The LNAT is used by universities to help them select candidates for their undergraduate law courses.
The test doesn’t test your knowledge of law or any other subject. Instead, it helps universities assess your aptitude for the skills required to study law. The content of the LNAT is managed by the members of the LNAT Consortium. The test itself is administered by Pearson VUE, under contract to LNAT.
The LNAT helps universities make fairer choices from the many highly-qualified applicants who want to join their undergraduate law programmes. It is used in collaboration with other admissions processes such as UCAS application and academic qualifications.
It is a two-part test: multiple choice questions based on passages of text, and an essay.
Section A: The first part is a computer-based multiple-choice exam. You’ll be asked to read passages of text and answer questions that test your comprehension of them. Your scores from the multiple-choice section of the test are checked by computer, and a mark out of 42 is created This is known as your LNAT score.
Section B: In the second part of the test you will be asked to write one essay from a list of three proposed subjects. This section is not marked by the test centre and does not contribute to your LNAT score, but it is your opportunity to show your ability to construct a compelling argument and reach a conclusion.
Both your LNAT score and essay are made available to the participating universities. These are then used to supplement your university application and show your aptitude for studying undergraduate law. LNAT was developed by a consortium of UK universities as a fair way to assess a candidate’s potential to study law at undergraduate level, regardless of their education or personal background.
The LNAT is designed to be a test of aptitude rather than educational achievement. The skills that candidates need to do well in the LNAT are also the skills that they need to do well in legal education. It is used alongside standard methods of selection such as A Level (or their global equivalent) results, university applications, and admissions interviews, to give a more accurate and rounded impression of the student’s abilities.
LNAT measures the verbal reasoning skills at the heart of legal education
The LNAT cannot be revised for, although those taking it will benefit from familiarising themselves with the style and format of the test. They can do this free of charge on the LNAT website. Students can sit the computer-based test at a time and test centre convenient to them, choosing from over 500 test centres in 165 countries around the world.
Candidates are required to produce recognised photo-identification (such as a passport) to sit the test. The LNAT is written and calibrated by Edexcel for Pearson VUE, the world’s leading computer-based testing and assessment business.
DO I NEED TO SIT THE TEST?
You need to take the LNAT during the September 2019 to June 2020 test cycle if you are applying for 2020 entry (or deferred entry in 2021) to any of the following UK undergraduate law programmes (listed by university and UCAS code).
WHEN DO I TAKE THE LNAT?
You should aim to take the test as early in the academic year as possible for maximum choice of test venue and availability, and to meet admissions deadlines. You must take the test in the UCAS year in which you are applying to university. You can only sit the test once in the cycle (September to June), and results cannot be carried over from one year to the next.
Are there any exemptions from the LNAT?
There are no general exemptions. In extreme cases, an individual university may grant an exemption to an individual candidate.
For example, if there is no test centre in your country, or if war or civil unrest or natural disaster makes it dangerous to reach a test centre before the deadline, or if your unplanned hospitalisation makes it impossible for you to attend at a test centre before the deadline, you should contact the LNAT-participating universities to which you have applied to ask if they will waive the LNAT requirement. This discretion will not be exercised in favour of candidates who miss a deadline by mistake (e.g. because they did not find out about the LNAT in time, or because they forgot to register). Neither the LNAT Consortium Ltd nor Pearson VUE can grant an exemption
Applications for exemption must be directed to the universities concerned. Each university will make its own decisions. If you are applying to several LNAT-participating universities, you need to make a separate exemption application to all of them.
The LNAT is a 2¼ hour test in two sections
This section consists of 42 multiple choice questions. The questions are based on 12 argumentative passages, with 3 or 4 multiple choice questions on each. You will be given 95 minutes to answer all of the questions. You’ll be able to review your answers at any time during the 95 minutes, but you will not be able to return to the multiple-choice section once you begin Section B.
In section B, you will have 40 minutes to answer one of three essay questions on a range of subjects to demonstrate your ability to argue economically and to come to a conclusion. You will need a good command of written English
When do universities see my results?
Starting on 21 October, the first batch of LNAT scores (tests taken between 1 September to 20 October) are released to the universities to download. After that date, within 24 hours of finishing your LNAT, Pearson VUE will make your LNAT score and essay available for download by your chosen university or universities. They will see your score before you do.
Each university’s admissions tutors will then refer to the candidate’s score as part of their application. The candidate’s LNAT score and the essays will be used by each university in the way that best suits its own admissions system. The LNAT does not replace A levels or their global equivalent but is used in conjunction with formal qualifications, the information on the UCAS or other application form, the candidate’s personal statement and, in some cases, performance at interview. There is no fixed weight to the LNAT and different universities will utilise the LNAT in different ways.
The use of LNAT essays varies and is dependent on each participating university’s admissions policy. Some universities may use it, for example, as the basis for interview questions. Others may compare it with the personal statement and school/college report on UCAS forms, or use it as a means of distinguishing between borderline candidates.
When will I see my results?
LNAT results are emailed to candidates twice a year, with test dates determining the results date.
- Candidates taking the LNAT on or before 20 January 2020 will receive their results in mid-February 2020.
- Candidates taking the test after 20 January 2020 will receive their results in mid-August 2020.
- Note: No specific dates can be given.
Candidates may only sit the LNAT once between 1 September 2019 and 31 July 2020 unless authorised to because of extenuating circumstances. If a candidate sits the test twice without authorisation, their later test sitting will be invalid. Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) applicants only may sit the test, also only once, between 1 September 2019 and 31 July 2020.
HOW TO PREPARE
The LNAT is designed to test your intellectual abilities rather than your knowledge about a particular subject. There are no facts to learn and no lessons to revise in preparation for the test. Instead you should concentrate on exercising the relevant parts of your brain, and on familiarising yourself with the test format.
The LNAT is a 2¼ hour test in two sections.
- Section A consists of 42 multiple choice questions. The questions are based on 12 argumentative passages, with 3 or 4 multiple choice questions on each. You are given 95 minutes to answer all of the questions.
- For Section B, you have 40 minutes to answer one of three essay questions on a range of subjects.
The LNAT Consortium has no connection with and does not endorse or recommend any preparatory materials provided by any other individual or organisation, whether commercially or free of charge. Any attempt to suggest that the LNAT Consortium makes any such endorsement should be reported to us so that action may be taken against the perpetrator. Be aware that coaching organisations’ screen views of any preparatory test may not resemble the real LNAT screens.
Reading and Thinking
Candidates can prepare for the LNAT by exercising the relevant parts of their brain. This can be done by reading a quality newspaper (in English) every day. As you read:
- Think about the issues being raised;
- What assumptions are being made?
- What information is being relied on to draw which conclusion?
- How would you frame a counterargument?
Reading a quality daily newspaper will help you to be aware of the world around you. The LNAT essay topics will not be specifically about current affairs, and you will not be judged by what facts you know. But knowing how the world ticks, in general terms, will help you to write intelligently about a host of different topics.
We have listed some newspapers below worth considering. You can read the online versions (usually freely available, although registration may be required). If you do read the online versions, remember to read the comment pieces as well as the news. (One question you might ask yourself: What exactly is the difference between news and comment? Is the contrast really apparent in practice?)
HINTS AND TIPS
Multiple choice question hints
You may like to start by skim-reading or “speed-reading” the multiple-choice passages. But then go back and read them slowly and deliberately, and think about the exact meaning of every sentence. Note key words and phrases on your whiteboard if it helps you to concentrate.
Don’t read anything in, and don’t read anything out. You are not being asked to surmise. And the questioner, not you, are the best judge of relevance. So, take everything in the passage at face-value and give it all even-handed attention.
Don’t ever rely on what you know from other sources in answering the multiple-choice questions. They are always questioning about the passage itself. If it contains falsehoods, never mind – treat them as true for the purpose of the test.
Accept that one (and only one) of the answers to each question is correct. All the questions have been thoroughly checked. If there are matters of degree, the question is there to test how you handle matters of degree. If there are ambiguities, we are trying to find out how you cope with ambiguities. The solution is always there in the passage.
Remember that one of the hallmarks of a good multiple-choice question is the inclusion of one or more answer options that are wrong but almost right. Work hard to find them and eliminate them. Questions like this are not tricks. They are there to test whether your powers of discrimination are fine-grained (i.e. can distinguish propositions that are very close together) or coarse-grained (i.e. can distinguish propositions only when they are quite far apart). There are no trick questions on the LNAT.
There is a point for each right answer. But none are deducted for wrong answers. So, don’t leave blanks. If you really can’t work out the answer, it’s better to eliminate the answers you know to be wrong and guess from the ones that are left.
You can skip multiple choice questions and come back to them by marking them for review. Remember, though, that you need to go back to them before the multiple-choice part of the test is over. You can’t go back to them after the essay.
Unlike some multiple-choice tests the LNAT does not put great emphasis on speed. We have designed it so that you have a reasonable amount of time to work through all the questions patiently. Pacing yourself correctly is one of the main things you can learn by taking practice tests.
We don’t care whether you have any data about the topic. An argument based on assumptions can be just as good as an argument based on information. But you need to say what your assumptions are. (e.g. “I will assume that the demand for health care is growing, and will continue to grow, out of proportion to supply. That being so, what can be done to ensure that rich countries don’t monopolize it?”)
We are also not very interested in your opinions. We are interested in whether you can defend a position – which may or may not be your own personal position. Sometimes you may do better if you attempt to defend a position that you do not agree with personally. This may make your argument tighter.
Economy of expression is important. Our ideal LNAT essay is 500-600 words long. If you write much less than this your essay will be too short to be evaluated properly and you are unlikely to do well. But a very long essay will also put you at a disadvantage. This panel of text (from the top of the page to the word “disadvantage on the left) is already about 600 words long. It was typed in about five minutes using two-fingered typing. You have 40 minutes to type a similar amount. So, you have lots of time to think, organise your thoughts, compose, and edit. You should try and remove repetition, surplus words and digressions. This kind of discipline will be rewarded.
Don’t sit on the fence. Don’t say that each side in an argument has a point unless you go on to say which point each side has. It is perfectly all right to say that that one side is right about point 1, whereas the other side is right about point 2. It is also all right to say that, on closer inspection, the two sides are at cross-purposes and don’t really disagree. It is fence-sitting only if you say that they do disagree, that there is only one point of disagreement, and yet that they both have a point on that point. That makes no sense.
Don’t try to impress with fancy words or elaborate style. Be straightforward in your writing and your argument.
- ‘The more you practice the more you can understand what the questions are getting at; tutoring doesn’t help, it’s common sense.’
- ‘Read the sample paper on the internet site, seek advice from tutors at college or school and familiarise yourself with texts of a more advanced and complex nature.’
- ‘Read newspapers and learn to formulate opinions and express them succinctly. Also practice at being able to read subtle differences in things, for the multiple choice.’
- ‘Doing the practice was useful to get a feel for how the test would go. This was helpful because I knew what to expect. I didn’t feel that I could have prepared any more for it though as you don’t know what the questions are going to be. Reading newspapers is helpful for the essay part as you’ll have a wider knowledge of the world and be able to answer a question more easily, it will also help your essay writing.’
- ‘Practice writing essays on subjects with which you are unfamiliar. This helps you to focus on the planning aspects of essay writing and the structure of the essay instead of getting too wrapped up in the subject detail.’
- ‘Perhaps read some difficult articles on topics of personal interest to familiarise with possibly difficult words that you may not understand out of context.’
- ‘Use the material and advice on the LNAT website. Familiarisation with typical content, format and timing was invaluable.’
During the test
- ‘Carefully read the instructions at the beginning of the test. I panicked half-way through the multiple-choice section of the test and believed I only had half the actual time available to do this section.’
- ‘Stay calm and keep track of time during the test as it was very time pressured and it would be easy to mismanage your time and therefore not perform as well as you should.’
- ‘Try to keep to time on the multiple-choice section and don’t over analyse the questions too much. I ran out of time on the multiple-choice section and had to guess the last few which didn’t help my score. Also don’t panic or get unnerved by the timer.’
- ‘It sounds silly but thoroughly read the questions, everyone is likely to say it, but genuinely read every single word’