The Law School Admission Test (LSAT®) is composed of two general types of questions — multiple choice and an essay or writing sample. The multiple choice questions come in 5 sections — two logical reasoning sections, one analytical reasoning section, one reading comprehension section, and a fifth section that is a combination of these types of questions. This fifth section is actually unscored and is used by the entity that puts on the test — the Law School Admission Council (LSAC®) — to test out new questions to be scored in future tests. The writing sample is also unscored but it is considered in a student's law school application.
Two sections of LSAT® are devoted to logical reasoning. They count for 50% of the test-taker's score. Testers are given sections of text to read and are asked to evaluate or recognize arguments, deduce information from them, and spot errors in reasoning or faulty logical conclusions. As with all but the writing section, these LSAT® questions are multiple choice, but they do need to be carefully read because the wording may be deliberately misleading. Some testing agencies suggest that people need not have taken formal logic to pass this section, but at minimum, critical thinking skills and practice with these question is advised.
The analytical reasoning section of LSAT® questions accounts for 25% of the test’s score. It’s sometimes confused with logical reasoning because the two sound so similar. In reality, this section is very different. Test-takers are given a series of logical puzzles or games to solve, and most people may be familiar with these from some point in their education. Typically, they involve the deduction of patterns from small amounts of information. As is the case with other sections of the LSAT®, practice in this area can help people improve their skill at spotting patterns and solving these questions quickly.
LSAT® questions on reading comprehension make up the final 25% of the final score. These questions generally start with a lengthy passage on which a set of multiple-choice questions are based. The passages are often about a wide array of topics that are usually not law-related. They are carefully crafted, so a very careful read of the text is very important in picking the right answer. In fact, companies that specialize in helping students take the test often instruct test-takers to put aside any extraneous information they may already know about the subject matter and base their answer solely on the material before them.
The writing section of the LSAT® usually isn’t a question that test-takers must respond to in an essay format. Instead, a prompt is given, and the test-taker is asked to take one side of the issue and argue for it as best they can. Even though this section is not graded, it is important to do well on it because law school's often consider it part of one's law school application.