Law school generally requires 3 years of full-time study. Part-time study, when available, usually takes 4 years. The Juris Doctorate (JD) will be awarded upon completion of the academic requirements. While most law schools share a common approach to educating their students, opportunities may differ between schools. Law school can be an intense, competitive environment. Students have little time for outside interests. Most schools encourage their students to become totally immersed in reading, discussing, and thinking about the law.
The first year of law school can be exciting and anxiety-provoking. You must be prepared in class. In many courses, grades are determined by exams at the end of the semester or end of the year. You may receive little feedback until the final exam. However uninformed, unprepared, or puzzled you may be, you will be expected to participate in class.
After the first year, you will probably have the opportunity to select from a broad range of courses. Generally, you will take courses in administrative law, civil litigation, commercial law, corporations, evidence, family law, professional responsibility, taxation, and wills and trusts before completing your degree. These universal courses are basic to legal education. Every law school supplements their basic curriculum with additional courses, such as international law, environmental law, conflict of laws, labor law, criminal procedure, and jurisprudence.
Professional skills classes allow second- and third-year students to render counseling, undertake legislative drafting, participate in court trials and appeals, and do other legal work for academic credit. Schools differ in the range and variety of practical education they offer, but the benefits of integrating this experience with theoretical study are well established.
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized test required for admission to most U.S. and Canadian law schools. The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.
The test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions. Four of the five sections contribute to the test taker’s score. The un-scored section is a sample section used to preview new test questions. A 35-minute writing sample is given at the end of the test. The writing sample is not scored, but copies of the writing sample are sent to all law schools to which you apply.
The three multiple-choice question types in the LSAT are: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning.
Reading Comprehension Questions measure your ability to read, with understanding and insight. You will be tested on examples of lengthy and complex materials similar to those commonly encountered in law school work. The reading comprehension section contains four sets of reading questions. Each consist of a selection of reading material, followed by five to eight questions that test reading and reasoning abilities.
Analytical Reasoning Questions are designed to measure your ability to understand a structure of relationships and to draw logical conclusions about that structure. You are asked to make deductions from a set of statements, rules, or conditions that describe relationships among entities (persons, places, things, or events). They simulate the kinds of detailed analyses of relationships that a law student must perform in solving legal problems.
Logical Reasoning Questions are designed to evaluate your ability to understand, analyze, criticize, and complete a variety of arguments. Each logical reasoning question requires you to read and comprehend a short passage, then answer one question about it. The questions test a variety of abilities involved in reasoning logically and thinking critically.
There’s no penalty for wrong answers, so fill in an answer for every question. Your score is based only on the number of questions you answer correctly. Even a blind guess gives you a 20% chance of being right. The questions aren’t presented in order of difficulty, so choose the order that’s best for you. Take a brief look at all of them before you decide where to begin. At the end of every logical reasoning section are questions that may be really easy. Try to get to them. Don’t be alarmed if you run across some extra-tough questions at the beginning of the section. It happens. Skip past tough ones and come back to them later.
You don’t have to get every question correct to get a great score. 20 questions wrong is roughly a 165. This is above the 90th percentile. Pretty good for missing a fifth of the questions! A few points of improvement can dramatically improve your admissions chances. If you get about half the questions right, you’ll score at about the 40th percentile-not so great. By getting just four more right answers per section, your grade will go above the 70th percentile.
Accommodations may be available to individuals with documented disabilities who are taking the LSAT. Submission of the Accommodations Request Packet does not guarantee testing accommodations. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis based on the documentation submitted.
Many law schools require that the LSAT be taken by December for admission the following fall. Taking the test earlier—in June or October—is often advised. Some schools place great weight on the LSAT, others don’t. Most law schools evaluate your full range of credentials.
Your LSAT score is based on the number of questions answered correctly (the raw score). There is no deduction for incorrect answers. The individual questions on the various test sections are not weighted differently. Raw scores are converted to an LSAT scale that ranges from 120 to 180. 120 is the lowest score and 180 is the highest score.
To take the LSAT exam you will need an admission ticket. You will print this out or receive it in the mail. You will need this ticket to take the exam. Check your online account the night before the exam. Any last-minute information will be here. You must bring a valid, government-issued (not expired) photo ID bearing your signature. Examinees must be thumbprinted at every LSAT administration. Your thumbprint is retained only as long as needed to ensure the authenticity of test scores and to protect the integrity of the testing process.
Test takers may bring into the test room (in a clear plastic bag, maximum size one gallon), which must be stored under the chair and may be accessed only during the break. The bag may contain only the following items: LSAT Admission Ticket stub; valid ID; wallet; keys; analog wristwatch; medical or hygiene products; 3 or 4 #2 or HB wooden pencils, highlighter, erasers, pencil sharpener (no mechanical pencils); tissues; and beverage in plastic container or juice box (20 oz).
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