LSAT Writing Sample: A Step by Step Example
Does the LSAT writing sample matter for law school admissions? Absolutely! First, you must have a completed LSAT writing sample on record in order to see your score for the other LSAT sections and for schools to get your LSAT score. But more importantly, even though the LSAT writing sample isn’t scored, it will be included as part of your law school application and admissions committees have the option to evaluate it as part of their decisions. So, make sure to prepare for the writing sample.
In this LSAT writing sample example, we’ll go over what you need to know about LSAT writing, followed by a step-by-step guide with sample responses. By following these basic steps, you can write a clear and persuasive essay that showcases your argumentative writing.
Table of Contents
Lsat writing sample basics.
- LSAT Writing Sample: How to Approach It (With Official Writing Prompt)
LSAT Writing Sample Prompt (PrepTest 73)
You have 35 minutes to complete the LSAT writing sample portion of the test. Since the introduction of the Digital LSAT, you now take the LSAT writing section using secure proctoring software. You’re able to choose the day and time you take this part of the exam (so yes, that means you can complete the LSAT writing sample at home ).
The LSAT writing prompt is often called a “decision prompt” because it asks you to make a decision between two choices based on the information provided. These choices can be anything from what pet a person should get to what kind of community center a town should build. There will be pros and cons for each choice. These choices don’t require any special knowledge of the topic—just use the information provided. The test-writers also don’t necessarily prefer one choice over the other—the point is that you must make a decision with your limited time and defend your decision well.
Note: As of July 2020, anyone taking the remote LSAT must have a complete writing sample on file before they can get their scores. So, if you’re wondering whether your LSAT writing sample matters , know that your scores won’t be released until you complete it! So, we don’t recommend putting it off for too long after your LSAT test day. If you’re feeling dread at the thought of completing this step of your law school application process, don’t worry; our LSAT experts are here to show you exactly how to approach the online LSAT writing sample!
LSAT Writing Sample: How to Approach It
Example lsat writing sample prompt.
Click here to view the LSAT writing sample prompt (taken from The Official LSAT Sample PrepTest of June 2007).
The June 2007 LSAT writing sample describes a decision that “BLZ Stores” have to make. They’re aiming to expand their stores and must choose a plan that should ideally accomplish two things. First, they want to increase their profits. Second, they want to ensure long-term financial stability.
We must choose between the national plan (to expand across the country in a short time) and the regional plan (to increase the number and size of stores in the company’s home region and upgrade their facilities, product quality, and service). Next, we’ll break down the decision-prompt structure and walk you through the key steps to writing a great LSAT writing sample.
Step 1: Brainstorm and Make an Outline
The first step for the LSAT writing sample is to brainstorm. Take a moment to think about which option you can defend most easily. Once you’ve decided, quickly outline the points you’ll make to defend it. Admissions committees will be looking for a writing sample that is well organized, so make sure you set up a loose outline before you start writing.
Your outline should include four major topics:
- Cons of the opposing choice
Put these items in an order that makes sense to you, and then get ready to write. In this example, let’s go ahead and choose the “regional plan” because:
- It can be the first step towards national expansion in the future.
Step 2: Begin Writing & Briefly Summarize Your Choice
The second step is to begin your LSAT writing sample. Start your intro paragraph by briefly summarizing what you’ll be discussing. It can go like this:
BLZ Stores is facing an important decision for its business trajectory. In order to expand, the company must choose between a national plan and a regional plan. Ultimately, its aim is to maximize profits and ensure stability in the future. This is a challenging decision because one option, the national plan, offers the potential for dramatic profits. The other option, the regional plan, is significantly more conservative and may not produce as much profit.
Step 3: Make Your Choice and Give Support
Next, continue the essay by announcing the option you think is best and why. It’s very important that you give at least three solid reasons why you’ve made your choice. At this stage, you can mention how it fulfills at least one of the main considerations better than the other option. Even if it doesn’t fulfill both perfectly, it might do an okay job with one consideration and a great job with the second.
Lots of students try to make the LSAT writing sample easier by bringing in new information that is either made up or comes from their own stored knowledge. This actually makes for a weaker writing sample, so be sure to avoid it.
Law school admissions committees want to see how well you can argue using the facts provided . Think of the facts given in the prompt like evidence in a trial. While you can and should make reasonable arguments and inferences based on the evidence, you don’t get to make evidence up on your own.
Despite the difficulty of the choice, one option is better than the other. BLZ Stores should opt for the regional plan. Firstly, the regional plan takes advantage of BLZ Stores’ favorable position in its local area. It is already a well-known and well-liked brand, so if it is to expand it should begin in an area where it’s most likely to succeed.
Secondly, since BLZ Stores is facing competition from other stores that can offer lower prices, the company should spend more time on its branding and marketing. It is important that if a company can’t offer the lowest prices, it offers ample reasons for customers to spend more at their store. For example, BLZ Stores can make its name synonymous with quality, luxury, or top-class shopping experience. This strategy will help defend the company against its increasing competition.
Most importantly, the national plan will place too much of the company’s focus on expansion. There will not be enough resources to fine-tune this marketing strategy. Thus, in the long run, it puts the company more at risk for huge financial losses.
Additionally, although the regional plan has less potential for immediate large profits than the national plan, it at least offers the chance of a fair amount of profits. It is a good balance of risk and reward.
Step 4: Acknowledge the Other Option’s Pros and Cons
Be sure to acknowledge the arguments in favor of the other option while discussing why those arguments don’t support your option as strongly. If you can’t think of a rebuttal to a particular point, that’s okay. You can always acknowledge that point and say that it doesn’t outweigh the factors in favor of the option you chose.
Next, it’s important to note that while the national plan offers the potential of higher profits, it is also a very high risk for BLZ Stores. Other companies in presumably better positions have failed at dramatic, national expansions. Since this company aims to ensure long-term financial stability, it’s not in its best interest to take such a significant risk. Plus, the risk is amplified by the fact that they are not well-known outside of their hometown.
Step 5: Reiterate Why Your Choice Is the Best and Summarize Your Argument
Make sure you leave yourself enough time to close your writing sample with a concise conclusion. Writing samples that end mid-thought are weaker than those that end with a strong and concise statement of the position you argued in favor of.
If possible, also try to leave yourself one minute at the end of the LSAT writing sample to go through your essay and check for errors.
In the end, BLZ Stores should choose the regional plan because it takes advantage of its good position in its community, offers a fair amount of profits, and can allow the company to improve its branding and popularity for the future. Although the national plan might produce higher profits if it succeeds, it does not satisfy the company’s objective of having long-term financial stability. With a solid strategy in mind, BLZ Stores are bound to fare better under the regional plan.
How do I practice LSAT writing?
The best way to hone your LSAT writing skills is to write practice essays and compare it to our step-by-step guide. Did you clearly make a decision and back it up with evidence from the information provided? Did you lay out the pros and cons of your side and the opposition’s? Keep all this in mind as you write and review your practice essays.
To get you started, here is one more LSAT writing sample topics for you to practice with. Try to complete this practice essay within the 35-minute assignment time limit.
This prompt comes from the official LSAT PrepTest 73 and is provided with LSAC®️’s permission.
Directions: The scenario presented below describes two choices, either one of which can be supported on the basis of the information given. Your essay should consider both choices and argue for one over the other, based on the two specified criteria and the facts provided. There is no “right” or “wrong” choice: a reasonable argument can be made for either.
A medium-sized company is located in a technology park in a sparsely populated area outside a major city. It has had difficulty retaining employees because of the long and expensive commute between the city and work that nearly all of its employees face. Consequently, the company will implement a commuting assistance plan. It must decide between operating a free bus for employees and subsidizing employees’ costs of using public transportation. Using the facts below, write an essay in which you argue for one plan over the other based on the following two criteria:
- The company wants reliability and flexibility in its employees’ work schedules.
Under the first plan, the company would lease a bus and hire a driver. The bus would make several daily circuits between the company’s location and a single downtown stop, accessible by public transportation and close to a large, inexpensive parking garage. The only riders on the bus would be the company’s employees. The bus has reclining seats and free Wi-Fi. The average total commute time for an employee would be 75 minutes each way. A breakdown of the bus would be disruptive to the company’s operations.
Under the second plan, the company would partially reimburse employees’ cost of using public transportation to commute to work. The average savings for an employee would be about 80 percent. Most of the employees live within walking distance to a bus stop. Most employees would have to make one or two transfers. Buses are scheduled to arrive every half hour at a bus shelter in the technology park. Buses are sometimes late. None of them have Wi-Fi. The average total commute time for an employee would be 60 minutes each way.
How do you think you did? Let us know in the comments below. For more advice on how to tackle this important LSAT section, check out these five tips for the LSAT writing sample .
Need more help?
With Magoosh LSAT , you can choose between a live cohorted class with an instructor (which includes all our lessons and practice questions) or access to the self-study option by itself.
Kevin Lin earned a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. After working as a lawyer for several years, both at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and at a large New York law firm, he succumbed to his love of the LSAT and teaching and has been a full-time LSAT instructor since 2015. Beginning first at a major test prep company and rising to become one of its most experienced and highly rated instructors, he began tutoring independently in 2019. Kevin has worked with LSAT students at all stages of their preparation, from complete beginners to LSAT veterans shooting for the 99th percentile. Connect and learn more about Kevin on YouTube , LinkedIn , and his website .
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8 responses to “LSAT Writing Sample: A Step by Step Example”
GREAT article. This was so helpful and organized in explaining every point. I feel much more confident in taking the writing portion after reading this.
We’re glad to hear that it was helpful for you! Good luck 🙂
I feel a bit torn on how to approach the LSAT writing section.
Here the example is very lengthy, following almost a standard 5 paragraph structure. The example given on some other sites including Khan Academy which the LSAC supposedly helped develop focus on conciseness, usually following a two paragraph structure, and avoiding retreading information like one would normally in a format with an intro and conclusion. There are also alternative formats on other sites.
It seems like there’s no real consensus on how to approach the section. Should I just do what feels right or will certain formats put me at a disadvantage and you strongly recommend the one listed here? Are any top law schools known to have a particular approach they like to see?
I’m probably overthinking all this, but the more I research it the more I’m unsure how to approach it.
With the writing sample, law schools want to see how well you can argue and defend a position with the facts provided and limited time. So don’t worry about the length or number of paragraphs too much. Just make sure you pick a side, express your points clearly, and leave yourself enough time to complete the full writing process (doing timed practice sessions will help with this). Hope that helps!
Thank you so much! It was super helpful to get tips on how to tackle the writing section along with an example of a good essay.
You’re so welcome Signe! We’re so glad this was helpful! 😀
Best of luck to you!
Hi, the link to the writing sample prompt (the one that provides the examples throughout this article) does not work. It prompts me with the LSAC log-in page that’s for law school admission staff only, even though I am already logged into LSAC with my JD account.
Thanks for letting us know about that! We’ll fix that up as soon as we can. In the meantime, I can copy the prompt for you here:
“BLZ Stores, an established men’s clothing retailer with a chain of stores in a major metropolitan area, is selecting a plan for expansion. Using the facts below, write an essay in which you argue for one of the following plans over the other based on the following two criteria:
The company wants to increase its profits. The company wants to ensure its long-term financial stability. The “national plan” is to open a large number of men’s clothing stores throughout the country over a short period of time. In doing this, the company would incur considerable debt. It would also have to greatly increase staff and develop national marketing and distribution capabilities. Many regional companies that adopted this strategy increased their profits dramatically. A greater number tried and failed, suffering severe financial consequences. BLZ is not well known outside its home area. Research indicates that the BLZ name is viewed positively by those who know it. National clothing chains can offer lower prices because of their greater buying power. BLZ currently faces increasingly heavy competition in its home region from such chains.
The “regional plan” is to increase the number and size of stores in the company’s home region and upgrade their facilities, product quality, and service. This could be achieved for the most part with existing cash reserves. These upgrades would generally increase the prices that BLZ charges. In one trial store in which such changes were implemented, sales and profits have increased. The local population is growing. BLZ enjoys strong customer loyalty. Regional expansion could be accomplished primarily using BLZ’s experienced and loyal staff and would allow continued reliance on known and trusted suppliers, contractors, and other business connections.”
Hope this helps, and Happy Studying! 😀
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Course: LSAT > Unit 1
- A brief introduction to the LSAT
About the writing sample
- How to take a practice LSAT
What's the LSAT Writing Sample?
What’s the task, what’s a good approach.
- Language usage
- Ability to defend a position
- Writing mechanics
Directions: The scenario presented below describes two choices, either one of which can be supported on the basis of the information given. Your essay should consider both choices and argue for one over the other, based on the two specified criteria and the facts provided. There is no “right” or “wrong” choice: a reasonable argument can be made for either. Prompt: Two pediatricians are deciding whether to relocate their small practice 10 miles away, to a large medical pavilion downtown, or to keep their present office and also open a second office about 20 miles away across the city. Using the facts below, write an essay in which you argue for one choice over the other based on the following two criteria: The doctors want to attract new patients. The doctors want to keep their current patients. The Laurel Medical Pavilion is a new collection of medical office buildings adjacent to the city’s major hospital. The pavilion is convenient to public transportation. It offers ample free parking space. Although office space in the pavilion is expensive, it is going fast. The space the pediatricians would lease includes five examination rooms, sufficient office space, and a large waiting area that the doctors would be able to furnish as they like. The pavilion leases space to doctors in a wide variety of fields. It contains facilities for a wide range of laboratory and diagnostic testing.
The space the doctors are considering leasing as a second office is, like their present premises, a 100-year-old Victorian house in a largely residential area full of young families. The house has a large fenced-in yard and off-street parking space for five vehicles. The first floor of the house was recently remodeled to suit the needs of a small medical practice. Like their present premises, it contains three examination rooms, a small waiting area, and ample office space. The second floor has not been converted into suitable working space. The option of doing so is available to the doctors.
How might we start?
- Relocate 10 miles away (large medical pavilion downtown)
- Keep present office and open second office about 20 miles away across the city.
- Attract new patients
- Keep current patients
- Less chance of losing current patients since they can continue to go to the present office
- Largely residential area full of young families (good for attracting new patients since they’re pediatricians)
- Two offices should attract more new patients than one office would
- One weakness of chosen decision: It’s true that the space the pediatricians are considering for their second office is less spacious than the downtown office would be, but there’s a whole second floor that could be converted into working space in the future, which could allow the pediatricians to expand the number of examination rooms and the waiting area.
- One strength of rejected decision: While the downtown office does have immediate proximity to health services such as laboratories and diagnostic testing,
- It comes with the steep literal price of renting the office space, and
- The steep figurative price of losing current clientele who don’t want to travel 10 miles downtown.
- The doctors would lose out on the thriving market of young families that the second office would represent.
A few final thoughts on the writing sample
- Spelling matters. As a general rule, if you aren’t sure how to spell something, it’s best to use a different word that you do know how to spell. That said, on Test Day, LSAT Writing's interface includes a spell check feature!
- Choose a side and stick with it. Be confident in your decision— don’t ride the fence and try to make a strong case for both decisions.
- Write clearly. Practice writing legibly in pencil if you don’t feel confident about your ability to do so.
- Don’t get fancy. This isn’t a “law school essay.” Everything you need to draw upon is in the writing prompt, so you shouldn’t be pulling in any outside knowledge beyond what’s common knowledge.
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Practice Tests for August 2024 and beyond now available on LSAC’s LawHub
By Susan Krinsky
As we announced last October, we are replacing the Analytical Reasoning section (often referred to as “logic games”) with a second scored Logical Reasoning section at the start of the 2024-2025 testing year. Starting with the August 2024 test, the LSAT will consist of two scored Logical Reasoning sections, one scored Reading Comprehension section, and one unscored Variable section of either LR or RC which we will use to field test questions for future use and ensure that every question is free from any form of bias.
To help meet the needs of all test takers, we are providing two sets of test preparation materials and practice tests — one set that reflects the existing test format that will be used through the current testing year ending with the June 2024 exam, and a second set that reflects the new test format which will be used starting with the August 2024 exam and beyond.
The primary difference between the two sets of test prep materials is the format of the overall practice test, not the content of the LR or RC practice questions. The content in the Logical Reasoning sections of the LSAT is not changing, so the two sets of test prep materials for the June 2024 and before format and the August 2024 and beyond format are interchangeable from a Logical Reasoning preparation standpoint.
The new practice tests for August 2024 and beyond, which will not include a logic games section, will have three-digit numbers starting at 101. The current practice tests for June 2024 and before have two-digit numbers. There are obviously fewer practice tests for the August 2024 format, as removal of the AR sections from the existing four-section tests required consolidation and reconfiguration of the remaining sections into new four-section tests consisting solely of LR and RC sections.
Recognizing that some prospective test takers may have started their preparation on practice tests in the current format and may now want to switch to the August 2024 format, LSAC will be providing a reference guide to help people determine which practice test sections they have already used, and also identify explanations and coaching materials that are available for free online but may be labeled or identified using the historical prep test naming conventions.
Looking ahead, we will be announcing the test dates for all eight test administrations in the 2024-2025 testing year later this month. And, as always, we will be opening registration for the 2024-2025 tests by mid-May.
Finally, as we announced late last year, we will also be adding to LawHub a range of test prep videos, explanatory articles, and sample problem sets from our collaboration with Khan Academy. The first set of Khan Academy LSAT Prep resources will become available on LawHub for free by mid-March. In addition, all Khan Academy LSAT Prep resources will continue to be available on Khan Academy through June 30.
We are very pleased to make these practice tests for the August 2024 and beyond tests available, and we will continue to support the students in their learning journeys in a wide variety of ways on LawHub.