The LSAT was the result of a 1945 inquiry of Frank Bowles, a Columbia Law School admissions director, about a more satisfactory admissions test that could be used for admissions than the one that was in use in 1945. The goal was to find a test that would correlate with first year grades rather than bar passage rates. This led to an invitation of representatives from Harvard Law School and Yale Law School who ultimately accepted the invitation and began to draft the first administration of the LSAT exam.
NYU, in correspondence by memorandum, was openly unconvinced “about the usefulness of an aptitude test as a method of selecting law school students”, but was open to experimenting with the idea, as were other schools that were unconvinced. At a meeting on November 10, 1947, with representatives of law schools extending beyond the original Columbia, Harvard, and Yale representatives, the design of the LSAT was discussed. Interestingly, at this meeting the issue of a way to test students who came from excessively “technical” backgrounds that were deficient in the study of history and literature was discussed but ultimately rejected. The first administration of the LSAT followed and occurred in 1948.
Developed by the Law School Admission Council, US, the test has been modelled on the LSAT but adapted for use in India. The LSAT is used for admission to law schools in the US, Canada and Australia where legal education is offered at the graduate degree level. Legal education in India is provided at both the undergraduate and the graduate level; LSAT-India scores are calculated separately for both these groups. Test forms developed for the LSAT-India are subject to a thorough fairness review by the LSAC team and Pearson VUE India team to ensure that the subject matter of all of the test questions is appropriate for test takers in India.
The theory behind the LSAT-India is democratic and inclusive. It holds that students acquire critical thinking skills over their educational lifetimes, and that these skills are the most important for the study of law. Good critical thinking skills may be acquired in virtually any educational programme anywhere so long as it is rigorous and of high quality. Thus, no training in any specific field or set of fields is required to do well in the LSAT-India.
The test rewards candidates with generalised abilities adaptable to a variety of circumstances. The LSAT-India breaks critical thinking skills down into three main types: logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension. Since the first of these types is most predictive of success in law school, there are two sections of logical reasoning questions in the LSAT-India. There is also one section each of analytical reason and reading comprehension questions, which contribute to the predictive validity of the test.
Practise, practise, practise. That is how to do well in a skills-based test like the LSAT-India. Ideally, candidates should spend as much time preparing as it takes to feel comfortable with the LSAT-India pattern, which includes the question types and test timing. Candidates should take advantage of the free test preparation material available on the LSAT-India website. Practising allows candidates to apply and improve their reasoning and reading skills. This helps test-takers avoid surprises during the test and enhances their confidence so that they can do their best.
The LSAT-India is meant to help anyone with good critical thinking skills embark on the study of law. So, there are no questions designed to assess prior legal knowledge, no questions about mathematical knowledge and no questions on current affairs or grammar. Thus, if candidates cram such subjects in preparation for the LSAT-India , they misunderstand the test.
On the basis of a student’s score in LSAT-India, he/she can secure admission in law programmes offered in more than 70 colleges in India. Prominent law schools including Jindal Global Law School-Sonipat, VIT Law School-Chennai, RGSOIPL-IIT Kharagpur, UPES Dehradun, Alliance University Law School-Bangalore and Sharda University-Greater Noida have been accepting LSAT-India scores for admissions and now the additional institutions are also associated with LSAT-India.
“There is an urgent need to improve the way examinations are developed and conducted in the country. Right from the way a test paper is framed to the procedure involved for the candidates in taking the examination,” says Divyalok Sharma, Pearson VUE India director, client development. Dan Bernstine, president of LSAC, said, “We are delighted that law colleges nationwide are realizing the advantages of using the LSAT-India as a key part of the admission process. The exam provides a precise and objective way for law colleges to select the students most likely to succeed.”
The test consists of four 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions. Four of the sections contribute to the test taker’s score. These sections include one Reading Comprehension section, one Analytical Reasoning section, and two Logical Reasoning sections
The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.
There are three multiple-choice question types in the LSAT:
|Section||Number of Questions||Timing|
|Analytical Reasoning||Approx. 24||35 minutes|
|1st Logical Reasoning||Approx. 24||35 minutes|
|2nd Logical Reasoning||Approx. 24||35 minutes|
|Reading Comprehension||Approx. 24||35 minutes|
|Total: 4 sections||92-100 questions||2 hours and 20 minutes|
The sections on the LSAT—India may appear in any order but always consist of one Analytical Reasoning section, one Reading Comprehension section, and two Logical Reasoning sections. The LSAT—India is a paper-and-pencil test. All questions are in a multiple-choice format, some with four answer choices and others with five. Answers are collected on a scannable answer sheet.
There is no substantial break between any sections of the test. Invigilators carefully time each section using countdown timers provided by LSAC, allowing 35 minutes for each of the four sections. Invigilators give a 5-minute warning before calling time for a section. When the time is up, invigilators require candidates to stop work on the section, and begin work on the next section. During the test, candidates are allowed to work only in the section currently being timed. They are not permitted to go back to an earlier section or forward to a later one even if they finish a section before time is called.
Register online for the LSAT-India entrance test by logging on to lsat.formistry.com. The LSAT-India registration fee is Rs 3800/ the fee can be paid online or by a demand draft/pay order/ banker’s cheque. On completion of the registration, all candidates will get an LSAT-India registration number. Candidates will need to mention this LSAT-India registration number while submitting the application forms to the associated colleges. After obtaining the LSAT-India registration number, the candidate must download/obtain the application form from the associated college.
The college admission application forms will require candidates to mention their LSAT-India registration number. Candidates must ensure that they write their LSAT-India registration number at the given place in the Application Form of the associated colleges. All registrants who complete the test registration, pay the test fee in a timely way, and follow published test rules may sit for the LSAT-India. It is the candidates’ responsibility to understand the eligibility requirements of the associated law schools before deciding to register for the LSAT-India. If a candidate registers for the test and then determines that he/she is ineligible for admission to the intended law school, no test fee refund will be available. Test Scores of students writing the LSAT-India will be transmitted to the Associated Colleges.
Each of these institutions originally had a separate entrance exam much to the annoyance of the aspirant (and to expense of the parent). When the grumbling became an argument, one such aspirant filed a petition at the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court of India mandated a common entrance exam for the then existent National Law Schools, and this judgement found animation in the form of the Common Law Entrance Exam or CLAT. Since then almost all National Law Schools, the notable exception being National Law University Delhi, admit students on their CLAT scores.
The Organizing Committee
The CLAT Committee consists of the Vice Chancellors, Registrars and senior persons from all the law schools covered by CLAT. The inaugural CLAT committee decided that the CLAT would be organized by rotation by the Universities in order of seniority by date of establishment. Accordingly, the Vice Chancellor of the conducting University, organizes the Thus NLSIU being the oldest of the National Law Schools conducted the first exam in 2008; 2009, 2010 and 2011 were organized by NALSAR,NLIU and NUJS respectively. The 2012 CLAT exam was conducted under the auspices of NLU, Jodhpur.