How Hard Is the LSAT? | Understand The Levels of Difficulty and Start Prepping

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How Hard Is the LSAT, really? Almost all aspiring law professionals will have to take it at some point, but how difficult is it to score highly on? Many people score highly on it, but not everyone, so is that a sign of it being especially difficult or are people often just underprepared for it? 

Below, I will explore this topic in more detail so you can get a very accurate representation of exactly how difficult the LSAT truly is. If you are going to be taking the LSAT and are looking for a way to make sure you are as prepared as you can be then you can find the best LSAT prep books here.

How Hard Is The LSAT?

A lot of people say that the LSAT is a difficult test, but how are you supposed to know how difficult it will be for you personally without taking one first? I feel your pain so let’s look at some information to get a good idea of how hard it really is and finally put the question of “How Hard Is the LSAT?” to rest.

A good scale for how difficult a test might be is looking at how many people get a perfect score on that test. A score of 180 on the LSAT, the highest possible score, will give you a percentage rank of 99.97%. That means you score higher than 99.97% of other test takers that have taken the LSAT. So, out of the 100,000 people that take the test every year, about 30 of them will get a perfect score. That sounds pretty hard to me so prep well and on time! We talked about choosing the right LSAT test date for you here and how to get 180 on the LSAT here.

Why is the LSAT so hard?

Many things make the LSAT a hard test to take. Some of these things are out of your control, and some are specifically related to you. Taking the LSAT is a test that places a strict time limit on you while you are taking it, this is considered an objective difficulty because you have no control over it. 

It is also a situation that comes with a lot of pressure that may weigh heavily on your mind and distract you from the test itself, this is considered a subjective difficulty because it depends on you and how you handle high-pressure situations and stress. These two types of difficulties combine to determine the overall difficulty of the test.

Objective Difficulty of The LSAT:

The primary aspects of the test that contribute to its objective difficulty are the language that the test uses and the time it gives you to complete it. 

There is a reason that most laws and legal documents are converted into “layman’s terms” when they are discussed with people that aren’t law professionals, because they are extremely difficult to understand if they are not. The whole test is full of language like this that can be very confusing and easy to misunderstand.

On top of how difficult it is to understand the test, you also have a very limited amount of time to do it in. This means that you have to puzzle out the questions and answers very rapidly. Many people find it difficult to concentrate that hard for long periods and that is exactly what the LSAT is requiring of you. Do not forget to think about how long to study for LSAT.

Subjective Difficulty of The LSAT:

The subjective difficulties in front of you all have to do with you. If you aren’t prepared enough for the test going into it, then it will be much more difficult for you than it otherwise could have been. You will also have to concentrate very hard for the entire duration of the test. If that is not a strong suit of yours then it will likely be very mentally taxing. 

How you study for the test, what you study, and your ability to apply what you have learned in the test-taking environment are all things that you control and can either make the test easier or harder depending on how you handle it.

How to Make The LSAT Experience Easier

The objective difficulties are completely out of your control, so don’t even bother worrying about them or attempting to combat them in some way. Instead, you should spend all of your prep time focusing on subjective difficulties. Preparation is key. 

If you make sure that you are as prepared for the LSAT as you possibly could be then it will be easier for you than if you had done the opposite. This is the only way to ease the experience. You must prepare yourself by studying the information on the exam and conditioning yourself to be at ease in the test-taking environment.

a girl studying in the library

The Easiest and Most Difficult Sections to Improve On

The easiest section to improve on with practice is the Analytical Reasoning section. Most people go into the exam without considering this section because it has nothing to do with law. That is a mistake, you should instead prepare by practicing your logical reasoning and critical thinking skills.

The hardest section to improve on is reading comprehension because it is entirely based on your ability to read and understand information quickly. This can only be improved over long periods by reading heavily and practicing with this in mind. Our LSAT Reading Comprehension tips will surely be valuable in this regard.

The LSAT Experimental Section Can Make Or Break You

There is an experimental section of the test that can cover either logic puzzles or reading comprehension. If you are particularly weak in one of these areas and you find an extra section of them on the test it can have a detrimental effect on your score.

The LSAT Scoring Scale Has a Big Impact On Your Results

Due to how the tests are made, some are more difficult than others. This is a problem because the tests are meant to be a standard difficulty. The LSAC combats this by scaling your results which is why your raw score is not as important as your scaled score. The difficulty of your test can have a large impact on your scaled score result.

The Writing Sample is Not Important - They May Say

Most law schools don’t care about what you wrote in the writing sample. Some of them won’t even look at it. This is because it has absolutely no bearing on anything you will do in law school and the situation that you are in when you complete it makes it a less than ideal representation of your writing skills - unless it's a tie-breaker if you and another candidate have other scores on a par. In that case, your LSAT Writing will matter greatly.

4 Years of College Count for Less Than a 4-hour LSAT

Grade point averages from different schools are difficult to compare, so most law schools don’t care what your GPA was. Instead, they focus entirely on what you scored on the LSAT because it is a standardized test that, in an ideal situation, should perfectly represent your aptitude for law school.

a person behind LSAT prep books

How Difficult Is the LSAT – The Summary

All of the above factors combine to make the LSAT a grueling and daunting test. It is just as difficult as everybody makes it out to be. That said, you can do things to make it easier. Rigorously preparing yourself and keeping your composure while taking the test will give you the best shot at getting the best score you are capable of.

Leonard Haggin
 

I created this site to help students like you learn from the experiences my team had learned during our extensive academic careers. I am now studying Law at Stanford, but I also make time to write articles here in order to help all you fellow students advance in your academic careers and beyond. I hope our efforts on Study Prep Lounge will arm you with the knowledge you need to overcome whatever trial or test you find in front of you.

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