June: Preparing for the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT)
The LNAT is unlike any other exam you will have sat, at least in the last few years at school. It has two parts: the first is a series of 42 multiple-choice questions; the second is an essay. The LNAT is designed to test certain skills which make a good lawyer: logical analysis; attention to detail; following an argument; and comprehending unseen information quickly. It is also designed so that you cannot be coached through it. That said, like every test, preparation will help you maximise your chances of doing well and that’s what this week’s blog is about.
The multiple choice section
Exams in Britain, especially in the arts and humanities, do not have multiple choice questions. As such, students often feel very uncomfortable dealing with this section of the paper. In an essay, you can bluff or blag, even if you’re unsure of the subject matter. In a multiple choice test, you are either right or you’re wrong.
- Time is off the essence: you have 42 questions and 95 minutes. As all questions are worth the same amount, you should divide your time roughly evenly between the questions. that gives you just over two minutes per question. In fact, the questions are allocated to passages – normally four or five per passage. You should allocate between 8 and ten minutes per passage. Once you’ve read the passage, you’ll probably spend slightly longer on the first questions and slightly less on latter ones. It is vitally important you do not spend more time than this. If you spend 20 minutes on a passage, you will not have enough time to tackle other passages.
- Work backwards: there are five possible answers per question. Normally, three are obviously wrong, one seems like it could be correct but is in fact incorrect, and one is the right answer. Work on eliminating the three wrong ones first. This means that, even if you can’t see which of the remaining two is right and you need to guess, you have a one-in-two chance of getting it right rather than a one-in-five.
- The first shall come last: you’ll be nervous and excited on the day and you’ll take a few questions to settle down into the test. You’re more likely to make silly mistakes in the first passage or two. If you keep to my suggested time, you’ll have some spare to go back and check. You should check the answers to the first two passages again, even if you found them OK.
You should practise some of the example tests on the LNAT website to familiarise yourself with the format. Do not be disheartened if your mark seems low. The LNAT is designed to distinguish between candidates who have achieved highly in their A-Levels and GCSEs. Marks in the low to mid twenties are common for candidates invited to interview.
*Oxbridge Applications note: this summer we will be launching a new website with free mini-mock LNAT papers you can download… watch this space!*
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.
Brand new for Christmas 2017, you can now use our LNAT Practice Questions simulator, to test your LNAT abilities on a realistic platform!
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.
LNAT 2016: Sample Questions And Answers
The Law National Admissions Test (LNAT 2016)is one of most challenging and complex assessments for aspiring undergrads. The test is designed to assist University Law Admissions teams with selecting the best students for their course. Law courses are naturally extremely demanding, and therefore the LNAT 2016 is unlike any other assessment, in that it does not measure intellectual ability. The test is a measure of common sense, competency and a person’s ability to prove that they can handle a university degree in law. In this blog, we’ll provide you with sample questions from each part of the test.
What does the LNAT 2016 test involve?
There are two parts to the LNAT 2016. The first is a multiple choice assessment, consisting of 12 passages, with 4 questions following each passage. For this part of the assessment, you will be given 1 hour and 35 minutes to complete all 42 questions.
The second is an essay based assessment, where you will choose a subject from a range of topics to argue for or against. You will be given a choice of 3 questions, of which you must answer one. The essay will need to be typed and submitted in an electronic format. You will have 40 minutes in which to complete the essay.
The LNAT does:
- Test candidates’ ability in regards to Verbal Reasoning;
- Assess candidates’ ability in Deductive and Inductive Reasoning skills;
- Evaluate candidates’ ability in regards to understanding, interpreting and analysing large amounts of information;
- Test candidates’ ability to distinguish between inferences, generalisations, opinions and conclusions.
The LNAT does not:
- Assess candidate’s intelligence regarding the law;
- Rely on candidate’s knowledge and understanding obtained from previous education;
- Expect candidates to have prior knowledge to the topics used in the assessment;
- Guarantee a candidate’s place at their chosen university.
LNAT 2016 Multiple Choice Assessment
Within the multiple-choice section of the LNAT 2016 exam, you will be provided with different styles of questions, in order to assess your comprehensive ability. It is important that you understand the skills being tested in this section and how they are extremely specific and tailored to aspiring law students.
The three main types of questions that you can expect to answer during the multiple-choice section are as follows:
- Argument Questions;
- Literary Style Questions;
- Analytical Questions.
Now, let’s take a look at a sample LNAT 2016 multiple choice style passage. Read through the passage and then have a go at answering the 2 questions below.
Diving In Football
Speaker A – The popularity of modern football has reached an all-time high. Football is by far and away the most popular sport in the world. In a way, you could argue football has transcended sport itself. It has become a language, a means to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. Unless, of course, you are American. Unfortunately, as its popularity grows, so does the desperation to win. Now more than ever, the financial rewards for winning in football have grown disproportionate, and this has given rise to a new form of sporting cancer – diving.
Diving (or flopping as it’s known in the USA) is the practice of faking or exaggerating injury, in order to con or cheat the referee – thereby gaining an advantage. Whether that advantage is a free kick or a penalty, the result is irrelevant. The bottom line is that this has to stop. The phrase ‘football is a man’s game’ is horrendously outdated, but there is some truth behind it. Not only is diving cheating, but it slows the game down. It’s embarrassing to watch perfectly healthy athletes pretending to be hurt, and it’s even worse when your team suffers the consequences of it. Cheating is cheating, plain and simple. We need to kick this out of the game, before it kills football altogether.
Speaker B – One of the biggest debates currently raging in football at the moment, particularly in the United Kingdom, is on the issue of diving. Speak to almost any football fan in the UK about the subject of diving, and you’ll be met with anger, rage and frustration. You’ll hear phrases such as ‘football is a man’s game’ and ‘diving is cheating’. Britain’s rage towards diving is palpable. More so than any other country, Britain holds the moral integrity of its footballers above all else. The ideal British footballer is strong, quick and above all else – honest. The problem with this image is that it’s just not true.
In reality, Britain has become absurdly hypocritical with its footballers. Diving is seen as one of the ultimate evils, yet crunching leg breaking tackles are openly cheered. A bevvy of footballers have lined up to admit that they openly set out to hurt the opposition, and certain managers rejoice in inflicting physical pain on the opposition. Yet in Britain, these people are not villains. Some of them are even seen as heroes. What is worse, openly jeopardising the career of a fellow professional, or seeking to gain an unfair advantage? Life is about taking advantage of your opportunities. In football, just as in any other area of life, there will be people who cheat to get ahead. I am not suggesting we should let this go unpunished, but it is what it is. Let’s not kid ourselves – diving IS cheating. However, it’s nowhere near as bad as British football would have you believe; and it certainly doesn’t put other players at risk.
1. What is the overall point that Speaker A is trying to make?
A – Diving is not manly.
B – Diving is embarrassing.
C – Diving is outdated
D – Diving needs to be stopped.
2. In paragraph 2, speaker A uses the term ‘bottom line’. What is the name for this type of phrase?
A – Idiomatic
B – Platonic
C – Idiosyncratic
D – Nomothetic
Question 1: What is the overall point that Speaker A is trying to make?
Answer = D. Diving needs to be stopped.
Explanation = Speaker A is clearly trying to show that diving needs to be stopped. While he does describe diving as embarrassing and not manly, these are both just used to illustrate a wider argument. Similarly, the term outdated is used to describe the term ‘football is a man’s game’, not diving itself.
Question 2: In paragraph 2, speaker A uses the term ‘bottom line’. What is the name for this type of phrase?
Answer = A. Idiomatic.
Explanation = An idiomatic phrase is an informal English expression, containing words which mean different to what is used in the expression. For example, bottom line does not mean the bottom/lowest/very last line. It means ‘the definitive truth is…’.
LNAT 2016 Essay Question
For Section B, you will be required to answer only one question out of three possible choices. Your answer should be no longer than 750 words, and a standard essay should be between 500 to 600 words. You will only have 40 minutes to conduct the entire essay, and so time management is crucial.
You will need to construct a clear and concise argument that is straight to the point, provides a quality argument, and most importantly, written in a persuasive, controlled and detailed structure.
The best preparation in regards to the essay section of the assessment, is to practice drafting essay plans and reading high quality newspapers (usually in the form of a broadsheet). Reading newspapers will allow you to gain a basic understanding into the goings-on in the world around you, including current affairs, economics, technological changes, and social developments. You are not expected to have a detailed understanding of the essay topics in which will appear in the LNAT 2016 exam. What is expected from you, is to create an argument based on explanations, assumptions and analysis that fundamentally form a persuasive and conclusive argument.
Let’s take a look at a sample essay based question:
‘Arranged marriages should no longer be tolerated within Western societies’. Discuss.
This question focuses on your ability to discuss your opinions and provide valuable explanations and examples and discuss the importance of both sides of the argument.
To argue ‘for’ banning arranged marriages, the key points you could include are:
- As human beings, it is in our nature to find our own life partner through freedom of choice. You could expand this claim by providing examples of freedom of choice, equality and diversity;
- It can be argued that arranged marriages can lead to abuse, neglect and deprivation that could have been avoided if a person was given the opportunity to make their own choices;
- Arranged marriage is a barrier to integration. It encourages segregation and rejects diversity and equality. You could talk about different cultures and how in some cultures, this is deemed to be the ‘norm’ and therefore prolongs their culture to live through exclusion and repression.
To argue ‘against’ arranged marriages, the key points you could include are:
- Religions and customs are difficult to separate and would prove extremely difficult to change. You can discuss how arranged marriages are more apparent in some cultures than in others, and highlight the implications of removing traditions from a culture that have ultimately been followed for hundreds of years;
- Perception of cultural attack. The perception of attacking a person’s beliefs and culture could be seen as discriminatory. People will feel victimised and disassociated with wider cultures. You can discuss how societies have become more notoriously aware of equality and discrimination. Attacking a person’s culture and their traditions could be seen to be an act of discrimination, which will ultimately cause conflict amongst cultures, religions and society;
- Taking away a person’s traditions. It may be tradition for arranged marriages to take place, and taking it away from their culture, it taking away what they believe in. From generations to generations, it is likely that the family member is subject to arranged marriages because family history has been no different;
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