LSAT Format Comparison: Current LSAT, Prior LSAT and Prior (Temporary) “LSAT Flex”

The substance and content of the LSAT has barely changed in decades. However, there have been a couple recent format changes that have affected the length and number of sections of the exam. Listed below is a detailed description of (1) the current version of the LSAT (that began in August 2021 and will continue for at least 2-3 years), (2) the former version of the LSAT used in the vast majority of practice LSAT PrepTests (i.e., prior to May 2020) and (3) the temporary “LSAT Flex” format used from May 2020-June 2021.
The Current (and Future) “LSAT” [August 2021 and onward]
  • The LSAT currently is offered in the format described below.
  • A total of FOUR sections, each of which is 35 minutes long (unless you get a time accommodation) with an optional 10-minute break at the half-way point (i.e., between the 2nd and 3rd section).
  • The total exam time is approximately 2-1/2 hours (including the optional break).
  • Three of the four sections of the current LSAT are GRADED, including one Logical Reasoning, one Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) and one Reading Comp section.
  • The fourth section is an ungraded “experimental” section (similar to the former LSAT). The ungraded “experimental” section could be either Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) or Reading Comp (and no, you won’t know which one is “experimental” when taking the exam!). This section is used by LSAC to test questions for future use.
  • The current LSAT is taken at home, monitored by a webcam (like with the former LSAT-Flex) – however, you may be able to get an accommodation allowing you to take the paper-and-pencil version.
  • The LSAT Writing section (35 minutes) is taken on either the same day or a different day, depending upon your preference. You are required to complete it (if you haven’t already done one) before LSAC will release your LSAT score. The LSAT Writing Sample is ungraded, but it is copied and distributed to all of the law schools to which you apply.
  • As can be seen below, the major change from the prior LSAT format (pre-May 2020) is that there is one fewer Logical Reasoning section. As a result, on a percentage basis, Reading Comp and Analytical Reasoning are now weighted more heavily, and Logical Reasoning is weighted less heavily, than before. Each LSAT question is still worth exactly one point towards your “raw score.”
The Prior (Former) LSAT [Pre-May 2020]
The former LSAT (i.e., the way the LSAT was administered through April 2020, prior to the coronavirus) was administered as follows:
  • There were six 35-minute sections to the LSAT.  Four of those sections (two Logical Reasoning sections, one Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) section, and one Reading Comprehension section) comprised your “graded” LSAT score.
  • The fifth section was an ungraded “experimental” section, similar to the current format. It could have been either another Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning or Reading Comprehension section.
  • Students took three 35-minute sections back-to-back, then had a 15-minute break, then took the last two 35-minute sections back-to-back. Finally, there was a 35-minute Writing Sample comprising the sixth section. The total amount of time of the six-section exam (including the 15-minute break) was approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Almost all of the published practice LSATs are “former” LSATs, whether you have them in book or digital form (the digital LSATs also currently provides one LSAT in the “LSAT Flex” format below).  Only the four “graded” sections of each LSAT are published, the “experimental” section is not published.
  • The LSAT Writing section (prompt) is included in the book form of the prior LSATs, but not in the digital/online format.
The Prior (Former) “LSAT Flex” [May 2020-June 2021]
  • While the former LSAT-Flex is no longer being used and is not particularly relevant to you any more, a discussion of it is included here for reference purposes.
  • Beginning in May 2020, the LSAT started with the LSAT-Flex, as a temporary remedy to address the coronavirus.  It was administered in that format through the June 2021 LSAT.
  • There were two differences between the LSAT-Flex and the former LSAT:  (1) you took the LSAT-Flex at home, monitored by a webcam, and (2) there were only three sections in the LSAT-Flex, instead of five (one Logical Reasoning, one Analytical Reasoning, and one Reading Comp).
  • In other words, there was no experimental section and only one Logical Reasoning section (instead of two) in the LSAT-Flex. You took each of the three 35-minute sections back-to-back, and there was no break with the LSAT-Flex. The total time was about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • You took the LSAT Writing section separately, and typically on a different day with the LSAT-Flex.

Questions? Please feel free to email me at mark@scoreitup.com!