University entrance exams: LNAT 101

The LNAT can be a daunting prospect for students who want to apply for Law at university, but with the right preparation, students can go in with the grounding they need to reach their potential. In this article, we’ll explain the content of the LNAT, and hear advice from students who recently passed the test themselves.

What is the LNAT?

The LNAT is designed to test if students are capable of studying Law at degree level, but it’s not a test of their knowledge of Law. It tests students’ ability to understand and interpret information, their inductive and deductive reasoning abilities, and their ability to analyse information and draw conclusions.

Not all universities require students to take the LNAT. A list of the unis that require students to take the test can be found here, and students can book their test here.

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. Students are given 95 minutes to answer all of the questions.

In Section B, 40 minutes are given to answer one of three essay questions on a range of subjects so that students can demonstrate their ability to argue economically and to come to a conclusion.

The LNAT tests students’ ability to understand and interpret information, their inductive and deductive reasoning abilities, and their ability to analyse information and draw conclusions.

How can students prepare for the LNAT?

The LNAT website is the best place to start; here, students can read the advice provided by the LNAT website, and download practice test papers. Although the LNAT isn’t a test of students’ knowledge of Law, it’s important that they familiarise themselves with the format of the test.

Section A

Students should begin their preparation for Section A by doing a practice test. The first test can be used to get used to the format of the test, and to work out which areas need the most work. Then, they should move on to reasoning skills. The AQA Critical Thinking book covers key terminology, such as the difference between a statement and an implication. Students should then 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. They can then continue to do practice papers to embed these skills.

Section B

Section B asks students to express their 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?’. Students can start their 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  and the Independent’s editorials are good places to start.

“Writing a balanced argument shows you can think critically, and also makes your argument all the more persuasive in the end!”

It’s important that students are up to speed on events of political or social interest is important, but they don’t need to learn the news by heart – above all else, they are being tested on their ability to write a cogent argument.

“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!” – Helen, Law at Durham University

How can students be at their best on the day

“Try 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, so it’s important to get used to concentrating in a busy room” – Olivia C, Law at Nottingham University

“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!” – Alana, Law at Durham University

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