How to Prepare for the LNAT

The Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) is a university admissions test required by some top universities for Law. The aim of the LNAT exam is to help universities assess your logical thinking and essay writing skills, which are integral to university-level study.

It’s critical that you prepare for the challenges of the LNAT exam and learn actionable strategies for success. That’s where The Profs’ expert LNAT tutors can help. With first-hand experience of the exam content, tried-and-tested strategies for approaching the questions, and an understanding of how it fits into the wider admissions process for top universities, our tutors are able to help you perform well in the LNAT and secure a place at your first choice law school.

What is the LNAT?

The LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test) is a university admissions test used to determine the most well-suited students for Law degrees. The exam doesn’t test any subject knowledge or your knowledge of the law. Instead, it helps universities assess your aptitude for certain skills required to study a law degree, including logic, critical thinking, and forming clear and convincing arguments.

Despite not requiring specific subject knowledge, we strongly advise all students sitting the LNAT to practise and prepare for the exam in advance. Read on to find out how to prepare or get straight in touch with our team of LNAT experts to get started today.

Which universities require the LNAT?

The LNAT is not used by all universities. Only a handful of the most competitive universities use it in order to differentiate between Law applicants. They are:

  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge*
  • University of Durham
  • University of Glasgow
  • King’s College London
  • London School of Economics (LSE)
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • SOAS University of London
  • University College London (UCL)

*Previously, the University of Cambridge used its own test – the Cambridge Law Test – to assess its applicants, and this test took place on the same day as their interview. It has now switched to the LNAT, which applicants need to register for and take before the 15th October Oxbridge application deadline.

What is included in the LNAT exam?

The LNAT consists of two parts: Section A, which includes multiple-choice questions based on passages of text, and Section B, which is an essay question.

Section A: Multiple-choice

Section A is a computer-based test that will require you to read 12 passages of text and answer 42 multiple-choice questions that test your understanding of those passages. You will have 95 minutes to try and answer all of the questions.

The passages of text presented to you will be on a wide range of topics, many (or any) of which will not be related explicitly to Law at all. Instead, they will include a mixture of news-style articles and commentary. In the 2010 practice test, for example, you will find texts on subjects including physicians and patients, car ownership, right and wrong language, and faith and the theologian.

The questions asked on these texts are a test of your comprehension. You may be asked to finish a sentence with one of the options, choose the most appropriate quote, decipher the essence of an argument, and more.

Section B: Essay

In Section B of the LNAT, you will be asked to write one essay from a list of questions on a range of subjects. You will have 40 minutes to answer your chosen essay question. This section is your opportunity to show that you have a solid command of written English, that you are able to construct a compelling argument, and that you can reach a well-evidenced conclusion.

There’s no way to predict which subjects your essay questions will be on, however they are often tied to moral, social, or existential problems that are nuanced and have many possible answers. Previous LNAT questions, for example, include: ‘In what circumstances should abortion be permitted and why?’ ‘‘‘Women now have the chance to achieve anything they want.” How do you respond to this statement?’ and ‘The internet and instant communication technologies are profoundly changing our world for the better. Do you agree?’

There’s no ‘right’ answer to the questions in that examiners won’t be looking for one particular opinion over another. It’s all about considering both your argument and the relevant counter arguments, and presenting these in a clear and logical structure.

How is the LNAT marked?

Your scores from the multiple-choice section of the test (Section A) are marked automatically and you will be given a score out of 42. This is known as your ‘LNAT score’ and will be used by all universities to compare candidates against one another. Each university will have its own ‘benchmark’ score that it deems good for that year, as well as give different weight to your LNAT score compared to other measures. For instance, some will treat it as the most important measure behind A level grades, while others may pay more attention to your personal statement and LNAT essay.

Section B (the essay question) is not marked automatically by your test centre and does not contribute to your ‘LNAT score’. Instead, it may be used by universities for a number of reasons, including as a basis for interview questions. Universities may also compare your LNAT essay to your personal statement and school report, or use it to distinguish between borderline candidates.

Most top universities will take your LNAT essay into account. UCL, for example, specifies that the LNAT essay is given considerable weight in its consideration as it is “the only piece of writing that we receive under exam conditions, and demonstrates a candidates abilities to reason, argue and to construct a cohesive essay.”

Some universities also prescribe their own mark scheme to the LNAT essay and share these as part of their LNAT results. Oxford, for example, marks essays as a percentage, with 60-64 being a ‘good’ essay, 65-69 being ‘very good’, and 70 and above being ‘excellent’. See the section below for more information on the average scores of successful applicants.

What is a good LNAT score?

There is no fixed weight to the LNAT and different universities will utilise your result in different ways, as outlined above, so it’s impossible to say what a definitively ‘good’ LNAT score is. Nevertheless, by looking at the scores of previously successful applicants to some universities, we can get a good idea of what score is most likely to lead to an interview and then to a successful offer.

The table below shows the average LNAT scores of applicants offered an interview and an offer of place on Oxford University’s Law course (2021-22).

Offered an interview Successful offer holder
Average LNAT score (multiple-choice) 27.03 28.25
Average essay score 63.52 64.05

Due to Cambridge having only used the LNAT (rather than the Cambridge Law Test) for one admissions cycle, there is no data on the average score of successful offer holders, however we can assume that it is similar to Oxford’s. The average LNAT scores of successful candidates at other universities tend to range from 25-28, with UCL’s average being 27 and LSE’s being 26 in 2019-20. We recommend that applicants to top universities aim to achieve 27-28 for the best chance of receiving an offer.

As explained above, universities typically set their own mark schemes for the LNAT essay, and most universities do not share these scores, so Oxford’s average score is not comparable. However, with the help of The Profs’ LNAT tutors, many of whom have insider knowledge of the Law admissions process at Oxford, you’ll be able to use this as a guide when preparing for the LNAT essay. To get started with one of our experienced LNAT tutors, get in touch with our team today.

When is the LNAT?

Registration and booking for the LNAT opens on 1st August, with testing starting on 1st September (correct for 2022). You then have until 20th January to register and book your LNAT test, and until 25th January to sit the test, if you are applying for any universities other than Oxford, Cambridge, or LSE.

If you are applying for Oxbridge, you will need to sit the LNAT before you submit your UCAS application by the 15th October deadline. If you are applying for LSE, you are required to sit the LNAT on or before 31st December.

The LNAT can be taken on any day that there is an appointment slot free at your local test centre. The earlier you book your test, the more chance you have of getting an appointment on the day of your choice. In general, we recommend sitting the test sooner rather than later to allow yourself enough time to complete your university application and prepare for any required interviews.

All of these dates are subject to change and may be different year-to-year. Always check deadlines directly with your chosen university and on the LNAT website before registering to ensure you meet the necessary requirements.

How do you register for the LNAT?

Before sitting the LNAT, you must register for the test via the Pearson VUE online registration system. To set up your online account, you will need to register your contact details. You’ll then be able to book and pay for your test.

If your booking is being made on your behalf by your school or college, remember that it is your responsibility to make sure your booking is accurate and meets any necessary deadlines.

If you have examination access requirements (such as extended time for dyslexia, arrangements for impaired mobility, hearing or vision, etc.) then you should not book your test online. Instead, follow the instructions on the LNAT Exam Access Requirements page.

How much does the LNAT cost?

How much the LNAT costs depends on where you are taking it. If you are sitting the LNAT in a UK or EU test centre, it costs £75. If you are sitting the LNAT in a test centre outside the EU, it costs £120.

When can you find out your LNAT results?

LNAT results are emailed to candidates twice a year. Candidates taking the LNAT on or before 26th January will receive their results in mid February, while candidates taking the test after 26th January will receive their results in mid August.

Both your LNAT score and essay are made available to your chosen universities without you needing to do anything. These are then considered alongside your UCAS application and any interviews you attend.

5 tips for preparing for the LNAT

1. Read widely and think critically about what you’re reading

The LNAT is designed to test your ability to think critically and apply logical reasoning when faced with new information. One of the best ways to prepare for an exam like this is to read widely from quality sources such as newspapers. Some examples of worthy sources include: The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Economist, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times, and more.

As you read these papers, consider the issues being raised in them and think about the following questions:

  • What assumptions are being made by the author?
  • What are the conclusions being drawn?
  • What information is being relied upon to draw these conclusions?
  • How would you frame a counterargument?
  • Are there any subtle differences in meaning in the text?
  • Is this a news or a comment piece? Is the contrast really apparent in practice?

Thinking through these questions and making notes as you read is a powerful way of programming your mind to think logically and form opinions and arguments. These skills are helpful for both the multiple-choice section and essay section of the exam.

Though you won’t need to know any specific information for the LNAT, staying up to date with current affairs and reading from quality news sources such as those above will inevitably improve your writing ability and allow you to form intelligent, evidenced arguments. It can be helpful to also read about news in the field of Law, especially in preparation for any interviews you might need to attend. Make sure you read from reputable sources such as the Law Society Gazette and The Guardian’s Law section.

Joe’s tip: Don’t just stick to articles on topics that you’re interested in or already understand. Part of the challenge of the LNAT is comprehending texts on topics that you may have never heard of before or find difficult to understand. Familiarise yourself with difficult words and topics and learn to approach them using the same questions and logical thinking style as above to prepare yourself for the passages of text you’ll face in section A.

2. Get to know the question types

The first section of the LNAT consists of multiple-choice questions. While you might think you don’t need to/can’t really prepare for these types of questions, that’s certainly not the case; these are not easy multiple-choice questions and there are always ways you can prepare to maximise your marks in the exam.

The multiple-choice questions in the LNAT require you to comprehend the initial text as well as decipher what the questions are asking you, identify the relevant areas of text they are referring to, and then choose the most accurate statement from the options available. It’s important not to make assumptions and instead deal with absolutes in these questions. Practising this type of thinking through wider reading (section 1), as well as practice tests (see step 3), is particularly useful.

The second section of the LNAT is the essay question. This is your opportunity to impress university admissions tutors with your ability to make a concise and interesting argument using a good command of the English language. Examiners will be looking for a well-constructed essay that offers both arguments and counter-arguments in a logical way. This can be a difficult skill to learn, but our LNAT tutors are highly experienced and know just what examiners will be looking for here, so reach out for support if you need it. You can also find sample essays on the LNAT website to help you practise writing in the correct style.

3. Take practice tests under timed conditions

As with all exams, one of the best ways to prepare is to take practice tests under timed conditions to simulate the conditions you will face in the real exam. Make sure that when you complete practice tests, you do so without music and in a quiet place to truly test your skills and get a clear picture of what you need to improve on.

You can access multiple practice tests on the LNAT website, including a simulation of the LNAT exactly as it will appear on-screen at the test centre. Use this to your advantage and make sure that you are familiar with the layout and content of the exam so that you can make the most of your time in the real exam.

4. Practise writing essays on subjects that you are unfamiliar with

There’s a chance that you won’t be familiar with some or all of the subjects of the essay questions in the LNAT. Many of them are relatively advanced philosophical, social, and moral questions that will require careful consideration and critical thinking.

To help prepare for this, practise writing essays on subjects that you are unfamiliar with. This helps you to focus on the thinking skills, planning, and structure of the essay instead of getting too wrapped up in the subject detail. This will also help you gauge how much time you should be spending before you begin writing your essay.

Joe’s tip: Although you only have 40 minutes to write your essay, planning is essential to writing one that is logical, coherent, and stands out to your university. Practise the process of quickly planning a well-constructed and balanced argument. An example given by LNAT themselves is as follows:

Question: ‘Do you think that national service is a thing of the past or could it
perform an important role in modern society?’
Essay plan:
Introduction:

  • What is national service?
  • Why was the national service used in the past?
  • Why is it no longer used?
  • How will you approach the question?

Arguments for reintroduction:

  • Strengthens the armed forces capability
  • Increases employability of participants
  • Discipline
  • Encourages patriotism and community pride

Arguments against reintroduction:

  • An abuse of human rights
  • Impact on commerce
  • Prevents early career development
  • Overall quality of service personnel is reduced

Conclusion:

  • Pros versus cons
  • Alternatives to national service

5. Get help from a professional LNAT tutor

How you perform in the LNAT will impact how likely you are to be offered a place by top universities, so it’s really important that you are prepared to do as well as possible in the exam. Unfortunately, schools and colleges are oftentimes not equipped to provide specialist LNAT preparation due to a lack of experience, expertise or resources. As a result, we advise seeking a professional LNAT tutor to help you through the process.

The Profs’ LNAT tutors have many years of experience preparing students for the LNAT exam, with many having actual experience as university admissions officers as well. Over these years, they have built a bank of previous questions and developed in-depth knowledge of the mark scheme, so they know exactly what examiners will be looking for.

More than 90% of students who work with us receive offers from their first or second choice universities. If you work with The Profs, you are also more than three times more likely to get into Oxford and Cambridge, which are considered the second and third best universities in the world to study Law at respectively. You’ll also gain invaluable independent study skills that will prepare you for higher education, as well as a deeper and broader understanding of Law as a field.

Plus, you can trust us to guide you through every stage of the admissions process to ensure that you don’t just succeed in the LNAT, but also achieve top A level or IB grades and perform well in any required interviews. Reach out to our team today to get started.