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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Criminal Justice

The CAS and the LSAT

The Law School Credential Assembly Service (CAS)

Almost all ABA-approved law schools require their applicants to use the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).  According to the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), this services provides "a means of centralizing and standardizing undergraduate academic records to simplify the U.S. law school admission process."  Law school applicants must register with the CAS (a separate fee).  After registering with the CAS, you then must send them your transcripts and letters of recommendation.  They, in turn, then prepare an application profile for each law school to which you apply, sending the following:

  • an undergraduate academic summary;

  • copies of all undergraduate, graduate, and law/professional school transcripts;

  • your LSAT scores;

  • copies of the writing sample you wrote during the LSAT; and

  • copies of all your letters of recommendation processed by the LSAC.

You may register with the CAS online by pressing here.

 

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a half-day standardized test comprised of five sections of all multiple choice questions.  There is also a 35-minute writing sample all test-takers must complete that is not scored, but is distributed to the law schools to which you apply so they can assess how you write "off-the-cuff." 

According to the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) -- the people who administer the LSAT, the test is "designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically, and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others."

  • Scores on the LSAT range from 120 to 180.

  • The test is comprised of the following sections:

    • Two, 35-minute sections of "Logical Reasoning."  You will find between 24 and 26 questions asking you to analyze between 12 and 16 arguments; 

    • One 35-minute section of "Logic Games."  You will usually find four sets of conditions about which you will be asked approximately 23-24 questions;

    • One 35-minute section of "Reading Comprehension."  You should expect four different passages about which you will be asked approximately 26-28 questions;

    • One 35-minute experimental segment that poses future questions.  It could be a third "Logical Reasoning" section, or a second "Logic Games" or a second "Reading Comprehension" section.  There is no way to tell which sections count, and which one is the experimental section, so you must approach all five sections with equal seriousness.

Registering for the LSAT

  • There is a registration fee for taking the LSAT. If you meet certain criteria, you may qualify for a fee waiver. Late registrants must pay an additional fee. These fees usually increase annually.

  • Press here to see the LSAT administration dates for the year.

  • Press here to access the online LSAC registration site. From there, you may register for the LSAT (as well as register with the CAS).

Preparing for the LSAT

To be prepared for the LSAT, the Department of Criminal Justice recommends the following:

  • Ideally, you should arrange your schedule to take PHIL 270: Symbolic Logic in the spring semester of the year prior to which you intend to apply to law school. Then, you should take the LSAT in June following the completion of the course in logic.

  • You should take one or two law courses outside of the Department of Criminal Justice that stress logical and analytical reasoning skills before taking the LSAT. We recommend the following:

    • Business
      • BLAW 220: Introduction to Law and Business Transactions
      • BLAW 320: Legal and Regulatory Environment oF Business
    • Political Science
      • POSC 311: Constitutional Law I - Power
      • POSC 312: Constitutional Law II - Rights
  • You should do as much home study for the LSAT as possible over your sophomore and junior years of college by doing released tests and practice tests.

    • Follow this link to an online resources that offers free LSAT practice questions with good answer explanations.
  • After having done as much home study for the LSAT as you can, you should then invest in a professional LSAT prep class, such as those offered by Kaplan or Princeton Review, and take the class immediately prior to when you plan to take the LSAT.

 

Taking the LSAT

The best time to take the LSAT is in June after your junior year in college.  At that time, you will be out of school and should have had a month to prepare, undistracted by school work. In contrast, the work load at school is usually heavy around the October test date, and at its highest at the December test time.  If something impairs your ability to take the June test at the end of your junior year, you should plan to take the LSAT during the first time it is offered during the fall of your senior year (usually late September to early October). Press here to see the LSAT administration dates for the year.

Re-Taking the LSAT

You should view the LSAT as a one-shot deal.  Unlike the SAT, most law schools (but not all) do not accept the highest LSAT score you achieve.  Rather, most law law schools average your scores.  So, if you bomb the LSAT with a 140, and then increase you score to a respectable 155, as far as most law school are concerned, you scored a 148. 

In light of how difficult it is to increase your LSAT score by more than few points, it is rarely worth while to take the LSAT a second time absent some extenuating circumstance (such as illness during the first exam).  In fact, you run the risk of scoring the same (or even worse!), thereby decreasing your chances of admission since you will have reinforced your lack of honed logical and analytical skills.