Do Law Schools Read the LSAT Writing Sample?

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The LSAT writing sample is an unscored portion of the LSAT. The writing sample portion of the LSAT does not count towards your LSAT score. Does that mean you are free to ignore it and take a well deserved break until it’s time to hand in the test? Unfortunately, no.

You should still take the LSAT writing sample seriously, since it is sent to law schools as part of your application package. While your performance on the LSAT writing sample is not even within the same realm of importance as your LSAT score, your GPA, personal statement, or your letters of recommendation, it is still important to take the written section of the LSAT seriously, because some law schools do read your LSAT writing sample when they review your application.

According to my Alma Mater, The University of Chicago Law School: “Yes, we do read the writing sample and you should take it seriously. It reflects very poorly on an applicant when we see a writing sample with a silly or unprofessional comment in it.” (View Source)

writing-sampleThere is absolutely no reason why you should disadvantage yourself unnecessarily by drawing obscene cartoons on your LSAT writing sample. I know it’s tempting after what you just went through when taking the test, but try to restrain yourself. Complain to us about the test later on our twitter where it’s harmless: @onlawschool

What Law Schools Are Looking For When They Read The Writing Sample

The main reason that law schools might want to read the writing sample is they want to know that you are capable of writing intelligently off the cuff. They know you are exhausted from the test so the bar is very low, but it’s still there. Just make some kind of reasoned argument and you’ll be fine.

What’s on the Writing Sample?- Currently the writing sample takes the form of a short passage where you are given two choices each of which can be justified. You choose a side and argue for it. Neither side is right and it is set up so you can argue effectively for either position. Here’s an example on LSAC’s page: LSAC- JD – The Writing Sample.

Also, admissions committees know that applicants often get a LOT of help writing their personal statements (often so much help that it might pushing the bounds of what is ethical). They might look at the PS for a quick check that you are able to write English in a professional tone without help.

Again, the bar is not high: make an argument in complete¬†sentences and show that you can organize those sentences into paragraphs. Do that and you will be fine. Also, because you have two pages to write your answer, I suggest you answer in more than just a couple paragraphs. Get your answer to go on to the second page so that you don’t look too lazy.

Should You Study For The Writing Sample

No. Absolutely not. Take look at LSAC’s page that I linked above so you know what’s on there. That is the limit of what you should do to prepare for the writing sample.

I know some people won’t be able to sleep properly until they’ve done something to prepare for it, so if you must, write out an answer one time. You will quickly see how easy it is to make such an argument and will wonder why you just wasted twenty minutes of your life.

Now get back to studying for the sections of the LSAT that matter a lot. Here are some great links to get you started:

How I Studied To Get A 177 On The LSAT

Scheduling Your LSAT Prep- 3 Month Study Schedule

Max Out Your Logical Reasoning Score

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