Guide to LSAC & LSAT
Published in 2018 for use of University of St Andrews students wishing to apply to U.S. Law Schools.
LSAC (Law School Admission Council): In a nutshell, the main computer system that connects the student to the 220 registered U.S. Law Schools.
LSAT (Law School Admission Test): The test every student takes for applying to Law Schools. Like the SAT or ACT, this test is timed and broken up into 3 types of questions: reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and analytical reasoning. The test is administered 6 times per year at designated test centers that you can sign up for on LSAC. (More information about the LSAT in Chapter 5)
CAS (Credential Assembly Service): The CAS sends the schools the scores you receive, your forms, letters of recommendation etc. to each Law School, without you having to send them to each school every time. For instance, the common app provides the same functions as the CAS for high school students.
JD (Juris Doctor): The degree that all students will be applying for and should register for on the LSAC. This is the first degree in Law students receive.
LLM (Latin Legum Magister): International students who already have a Law degree but want a degree in the U.S. Most St Andrews students will not fall into this bracket, so please make sure you don’t register as LLM unless you are sure that you are.
CRS (Candidate Referral Service): A way for Law Schools to scout you out, instead of the reverse. For instance, if a Law School wants a student of color who has studied overseas, you can release this information to the CRS, and the Law School will contact you and ask you to apply.
Choosing the Right Law School
Choose a target! Think about what type of Law School in the U.S. you can reasonably get into. Use the GPA (You will have to convert your University of St Andrews grades into the U.S. grading scale) and LSAT matching calculator (https://officialguide.lsac.org/release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx) to check what grades each U.S. school requires. U.S. Law schools will ask for all four years of your curriculum and will have access to your grades from High School.
By using the above link, you can also see a list of all the U.S. Law Schools that accept the LSAT.
Go to the LSAC Law School forums or fairs if you are in the U.S. during breaks! You will be able see Law School’s admissions face to face and ask questions about each (https://www.lsac.org/lawschoolforums/)
Remember: LSAC works for Canadian, Armenian, Australian, China, and Indian Law Schools if you change your mind about the U.S.
Do not overload yourself – applicants on average apply to ~5-7 Law Schools
Consider using reach, moderate, and safety schools when applying
Don’t always just think about the degree- you will be living at the school for ~3 years so consider location, etc.
How to Register for LSAC System
***Note: Before creating your LSAC account, it is highly recommended that you meet with your prelaw advisor for guidance (St Andrews does not have pre law advisors, but it may be possible to get in touch with a pre law advisor in the U.S.)
Go to the LSAC website: https://www.lsac.org/
Go to the bottom right corner of the page and find the button that says: “Create a JD Account”
Fill out all the information the form asks
Submit the form and exit
Your account should have now been created
Forms and Overall Steps to Apply
Register account for LSAC and read the website (Freshers/ Second Year)
Choose which Law Schools you want to apply to and make a list (Third Year)
Prepare for LSAT (Third/ Fourth Year)
Take the LSAT (Summer after third year/ early Fourth Year)
Check that LSAT Score is in your LSAC profile
Go onto LSAC profile
Fill in information about past schools that you have attended
Request your transcript from St Andrews and send it to the LSAC services & validate it via the CAS A&E (Unfortunately some Law Schools do not accept international transcripts so make sure they accept the CAS A&E validation before you consider applying) (Transcripts will take up to (2) weeks to arrive in the LSAC System)
Request letter of recommendation (Number required will vary depending on each Law School – download and print forms for recommenders off LSAT/ CAS)
Program/Specialty-Specific References: If you want a specific program within the Law School, ask your recommender to write something specific about a internship, etc. that you have done that relates to that program.
School-Specific References: For these, the recommendation is that the recommender be a professor who had attended Law School.
General References: These can be assigned to any Law School, and in the description of the letter, simply write “General use”.
Once the letters are submitted they can be accessed and organized (You can delete/ add more if needed)
Pay CAS fee- 195 USD, each Law School that is applied to will also require a 35 USD fee
Fill out the F-1 form demonstrating your ability to pay for U.S. Law School
Register with the candidate referral service to see if any Law Schools try to recruit you
Once you are done with all these steps and they are all in your CAS Apply to the number of Law Schools that you deem fit
***Note: As you go through each of these steps, make sure you save your application records because some states will require that for the BAR exam down the road, students will need to present admission and application records to be eligible to take the exam
Most Law Schools will require the LSAT
For fall admission, it is generally required that students take the LSAT during the December session of their senior year, however, it is highly recommended that students take the LSAT during the June or September sessions of their senior year
There are five, 35 minute timed sections within the LSAT (4/5 contribute to your score), broken down into
One Reading Comprehension Section (Example below)
One Analytical Reasoning Section (Widely considered the hardest) (Example below)
Two Logical Reasoning Sections (Example below- Uses passage to answer question)
LSAT scores will be compared within St Andrews to see how you match up against your peers
Testing administrations can go up to 4 times a year, but vary depending on your region of the world (You can check this on your LSAC profile)
To take the LSAT you will need to have your admission ticket that is provided on the LSAC profile, and your ID (Do not bring a phone!)
It costs 190 USD to take each LSAT test
Score on LSAT ranges from 120-180 (Score Band)
Score on LSAT will also show Percentage Rank (How much higher you scored than the scores of the past three years)
You can contest your score if you wish
How to Prepare
The LSAC and Khan Academy have a joint agreement for LSAT prep – once you register with the LSAC, the (free!) program is on the home page
Once you register with the LSAC, you will be provided one free practice test
On average, people start studying 4 months prior to the exam
Mix up your sections – don’t go over just one section repeatedly
Time yourself when doing your sections
Answer as many questions as you can – there is no guessing penalty on the LSAT
Exam questions will get progressively harder, so it is best to do the easier ones at the start, or identify beforehand which questions you will be good at during the exam
LSAC Main Website (Where you register your account): https://www.lsac.org/
Forums Hosted by LSAC (Applicants can meet face to face with Law School admission counselors): https://www.lsac.org/lawschoolforums/
Matching Law Schools for you based on your GPA and LSAT score: https://officialguide.lsac.org/release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx
General link for all lists of Law Schools under LSAC: https://www.lsac.org/jd/choosing-a-law-school/law-school-links
International student application requirement: https://www.lsac.org/jd/applying-to-law-school/cas/internationally-educated-apps
Common questions people have about the LSAT: https://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/publications-(lsac-resources)/about-the-lsat.pdf
Seven tips for success on the LSAT: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/lsat-test-prep/articles/2010/05/28/test-prep-7-tips-for-lsat-success
Letter from the Author
Dear aspiring lawyers attending St Andrews,
This guide is meant for students of all grades and degree disciplines. If you are a fresher or a second year like myself stressing about your future, this guide will hopefully help you get a grip on what is to come. If you are a third year and have begun prepping, I hope that this guide has helped you organize yourself as you go through the application process. After doing 18 college applications before coming to St Andrews, I know how important organization can be in such processes. Finally, if you are a fourth year about to take the test, or are waiting on results, I wish you the best of luck and a great future in law.
Should you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.