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  • 3. Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

    Canadian Law Forum

    What is a strong LSAT score? What is the minimum LSAT needed to get admitted?

    The 50th percentile on the LSAT is around a 152. That means that most people score around that mark. Ontario law schools tend to require scores in the low to mid 160s, which is around the 85th percentile and higher. Every school has different requirements and it changes year over year, depending on the applicant pool. A "strong" LSAT score would be one that is competitive for admission, thus something in the mid 160s would be to your advantage. There is no "minimum", per se, as the LSAT is not looked at in isolation to any other application component; however, it is generally rare for law schools to admit applicants below the 60th percentile (around 155) without extenuating circumstances.


    I have a low LSAT but high GPA / I have a high LSAT but low GPA. What does that mean for me?

    Having a low LSAT and high GPA, or vice-versa, is known as being a "splitter". An example would be someone with a 3.0 cGPA and a 170 LSAT. Ontario schools generally care about cGPA more than the LSAT, so having a low LSAT but offsetting it with an exceptional cGPA could get you admitted despite the poor LSAT score. The reverse is not so common (but much more common in the US). Being a splitter does not necessarily mean you will be successful, but it certainly gives you advantages over someone who has generally poor grades and a low LSAT.


    How long should I spend studying for the LSAT?

    Everyone learns differently. Generally, you should have a sense of how you learn best by virtue of having completed a university education (or nearly so). Best bet is to take a "cold diagnostic", which is where you complete a sample test under strict timing conditions, and see what you got. From there, you can tell what sections you need to work on (logical reasoning, logic games, or reading comprehension). Kaplan recommends between 150–300 hours of preparation, on average. You would do well to pace yourself and give yourself enough time to do adequate preparation while still making sure you take the test in time for admissions.


    Should I take any prep course for the LSAT?

    Some people benefit from independent study and others do better with formal instruction. An LSAT prep course can certainly help those who fall into the latter category. Bear in mind that the more face-to-face instruction a course has, the more it tends to cost. If you have the resources and the time (and of course, the willingness) to sign up for a prep course, then it might end up being a good decision. The LSAT is a major factor in the consideration of your application, so if you feel like you can improve your score by taking a course, perhaps you should. Bear in mind that not all courses are built the same, so make sure you select a reputable organization and understand the costs and time commitment before you subscribe.


    What can I do to improve my LSAT score?

    Besides taking time the time to learn the test and write practice exams (which are available for purchase from LSAC), understanding which sections require your attention is important. There are many free (as well as paid) resources available to help you with each particular section (logical reasoning, logic games, and reading comprehension). They will likely introduce you to tricks that can speed up your response time or can help you better understand the question being asked.


    Are there any schools that don't care about the LSAT?

    Not really. Each Ontario school cares about the LSAT to some extent. Schools like Ottawa may place less focus on the exam than other schools, but generally speaking it's an important factor in your application and a substantially low score on it will likely preclude you from admission. Throughout Canada, the only common law school that does not require the LSAT is McGill, but you will need to have strong French language skills to be eligible to study law there, and admission is very competitive.

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