Jun 18, 2023

Written By Samuel Axford

The LNAT: Understanding the Format and Expectations

Jun 18, 2023

Written By Samuel Axford

The Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) is a test offered to students looking to study law at undergraduate level. While the prospect of another exam may sound nerve racking, It is important to remember that only a handful of universities require this admissions test, and it is still viewed alongside the rest of your application.

What’s the format of the LNAT?

The LNAT examination is sat at an assessment centre, on a computer and split up into two Sections, a multiple-choice ‘Section A’ and a written essay exercise, ‘Section B’.

Section A

The first part of the LNAT will give you a series of 12 passages, with 42 multiple-choice questions to complete based on the passages. When completing this section, you have 95 minutes and are free to go back to check and change answers for the full 95 minutes. Once you have moved on to Section B, you cannot go back.

This section is not designed to test any existing knowledge of the law, but rather your ability to break down large passages to extract the most important information and make logical deductions. To help prepare, it’s a good idea to take practice exams, so you know what style of reasoning they expect from you.

Section A is marked out of 42 and the result from Section A will be known as your LNAT score. This is marked independently by the LNAT examiners and will be sent directly to you after your test.

Section B

Once you confirm the submission of Section A, you will have a further 40 minutes to complete Section B. In this part, you will have three essay questions to choose from, and will choose three to complete. These questions will be on a range of current affairs topics, to enable applicants to produce their best work.

The idea is to express your viewpoint clearly and effectively, to show that you have considered both sides of the argument, but ultimately landed on one side definitively and convincingly.

For this section, it is important to practise writing in timed conditions, as you will not be able to revise or prepare in the same way you would for an A-level subject. Being confident in choosing a topic, planning, writing, and then proofreading all within 40 minutes is vital, so be sure to practise in timed conditions.

Section B is not marked by the LNAT examining board, but is sent to the universities you’ve applied to for them to read it. This means that you will not get your Section B score back when you get your LNAT score.

What LNAT score do I need?

Whilst every university will have different expectations for students, the national average LNAT score has sat around the low 20s for the past few years, being 20.8 out of 42 in the 2021/2022 cycle. For those wishing to apply to Oxbridge, the average Oxford test score of successful applicants was 27.03.

It is also important to remember that the LNAT score is only Section A. In Section B, the average for Oxford students in that same year sat around 63.52%, with the university often placing a higher emphasis on the written work.

If you are apprehensive about the test, it’s worth noting that a successful Oxford applicant got 16 out of 42. While you should put as much work you can into preparing, you should also remember that universities look at your application in its entirety, including the personal statement and interviews, if applicable.

Sitting the LNAT

The LNAT costs £75, or £120 if you’re taking it outside the UK or EU. However, there are bursaries available. It must be sat at one of the UK’s 50 assessment centres. For international students, there are a further 450 outside of the UK. On the assessment day, remember to take a form of ID with you to the test centre as they will need it to verify your identity.

The test itself is taken on a computer, with students in each cohort given a set starting time to begin. The test must then be completed within the allotted two hours and 15 minutes.

Registration to sit the LNAT for the 2023/24 application cycle will open on August 1, 2023, with the first test taking place on September 1st.

Oxbridge students will need to sit it by 16th October, but other universities will have their own deadlines. You can choose to sit it either before or after you submit your UCAS choices, but it is important to check the deadline for each university you apply to, as they vary between universities. The very latest it can be sat is 20th January 2024.

How to prepare

Being almost two decades old, there is a wealth of material to help you practise. For Section A, the LNAT website itself offers an online practice test, which simulates the style and layout, as well as the content of the exam.

Example Section B topics and questions can also be found on the LNAT website. However, it’s important to remember the strict 40-minute time limit when practising.

It’s also a good idea to read the news and op-eds regularly, to familiarise yourself with current affairs topics and practice analysing passages of information.

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Should I be worried about the LNAT?

Whilst the LNAT is a challenging test, designed to push even the brightest student, it is important to remember that it is not the only deciding factor universities use when judging your application. There are also many universities that don’t request the LNAT.

Making sure you have a strong personal statement and can show a strong interest in law as a subject or profession is just as important.

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