“How hard is the LSAT?” is a question people ask with a little bit of fear because the LSAT is unusual by nature. Unlike other standardized tests used by professional schools and graduate programs such as the MCAT, GRE or GMAT, the LSAT tests the way you think, more than what you know. This can be hard for some people to grasp at the beginning. But the more you learn  how to study for the LSAT and expose yourself to the internal workings of the test, you’ll see that it is nothing to fear at all and that there are ways to conquer it. This article will examine what makes the LSAT so difficult, the format and structure of the LSAT questions, how the LSAT is scored, and what you need to do to prepare for and ace the exam! 

>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<

Listen to the blog!

Article Contents
11 min read

What is on the LSAT? How is the LSAT Scored? What is the Best LSAT Score? What is a Good LSAT Score? How Hard is the LSAT: What you Need to Know Why the LSAT is so Hard Why the LSAT Isn’t so Hard How Can I Do Well on the LSAT? Conclusion FAQs

What is on the LSAT?

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is used by law schools in the US and Canada to assess whether you have the aptitude to be a law student and lawyer. The test is divided into four sections; three of which are multiple-choice, and the other being a written essay component. The three multiple-choice sections are scored, but the LSAT writing component and the additional “experimental” section are not scored.

This is the structure of the test, but the unorthodox content, objectives and methods of the LSAT are what make it such a vexing, albeit essential, part of how to get into law school. The three scored, and multiple-choice sections are:

  • Logical Reasoning
  • Analytical Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension

The LSAT is also a timed exam. You’ll have 35 minutes exactly to complete each of the scored sections, and the written essay as well. Taken together with a 10-minute break during the test, it can take anywhere from 3 ½ hours to 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the LSAT.

How many questions are on the LSAT? There are a total of around 100 questions on the LSAT and they are divided almost evenly between all the sections, although each new version of the LSAT can contain fewer or more questions than previous versions. This is the bare bones of the LSAT, but in the following sections we’ll discuss how the LSAT is scored, what challenges each part of the LSAT presents, and how to overcome them.

Want to know about the top 10 law school interview questions & sample answers you need to see before your interview? Watch this video:

How is the LSAT Scored?

Your LSAT score consists of the results from each of the three scored sections; your written essay will be read and assessed, but not scored (more on that later). The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), which organizes, administers and scores every LSAT, arranges your results into four categories:

  • A raw score (the total of all your correct answers)
  • A scaled score (your raw score converted into an LSAT score range between 120-180)
  • A percentile score (how your score compares to others who have taken the test)
  • A score band (the best and most accurate assessment of your performance in a score range)

All this information appears on the LSAT score report that is sent to law schools you want to apply to with your application package. Your raw score will be converted to a scaled score on the LSAT score range of 120-180, with 120 being the lowest score, and 180 the highest. This is the score that is often presented as the “real” LSAT score, but the scaled score is only one picture of your abilities.

LSAC scales your raw score to account for the changes in difficulty of each test and the fact that every subsequent LSAT has a different conversion scale. But even the scaled score does not represent your true aptitude, which is why LSAC includes your score on a score band, usually within a 7-point range.

There is also a small margin of error on the LSAT, and the score band accounts for that. While the scaled score is LSAC’s best attempt to normalize your score across different scales, since the conversion scales change all the time, the score band is often where the best assessment of your abilities lies.

What is the Best LSAT Score?

Last Year’s Median LSAT Score

25 Percentile: 152

50 Percentile: 158

70 Percentile: 164

Law School Applicants: 62,545

Law School Admissions: 43,571

Law School Matriculants: 38,013

National Acceptance Rate: 60%

What Do the 25, 50, 70 Percentiles Mean?

The three percentiles used by LSAC to organize all LSAT scores represent the three groups you may fall in depending on your score. If your score falls into the 25th percentile, which is the lowest, you have done better than 25% of the other tests but 75% of the other test-takes have done better than you. All the other percentiles work in a similar way, but you should pay attention more to the median scores for each one, which are well below the astronomical 170 that you would need to get into elite law schools.

What is a Good LSAT Score?

We have other blogs on what the LSAT score range is, and what is a good LSAT score, but the one thing to take away from knowing how the LSAT is scored is that a good LSAT score depends on what your goals are. If you want to get into the best law schools, then your LSAT needs to be high, well above 160, approaching 170 and higher. While the elite schools ask you to have a stratospheric LSAT score, it’s not the case with all law schools; if it were, no one would get in.

If you’re a non-traditional, mature or international student who needs to earn an American JD to practice in the US, you might be better served with an acceptable LSAT score, which can range from 153 to 160, depending on law school requirements and law school acceptance rates. The majority of first-time test-takers usually score 153; for the easiest law schools to get into, such as Northern Illinois University, for example, an LSAT score of 153 is above average given the LSAT range of its accepted students (147-153).

You have to do your research into what law school is right for you based on a lot more than just your LSAT, but if you find the prospect of taking the LSAT daunting, for any number of reasons, and you either don’t have the time or resources to put into preparing well after your first exam, then you can adjust your law school choices to accommodate your stats. Depending on the school you apply to, a 153 LSAT score along with a strong GPA, a lot of law school extracurriculars and excellent law school admissions essay, or a stellar interview, could be enough.

How Hard is the LSAT: What you Need to Know

The LSAT is hard because it does not follow a structure that most people are used to when taking tests and exams. Here, “structure” does not mean the multiple-choice format, but the prompts, or stimuli that are the foundation of the test.

If you haven’t already taken the LSAT, when you take your first diagnostic test, you’ll read these stimuli first followed by a prompt or hypothetical that adds more information to the equation, like rules, or conditions that you must follow. After all this, you choose your answer.

But the way these stimuli and other prompts are worded is distorted and disjointed. Some also play with chronology making them even harder-to-follow. Add to this the pressure of a ticking clock and you can understand why the LSAT is so challenging.

Although, for some people, the LSAT is not so hard.

It’s not for nothing that the people who tend to do well on the LSAT are from either math, philosophy or theology backgrounds. All these disciplines harbor the perfect environments to develop analytical and problem-solving skills along with the ability to hone in on minute details, follow and comprehend complex, long-winded texts and establish order among many different variables, which is what you’ll have to do during the LSAT as well.

This is not to say that if your background is in another discipline that you won’t do well on the test. We say this only to illustrate that these are the skills you’ll need to do well, and anyone can practice and develop them. 

You can go to the official LSAC website to see what you’ll be up against by reading their sample LSAT questions. Each section has its own particular category of questions and although the appearance, content and structure may appear the same, you’ll notice that there are slight differences and nuances that are important to examine.

Why the LSAT is so Hard

Reason #1 – The LSAT Sections

The LSAT Sections all test something different, and, as we talked about, they don’t test for knowledge, but how you absorb, interpret, analyze and apply logic to an unorganized set of variables. For someone untrained in these skills (everyone, basically) and has come from an undergraduate university where, depending on your program, you’ve been taught other skills focused on memorization and the right answer, having to develop them to ace the LSAT can be disheartening. The three sections do share a common format in terms of how they are presented (stimuli; prompt, extra information; multiple-choice answers) but they will each approach what they ask and how they ask it differently.

Reason #2 – The LSAT Questions

The LSAT questions are infamous for their complexity, even though on the surface, they seem simple. The written questions are not that long (30-50 words in total), and that is the frustrating part: figuring out how all these elements relate to one another and making logical conclusions based on sparse information. Depending on the section, you’ll have to approach each question differently. In the Logical Reasoning section, you’ll have to identify parts of an argument or the reasoning behind a decision. They are more text-heavy and involve more close reading and attention to detail.

However, the Analytical Reasoning section makes you draw lines between unknown variables (and there can be a lot of them) and identify relationships, sort of like a figuring out a math or logic problems but with words. You’ll have to keep a lot of information organized in your head and add them to the equation you’re making to find the correct answer. This section is also text heavy but there are also rules and guidelines that you have to account for when you try to uncover the answer.

Reason #3 – The Clock

Knowing you’re on the clock when taking the LSAT is a huge factor in your performance. It adds stress and anxiety to an already-taxing situation and you need to be able to manage this stress when you take the real test. Of course, you can do this by getting your body used to it during timed practice tests. But you can go further and try to develop your own relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness, positive visualization, focusing on physical and emotional sensations, or deep breathing. The way you think about the test is also crucial. If you have negative feelings about your abilities and your scores, you’ll fulfill that prophecy. But if you don’t even think about your goals or the stakes involved, and focus solely on the test and nothing more, you’ll give yourself a boost.

Why the LSAT Isn’t so Hard

Reason #1 – It’s Short

We just talked about the ticking clock being one of the reasons why the LSAT is hard, but three hours (usually a little more) of your life is not a lot to give for the potential, life-time rewards of getting into law school and becoming a lawyer. The LSAT is a breeze compared to the grueling, 8-hour marathon that is the MCAT. It will be an intense three hours, no doubt, and you can’t simply forget about the time. You have to keep an eye on the clock and before the test, come up with a timetable for how long you should spend on each question or section.

Reason #2 – You Can Prepare for It

The fact that an overwhelming majority of first-time test-takers regularly scores within the 150-153 range means that you have to want to do poorly to get a below average LSAT score. Of course, there are many factors that can affect your LSAT performance. Even if you put in the hundreds of hours of study time, something could happen during your test day that you didn’t anticipate. But not preparing for the LSAT is a bad idea and taking the test without any preparation is a waste of time and money. There are many different LSAT prep courses and free and paid resources that you can use to help during your study time. Using these resources can help you understand how long to study for the LSAT, as studying at least four-months in advance has been shown to have a direct correlation to increasing your LSAT score.

How Can I Do Well on the LSAT?

Develop and Stick to a Study Schedule

Coming up with a LSAT study schedule is something you can do after you get your first practice test time. Your initial time can also reveal which area of the three LSAT sections you need to focus on during your studies. Your first time will be long and that’s normal. Your goals for time management should be to answer every question within the time allotted and not spend an inordinate amount of time understanding the questions. One of the goals of your study schedule should be to get you to use your time wisely, and not necessarily reduce your time, which will happen naturally.

Examine the Questions Carefully  

The LSAT questions can seem impenetrable, but if you break them down and reverse engineer them, particularly the logical reasoning and analytical reasoning questions, you’ll find that they are not as impenetrable as they seem. Particular words and phrases will be repeated or used often (i.e., “if” statements; qualifier words like “perhaps”, “typically”, “somewhat”; and quantifiers like “some” “often”, and “none”) and have an impact on what the content is trying to establish. Knowing how these words can affect the overall thrust of the question can clue you in on what is ultimately being asked.

Take a Lot of Practice Tests

You can start with a timed practice test to figure out your initial time. But as you progress and decrease your overall time, you can also try an untimed test to give yourself break and focus on your reading, comprehension and analytical skills. Ideally, sharpening your foundational skills in reading, analyzing and ordering will also help reduce your time, since you’ll be able to understand the convoluted language of the test. But you don’t want to reduce your time to the point where you are rushing through the test, and not paying enough attention. The goal of taking many practice tests should be to find the right balance between giving only the time you need to the questions, while also not taking too much time.

Get Professional LSAT Help (if you can afford it)

Professional LSAT help is not cheap, but there are a lot of free resources as well. If you can, and are serious about getting into top-tier schools, then you can think about hiring an LSAT tutor, who can give you personalized advice, and help you devise a study schedule amenable to your lifestyle and other responsibilities. A prep course is also another option. But a free option is forming an LSAT study group with colleagues and fellow pre-law students, who can also help unpack the questions and help you manage your stress when your studies feel overwhelming.


How hard is the LSAT? Hard, and not that hard. The LSAT is all things at once; short, but intense; simple, but complicated. The LSAT is something you should take seriously if you want to go to law school, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it. If you give yourself enough time, it’s something you can prepare for, which is key to getting a good score. If you establish a schedule, use free or premium prep resources, and pay close attention to the structure of the questions, you can add your name to all the people who’ve survived the LSAT.


1. How hard is the LSAT?

The LSAT is difficult, but it’s not impossible. You have to give yourself a proper amount of time (at least four months) to prepare and study how the questions are formulated so you can quickly interpret it and have more confidence that you are choosing the right answer.

2. Why is the LSAT so difficult?

The LSAT can be difficult for most people because it uses unfamiliar methods (logic puzzles; long, expansive passages) to assess skills not everyone has, or uses regularly. 

3. Should I take the LSAT?

Preparing for the LSAT is a good way to prepare for law school. If you want to build-up the skills you’ll need to excel in law school, studying for and taking the LSAT is one of the best ways. 

4. What is a good LSAT score?

A good LSAT score can be anything from the average most people get (153) to anywhere at or above 160, which may not be good enough for elite law schools, but if all you want is to be a lawyer and go to a good law school, don’t worry about what the elite law schools want. Check which law schools in the US take average LSAT scores and put enough effort into your other applications materials such as your law school personal statement, law school admissions essays, and law school letters of recommendation

5. What can I do to get a good LSAT score?

You need to feel confident about your abilities and not feel intimidated by the test. It is a manageable obstacle on your law school journey, and if you prepare well in-advance, take several practice tests, and devote up to 10-20 hours a week studying, you should be fine. 

6. What is the hardest part about the LSAT?

The hardest part of the LSAT may be the fact that its timed. This is a regular part of all the major standardized tests, but for the LSAT, it’s the cherry on top of an already difficult exam. Individually, each of the sections is doable, but the fact that you only have 35 minutes for each section makes it even harder. 

7. Do I need to take the LSAT?

There are only a few law schools that don’t require the LSAT in the US and Canada, but don’t get the idea that they do not require any standardized test. These schools will still require you to take some test, whether it be the GRE or the GMAT. But why not take the test that was specifically made to assess the abilities you need to go to law school, if you are going to law school? 

8. How long should I study for the LSAT?

We mentioned taking anywhere from 10 to 20 hours per week for your preparation, but you should stretch that over at least four months to give yourself the proper amount of time. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Want more free tips? Subscribe to our channels for more free and useful content!




Apple Podcasts




Like our blog? Write for us! >>

Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!