The Legal Beat
Wanna Go To Law School? What You Need To Know About The First-Ever Digital LSAT
Posted on Monday July 08, 2019
The good news is that the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is finally modernizing and offering the first-ever digital exam beginning with the July 15th administration (exam takers will be assigned to take the test either on paper or on a tablet upon their arrival, and by the September administration of the LSAT, all test takers will use a tablet). Sure, the still-dominant law school entrance exam may have only been spurred into moving away from the tried and true pencil and paper because of pressure from an admissions exam challenger — the GRE — but let’s enjoy the move to the 21st century regardless.
The bad news — or at least the concerning news — may be that as the first all-digital administration of the all-important exam, law school hopefuls may not know exactly what to expect. Well, Kaplan Test Prep has you covered. The entrance exam goliath has put together a 25-page free downloadable eBook on what you need to know come test day. Here is just a sample of the advice for LSAT takers:
To Scratch or Not to Scratch: For the paper-and-pencil LSAT, test takers are not given any scratch paper — all scratch work is done in the test booklet — and are barred from bringing any to the test site. Now, each test taker will be provided with a booklet of blank paper (you still may not bring any from outside the test site) along with the digital tablet. It will be important for digital LSAT takers to practice taking notes and drawing Logic Games sketches on paper separate from the test questions. As you’re practicing, think about details such as where you want to keep the tablet and scratch paper on the desk as you work.
No More Bubbling: On the paper-and-pencil LSAT, test takers could circle or cross-out answers in the test booklet, but you did not get credit for an answer unless you accurately bubbled it on the answer grid. In the digital interface, your only concern is clicking on the correct answer. If the correct answer for Question 2 is (E), all you have to do is click (E) to the left of the answer choice. The tablet will record your answer choice for each question, making mis-bubbling a thing of the past.
Flagging It: The digital LSAT has a FLAG tool that allows test takers to note questions to which you want to return, time permitting. Get used to flagging questions you skip and those for which you choose an answer but want to reconsider or review. In combination with the new functionality allowing you to grey out and eliminate answers, including collapsing answers you know you can safely eliminate, narrowing down your answer choices with visual cues becomes easier. Plus, while on the paper test you couldn’t “un-highlight” a sentence or “uncross” an answer choice, the tablet interface and stylus make this process simple and reversible.
Timing is Everything: On the digital LSAT, the proctor will tell you to get ready for a section to begin, and then they will press a button that starts the section for all of the tablets in the room. When five minutes remain in the section, test takers will see a pop-up alerting you to time remaining. You will not be able to proceed in the section until you actively close the 5-minute-warning pop-up. From that point until the end of the section, you will not be able to hide the countdown timer. When you have less than five minutes remaining in a section, take a moment to click an answer (even if it’s a guess) to each unanswered question you have remaining. Check your flagged questions to decide which you want to go back to review in the time remaining.
But the important thing to remember, according to Anthony Coloca, director of pre-law programs at Kaplan Test Prep, is that regardless of the format July test-takers might be faced with, the content remains the same:
“The LSAT’s sections and questions will stay the same, save for the LSAT Writing Sample which you’ll now take on your own from home. Since July test takers will not know which format they will take the exam in until they show up on Test Day, it’s important for everyone to be equipped with digital test-taking strategies.”
Good luck to all the hopeful esquires out there prepping for the LSAT!
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).