If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, there’s no reason you should let that get in the way of a strong LSAT score. Writing—like anything else on the test—is something you can practice and learn. This is especially true if you have the right guidance. Here are some LSAT essay tips you can use to craft a strong case in the LSAT writing sample.
Write for Clarity First
There’s a temptation among naturally gifted writers to show off their talents with flowery prose. But you’re writing a legal document here. Your priority should be clarity. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you practice:
- Eliminate adverbs and modifiers. In most legal cases, adverbs and modifiers tend to be more about the flowery nature of prose than the facts. It’s better to reduce your use of adverbs and modifiers and stick to basic ideas. Simple sentences are best.
- Avoid passive voice. Passive voice (i.e. “the gold was stolen by the thief” vs “the thief stole the gold”) tends to reduce clarity. Write short and direct sentences to maintain clarity.
Write Your Conclusion Twice
During the LSAT, you’ll be asked to make a case given a certain set of facts. You might find yourself tempted to spend too long deciding which case is best. Don’t. Instead, realize that what the LSAT is looking for is your ability to make a case, not necessarily the strength of the case itself.
Once you have your conclusion, remember that you should write it twice: once in the introduction and once in the conclusion. Use the body of your essay as a litany of facts that support the case. Within each paragraph, use supporting sentences that further demonstrate the strength of your case. This tight structure will help enhance clarity and make a persuasive case, no matter which conclusion you chose.
Stick to the Information Presented
As a lawyer, you’ll be expected to stick to the facts of the case. The written portion of the LSAT will require the same discipline. You’ll have to stick to the information presented for the essay. Avoid using external information to bolster your case. Instead, focus on the facts of the case itself.
It may seem that bringing in external facts could help to bolster your case. But the LSAT isn’t necessarily looking for external facts. They want to see how you deal with a pre-existing set of facts and how you organize these facts to create the most compelling argument. If you stick to the structure listed above, you’ll craft an essay that does so with confidence.
Believe that You Can Improve
Just as believing your natural writing talents will carry you through the LSAT essay section is a mistake, it’s also a mistake to assume you can’t improve before taking the test. If you don’t practice the specific steps for this portion of the exam, you’ll never learn the best habits.
That’s why we recommend LSAT tutoring. The most valuable way you can build your writing skills for the LSAT is by having another set of eyes review your work. With accountability and guidance, you’ll be well on your way to building a strong essay on the day of the LSAT!