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. It will launch on June 3, 2019, in association with the June 2019 administration of the LSAT.
Frequently Asked Questions
Has the structure of the writing sample changed?
No. LSAT Writing will use the same decision-prompt structure that candidates and schools 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 with which they are presented.
Why not continue administering the writing sample section at the end of the LSAT test day?
LSAC developed the LSAT Writing section in response to feedback from test takers. The new approach will shorten the LSAT test day and provide more flexibility for candidates taking the exam, as they can now complete the writing sample at a convenient time and place of their choosing. LSAC also wanted to provide law schools with samples of written work that were typed, thus greatly enhancing legibility, and composed under conditions similar to those in which law students produce their written work.
How is test security managed for the 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.
Will I be able to run the proctoring software on my machine before taking LSAT Writing?
Yes. Every candidate will have unlimited access to an LSAT Writing practice environment that will use exactly the same proctoring software as the actual LSAT Writing exam. We expect the practice environment to go live in May 2019.
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.
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 the LSAT Writing section 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 unable to locate or borrow a computer, candidates may also be able to take the LSAT Writing at a commercial or professional certification testing center in their area. LSAC can provide information about testing centers as needed.
Will I be able to request accommodations for LSAT Writing?
Yes. Starting with the June 2019 test registration period, candidates will 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 the LSAT Writing practice environment that will be available in May 2019. The LSAT Writing practice environment will use the same software as the actual LSAT Writing test. 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.
Will LSAT Writing be available outside of North America?
Yes. LSAT Writing will be available in all locations with access to the Internet when it launches in June 2019.
What are the fees associated with LSAT Writing?
If candidates have already taken the LSAT, they have the option of taking the writing section again for $15; however, taking the writing section again is not required. If candidates register for the June or July tests, the cost of the writing section is included in the total cost of the test, which is $190. In other words, there is no additional cost to candidates.
Is LSAT Writing required for applying to law schools?
All candidates must have at least one writing sample on file—either from an earlier paper-and-pencil administration of the LSAT or from LSAT Writing—in order to have their Law School Report (which is a compilation of the candidate’s undergraduate and graduate school records, admissions test score(s), writing sample(s), letters of recommendation, and other relevant materials) sent to any law schools to which they want to apply.
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 in order to complete a Law School Report. Writing samples may be from either a previous LSAT administration or from an administration of LSAT Writing.
When can I take LSAT Writing?
LSAT Writing will go live for candidates taking the June LSAT on June 3, 2019—the same day as the LSAT administration. Starting with the June 2019 LSAT administration and for subsequent administrations, candidates will be eligible to take the LSAT Writing on the day of their LSAT administration and for up to one year thereafter.
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 used to complete a Law School Report.
What features are included in the LSAT Writing interface?
LSAT Writing’s interface offers many common word-processing functions, including a spell-check function and the ability to cut, copy, and paste text within candidates’ essays. LSAT Writing also includes a variety of accessibility features, such as a font magnifier, line reader, and speech-to-text compatibility.
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.
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?
Most schools use LSAT candidate writing samples as a part of the admission process. However, each school uses writing samples in its own way. LSAC expects that schools will rely more on the writing sample in the future since writing samples from LSAT Writing will be easier to read than the previously handwritten essays.
How will I log in to take LSAT Writing?
Candidates will launch LSAT Writing from a link in their LSAC.org accounts. More information about this process will be provided early in 2019.
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.
What if I have technical difficulties during LSAT Writing?
LSAC’s technology vendor will provide 24/7 technical support via phone and in-application chat boxes. 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.
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 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 investigation.
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.
If I take LSAT Writing more than once, will law schools see all my writing samples?
Based on input from law schools, LSAC will retain the current policy of providing admission professionals with access to candidates’ three most recent writing samples. This policy will be applied uniformly to writing samples produced during pencil-and-paper LSAT administrations that occurred prior to June 2019 and writing samples produced in LSAT Writing from June 2019 onward. As a result, if one of a candidate’s three most recent writing samples was completed during a paper-and-pencil administration of the LSAT prior to June 2019, then admission professionals will still have access to that sample.
Can I review my writing sample after I have completed the LSAT Writing test?
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.