The LSAT Writing Sample is a 35-minute ungraded essay with an assigned topic. That's right—the essay section has absolutely no effect on your overall LSAT score. But, copies of your writing sample will be sent to law schools, along with your LSAT score, as part of your official report, so youll want to do the best you can with the assignment you receive.

LSAT writing sample

Overview of the LSAT Essay

Every LSAT prompt instructs you to make a decision and develop an argument about it. You'll receive a booklet with your assigned topic and two lined pages on which you must write our response. You are asked to make a choice between two positions or courses of action. Both of the choices are defensible, and you are given criteria and facts on which to base your decision. There is no “right” or “wrong” position to take on the topic, so the quality of your response is a function of how well your choice is supported and other choice is criticized.

How will the essay affect my LSAT score?

It doesn't. Yes, you read that right; you have to spend 35 minutes composing an essay that has no effect on your overall score. The essay itself isn't even scored separately. Only four sections of the LSAT contribute to your score: one Games section, two Arguments sections and one Reading Comprehension section.

Is the LSAT Writing Sample used in law school admissions?

Not really. There's a chance that your LSAT essay just may go totally unread. When you're done with your LSAT, the writing sample is photocopied and shipped off to the law schools you designated to receive your test scores. Do they actually read this essay? Most likely not. LSAT writing samples are rarely used to evaluate law school candidates, so no matter how well or poorly you did, this exercise will most likely not affect your admissions chances.

Do I need to prepare for the LSAT Writing Sample?

You won't want to totally blow it off since the Writing Sample is quite easy to master, there's always the chance that a law school admissions counselor will read it, so it doesn't hurt to put some effort into it. By the same token, by no means should you sacrifice study time from other LSAT sections to work on the Writing Sample. So unless you're scoring in the 99th percentile, 99% of your study time should be spent mastering the sections that contribute to your score. However you like to study, we have the right LSAT prep plan for you.

What are law schools looking for in the LSAT essay?

When you are writing an essay for any type of standardized test, don't ever get it confused with writing a paper for an English class: They are not even on the same playing field. And even though they may not admit it, standardized test makers want only one thing: gaudy excess. They appreciate quantity more than quality, so keep it long and shoot for filling up all the lines. They also seem to enjoy paragraphs, so any crazy thoughts of condensing language into more efficient prose should disappear. And finally, they have developed a Pavlovian response to big, pretentious words. So when they come across a world like "Pavlovian," expect sheer enthusiasm.


Practice for the LSAT

Take a LSAT practice test with us under the same conditions as the real thing. You'll get a personalized score report highlighting your strengths and areas of improvement.

START A FREE PRACTICE TEST