The LNAT is an entrance exam required as part of your application to study law at many of the top universities in the UK and abroad.
The LNAT is a 2 hour 15 minute exam split into two sections. LNAT Section A features 42 multiple choice questions (95 minutes) and LNAT Section B features an essay chosen from a choice of three (40 minutes). The test is essentially a critical thinking test. It is similar to the tests you’ll encounter later on in your legal career in the form of a Watson Glaser if applying to law firm training contracts, for example. As a result, it’s not a matter of memorising content – rather, you’re being tested on your ability to logically dissect and answer a problem. For our top tips on how to specifically approach each individual section in your exam, see our LNAT exam preparation tips.
The list for universities requiring the LNAT for 2023 entry is currently as follows. Make sure to check on individual university websites to check for updated information:
The first thing to note is that many of these universities are also some of the highest ranked universities in the UK and even the world. Many of the names above are part of the elite Russell Group, and you’ll also notice both Oxford and Cambridge feature on the list.
It’s also very important to check when you need to complete the LNAT by (it can differ based on which of the universities above you are applying to). For example, since Oxbridge ask for earlier UCAS applications, you’ll often need to complete the LNAT by mid-October for them (whereas others may allow you to sit it all the way through to January).
Be sure to check on individual websites and contact admissions if you’re unsure. Don’t fully rely on your sixth form or college to provide you this information – take the initiative to gather the dates yourself and ensure you’ve got it under control. You’ll often need to book a place to sit the test at an exam centre, and it’s usually completed on a computer. Any specific access requirements can be discussed in advance.
Average LNAT scores tend to float around the 20 mark (scored out of 48 – only the first half technically counts towards your score, since the second half is used more loosely by universities to judge your essay writing abilities how they see fit). However, the average score of successful applicants for many of the universities above tends to be closer to the mid 20s and as high as 28 for Oxbridge.
While the LNAT is not the only deciding factor in your application (predicted grades, personal statements, etc. are all incredibly important), it’s clear that they can play a big role. As a result, it’s important to prepare as well as you can. These are the top expert-recommended resources to help you prepare.
While it is true that the LNAT focuses on logic rather than memorising content in advance, this does not mean that you can’t prepare – it’s just about preparing in a different way. Practice tests (or individual practice questions) are a great place to start. We offer a free practice test on The Lawyer Portal.
LNAT Practice questions are incredibly important for the LNAT, because noticing how questions are particularly worded will likely play a big part in your final score. For example, a multiple-choice question in a critical thinking based test might ask if someone likes the sun based on a given passage – just because they said that they didn’t like the rain, we can’t automatically assume that they like the opposite. Going through practice tests will develop your ability to focus closely on the text in front of you. This is a key skill needed for lawyers, who will often be closely reviewing contracts and other documents.
Practice tests also allow you to work on your sense of timing. While you need to review the text and questions carefully, you also need to be tactical in how long you spend on each question and not get carried away. Always be conscious of how many marks everything is worth, and divide your time accordingly. When taking practice tests, set a timer to imitate the real exam conditions.
There are a great deal of resources available for students to read in preparation for the LNAT exam. Here’s a few of our favourites:
Books to help with LNAT preparation (often including both advice and practice questions):
Books to develop your critical thinking skills more broadly:
Of course, we recognise that many of these books can be relatively expensive. However, remember to search online for used copies which are often still in good condition, or see if students from the year(s) above you at your educational institution have preparation books that they’re willing to give you. Also check your local library (and that of your education institution) to see if they have any such items in stock already.
As well as books, it’s actually quite useful to hone your abilities to scan difficult passages of text that may discuss current affairs (especially in relation to global developments in business, politics, etc), as this will often surface in the exam. Consequently, it’s useful to spend some time building up to your LNAT exam by reading newspapers, especially ones focused more on these kinds of issues:
The Financial Times and The Economist both require paid subscriptions, but the cost can be brought down significantly via student discounts. You may also wish to check if your educational institution has a subscription specifically for students. Be sure to check on individual websites to work out the best way of accessing this content for you.
While the range of resources above are certainly useful, it’s also difficult to beat discussing the LNAT with experts. The Lawyer Portal offers a range of packages to assist you on this journey. Our ‘Foundations’ course includes a live workshop and year-long access to an online course. The ‘Comprehensive’ course adds 2 hours of invaluable 1-1 tutoring onto the Foundations package. Finally, ‘Mastery’ level LNAT preparation from The Lawyer Portal extends the 1-1 tutoring to 8 hours, and adds 2 essay reviews too. The level of expert knowledge on offer here means that you’ll be getting top-tier support with personalised learning that it’s hard to find elsewhere.
It may also be useful to note for some aspiring lawyers that some platforms offer free or reduced-price mentoring or tutoring for law admissions (including the LNAT component) for people from traditionally under-represented background (especially on a socio-economic level). Zero Gravity, for instance, offers free support to talented students from low-income backgrounds by offering such assistance. Many such social mobility projects exist, and may be able to help you with LNAT preparation.
In short, the LNAT is a challenging entrance exam for many students applying to study law at the UK’s top universities, but one which you can certainly excel in by making an effort to prepare. From reading books and newspaper articles, to attempting timed practice tests and seeking extra support via tutoring and mentoring solutions, your preparation will be key in determining the grade and university offers that you receive.
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