How Difficult Is the LSAT?

By Rachel Shapiro Updated April 15, 2021

As students begin studying for the LSAT, there’s one common question they ask: how hard is the LSAT really? If you’re planning on taking the LSAT and are wondering how hard it is, read on to learn about what’s on this test.

How Hard is the LSAT Overall?

The LSAT is considered to be a very difficult test. Only about 30 out of every 100,000 students score a perfect 180. This means less than 1% of test-takers get a perfect score.

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) purposely designed the test to be difficult. The LSAT is supposed to ensure you’re ready for law school. It’s also supposed to show that you’re serious about studying law. It’s the kind of test you need to study for to do well on.

The best way to figure out how difficult the LSAT will be for you is doing practice tests. Practice tests show you the areas you need to focus on when studying.

The LSAT’s Difficulty Level Compared to Other Standardized Tests

To understand how tough the LSAT is, it’s helpful to compare it to other standardized tests. The LSAT is considered more difficult than the SAT and ACT. It’s also considered harder than the GRE. This is because you need more specialized knowledge for the LSAT. The LSAT also requires higher-level reading comprehension skills.

The LSAT is at about the same level of difficulty as the MCAT and the CPA exam. These graduate-level tests also require specialized knowledge and advanced comprehension skills.

How Hard is Each Section of the LSAT

Every section of the LSAT poses its own unique challenges. Here’s what makes each section hard for test-takers.

Logical Reasoning

In the logical reasoning section, you’ll read arguments and analyze them. You may be asked if there are flaws in the argument. Or, you may have to make an inference based on the information in the passage.

One of the things that makes this section hard is that you have to read closely to find the right answer. You may have to read the passage a few times to find the flaws and misstatements in the argument. Many answers will also sound plausible unless you read them very closely. All in all, this adds up to a tricky section that requires top-notch analysis skills.

Reading Comprehension

The reading comprehension section includes about four passages. There are about three to four questions with each passage. There’s also a portion featuring ‘paired passages.’ Here, you’ll read two shorter passages on the same topic and compare and contrast them.

Since the questions aren’t straightforward, you’ll need high-level reading comprehension skills to do well. You’ll need to know how to find the main idea of a passage. You’ll also need to know how to infer information from the passages. One strategy to try is reading the questions first. Then, you’ll have an idea of what to look out for as you’re reading through the passages.

Analytical Reasoning

The Analytical Reasoning section is generally considered to be the hardest part of the LSAT. This section features logic games that are unlike anything most students have done in their university classes. The puzzles test students’ ability to understand the effect rules and laws have on outcomes.

The questions are designed to trick test-takers. You’ll need to read them very carefully to ensure you don’t fall into any traps.

LSAT Writing

The LSAT essay is unscored, but it’s sent to all of the law schools you apply to. In this section, you’ll have 35 minutes to write an argument-based essay. You’ll have to support your argument through reasoning.

One of the main things that makes this section hard is the time constraint. Many LSAT experts say you should spend 10 minutes or less coming up with the argument. Then, spend the rest of the time writing.

What Makes the LSAT Difficult for Test-Takers

When students are asked about what makes the LSAT hard, there are a few common things mentioned. Here’s what to look out for on the LSAT.

Need to Do More Than Memorizing

On some standardized tests, if you memorize enough vocabulary words and math formulas, you have a good chance of getting a high score. This isn’t the case on the LSAT, though. The LSAT is all about deductive reasoning skills and reading comprehension. While doing things like memorizing the rules to common logic games helps, you’ll need to do more to do well.

Range of Skills Needed

To do well on the LSAT, you’ll need to hone a wide range of ranges. This includes your ability to analyze arguments, read critically, and understand complex logical concepts. These are the skills you’ll also need in law school. The LSAT ensures that you have these critical skills.

Time Constraints

The LSAT’s time constraints are one of the things students struggle with the most. Each section is 35 minutes long. On average, you get about 90 seconds to answer each question. If you aren’t careful, you can easily spend too long on one difficult question. Then, you may end up having to guess for the rest of the questions.

What Makes the LSAT Easier for Test-Takers

There’s some good news when it comes to the LSAT’s difficulty level. There are a few things that make the test a bit easier for students.

Only a Few Question Types

Even though the LSAT is difficult, it’s still a standardized test. This means that there are only a handful of question types on the test. For example, all the logic games questions will fall into the sequencing, grouping, matching, selection, distribution, mapping, and hybrid game categories.

Spend time learning about each question type, and find out where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Then, learn about the different strategies you can employ for each kind of question.

No Math Knowledge Needed

If math is one of your weak points, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The LSAT doesn’t include any math questions. You won’t need to study algebra, geometry, or calculus. The LSAT focuses solely on the skills you’ll need in law school.

No Penalty for Guessing

There’s no penalty for wrong answers on the LSAT. If you run out of time or can’t figure out an answer, you can always guess. This is also why it’s important to answer every question. Even if you’re just guessing, you still have a chance to get a point.

Plenty of Study Materials Available

There’s tons of study materials available to help with every part of the LSAT. There are hundreds of textbooks with strategies and practice questions. There are also lots of online courses with live classes. Many of these classes are taught by top LSAT scorers. Through these textbooks and courses, you can learn the best ways to ace the LSAT from experts.

The Best Ways to Prepare for the LSAT

While the LSAT is hard, there’s one surefire way to make it easier: studying. The more familiar you are with the questions you’ll encounter, the easier the test will be. Here are some ways to prepare for the LSAT.

Get a Baseline Score

When you start studying for the LSAT, one of the first things you should do is get a baseline score. You can do this by completing a practice test online. LSAC offers a free test on their website. You can also download a virtual proctor to simulate the feeling of test day. Getting a baseline score shows you where to focus your studying.

LSAT Prep Courses

A prep course is a good way to learn strategies for test day. There are both fully online courses and courses with live classes available. Both types of courses offer practice questions and practice tests. The courses with live classes also give helpful homework assignments. Whether you choose to do an online or in-person course, a prep course is great for learning about the LSAT.


If you think you’d benefit from one-on-one help with your LSAT studying, try tutoring. With a tutor, you can customize your study plan and focus on the areas where you need the most improvement.

Practice Makes Perfect

In the months leading up to the LSAT, practice as much as you can. Create a study schedule. Do practice questions, flashcards, and practice tests. The more you practice, the more ready you’ll be for curveballs thrown on test days. You’ll understand the format of LSAT questions. Questions that would have once been obscure will feel more familiar. With the LSAT, practice always makes perfect.

Summing Up

The LSAT is hard, but there are ways to make it easier. Practice as much as you can and consider signing up for tutoring or a live class. Being prepared is the best way to turn the LSAT from a difficult exam to one that you feel ready to tackle.