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How to Improve LSAT Writing Scores

by Van Thompson, studioD

The writing section of the LSAT isn't scored, which means you won't know how well -- or poorly -- you did. Instead, the essay you write is sent directly to the law schools to which you apply, serving as a first introduction to your writing skills. Because writing forms a core component of law school, poor writers may be eliminated from consideration. Boosting your performance on this section may cause admissions officers to take notice.

Read and Then Read More

Reading will make you a better writer, so spend a few weeks before you take the LSAT reading books, newspapers and magazines. Focus on comprehension and dissecting the arguments you read; this will help you comprehend and completely address the writing prompt you get on the LSAT. When you notice weaknesses in writing, take note, and when something is highly convincing, consider what about the writing makes it so. Then try to imitate this approach on your essay.

Practice Basic Logic

The LSAT contains an entire section dedicated to logic games, so practicing logic should already be on your LSAT to-do list. But law schools will also be checking to ensure your essay follows basic rules of logic. For example, "not B" does not necessarily mean A. You'll want to steer clear of making such common errors, as overstating your point or missing key arguments can make you a less impressive candidate.

Master Arguments and Rhetoric

Your essay needs a succinct and compelling thesis to make the strongest possible argument, so brush up on the basics of writing an argumentative essay. Ensure that each paragraph provides specific evidence in support of your position or fairly and completely addresses a potential objection. It can be helpful to read argumentative essays written by masters of rhetoric to get an idea of what a persuasive essay actually looks like.

Perfect Your Grammar and Vocabulary

It might seem like a waste of time to practice basic grammar, but tiny missteps can quickly add up to an incoherent and poorly written essay. Try reviewing grammar textbooks and writing sample essays. Then have someone proofread your essay for errors. Similarly, a good -- and precise -- vocabulary can make your essay more impressive and convincing, so practice your vocabulary by regularly looking up words you encounter that you don't understand or reviewing vocabulary textbooks. A strong vocabulary can help you master the art of precision in your writing.

About the Author

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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