LNAT Essay: Top 6 Tips
Section B of the LNAT is made up of a choice of essay questions inviting you to form and present an argument. You have 40 minutes to complete this and your essay will be sent to each university you apply to which requires the LNAT. The LNAT essay gives the university an opportunity to assess the skills you have which are important for a prospective law student. Here are my top tips for approaching this part of the assessment with confidence.
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1. Practice writing similar essays
Practice writing essays in 40 minutes, incorporating 5-10 minutes planning time. This might seem like a harsh time constraint but I can ensure you that 30 minutes is often all you receive to complete an essay question in a law exam and it is important you can complete your work accurately in this time. Moreover, the LNAT essay does not need to be pages long. Realistically, they are expecting an essay of around 500-600 words with a 750 word limit. Trust me when I say that with practice you will see that you are given ample time to respond to the question.
2. Plan your essay response
Planning is crucial if you want your LNAT essay to be of the highest quality. Planning helps you pre-determine a solid structure, enables you to ensure you have a position that you can defend and gives you something to refer to if you go blank. Therefore, it is most efficient to factor in time within the 40 minutes to plan your response fully. Develop a plan using whatever technique works best for you: mind maps, bullet points, lists or flow charts are all incredibly useful methods to adopt.
Planning can also help you rule questions out. If you are struggling to figure out which question you can argue best, my advice is to think of a very rough plan for each and it will help you organise your thoughts to see which question you can complete to the highest standard.
3. Don’t panic if you have no knowledge of the LNAT essay topic
In Part B the LNAT essay is primarily testing your ability to form an argument and defend it. It is only useful to use your own personal expertise in answering the question if it adds to the argument you are advancing. Therefore, if you know you can still create a defensible position then don’t let lack of knowledge hold you back.
Having parents, teachers or friends make up a series of questions for you to practice writing is incredibly helpful in getting yourself ready to face questions you have never seen before. For example, one of my questions was based on artificial intelligence – something I know nothing about but was still able to write a good argument on.
4. Pick a side
If I could underline this piece of advice 500 times, I would. You must pick a side. This does not in any way mean that the opposing view has no merit, but you must seek to persuade the reader that your argument is more compelling. In other words, acknowledge opposing arguments and find a way to reject them to further your own argument.
Personal opinions should be used only if they strengthen your argument. Additionally, if something you disagree with altogether provides a tighter argument then don’t be afraid to recognise that and go with it. This might be difficult at first but will become easier the more you practice. The more you look past your possible bias the more convincing and persuasive your argument will be.
5. Be careful with language
Arguments made in court must be kept concise and clear so that the details of the case come across clearly to the judge and any jury involved. Believe it or not, university legal writing and the style required in the LNAT essay is no different.
It is imperative that you make a clear and persuasive argument devoid of flowery language, big words you may only half understand, and all slang and abbreviations. The reader will appreciate the clarity of your argument much more than the breadth of your vocabulary.
This was a piece of advice given to me by a teacher that I almost disregarded as it seemed like the biggest waste of my final few minutes. However, by some miracle I had minutes to spare by the end of my essay and on re-reading it, I spotted continuous repetition of points and more spelling mistakes than I would like to admit. Whilst your spelling is certainly not being tested, going through and quickly fixing any mistakes will make you feel more confident about your argument when the time eventually runs out.
Words: Alicia Gibson
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