LSAT test day looks different for everyone. You have to account for travel time, how large of a center it is, and how long the pre-admin process takes on top of the time the LSAT itself takes.
So, let’s breakdown each part of your day. We’ll begin with the exam itself, since it is the longest and most important part of test day:
Logical Reasoning – 35 minutes; 25-26 Questions
In the Logical Reasoning section, you will have approximately a minute and a half for each question. It tests you on how well you can evaluate logical arguments. This is an important skill you will absolutely need in law school and while practicing law.
You will see at least two LR sections on test day; three times if the experimental section is also LR. Since there are only 4 scored sections of the exam, the LR sections count for half of your LSAT score. This makes sense given how important the skill it’s testing are to your life past pre-law.
Reading Comprehension – 35 Minutes; 4 passages
You will face four long passages followed by a set of questions in this section. Given the time you have, you will be able to spend just under 9 minutes on each passage set. That may seem like a lot of time but, in reality, you have under 9 minutes to read a long, often complicated passage and then answer several questions based on that passage. It can be time consuming.
This section tests your ability to understand what the passage is really about. Can you find and decipher the argument? Can you find relevant information within the content-rich passage? Can you make inferences based on what you read? These are skills necessary for many parts of life; they are very important to lawyers trying to decipher a difficult case.
Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) – 35 Minutes; 4 Games
You will have the same timing for each game as you do on each passage set in Reading Comprehension: just under 9 minutes per game. This section presents you with a game or prompt containing a set of items, people, or places, a set of rules that will help you determine how the items are placed or arranged, and then questions based on those rules or exceptions to those rules. Diagramming these games can be difficult at first, but practice can really improve a student’s skills on this section.
This section tests your ability to understand relationships between two or more objects, follow rules, make inferences, analyze a situation, and apply logic. All of these are skills that would be not only useful, but necessary to be an effective lawyer.
Experimental Section – 35 minutes
There will be one experimental section that you will face on test day. This section can be any of the above sections. You will not know which is experimental, so you should plan to face every section of the exam as if it were scored.
Writing Sample – 35 minutes; 1 prompt
While this section is not scored and there is some speculation over how much weight it carries with the admissions councils, you need to take this section seriously. Practice your writing sample before test day. I can’t stress that enough. Don’t just rely on your writing ability to get you through this.
The Writing Sample is the last thing you will see. You are writing an essay after you have just completed 5 grueling multiple-choice sections. By the time you get to this section, you are mentally exhausted and ready to be done. Practice the writing sample. And, practice it as part of your full-length practice tests. Mental endurance is key to success on this exam; it is just as essential as your skills in each section.
You will get a 15-minute break after the third section of the exam. During this break, you will be able to have a drink and a snack if you’d like. It is highly recommended you take a bathroom break during this time. You face three more sections of the exam after this break; if you’re focusing on your need to use the facilities, it can affect your performance.
In total, you will face about three hours of testing with a 15-minute break in the middle. That’s a long time to spend reading and answering questions. Make sure that you’ve prepared yourself and have the mental endurance to make it through every section without complete fatigue.
Test Day Breakdown
Unfortunately, you can’t just count the hours you’ll spend taking the exam; your day will include a lot more than that. You will have to account for your travel time. Many students choose a facility nearby their home, but some students don’t have that option. Get to the testing center early; not so early that you start to lose your focus, but early enough that you don’t feel rushed.
Once you get to the testing center, you will face the check-in process. There is time set aside for security measures, paperwork, and seating students. This can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes. The size and staffing of the center will play a role in how long this process takes. Don’t expect to just arrive and begin testing immediately. Then, it’s time for the exam itself. As we mentioned earlier, you will be testing for about 3.5 hours.
Test Day Totals
In all, you’re looking at a 4.5 to 6 hour long day. The length of test day is exactly why you should be taking your practice LSATs in a realistic setting. It may be a long day, but if you’ve been preparing yourself for it, it can go a lot more smoothly.