The LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test) can be daunting: it’s not like other tests, and most teachers don’t know what it is. The LNAT is designed to test if Law is the right degree for you, but it’s not a test of your knowledge of Law. It tests your ability to understand and interpret information, your inductive and deductive reasoning abilities, and your ability to analyse information and draw conclusions. It’s a pretty important test – getting a place at university can depend on it. We’ve asked our top LNAT tutors, all of whom have passed the LNAT and gone on to study Law at uni, for their top tips.
The LNAT is a 2 ¼ 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 will be given 95 minutes to answer all of the questions.
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.
The LNAT website should be your first port of call. Read the advice provided by the LNAT website here, and download practice test papers here. Although the LNAT isn’t a test of your knowledge of Law, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the format of the test. The LNAT is essentially a test of your skills; hone your ability to build an argument based on evidence and reason and you’ll be almost there!
Begin your preparation for Section A by doing a practice test. Use your first test to get used to the format of the test, and to work out what you need to work on the most. Then, work on your reasoning skills. The AQA Critical Thinking book covers key terminology, such as the difference between a statement and an implication. Next, read a couple of newspaper articles, looking for some of the rhetorical devices you have learnt about. Following this, try to answer questions from similar tests, such as the Thinking Skills Assessment Oxford test, the Linklaters Critical Thinking test, and AS and A Level Critical Thinking tests. Finally, try another LNAT practice test.
Natasha B., a MyTutor tutor who studied Law at Cambridge University, suggests using COAST strategy for Section A passages: read the passages for Context, Objective, Arguments, Style and Tone.
In Section B, you will be asked to express your opinion on a topical issue. Example questions include ‘In what circumstances should abortion be permitted and why?’ and ‘Would you agree that travel and tourism exploit poorer nations and benefit only the richer ones?’. Start your preparation for Section B by reading editorials, paying attention to the ways in which the writer has put together a reasoned argument. The Guardian’s editorials are here, and the Independent’s editorials are here. Being up to speed on events of political or social interest is important, but don’t bother learning the news by heart – above all else, you’re being tested on your ability to write a cogent argument. Take notice of the writer’s use of rhetorical devices. Ask yourself if you agree or disagree with the writer, and why. Then, practise planning answers to sample questions. It’s really important to structure your answer, because the examiners are looking for students with logical minds!
Holly, a MyTutor tutor who studied Law at Cambridge University, highlights the importance of structuring your LNAT essay: “Introduction: outline your main argument (which can be yes or no). Main Body: make more points to support your introduction and acknowledge counter-arguments. Conclusion: summarise your main points.”
Helen, a MyTutor tutor who is studying Law at Durham University, holds that writing a balanced argument is key – you might be tempted to just state your opinion, but considering the other side of the argument is vital. Writing a balanced argument shows you can think critically, and also makes your argument all the more persuasive in the end!
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before the test, and you go in ready to do your best. Don’t panic – if you panic, you won’t think clearly, and you’ll forget to pay attention to the time.
Olivia C., a MyTutor tutor studying Law at Nottingham University, suggests doing practice tests in the loudest room in your house, because LNAT test centres are full of people doing all kinds of tests, coming and going at different times. She says it’s important to get used to concentrating in a busy room.
Alana, a MyTutor tutor studying Law at Durham University, says: “I got a score of 31 on Section A, and the average for my year was 22.3. During Section A, I flagged questions that I wasn’t sure about or wanted to check, and I went back to them at the end. I ended up finishing 15 minutes early, giving me ample time to do this. For Section B, it’s important to plan your time, and keep an eye on the clock – you don’t want to run out of time! I would suggest giving yourself 5 minutes to plan, and 5 minutes to write your introduction, etc. When you finish the test, breathe a sigh of relief, stay confident and wait for your results. Good luck!”
Lots of students have told us they’ve benefited from talking to someone who’s passed the test already, and from working through practice tests with them. Call up someone you know, or if you don’t know anyone, book a free meeting with an LNAT tutor here.
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