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LSAT Writing Sample

The writing sample is administered separately. It consists of one of two randomly assigned essay types. The first type is a stimulus describing a situation in which a person or group is deciding between two alternative courses of action. The criteria upon which the decision is to be made and the two alternatives are explained, and the test taker is asked to write in support of one of the two alternatives. Since in every stimulus both of the alternative choices are quite reasonable options, the test taker's choice of which option to favor is of little concern; what matters is how well the test taker can write on behalf of whichever option is being supported. The second type of stimulus consists of an author's essay. The test taker is asked to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the author's argument. This essay type is new to the LSAT.

The reading of the stimulus and writing of the sample must all be done within a 35 minute time limit. Unlike questions on disclosed editions of the test, previously used writing sample stimuli may reappear.

The test taker is restricted to the two-page space in the writing sample booklet within which the sample must be placed, and the 35 minutes provide ample time for test takers to organize their thoughts before actually writing their sample. The test taker must complete his/her essay using a #2 pencil.

The writing sample is unscored; it is simply duplicated and a copy sent to law schools along with an applicant's LSAT score. The way in which the sample is used by law schools varies considerably; however, for the most part, its role in the admissions process is minimal compared to the substantial weight given to the LSAT score. Given the fact that the sample is done immediately following completion of a physically and intellectually demanding test of several hours' duration, law schools hardly expect scintillating prose. Test takers are well advised to concentrate on avoiding glaring grammatical or spelling errors and making sure that what they write is at least clear and to the point.

 

 


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