Image by Picasa, courtesy of Creative Commons Like many students in their final year at McGill, as I attempt to balance academics, extracurriculars, work, internships and application deadlines, I find myself sleep-deprived and scrambling to meet various deadlines. Yet, as I huddle in McLennan Library in the wee hours of the night cramming for midterms, I can’t help but commiserate those particularly jaded students in their final year of studies whom, in addition to these academic and resume-building commitments, must also prepare for standardized tests.
In particular, the majority of prospective law students are in the process of preparing for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). For those unfamiliar, the LSAT is a four-hour exam required for admission to law schools accredited by the American Bar Association and Canadian common-law schools. According to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), this entrance exam is designed “to assess key skills needed for success in law school,” such as reading comprehension, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. LSAT scores are used to predict how well students will perform in their first year of law school and, ultimately, on the bar exam. For this reason, one’s LSAT score is an integral component of the law school admissions process, often weighing equally, if not more, than their grade point average (GPA).
So, just how much time and money is involved in preparing for the LSAT? The Princeton Review recommends two hundred and fifty to three hundred hours of studying over a three-month period, which is equivalent to approximately twenty hours per week. In addition to gruelling months of due diligence in preparation for this entrance exam, law applicants are expected to spend a significant amount of money to achieve their full potential. Registering for the LSAT costs over three hundred dollars, and approximately one out of every four candidates take the LSAT more than once. Review books and practice tests cost at least 100 dollars. Moreover, many students enroll in LSAT courses, which cost approximately 1,500 dollars, and use 7sage , an online study tool that costs $700 USD, in order to raise their scores from their […]