How to Pass the LNAT
Updated 23 June 2021
What Is the LNAT?
The Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) is used alongside the usual UCAS application system to test a candidate’s reasoning and general comprehension, skills that are essential for studying and practising law.
This forms part of applying for undergraduate law courses.
It is taken at a test centre with the results shared electronically with universities.
Created in 2004, it is administered by Pearson VUE and is compulsory for those applying to study an LLB course at the associated universities (see below).
What Does the LNAT Measure?
The LNAT is not a measure of legal knowledge or even an intelligence test. It is an assessment of aptitude for reading comprehension and logical reasoning.
During a law degree, you will need to read and understand a vast number of dense texts – so being able to identify arguments, look for fallacies and misinformation and make logical deductions is a key skill to be a successful student.
For the universities that require the LNAT as part of the application process, demonstrating these learning abilities and personal qualities makes it easier for them to accept your application.
What Universities Require the LNAT?
- University of Oxford
- King's College London
- LSE London School of Economics and Politics
- UCL Faculty of Laws
- University of Glasgow
- University of Bristol
- Durham University
- University of Nottingham
- SUSS Singapore University of Social Sciences – Singapore
- IE School of Law – Spain
What Does the LNAT Cost?
The cost of the LNAT is set according to the location of the test centre.
In the UK/EU the cost is £50 and for non-EU test centres, the cost is £70.
Payment can be made online using a credit or debit card, and a bursary can be offered to students in receipt of certain benefits to help offset the cost.
When Can I Take the LNAT?
The current application cycle for Autumn 2021 entry to university is open now.
The dates for 2021 are:
- 1st August 2020: UCAS registration and LNAT registration opens
- 1st September 2020: LNAT testing starts
- Mid-Sept 2020: UCAS applications to be submitted
For University of Oxford applications, the LNAT must be taken before the 15th October 2020 and the UCAS application needs to be submitted before this date.
For other universities, the LNAT test must be booked before the 15th January 2021 and UCAS form must be submitted on or before this date.
The LNAT must be taken on or before the 20th January 2021, apart from LSE and UCL who have a final test date of the 29th January 2021, and the University of Bristol and University of Nottingham which has a final date of 26th February 2021.
Late applications are only usually considered for international applicants, but each university has a separate procedure for the late results.
For other years, the exact dates can be checked on the LNAT website here but the broad timetable is:
- Early August – LNAT registration opens
- Early September – LNAT testing starts
- Mid-January – Tests must be booked
- Mid-Late January – Tests must be completed
Registering for the LNAT
Where Do I Register?
You will need your UCAS identifier to complete the application.
Can I Register before I Send My UCAS Application?
You need to complete the LNAT in the same cycle as your application for university for it to be considered and it cannot be carried forward if you decide to defer your university entrance.
Universities will not consider your application before they receive your LNAT results, so it is probably in your best interests to take the LNAT as soon as possible – depending on your A-level or college workload.
Can I Choose When to Take the Test?
There are more than 500 Pearson VUE test centres worldwide and over 150 in the UK – so finding a slot at a test centre near you should not be a problem.
If you book early, you can choose any available day that has an appointment slot free. If you book towards the end of the booking period, you might not be able to choose.
You may find that your school or college can manage your booking for you, in which case they will decide when you attend your assessment.
If you need to cancel and reschedule your test, you can do so without penalty until 12 p.m. (noon) two days before your test date.
Cancellations without the required notice will not refund you – you will need to book a new slot and pay again.
You can only take the LNAT once per application cycle – if you take it a second time in the same year it is just a waste of time and money because your second result is void.
The LNAT exam is 2 hours and 15 minutes long, consisting of two sections.
Section A is multiple-choice and the only officially ‘scored’ section of the test.
Section B requires you to write an essay on one of three given subjects.
Section A: Multiple-Choice
Section A of the LNAT contains 42 multiple-choice questions based on 12 passages of text with three to four questions each.
Each passage will contain all the information needed to answer three or four questions and, as already mentioned, they are not designed to test your legal knowledge.
The questions and answers are not uniform in style or content and the answer is rarely obvious.
Although the test is timed, there is not too much pressure, thanks to the generous time limit of 95 minutes.
Argument and Analysis
In questions regarding argument and analysis, you need to look for the overall argument of the passage and decide the main reason that it was written.
Identifying the argument accurately helps with the analysis part of the answer, where you might be asked to analyse which proposition is correct or identify important parts of the argument.
Some of the passages will have multiple-choice questions relating to words and their interpretation.
You might be asked to choose a synonym for a given word or demonstrate your understanding of the word’s meaning.
Your vocabulary will be tested in this section, but the meanings of the words should be obvious given the context of the passage.
Section B: The Essay
In the second section, you will be expected to construct a compelling argument around one of three subjects. There is no specific marking for this section (all the official marking is on the multiple-choice section), but this is an important chance to demonstrate you can write a coherent and interesting piece relating to the given subject.
There is a 40-minute time limit on this section, and you need to write 500–750 words.
Example Essay Titles:
- Are there any circumstances killing another human would be permissible?
2. ‘Women have now achieved equality’. How do you respond to this statement?
3. The prison system does not discourage crime. Respond to this statement
4. All education should be free. Do you agree or disagree?
5. Is lying ever ok?
Your LNAT score is based on your answers to the multiple-choice section of the exam. Each question is worth one mark, and there is no negative marking, so your score will be out of 42.
Finding out what a 'good' score is can be difficult, as the average score has changed every year since the test was first used.
Additionally, each university has different values for their baseline score – for example, in 2017–18 the minimum score for University of Oxford entrants was 27, while the minimum score for the University of Glasgow was 22.
If you aim for the minimum for Oxford entry, you will more than likely be accepted at other universities – so 27 or above is a good target. There are no guarantees, however.
Although the essay has no formal scoring, it can be used in the applicants' favour if the official LNAT score from the first section is lower than desired.
When you have completed your LNAT exam, the scores will be made available for download to the universities that you have applied to – they will likely get access to your results before you do.
The universities use these scores alongside your UCAS application to decide if you would be suitable for the LLB course.
Scores are released by the LNAT administration team to test-takers in two batches – February and early August.
When you receive your score depends on when you take the test.
How to Prepare For the LNAT: General Preparation Tips
Know How the Exam Is Structured
The first step in becoming comfortable with the assessment is to make it familiar, and there are a few ways you can do this.
You will become used to answering the types of questions you will face in the exam by taking practice tests.
Practice Critical Thinking
Reading and keeping up with current affairs will help you flex your critical thinking abilities – and it might help you answer the essay question better by absorbing more ways to write.
When you read an article, try to look at its arguments and assumptions, find fallacies and actively consider the language used.
You can even find critical thinking textbooks to give you some more practice if this is something that you want more experience with.
Multiple-Choice Preparation Tips
In the multiple-choice section, you need to accept that the passages are true (even if you know that they are really not).
The correct answers are derived by using logical inference – if this, then that. If the passage is true, then one of the answers is true.
This is a skill, and you can practice using logical inference and reasoning with practice questions here.
Read the Questions First
This might seem backward, but this is a timed test with long passages. Too much time spent reading will cut down on your time for answering the questions.
If you read the questions first, you can find keywords to help you with targeted reading. If you read the text with an idea of what the questions are looking for, you can save time reading and re-reading unnecessarily.
Although the answers are structured to seem like they could all be correct, there is only one answer that will get you the mark.
To find it, you should start by discounting any that are obviously incorrect. If you do that and are left with one answer, simple, mark it and move on.
However, you may be left with two answers that seem to be right. In this case, go with your gut and choose one – but flag it for review later if you have time.
Remember that there is no negative marking, so there is nothing to be gained by leaving an answer blank.
Watch for Assumptions
There are no 'trick questions' in the LNAT assessment, but the way the questions are written can make you assume something not said in the text.
For example, by placing two statements together, they might make you assume a connection where there is none. This assumption can be avoided by looking for bridging phrases like 'because' or 'as a result of'.
Do not fall into the trap of making an easy assumption based on the question – the answers are in the text, so if you cannot find it, it does not exist.
Move on From Hard Questions
Although each question is worth the same number of marks, some are more difficult than others.
You can come back to the questions and change your answer if you need to (within the multiple-choice section), so if you are struggling with a question, do what you can and move on to the next.
You do not want to risk missing out on easy points because you could not complete the test.
Essay Preparation Tips
Choose What You Know
It is better to pick a topic you know more about over one you are intensely passionate about. Making a coherent, logical argument requires providing evidence then analysing it and you need knowledge on a subject to do this.
Write down all the arguments that support your cause as well as contrary ones. Pick three to four of the best ones to use in your essay.
Focusing on just a few allows you to flesh them out with examples and evidence rather than just creating a list of reasons with no foundation – just stating opinions or ideas is not a convincing way to argue.
Make sure each argument is connected to your main premise so that your reader can understand why the point you are making is valid and related.
A 40-minute time limit for 500–750 words is not too tight, so spend at least the first 15 minutes creating a plan to keep you on track.
Create a structure of what you want to say in each section.
Remember to use an introduction, where you will lay out the premise that you will be supporting.
Include definitions of more unusual terms.
In the first section, present your three to four arguments with supporting examples and analysis.
In the next section, list any arguments against your premise and counter them where you can.
Finish with a conclusion that pulls together all the main points that you want to cover.
Originality and Interest
Depending on the number of applicants, the university will have lots of essays to read – so you want to make sure that yours is interesting and original. The university recruitment team will appreciate being entertained.
Good grammar and spelling are important in the essay section of the LNAT. Keep sentences short so everything you write is easy to read and understand.
Try and avoid jargon or overly technical language – simplicity is key.
University recruiters have to read a lot of essays and want to easily understand the points you make.
Strong Introduction/Decisive Conclusion
Capture the imagination and interest of the reader with an intriguing introduction and make a final, clear emphasis of your argument in the conclusion.
These two sections of your essay could be considered the most important parts, so it is important to get these right. Look to provide clarity and interest in both.
After the Test
Where Can I Find My Results?
Your results will be emailed to you, depending on when you took the test.
For tests taken before January, results are emailed in early February. For tests taken after January, results will be emailed in early August.
Unless you have taken the test later than allowed by the institution themselves, the time you receive your results will not impact your application because universities can access and download your results when they need them.
Can I Resit the LNAT?
You can sit the LNAT exam once in every cycle. If you are unhappy with your result, you can only pay for a new test in the following application cycle.
If you re-test within the same cycle the later result will be void.
The Law National Assessment Test is an aptitude exam assessing candidates' readiness to take part in an undergraduate law course at selected universities.
It is used in conjunction with a UCAS application and other qualifications like A-levels to determine whether a student will be a good candidate for LLB studies.
The test must be taken at a Pearson VUE test centre and can only be taken once per assessment cycle. It is not assessing a candidate’s knowledge of law or intelligence but does require logical thinking, inference and writing skills to complete properly.
Practising logical reasoning and keeping up to date on current affairs will help you perform at your best during your test.