The following LSAT tips are presented by Thomas O. White, the author of Peterson\’s LSAT Success. White is former president of Law School Admission Services and a principal designer of the LSAT. He draws on twenty-five years of experience as a lawyer, a law professor and dean at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, and Vice President of Educational Testing Service. White has monitored the test\’s development and knows what it takes to succeed on this most difficult of all standardized tests.
★Can You Rely Upon Academic Prowess?
Academic success is probably a major contributor to your interest in law school and the legal profession that have, in turn, led you to the challenge of the LSAT. You probably have some confidence in your academic ability. You have learned that a superior academic performance depends upon superior conditioning and study and test-taking techniques. Therefore, you reason that the conditioning and techniques that have produced good academic results for you in the past should also produce a superior LSAT score. For your reasoning to be correct, the LSAT should be a form of academic performance – but this is not the case.
★The LSAT Is Not An Academic Exercise
For this reason, relying upon academic conditioning and techniques may actually place barriers that impair rather than enhance your LSAT performance. By training to circumvent these barriers, you can dramatically improve your score potential.
★Avoiding Effective Academic Techniques Can Actually Improve Your LSAT Score.
Sure you are. Skepticism is one of those successful academic techniques. You have been conditioned to question, and you insist on being convinced. And unless I can convince you that your academic conditioning must be put aside, your test training and LSAT performance will suffer, so here we go.
★Isn\’t the LSAT a Test Like Any Other Test?
No, it is not – at least not the kind of test with which you are familiar.
Your academic conditioning has provided you with a clear picture of a test. For example, you are suppose to have acquired certain information in Professor Smoot\’s course. To measure the extent to which you have succeeded in this, Smoot requires you to answer a series of questions she has prepared. You know the information, answer the questions, and do well. That\’s a test.
Because it is called Law School Admission Test, your academic conditioning leads you to expect it to have the characteristics of the familiar test. Even the format of the LSAT confirms this expectation – questions and answers, paper and pencils, time limits. But appearances are deceiving. Exactly what information is measured by the LSAT? What are you expected to know? The meaning of carmagnole? The formula for determining the surface area of a basketball? Everything? Nothing?
Aha! Now you know why the LSAT is not a test like the academic test with which you are so familiar. Your knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, mathematical formulae, computation, facts, opinions, and other such information is not measured by the LSAT. In short, precious little substantive knowledge is required by the LSAT
To further add to the possible deception, the LSAT is not designed to measure what it appears to ask. Rather, it is designed to measure your ability to select the best answer from the options provided by the test-maker. Selecting the best answer from provided choices is very different in form and content from answering a question about a subject that you are expected to know. Avoiding the barrier that associates the Law School Admission Test with a familiar classroom or licensing test is essential to you scoring as well as you might on the LSAT. At the risk of oversimplification, do not think of the LSAT as a test. The LSAT is not a test!