Sep 14, 2023

Written By Zara Arif

Unveiling the Hidden Mysteries of LNAT

Sep 14, 2023

Written By Zara Arif

‘LNAT’ stands for the Law National Aptitude Test and is a standardised test used by some universities as one part of the admissions processes for their law courses. The main skill being assessed is the ability to think critically when presented with information. It is a test that can hold weight in the process as it demonstrates a candidate’s aptitude for legal studies. 

Understanding the Format and Content

The key to succeeding in the LNAT is understanding the format and content. 

Firstly, it is important to highlight that only a handful of UK universities require you to take it in order to study there. These are: Durham University; King’s College London; London School of Economics (LSE); SOAS University of London; University College London (UCL); University of Bristol; the University of Cambridge; University of Glasgow; and University of Oxford.  Two international universities also require it: The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and IE University in Spain.

There are two sections of the LNAT: a multiple-choice question section and an essay section. The test lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes in total: 95 minutes recommended for the first section and 40 for the latter. 

There are 42 multiple choice questions based on 12 argumentative passages. Each has 3-4 corresponding questions. This section focuses on reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and interpretation of information. 

In the essay section, candidates have to choose from one of three current affairs questions and present a well-reasoned argument. 

Preparing for the Multiple-Choice Questions

The best way to prepare is to hone critical thinking skills. 

A good way to do this is by learning how to read passages efficiently. This means practising identifying main ideas and extracting key information. This can be done by looking at the question first and understanding exactly what is being asked. 

Sometimes when trying to ascertain the difference between assumptions, conclusions, and good arguments it can be helpful to have a piece of paper by your side to jot down any facts, patterns or draw a diagram to help you visualise. 

Excelling in the Essay-Writing Section

The essay section assesses the important skill of being able to construct a coherent example and supporting it with relevant examples.  

It is important to have a short introduction which summarises what the essay is about, followed by a well-developed and evidenced body and a concise conclusion. 

It is best to take some time to organise your ideas into a succinct and logical plan before you start writing. Even if this takes 5-10 minutes off your writing time, it is worth taking a moment to brainstorm before you begin writing to make sure you follow the same line of thinking throughout your essay. This is especially needed under the time pressure. 

Developing Effective Time Management

Another added challenge of the LNAT is managing your time effectively. It’s best to set a time limit for each question and section: this will help to lessen panic, stop you having to constantly check the clock and give you time to check your answers.

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Utilising Preparation Resources

The best way to get an insight into the format and time constraints is by using official LNAT practice tests which can be accessed online here. It is also possible to use American LSAT practice tests, but bear in mind that they might be slightly different as law is a graduate entry degree in the US. 

After taking these practice tests your preparation can be tailored to focussing on your weaknesses whilst reinforcing your strengths.

Outside of this, it is always beneficial to read pieces of formal writing in order to develop your critical thinking skills. After reading, you can make a list of the main points, strengths and weaknesses. 

Building Confidence and Reducing Test Anxiety

One obstacle for a lot of candidates to overcome is the anxiety that comes with taking standardised tests like the LNAT. Rest assured that these nerves are normal and many people feel like this. Whilst everyone manages nerves differently, some helpful strategies to reduce any anxiety include deep breathing and visualisation of goals. Taking mock tests allows you to simulate the real testing conditions and prove to yourself that you can get through the LNAT.

Strategies for Test Day

To set yourself up in the best stead, get a good night’s sleep before your test and go into the test with maximum energy. Make sure to plan your journey to the test centre in advance in order to avoid stress as you must arrive 15 minutes before the start of the test. You will need to take your ID, the confirmation email and stationery with you. Most importantly, don’t forget to plan something fun to do after the exam, to take your mind off it and reward your efforts.

Interpreting Your LNAT Scores

If you take the test before 20th October, the universities will receive the results directly from the test provider on the 21st October. For tests taken after 20th October, results are sent directly to the universities within 24 hours of you taking the test. You are scored out of 42 for the multiple-choice section. The essay section does not receive a grade but is shared with universities. Different universities have different thresholds that they are looking for but the average score in the university year 2020/21 was 20.8/42. Your LNAT score is just one aspect of your application and is weighed against your academic record and personal statement. It is also important to note that different universities accord a different level of importance to the LNAT too.

Conclusion: Navigating the LNAT Successfully

Whilst the LNAT is an important part of the application process, the overall application and interest in law is something which prospective universities will be just as interested in seeing in students that they admit. What is important is approaching the test with a combination of careful preparation, confidence, and a positive attitude.

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