The LSAT timer is a pivotal part of the test, since you’re given precious little time to answer a series of challenging questions. On top of this, you’re not permitted to use any external LSAT timers during the live test. You can certainly make use of an LSAT timer in your studying, and it’s imperative that you do so. Mastering your LSAT timing is part of and earn the best score you possibly can. In this blog, we’ll cover how the LSAT timer rules work, what the LSAT time limits are, how to use an LSAT timer while studying and tips on how to improve your time management for the real test.
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If you’re searching for the best LSAT timer to use during your LSAT studying, or you plan to bring it with you on test day, be warned:
Timers of any kind are prohibited for the LSAT, at both in-person testing centres and on the online LSAT.
The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) prohibits the use of electronic devices during the LSAT, and you are not even permitted to have any in the room with you or risk having your test score cancelled. This includes all kinds of LSAT timers, from stopwatches to wristwatches to digital timers and clocks.
Fortunately, the LSAT features its own timer that will be onscreen during your digital LSAT to track how much time is left in each . For the digital LSAT, you’re monitored through an proctoring software that includes its own LSAT timer. If you’re taking the test in-person at a testing centre, there will be a clock or timer in the room for you to keep track of your remaining time.
What LSAT Timer Should I Use While Studying?
Since you’re not able to use your preferred LSAT timer during your test, and must use the provided timer, there’s some debate as to what sort of LSAT timer is the best one to use while studying for the LSAT.
The best LSAT timer, and the closest to the real test, is the timer featured on the LSAC’s practice LSAT tests. These are real tests administered in previous years to test-takers, and the digital versions feature a timer onscreen.
However, some test-takers may prefer their personal analog watch or stopwatch. Others may think a digital timer or watch with an alarm is the best. You should use the LSAT timer that is most comfortable for you while you’re studying for the test and to help you improve your time management. Just keep in mind you won’t be able to rely on it during the real test, so don’t become dependent on a ringtone or alarm to tell you when your time is up.
Should I Use an LSAT Timer While Studying?
Because the LSAT is a very time-intensive exam and it requires you to read and answer complex questions in a very short timeframe, improving your time management and lowering your stress levels when working with a ticking clock is essential. However, since you also need to rely on a silent clock or onscreen timer, it will help you to master the LSAT timer and know how much time you are using to answer each question.
Taking timed practice tests helps you with all three. It allows you to monitor your time management, improve the speed in which you can answer questions and gets you comfortable with being timed.
First, we’ll take a detailed look at how you are timed on the LSAT, what time limits are for each section. Then, we’ll explore some tips for planning timed practice tests in your and how to improve your time management.
The real LSAT has some fairly intense time limits on it. The LSAT features 3 sections, plus an additional writing task that you can complete separately. ? It’s a total of 140 minutes, including the writing section. Every section of the LSAT has a 35-minute time limit and features 24-28 questions per section. This averages out to just over a minute per question.
- Logical Reasoning: 24-25 questions; 5 possible answer choices per question; 35 minutes
- Reading Comprehension: 500-word passages, 26-28 questions total; 35 minutes
- Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games): 4 logic puzzles; 5-7 questions for each puzzle; 35 minutes
- LSAT Writing: 1 essay prompt; 300-word essay; 35 minutes
On the LSAT, each section is timed separately. Meaning, you won’t have time taken away on subsequent sections for not finishing a section on time. And you’re not given additional time for finishing any one section early. You’ll need to think of each section as a separate, 35-minute block of time and work within it. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage. For instance, if you’re very comfortable with the logical reasoning section, 35 minutes is plenty of testing time. But you won’t get to add any leftover time from this section, that you’re strongest in, to your weakest section where you might want some extra time.
The LSAT time limits sound simple enough if you’re a good test-taker or you’re strong in all the test’s sections. When we think about , though, and what kind of questions it poses, this time limit can seem very short. Add to this that not every test-taker will be a fast reader, or the quickest test-taker in general. Some sections of the LSAT may be tougher for you than others, and your timing in one section might be stronger than it is in another section.
With plenty of practice, the intensity of the LSAT timer can be mastered, but to begin with it can be a little intimidating. A good way to get a first look at the LSAT and see how its timer works is to take an LSAT diagnostic test.
The LSAC, as we’ve mentioned, has several LSAT practice tests available for free. These mimic the real test very closely, including the timer, so try one out and see whether the timer causes any stress, or you struggle to finish any sections in time.
The LSAT Intermission
The LSAT also features a 10-minute intermission or break, also timed. The break is set between the second and third sections of the test.
During the intermission, you’re allowed to stretch your legs, use the restroom or have a snack. However, you’re not permitted to use any electronic devices, leave the testing centre, discuss the test with anyone or use your scratch paper.
Online test-takers will be given an onscreen timer for their break, and their camera will be kept on for the duration of the break. You will need to notify the proctor when the intermission starts and wait for acknowledgement, at which point the timer will be started. When the break is finished or just before, check back in with the proctor to sign back into the test and complete the third section.
When preparing for the day of your test, make sure to double check the list of permitted and prohibited items, the test day procedures and rules around your test break. Also plan to bring a water bottle and snack to eat during your break!
It’s tricky to pinpoint exactly when you should start working timed or full-length tests in your study schedule. The first step to answering this question is to take your first LSAT diagnostic test. This is a full-length, timed LSAT that includes all the sections of the real deal.
Once you’ve received your score and reviewed your answers, take note of:
- Did you finish all sections within 35 minutes? If not, which ones didn’t you finish on time?
- Did you feel the time pressure? Was it a significant source of stress?
- Which questions took you the longest to answer?
- Did you finish some sections in plenty of time or did you hit the 35-minute mark for each section?
- What was your overall practice score? Did you feel rushed to answer some questions?
Your answers to all these questions will give you an overview of how strong your LSAT timing is, what sections of the LSAT take you the longest amount of time or you find most difficult, and how much improvement you need to make to get your LSAT timing to a desirable point. It can inform you , based on how much time you’ll need to reach a through practice.
Taking this initial diagnostic test gives you a better understanding of how long 35 minutes actually is, especially when combined with the difficulty level of the LSAT, and how you respond to being timed on a test. Even if you’ve been a quick test-taker in the past and score well, don’t rely on your past testing performance. Take a first timed practice test, because the LSAT may surprise you.
For test-takers who find their LSAT timing needs some work, start working timed practice tests or questions into your study schedule right away, 2-3 months before your . If you’re comfortable with the LSAT timer and don’t need much improvement on completing sections on time, start including timed tests 3-5 weeks before your test date.
Now that we know the importance of your LSAT timing and what to expect from the test, here are our top tips to improve your time management and master the LSAT timer.
1. Practice with timed and untimed tests
As we’ve talked about above, better LSAT timing takes practice, and the best practice is to use official practice tests. The LSAC’s practice tests are a great place to start, but you can also use and time yourself. After you complete and review your diagnostic test, start yourself off with untimed practice tests to get used to the format and structure of the test, and focus on answering questions correctly. Your speed will naturally improve as you find out how to answer questions correct, more often. Eventually, work timed practice tests back into your study schedule.
2. Don’t watch the clock
It’s easy to get distracted watching the countdown timer and making sure you still have time to complete all the questions, but glancing at the clock all the time can take away precious seconds. Get in the habit of ignoring the clock when you’re completing practice tests or questions. Once you’ve finished a section’s questions, check the timer to see how much time you have left.
3. Improve your reading comprehension
Improving your reading comprehension and reading speed can save you time on the real LSAT. If you’re able to read, and understand, the passage, instructions, question and potential answers on the first read, you’ll have more time to figure out the correct answer.
If you find you need to read a question or passage multiple times to understand it, work on your . It’s normal to refer to the passage or question when you’re deducing an answer, but try to avoid getting stuck in a loop of reading and re-reading that can kill your time per question.
4. Skip tougher questions and come back
Some questions on the LSAT will be tougher than others. For instance, the ” section can be a tough hurdle for some test-takers. If you’re struggling with answering a question, after reading the passage or instructions and possible answers, flag it and come back to it. If you have time left over after you’ve finished all other questions, use this time to try the question again. Still unsure of the answer? Eliminate two wrong answers and make your best guess. A chance at guessing right is better than leaving a question blank on the LSAT, since there’s no penalty for wrong answers.
5. Mimic real testing conditions
When possible, complete your practice tests in conditions as close as possible to real test day. This means setting up your testing space at home or finding a suitable space to take your test. Eliminate distractions wherever possible that can steal your focus and use up time. Plan to complete a full-length test without interruptions (minus your 10-minute break). Even plan to take your practice test at the same time of day, wearing the same clothes and in the same room that you will during the real test. You can use your own LSAT timer during practice, but we recommend using the official practice test timer when possible.
6. Practice for the essay section
Although the LSAT writing section is unscored, it is mandatory to complete it to receive your LSAT scores. Read some or check out some past essay prompts for this section of the LSAT to get a clear idea of what level of writing is required and what kind of essay you’ll need to write.
35 minutes is not a lot of time to write an essay, so aim to keep it to about 300 words total. To ensure your essay is organized, clear and strong, write some practice essays! Find a suitable practice prompt, set a timer for 35 minutes, and brainstorm, outline and draft a 300-word essay in response. Once the timer is finished, review your work.
1. What is the best LSAT timer?
There is some debate as to the “best” LSAT timer to use when practicing for the real test. Your practice timer should be as accurate as possible and preferably a countdown timer. You can use either an analog or digital timer, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to use any electronic devices or timers of any kind on test day. An official timer will be available for you during your test, but it may not be similar to your chosen practice LSAT timer.
2. Does the LSAT allow timers?
No, the LSAT does not allow electronic devices or timers of any kind, including watches, alarms, and digital timers.
3. How much time are you given on the LSAT?
The LSAT allows 35 minutes for each of the 4 sections of the test.
4. Does the LSAT allow breaks?
Yes, you’re given one 10-minute intermission during your test. You’ll be provided with a timer to keep track of how much time has elapsed.
5. Does the digital LSAT allow timers?
No, you are not permitted to use personal timers of any kind. The LSAT provides a timer, either a digital onscreen timer or clock if you are taking your test at a testing centre.
6. When should I start taking timed LSAT practice tests?
You should start working in regular timed LSAT practice tests at least a few weeks before your LSAT test date. If you find that time management is a struggle for you on practice tests, take additional timed tests at least a month or two before your test date.
7. What timer should I use for the LSAT?
Use the timer you find most beneficial or accurate when practicing for your LSAT. Some students prefer a digital timer, others might use a wristwatch, cell phone or stopwatch.
8. How do I improve my timing for the LSAT?
To improve your timing for the LSAT, the best thing to do is practice. Take regular timed and untimed practice tests or use timed practice questions to evaluate what is using up your time and which sections are most difficult for you to finish on time. Spend a little more time on these sections if you need to or eliminate distractions during your practice test-taking. When you come across questions that you don’t know the answer to, skip them and come back to them.