About LSAT Writing

LSAT Writing is a proctored, on-demand writing exam that is administered online using secure proctoring software that is installed on the candidate’s own computer.

LSAC developed LSAT Writing in response to feedback from test takers. The new approach has shortened the LSAT test day and provides more flexibility for candidates taking the exam. Using LSAT Writing, candidates can now complete the writing sample portion of the test at a convenient time and place of their choosing.

LSAT Writing uses the same decision-prompt structure that schools and candidates are already familiar with from previous LSAT administrations. This structure is specifically designed to elicit the kind of argumentative writing that candidates will be expected to produce in law school. Candidates will still be given 35 minutes to write an essay in response to the prompt that is presented to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is LSAT Writing available outside of North America?

Yes. LSAT Writing is available in all locations with access to the internet.

What steps is LSAC taking to protect my privacy?

Initial reviews of LSAT Writing videos will be conducted by trained proctors in a secure, supervised environment that does not allow any images to be copied from the videos being reviewed. If a video is flagged for suspicious behavior or test conduct violations, LSAC Test Security staff will review it through an encrypted portal that prevents any images from being copied for later use.

Is LSAT Writing required for applying to law schools?

For your LSAT to be considered complete, you must have at least one writing sample on file — either from an earlier paper-and-pencil administration of the LSAT or from LSAT Writing.

If you do not have a writing sample on file, we encourage you to complete LSAT Writing as soon as you can. Many law schools require a writing sample as an integral part of their admission decision, and therefore, you should take the writing sample immediately to meet schools’ application deadlines. Your writing sample will be shared with you and the law schools to which you have applied as soon as it is complete. 

If you already have a writing sample on file, you do not need to complete LSAT Writing.

Do I have to take LSAT Writing if I have already completed a writing sample during a previous LSAT administration?

No. Candidates are only required to have one writing sample on file for their LSAT to be considered complete. Writing samples may be from either a previous LSAT administration or from an administration of LSAT Writing.

Will every candidate receive the same writing prompt?

No. Candidates will be presented with a randomly selected prompt that they have not seen during a previous administration of the LSAT or LSAT Writing.

Registering for LSAT Writing

How do I register for LSAT Writing?

One administration of LSAT Writing is included in your LSAT registration. By registering for the LSAT, you will be automatically eligible to complete the writing section as of the date you take the multiple-choice portion of the LSAT. You can access LSAT Writing from your LSAC.org account.

What are the fees associated with LSAT Writing?

When you register to take the LSAT, it will include both the multiple-choice portion of the LSAT and LSAT Writing. (However, candidates only need one writing sample posted to their account for their LSAT to be considered complete.)

Candidates who wish to retake LSAT Writing can do so for $15 per writing sample. They may retake LSAT Writing up to three times total per testing year, and no more than five times within five years, with the deadline for the April 2020 test being the last time one can register for standalone LSAT Writing. 

When can I take LSAT Writing?

Candidates are eligible to take LSAT Writing starting the day of their LSAT administration. For your LSAT to be considered complete, you will need to take the LSAT Writing section of the test if you do not already have a writing sample on file from a previous LSAT administration. Many law schools require a writing sample as an integral part of their admission decision, and therefore, you should take the writing sample immediately to meet schools’ application deadlines. Your writing sample will be shared with you and the law schools to which you have applied as soon as it is complete. 

How long do I have to complete LSAT Writing?

If you do not have a writing sample on file, we encourage you to complete LSAT Writing as soon as you can. Many law schools require a writing sample as an integral part of their admission decision, and therefore, you should take the writing sample immediately to meet schools’ application deadlines.

In case you are not applying in the current cycle, please note you have a maximum of a year to take LSAT Writing without an additional fee.

How many times can I take LSAT Writing?

You have up to three times to take LSAT Writing per testing year, and no more than five times in five years.

Can I register to take LSAT Writing as a standalone whenever I want?

LSAT Writing is available starting with the date or your LSAT administration. If you wish to retake LSAT Writing as a standalone, choose an upcoming LSAT administration date and register for standalone LSAT Writing.

How long do you plan to offer standalone LSAT Writing for candidates wanting to do retakes?

At this point, we plan to offer candidates an opportunity to retake standalone LSAT Writing through the April 2020 test. This means candidates would have one year from the April 2020 test to complete LSAT Writing.

Preparing for LSAT Writing

What kind of computer do I need in order to take LSAT Writing?

LSAT Writing requires a desktop or laptop computer running Windows or Mac OS that has a webcam, a microphone, only one connected monitor, and an Internet connection. LSAT Writing is not compatible with mobile devices, Chrome OS, or Linux. The minimum system requirements are summarized in the table below.

System Requirements
Operating System

Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 32bit (x86), and 64bit (x64)

Mac OS X 10.12 and higher
RAM Recommended + 2 GB
Free Disk Space 1 GB
Screen Resolution 1368 x 769 or higher
Bandwidth 300 Kbps up and down
Minimum Web Camera Resolution 640 x 480
Download Ability to download and install software

What if I don’t own a computer?

If you do not own a computer and are unable to borrow one, you may be able to take LSAT Writing at a college or university’s computer lab, university testing center, university or public library, or some other location that has an appropriate computer in a quiet and private space. If these are not options available to you, we encourage you to call 215.968.1001 and press 0 to speak to an LSAC representative for more information about testing at a test center. We will work with you to ensure you get the support you need to complete LSAT Writing.

How will I log in to take LSAT Writing?

Candidates will launch LSAT Writing using the link provided on the new LSAT Writing page of their LSAC.org account. The link will surface at 12:00 a.m. (ET) on the date of the candidate’s LSAT administration. Please note that candidates cannot launch LSAT Writing using shortcuts from previous secure browser installations. The exam can only be launched from the individualized link provided in the candidate’s account.

Will I be required to download any software to access LSAT Writing?

Yes. Candidates will be required to download and install a secure browser that will deliver the test and record their testing session for proctor review. This installation will occur as part of the sign-in process initiated from the candidate’s LSAC.org account.

Will I be able to run the proctoring software on my machine before taking LSAT Writing?

Yes. Every candidate who is eligible to take LSAT Writing will have unlimited access to Get Acquainted With LSAT Writing, which uses exactly the same proctoring software as the actual LSAT Writing exam. Candidates can access the Get Acquainted With LSAT Writing link in their LSAC.org accounts.

LSAC encourages candidates to use the tool in order to check compatibility with their equipment and become familiar with the new LSAT Writing. Get Acquainted With LSAT Writing uses the same software as the actual LSAT Writing test.

Do I need any identification to take LSAT Writing?

Yes. Every candidate will be required to present a valid government-issued photo ID at the beginning of the exam. Please note that by law, US military IDs cannot be photographed and thus cannot be used for this purpose.

What features are included in the LSAT Writing interface?

LSAT Writing’s interface offers many common word-processing functions, including the ability to cut, copy, and paste text within candidates’ essays. The interface also offers a spell-check option that allows you to right-click the underlined misspelled word to see a list of suggested spelling options.

Further, LSAT Writing includes a variety of accessibility features, such as zoom buttons, an extra spacing button, and speech-to-text compatibility.

Does LSAT Writing impose a word or space limit for the writing sample?

There is no word or space limit for LSAT Writing. Although a word count is provided below the text box in which you compose your response to the writing prompt, this is for informational purposes only. You are advised not to worry about the length of your writing sample, but instead to concentrate on crafting a response to the prompt that is well-written, cogent, and well-argued.

How is test security managed for LSAT Writing?

The secure proctoring platform uses input from the webcam, microphone, and screen of the candidate’s own computer to ensure that the writing sample is the candidate’s own work, and that the candidate is not receiving any inappropriate assistance. Prior to the exam, candidates will complete a video check-in process. As part of that process, candidates will be required to display a government-issued ID to the camera, and show their workspace to ensure that only permissible items are in that space. Both sides of any scratch paper must be shown, and the room will be scanned to make sure no other people are in the room. Candidates who require additional items in their workspace due to a disability may seek appropriate accommodations through the standard procedures for requesting testing accommodations. The proctoring software will automatically close any messaging, word-processing, or web-browsing applications before the exam begins and prevent such applications from being opened during the exam.  Audio and video from every testing session will be reviewed by trained proctors.

What if I have technical difficulties during LSAT Writing?

If you experience technical difficulties, please contact the 24/7 technical support line at 1.844.644.8248. Please note that candidates who experience technical problems that prevent them from completing their writing sample will be given the opportunity to test again with a different writing prompt.

Accommodations

Will I be able to request accommodations for LSAT Writing?

Yes. Starting with the June 2019 test registration period, candidates are able to submit requests for accommodations for LSAT Writing at the same time they request accommodations for the LSAT, using the same form. The process for reviewing accommodation requests will not change.

What accommodations are available on LSAT Writing?

For information regarding available testing accommodations, visit Accommodations that May Be Available on the LSAT.

Some accommodations that are available on the LSAT will not be needed for LSAT Writing (e.g., extra breaks between sections, a non-Scantron answer sheet).

I require special equipment to read and/or enter text into my computer. Will I be able to use that equipment for LSAT Writing?

LSAT Writing is WCAG 2.0 AA compliant, so most peripherals and software used to interact with the Internet will be compatible. Candidates who require the use of special equipment to access the test are encouraged to test out their own systems and equipment with Get Acquainted With LSAT Writing. Get Acquainted With LSAT Writing uses the same software as the actual LSAT Writing test. Candidates can access the Get Acquainted With LSAT Writing link in their LSAC.org accounts.

In the event that candidates with disabilities require additional accommodation to access LSAT Writing, they are encouraged to contact an LSAC Disability Customer Service Representative at accom@LSAC.org or 215.966.6625 (toll-free: 855.384.2253) for assistance. Any request for testing accommodations must be submitted by the applicable registration deadline. LSAC is committed to working with candidates to ensure that LSAT Writing is accessible to everyone. 

Taking LSAT Writing

Does it matter which web browser I use to launch the exam?

Yes. LSAT Writing can only be launched from Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Internet Explorer. The three most recent versions of each of these browsers are supported. Safari is not supported at this time.

What items can I use during LSAT Writing?

Each LSAT Writing test taker is allowed one sheet of blank scratch paper, writing implements, and tissues. Each of these items must be shown to the camera during the security check-in procedure. Both sides of the scratch paper must be shown to the camera.

What electronic devices are prohibited?

Devices that cannot be in the room during LSAT Writing include: timers of any kind, electronic cigarettes, fitness-tracking devices, digital watches, alarm watches, beeping watches, calculator watches, chronograph watches (digital or non-digital), cell phones, beepers, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), calculators, cameras, recording devices, listening devices, headsets, and iPods and other media players. Please note that tablets, laptops, and personal computers not being used to take the exam are prohibited.

Prohibited electronic devices may not be in the room during the exam because they cannot be monitored via your webcam feed. Please be aware that your testing session will be flagged and your writing sample canceled if any prohibited electronics are noted during the room scan portion of your check-in. This includes any monitors or desktop computers that happen to be on the desk you may be resting your laptop on during the exam. If your session is flagged, your audio and video data may be referred for an investigation by the Misconduct and Irregularities Subcommittee. More information can be found at Misconduct & Irregularities and LSAT Candidate Agreement.

What other items are prohibited?

Test takers may not use briefcases, handbags, or backpacks of any kind. Hats or hoods, except religious apparel, may not be worn. Sunglasses may not be worn. Books, printed materials, and any notes written before the start of the exam may not be used.

Nonelectronic prohibited items can remain in the room, but they must be put away and not used or referenced during the exam.

What if I need headphones, earplugs, or earbuds to take the exam?

You can use items that are specified in your accommodation approval letter from LSAC. Otherwise, these items are prohibited.

How do I identify myself before the exam?

When prompted, you must display a valid, government-issued ID card to the webcam. The name on the ID must match the name under which you registered for the exam. Please ensure that the photo of your ID is clear and readable before continuing to the next step in the check-in process.

Can I use other computer programs while I take LSAT Writing?

You should not use any external programs other than the ones you typically use to make web content accessible (for example, JAWS, ZoomText, or Kurzweil 3000).

Where should I take the exam?

Choose a quiet, well-lit, and private work area where you can complete the exam without interruption. Your face must be clearly visible throughout the exam, and once you begin, you cannot move out of view of the webcam until the exam is over.

What if someone else enters the room while I am taking the exam?

If someone else enters the room, you must ask them to leave immediately. You may continue testing once the person leaves the room. It is not necessary to restart the exam if a brief interruption occurs.

I’m ready to take my exam, but the link to launch the exam isn’t on the LSAT Writing page in my account. What do I do?

The link to launch LSAT Writing will not be available in your account until the day of your LSAT administration. If you’re checking after your available date and you still don’t see the link, please call LSAC at 215.968.1001 and press 0 or send an email to LSATwriting@LSAC.org for assistance. Please note that the link to launch your exam will no longer be available after the exam launches, so if you close your exam before submitting your essay, you will have to contact LSAC to reset your eligibility and start the exam over with a new writing prompt.

When I try to launch LSAT Writing, why do I get asked for an access code?

You can only launch LSAT Writing from the link provided in your LSAC.org account. If you are asked for an access code after launching LSAT Writing, you are likely trying to launch the exam by opening a shortcut to a previous installation of the secure browser. When you’re ready to take your exam, please close the secure browser, navigate to the LSAT Writing page in your LSAC.org account, and click the link that says Launch LSAT Writing to begin your exam.

After Taking LSAT Writing

When will my writing sample from LSAT Writing be available for inclusion in my Law School Report?

In many cases, LSAT Writing samples will be processed within a week of completion. However, candidates are advised to allow three weeks for processing before their writing sample can be included in a Law School Report. Your writing sample will be shared with you and the law schools to which you have applied as soon as it is complete.

Are the writing samples from LSAT Writing scored?

No. There are currently no plans to score the writing samples from LSAT Writing.

Do schools read my writing sample?

Many law schools require an LSAT writing sample as an integral part of their admission decision, and many admission professionals have reported that the new approach to LSAT Writing has made the writing sample more useful in their candidate evaluation processes. However, each school uses writing samples in its own way.

Do all writing samples get reported to the law schools?

No. LSAC will include up to the three most recent reportable writing samples with your law school report. Writing samples are only reportable for five years. Writing samples that are more than five years old will not get reported to law schools.

Note that candidates only need to have one reportable writing sample on file for their LSAT to be considered complete.

Your LSAT Writing sample will be shared with you and the law schools to which you have applied as soon as it is complete.

Can I review my writing sample after I have completed LSAT Writing?

Yes. Each candidate will have an opportunity to read their writing sample immediately after completing the exam. Candidates will also have the opportunity to view their writing sample after it has been processed by LSAC for inclusion in Law School Reports.

What will be recorded during the test, and what will you do with the videos after the exam?

Input from the candidate’s webcam and microphone will be recorded, as well as everything happening on the candidate’s screen during the exam. No videos or images from LSAT Writing will be shared with any law schools. However, audio and video data will be retained in a secure location for later review in the event of a misconduct and irregularities investigation. See Misconduct & Irregularities and LSAT Candidate Agreement for more information.