As part of the application process for General Entry to the Melbourne JD, applicants need to register for, and sit, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) administered by the Law School Admission Council. It is an independent, international written test, designed to measure aptitude for graduate legal study. It focuses on reading and verbal reasoning skills, and no knowledge of law is required.
Applicants are encouraged to sit the LSAT as early as possible and can sit the LSAT again to improve their score. Melbourne Law School will use an applicant’s highest LSAT score when assessing their application. We advise applicants to aim for a result in the top 25 percentile.
There are strict LSAT registration deadlines and fixed test dates. The LSAT can be taken in any Australian capital city and in many countries around the world. LSAT scores are valid for five years.
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to sit the LSAT?
All applicants are required to sit the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) when applying for the Melbourne JD. Only University of Melbourne Guaranteed Entry applicants are exempted from sitting the LSAT.
What score do I need?
When ranking applications, the selection committee considers an applicants’ LSAT score as well as their prior academic performance in all tertiary studies. A strong performance in the LSAT can compensate for weaker tertiary results and vice versa. As such, Melbourne Law School (MLS) cannot predict what LSAT score will be needed in order to successfully apply for the Melbourne JD. An LSAT score in the top 25th percentile is considered a strong result, however, we certainly accept students with a lower LSAT score if they have performed well in prior tertiary studies. A high LSAT score alone does not guarantee admittance to the Melbourne JD, as an applicant’s academic results are also relevant.
What can I expect?
The LSAT comprises five multiple choice sections and a writing sample. Applicants are allocated 35 minutes for each section, as well as the writing sample. Your writing sample assessment does not influence your LSAT score, although it does form part of your application.
The writing sample is no longer administered alongside the multiple-choice section on test day. Instead, upon completion of the multiple-choice test, applicants will be given access to online software and can complete the 35-minute writing sample at a time and place of their choosing. This change has been implemented by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) to shorten the LSAT day and give exam candidates more flexibility.
The writing sample must be completed from a computer running Windows or Mac OS that has a webcam, a microphone, only one connected monitor and an internet connection.
Applicants who already have a writing sample from a previous LSAT (valid for five years) are exempt from this part of the assessment. If you wish to provide a new writing sample, you can opt to do this for a fee.
Please note that your LSAT results will only be released to us once you have completed at least one writing sample. It is recommended that you complete the LSAT writing sample within two weeks of sitting the test.
LSAT multiple choice sections assess:
- Reading comprehension
- Analytical reasoning
- Logical reasoning
More details about these areas and what applicants can expect can be found on the LSAC website.
How should I prepare?
We strongly recommend that you take time to prepare for the LSAT. It is an aptitude test that measures certain skills (rather than content based tests you may be used to taking) so it's important to practise.
All tests sat outside of North America are still paper-based (excluding the writing sample) so we encourage you to do some paper-based studying to ensure you're best prepared for test day.
The LSAC website has preparation materials including sample questions, explanations and some sample tests. We encourage you to download the sample test and sit it under exam conditions. We also encourage you to familiarise yourself with the three different types of LSAT questions: reading comprehension, analytic reasoning and logical reasoning.
Many local bookshops also stock LSAT preparation books (which might be quicker than if you order directly through LSAC). These books contain beneficial information, including:
- Detailed explanations of the LSAT and how it is scored
- Tips and strategies to practice specific LSAT sections
- Guides for the week of the test, including what to expect on the day and after the test
LSAC have partnered with Khan Academy to offer free online diagnostic tests and personalised study plans to help you prepare for the LSAT. Diagnostic tests can help identify your strengths and weaknesses, and identify which questions may require more focus when preparing for the LSAT.
There is also plenty of online material providing tips and assistance with LSAT preparation. However, please note that some of these websites are independent from MLS and we cannot confirm their reliability.
Will the selection committee read my LSAT essay?
Yes. The writing sample is not scored, but copies are sent to us with your LSAT score report. The writing sample is your the opportunity to show the selection committee how you write an essay under exam conditions.
When do I sit the LSAT?
We encourage you to consider sitting the LSAT at the end of the second year of your undergraduate degree. This allows enough time to sit the test again if you wish to improve your score. In the past, the JD selection committee has seen applicants substantially improve their LSAT score in the second sitting. Remember that your LSAT score is only one of two criteria considered in assessing your application so it's important to focus on your undergraduate studies too.
There are four LSAT sittings offered each year. The LSAT held in October is the last test applicants can sit to be considered for admission to the Melbourne JD the following year. Registration closes approximately ten weeks before the date of the test.
For further information, visit the LSAC website.
LSAT scores are valid for five years and we will use your highest LSAT score when assessing your application.
What if I've already sat the LSAT?
LSAT scores are valid for five years. If you have taken the test within five years of the JD application deadline, you may choose to use those results or you can sit the LSAT again to try and improve your score. We will use your highest LSAT score when assessing your application.
You must provide your LSAC registration number in your application so we can retrieve your LSAT results from LSAC.
Where can I sit the LSAT?
If you are unable to travel to a published/listed test centre, and you are located over 160 kilometres (100 miles) from an open, published centre, you may request that LSAC establish a nonpublished test centre.
Can I resit the LSAT?
Yes. LSAT scores are valid for five years and MLS will use your highest LSAT score when assessing your application. For further information, visit the LSAC website.
If you choose to resit the LSAT and your score is higher than the previous score you submitted for your Melbourne JD application, you will need to update your application to have it reassessed. Information on updating your application is provided on your offer letter.
How do I submit my LSAT results?
You must include your eight-digit LSAC account number in your Melbourne JD application after you have registered for or sat the LSAT. This allows us to download your LSAT scores directly from LSAC after results are released.
- How do I register?