If you took the LSAT in June 2019 or later, then read on! The writing sample part of the LSAT has changed.
What is the LSAT writing sample? The writing sample portion of the LSAT is required but it is NOT scored. During this 35 minute timed portion, you will get a writing prompt and you’ll be asked to provide a written response. The prompts usually present two equally reasonable options. You will be asked to choose one and make a supported argument about why that option is preferable. Every law school to which you apply will receive your writing sample. This is intended to give them a sense of your competence with writing skills when you aren’t given the luxury of unlimited time and outside assistance. For an example of a writing sample topic and instructions, click here.
When do I take it? The LSAT writing sample used to be part of test day, but as of June 2019 it is done separately. LSAT takers will have one year after the LSAT to complete the writing sample. But you should know: Your LSAT score is not complete until the writing sample is submitted and processed. This means that none of your law school applications will be reviewed until your writing sample is complete.
What is the process like? After downloading the proctor software, you’ll take pictures with your computer showing your writing area so that it is clear you are not using forbidden materials like a dictionary. You will also take a picture of your government-issued photo ID to demonstrate that it’s really you taking the test. To learn more, click on the Get Acquainted With LSAT Writing link inside your CAS account. Click here for more information about the LSAT writing sample, including FAQs.
Once the pictures are submitted, the writing prompt will launch, and you will have 35 minutes to respond. You’ll type your answer in a text box with limited formatting options…kind of like a very simplified version of Word.
How long will it take to be processed? According to the LSAC, the writing sample will likely be processed within a week of completion. However, it can take up to three weeks for processing, so you will want to take the writing sample at least 3 weeks prior to your planned law school application date.
Our advice: Take the writing sample within a week of taking the LSAT. (Just put a reminder in your calendar to make sure you don’t forget.) This way, the ENTIRE LSAT experience will be over and you can apply to law school as early as possible without the writing sample hanging over your head. Don’t wait until the day before your Early Decision deadline to take the writing sample! And don’t wait until months later, when you’re likely to forget all about it and think the LSAT is done. You will be so glad that the entire LSAT is behind you and you can then turn to other elements of the application.