How do I Score Well on LSAT® Writing?
Students planning to go to law school in the United States, Canada, or Australia will likely have to take the Law School Admission Test®, also known as the LSAT®. This standardized test is comprised of four major sections: analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and the LSAT® writing section. Doing well on the LSAT® writing section can sometimes improve chances of admission to certain schools, but does not affect overall scores on the test.
Though required, the LSAT® writing segment is not scored in the same way the other parts of the test are scored. Instead, the essay is sent to any law schools also receiving a student's test scores, as supplementary material. In admissions decisions, a school may choose to use the writing score as a means of determining eligibility to the law program. This means that, although it does not affect the score, doing well on the LSAT® writing test can be very important to law school admission.
The LSAT® writing test is comprised of a handwritten essay based on a prompt. The prompt does not require any specific legal knowledge, and is usually not a legal question at all. In general, the essay will ask the student to argue a point based on given circumstances. Most questions give the writer a hypothetical situation where a person is trying to decide between two options, such as taking a vacation to Maui or to London based on a variety of criteria, such as budget, fear of flying long distances, preferred vacation activities, and time of year. The writer will need to examine the criteria and then reason out an argument for one option over the other, based on the given circumstances.
One of the best ways to do well on the LSAT® writing is to rank the criteria of the question in order of importance. If the character in the prompt has a personal history of skin cancer, whether they travel to an extremely sunny destination may be a more important consideration than the fact that they would rather go swimming than go to a museum. Ranking the available data in terms of importance can help the writer formulate the more reasonable argument. It is likely that both options given in the prompt will have some factors in their favor, the job of the writer is to determine which choice is arguably better.
An easy-to-overlook factor that can have an immense affect on the LSAT® writing section is handwriting legibility. The essay must be completed in a fairly short amount of time, and must be handwritten. For those reliant on computers, it may be a good idea to practice handwriting for a few weeks during the test, to ensure that the answer is legible. If the admissions board can't read the sample, they cannot adequately judge its merit.
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