LNAT Success Series: How To Ace Your LNAT Essay Plan
Do not fear, LNAT takers, for TLP is introducing the LNAT Success Series of blogs to aid you in your preparation. Over the next few weeks, one of our top contributors and law students Alicia Gibson will be unveiling 3 must-read articles, sharing her wisdom. If you want to own that LNAT exam, read on and stay tuned.
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In the final 40 minutes of the LNAT, you will be invited to answer one of three controversial questions on a range of topics. The temptation with such a short amount of time is to pick a question without thought and rush into your response – this is not how a successful LNAT candidate should view the essay section of the test.
In all academic subjects which require essay writing, you will be told that planning your response is paramount; however, planning your LNAT essay is even more important than this because you will not have prepared nor learnt the material for these questions. The unique aspect of the LNAT essay is that the essay questions and topics are completely unseen and therefore you could be faced with three questions that you have absolutely no background knowledge on. Therefore, the tempting, quickfire response is likely to end up being unstructured, unclear and – worst of all – badly argued. Consequently, in order to avoid these pitfalls, you should use the first 5-10 minutes of writing time (practice will show you how much time personally you need to set aside for planning) to plan your essay response.
In the next section of this article, I seek to highlight some tips and tricks to help you to plan an LNAT essay which will impress the universities you are applying to.
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LNAT Essay Plan Tip 1: Before you plan, know your argument
You cannot set out a coherent plan to your essay if you do not lay down your overall argument and response to the question before you begin. For me, I like to write this as the heading of my plan to ensure that when I am creating my structure and picking the best points to argue that I am always reverting to my main stance on the question. Doing this is beneficial as it allows you to continuously ensure you are focusing on the question which will help keep your overall plan, and therefore essay clear.
LNAT Essay Plan Tip 2: Know your structure
The structure that you decide on is not what is important it is merely important that you stick to it. For example, the general structure I use for LNAT essays and now legal essays alike is a strong introduction, 3—4 well evidenced points maximum and an equally strong conclusion. This is an entirely personal thing. For instance, you may have found a structure for essay writing throughout your studies which works best for you, alternatively, you will, through your practice for the LNAT, find an essay structure which you feel helps you argue your point most convincingly. Finding a structure you work well with will provide you with a road map to help you build a logical argument throughout your essay. This is imperative as universities want to see that you can structure an argument persuasively to prove your response is the right response.
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LNAT Essay Plan Tip 3: Make first and last impressions count
It is obvious that part of your plan will include an introduction and conclusion but it is a good idea not to leave it at that. I like to leave myself reminders whilst planning to ensure I remember the purpose of an introduction and a conclusion in order to make them effective. A strong introduction and conclusion is a must in any essay and it is no different for the LNAT. These need to be impactful as they are the first and last attempts to highlight the strength of your response to the question. An introduction should be used as a way to clearly highlight your argument and introduce the points you are going to use to illustrate it. By accentuating the way you intend to defend your argument you will not only intrigue your reader but begin to convince them you are right. A conclusion, on the other hand, should be used as a final emphasis of your presented argument as the right one and should leave the reader feeling persuaded of your argument even if their personal response would be different. Finally, make sure the argument you emphasise in your conclusion matches the argument presented in your introduction.
LNAT Essay Plan Tip 4: Brainstorm your points, then choose the most persuasive
This does not have to be a laborious task in fact your initial desire to rush into writing your response will disappear if you utilise this tip. Use the first minute or two of planning time to write down all possible points and evidence you could use to defend your chosen argument, as many as come to mind. After you’ve got that out of your system you will be able to more easily pinpoint which particular points you will be able to expand on in order to convince the reader of your main stance. My best advice is to pick no more than four main points to argue, with three being optimal within the time constraints given in the LNAT. The reason why three compelling arguments is better than ten, for example, is simple – merely asserting the points you have does not convince the reader of your argument. You need to spend time to properly explain what you mean by it as well as supporting your assertion with relevant evidence, examples and analysis in order to connect it to the main premise of your argument. A reader is never going to feel adequately convinced by a series of ambiguous statements which don’t cohere to the main argument.
I have included a copy of how an LNAT essay plan of mine would have looked to show you exactly what I meant by each tip.
Written by Alicia Gibson