce your argument, and excluding third-party information that supports the other side, changes the nature of what they ask you to do in the writing example. This makes your writing sample less of an argument and more of a story.
· Read the hint
One of the LSAT Writing tips on the list is that you need to read the hint. But these hints are always the same. This will tell you that you have to argue one of two mutually exclusive options. They will tell you what the options are. You will also be offered two criteria to consider when arguing. You will then be given a number of facts about both options that you can refer to to support your argument.
· Make a contour
After reading the hint, use this paper to make a short outline. Write two options, two criteria and a list of pros and cons for each option. Using the facts described, write down a few reasons why Option 1 is better. And then some reasons why option 1 is worse. Do the same for option 2. Make sure that these pros and cons are related to at least one of the two criteria described in the tooltip.
Then just choose one of the two options to defend in your essay. These facts should be approximately balanced, so there is no “correct” answer. Just choose the option you like best. Or, if that doesn’t work, choose one at random. Do not do anything crazy, for example, come up with a third option. Or write about how we should actually try to do both. You are not a political expert in 2019. Don’t put it in both directions. Just pick one and move on.
· Use the basic structure of an essay
If you have problems organizing your ideas or you do not know how to structure your text, you can always use this simple template. Just remember that following a pattern too closely can hold you back and make your argument standard. Writing in your own voice is much more important than writing “correctly”.
- First paragraph: start with a statement of your decision. Then defend it by summarizing your arguments. Remember his strengths, but also don’t forget to mention his weaknesses.
- Second paragraph: Discuss in detail the strengths of your choice.
- Third paragraph: mention your weaknesses, but downplay them or at least explain why they are not particularly important. Also emphasize the weaknesses of the other party and downplay its strengths.
- Conclusion: reformulate your position and how all your arguments support this choice.
Mentioning the weaknesses of your position and the strengths of the other party may seem silly, but it’s important. Law schools want to see your reasoning skills. Recognizing strengths and acknowledging weaknesses shows just that.
Follow these tips and organize your arguments so that they logically come to the conclusion you have chosen, and you will receive a great essay that will show law schools your reasoning skills.
Easiest way to study for LSAT
Because this is an unrated section, it can be difficult to justify taking precious hours of study from LSAT sections to practice writing short essays. While this may not be the main focus of your study time, devoting an hour or about a week will pay off.
Use the 5% rule. If your current LSAT schedule is 20 hours per week, devote perhaps one hour of this time to the writing section. If you study only 10 hours a week, spend about half an hour writing.
Since the section only takes 35 minutes, this 5% rule gives you time to practice 1-2 essays a week. This is enough to make sure that you have a good rhythm and you have strengthened your approach to organizing thoughts and time management. But it still leaves most of your time studying the typed sections.