In October 2018, the Law School Admissions Council announced the biggest change to the LSAT in more than 25 years: the LSAT would move from a paper-and-pencil to a digital test format. The first official digital administration took place in June 2019, but since then, the LSAT testing format has seen additional modifications.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Changed?
- Why Did This Change Happen?
- Practice Tests in the New Digital Format
- LSAT Writing Sample Changes
- Getting Accustomed to the Digital Interface
- Preparing for the Digital LSAT
What Changed on the LSAT Since 2019?
Initially, the digital LSAT retained the same number and types of sections it had used in the paper-and-pencil days. In 2019 and early 2020, test takers took the test on a tablet device at a testing location (e.g., college campus or conference center) with other test takers and in-person proctors in the room.
You may still see some references to the testing “tablet” (and the stylus provided with it), but LSAC suspended the use of tablets and testing centers in mid-2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, LSAC launched a 3-section take-at-home version of the LSAT called “LSAT Flex.” In this version, test takers were proctored remotely, and took one section each of Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Logic Games with no break between sections.
Take-at-home testing proved to be a practical, secure method for administering the test and, by and large, was popular with test takers. So, even when pandemic restrictions eased, LSAC decided to retain this approach. Starting in late 2021, however, an experimental section was added back to the test. With the addition of a fourth section, test takers also receive a 10-minute break between sections 2 and 3 of their LSAT.
LSAC uses the questions in experimental section to test new items for future administrations. The experimental section will appear exactly like one of the three scored sections–Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, or Logic Games–and it can come in any order on test day.
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Why Did This Digital Change Happen to the LSAT?
The LSAC responded to test-taker and law school feedback by making the LSAT test day shorter, making the test more flexible, providing test-takers with typed writing samples, and providing new simulations to mimic the conditions under which you might take law school exams in the future.
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Can I Take a Practice Test in the New Digital Format?
How Has the LSAT Writing Sample Changed?
LSAT Writing is now a proctored, on-demand writing exam that you will take online using a secure proctoring software installed on your own computer.
What is Staying the Same on the LSAT Writing Section?
You will still see the same decision-prompt structure that the LSAT has used in previous administrations. You’ll still have 35 minutes to write an essay in response to the prompt. The writing sample remains as an unscored portion of the LSAT. This means that while law schools will continue to receive a copy of your writing sample, it will not be scored and law schools use your writing sample in various ways.
How Does the On-Demand LSAT Writing Section Work?
After installing the secure proctoring software on your computer, you will access the LSAT Writing prompt directly from your LSAC account. You will be recorded, have to present a government ID to the camera, and audio and video from every testing session will be reviewed by trained proctors.
Test-takers register for LSAT Writing at the same time they register for the LSAT, and will be eligible to take LSAT Writing beginning on the day of their LSAT administration and for up to a year after that date. Test-takers are not required to pay for LSAT Writing until they are ready to take the writing test.
Getting Accustomed to the Digital Interface
Take an LSAT practice test and make sure to practice each of the tasks below.
- Adjusting the screen preferences in toolbar at the top
- Using the annotation tools
- Selecting, unselecting, and eliminating answer choices
- Scrolling, collapsing, and uncollapsing answers on longer questions
- Flagging questions
- Moving between questions using the navigation bar at the bottom
- Switching between “passage only” and “passage with questions” view in Reading Comprehension
One of the Biggest Test Changes with the Digital LSAT
You’ll be doing your scratchwork separately from the question or game that you’re working on. While the digital LSAT platform lets you highlight, underline, flag questions, and eliminate answers, you can’t make freehand annotations on screen.
You’ll also want to test out different angles for your tablet. The tablets have a built-in stand so they can be “angled slightly” on your desk. Since your tablet can’t be visible to the person behind you, that angle is very slight. A maximum of three inches can exist between the table and the top edge of the tablet.
How Do I Prepare for the Digital LSAT?
You could sign up for an LSAT course, choosing one that fits best with your study style and schedule.
If you’re not sure you need a full LSAT course, especially if your LSAT Test Date is soon, you might be able to get away with an LSAT Bootcamp course that guides you through everything, online in 4-6 weeks.
There are also plenty of ways to study on your own. Our best advice: Most companies offer some free material or services. Take advantage of that! Check out whatever you can for free so you can find the best classes, study platforms, and materials for yourself.
How Has Kaplan Updated LSAT Prep Courses To Reflect the Changes?
Kaplan has worked feverishly to update our LSAT prep curriculum to reflect digital test-taking strategies and will be providing extensive practice tools, including a digital test user interface. You can get tips and strategies for taking on the exam’s digital format in our free e-book.
Saturday Sabbath observers may request to take the test on an alternative date that will be scheduled within one week of the published test date. They will first need to register for the LSAT and indicate their request for an alternative date, then provide a signed letter from their cleric to authenticate their request.
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