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A New Approach to LSAT Writing Will Debut on July 30, 2024

By Susan Krinsky

As legal education curricula and the practice of law continue to change with the times, LSAC is innovating to provide a new writing assessment that responds to the evolving needs of the profession.

On July 30, a redesigned approach to the LSAT Writing section of the LSAT will make its debut as we open the 2024-2025 testing cycle, which begins with the August administration of the LSAT.

This new approach to the writing assessment will help law schools continue to make holistic admission decisions and help prospective law students better prepare for the writing they will do in law school and beyond – still without the need for any specialized skills, knowledge, or experience with legal concepts.

Since 1982, LSAT Writing prompts have been designed to assess logical reasoning in the context of argumentative writing. But legal education curricula, the legal profession, and the demands of legal practice continue to evolve. In our ongoing conversations with law schools and the legal profession, we hear consistently about the importance of strong analytical and argumentative writing skills and the need to better assess a student’s potential earlier in their academic journey.

Based on input from our member schools and other stakeholders in the legal profession, the new LSAT Writing section of the LSAT will be an even more effective tool for assessing the writing skills of individuals prior to law school. These changes will help schools better understand the writing capabilities of applicants for the purposes of their admission decisions. It will also enable law schools to better provide writing support for their students who need to strengthen their writing skills so they are better prepared for bar passage, finding employment, and practice.

This new approach aims to assess a test taker’s ability to construct a cogent argument based on a variety of evidentiary sources. Test takers will be presented with a debatable issue along with different perspectives that provide additional context. These perspectives, each of which is conveyed in a few sentences, are representative of a system of beliefs or values. Together, the perspectives illustrate competing ideologies and arguments around a particular issue. The test taker will then draft an argumentative essay in which they take a position, while addressing some of the arguments and ideas presented by the other perspectives.

The new argumentative writing task is designed to give test takers a clearer, more authentic writing purpose than the former “decision based” LSAT Writing prompt, which was more narrowly focused on pure logical reasoning. When test takers have an opportunity to construct an original thesis and defend it based on their own judgment and analytical evaluation, rather than following pre-ordained lines of reasoning, we can better assess a broader and more complex range of decision-making skills that writers engage in.

By adopting this design, we’re not only enabling individuals to have a more authentic voice in their argument, but we are also better positioned to evaluate the writer’s ability to employ various rhetorical techniques, evidentiary strategies, and other important aspects of argumentative writing.  

Given the additional reading required, we will be adding a short preparatory period to the LSAT Writing test, which test takers can use to organize their thoughts using guided prewriting analysis questions and to take notes using the digital notetaking tool provided in the testing environment. The questions are designed to help test takers analyze the various perspectives and generate productive ideas for their essay. Most test takers will have a total of 50 minutes – 15 minutes for prewriting analysis and 35 minutes for essay writing. Test takers with approved accommodations for additional time will have their time allocations adjusted accordingly.

To give test takers the opportunity to prepare, we have published a sample prompt as part of the free Official LSAT PrepTest library available in LawHub. Test takers can begin to familiarize themselves with the new approach and take practice LSAT Writing sessions in the official LSAT Writing environment.

We are also providing a sample of the new LSAT Writing prompt on It should be noted that this sample is a “text only” version and that test functionality, including the timing function, is included in the practice environment in LawHub.

LSAT Writing has always been a part of the LSAT. Over the years, law schools have expressed the desire to make greater use of the writing portion in their holistic evaluations, so we moved to a digital assessment (instead of handwritten) so that schools could receive, read, and evaluate the students’ work. The changes we are announcing today will make the writing sample even more useful to schools in their evaluation and admission processes.

For the 2024-2025 testing cycle, LSAT Writing will remain an unscored part of the LSAT. Over the course of the 2024-2025 testing cycle, we will be analyzing data of the new LSAT Writing prompt to assess its validity and reliability with a long-term goal of providing a scored LSAT Writing assessment that schools may use in their holistic admission process.

We are excited to offer this new approach to LSAT Writing, starting August 1. We believe this new approach will allow test takers to demonstrate their writing skills even more effectively and will provide schools with even more insight into the strengths and potential of applicants.

Susan L. Krinsky

Executive Vice President for Operations and Chief of Staff
Prior to joining LSAC’s leadership team in 2018, Susan L. Krinsky served as associate dean for student affairs and communications at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where she was responsible for admission, student affairs, registration and enrollment, career development, and communications. She earned her JD from Yale Law School.