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LNAT: A Complete Guide

LNAT: A Complete Guide

10 min Read|June 22 2024
|Written by:

Thomas Babb


Considering a career in law and aiming to study at one of the UK's top universities? You'll likely need to sit the LNAT, a crucial step for many aspiring lawyers. But what exactly is the LNAT, and why is it so important? In this guide, we'll delve into the essentials of the LNAT, from what it entails to how to prepare effectively. We'll cover its structure, the topics you can expect, and share valuable tips to help you succeed. Let's get started!

What is the LNAT?

The LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test) is a standardised test used by several UK universities to assess applicants' aptitude for studying law. Unlike other exams, the LNAT doesn't test your knowledge of law but rather your verbal reasoning and essay writing skills.

  • Verbal Reasoning: Evaluates your ability to understand and interpret information.
  • Essay Writing: Assesses your capacity to construct a coherent and persuasive argument.

Introduced in 2004, the LNAT has become a critical part of the admissions process for law degrees, helping universities identify candidates with the potential for success in a rigorous academic environment. Research shows that students who perform well on the LNAT are more likely to excel in law courses.

What topics are on the LNAT 2024?

The LNAT is designed to assess a range of skills necessary for the study and practice of law rather than specific subject knowledge learnt. The test focuses on the following key areas:

  • Comprehension and Interpretation: Candidates must read and understand complex passages of text. This involves identifying the main ideas, interpreting information, and drawing conclusions.
  • Critical Thinking: Questions assess the ability to evaluate arguments and identify logical flaws or assumptions.
  • Analysis and Synthesis: Candidates must analyse information, compare viewpoints, and synthesise new ideas based on given information.
  • Deductive Reasoning: This involves applying general principles to specific cases to draw logical conclusions.
  • Inductive Reasoning: Candidates need to make generalisations based on specific examples or patterns.
  • Essay Writing: The essay section evaluates the ability to construct a coherent argument, organise thoughts logically, and write clearly and persuasively.

This diverse range of topics ensures that candidates are well-rounded and capable of engaging with complex material, a crucial skill for law students.

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What is the LNAT Exam Structure?

The LNAT is divided into two main sections designed to assess different skills crucial for law studies.

Section 1: Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs)

This section includes 42 questions based on 12 argumentative passages. Each passage is followed by a series of questions testing your comprehension and logical reasoning abilities. Here is a sample question from this section:

Sample LNAT MCQs from a passage "Faith and the theologian"

The writer argues for a necessary link between:

(a) theology and faith
(b) religion and insight
(c) theology and religion
(d) religion and faith
(e) theology and belief

Q2. The writer contends that to be emotionally attached to one subject may lead to:

(a) a fanatical advocacy of the subject
(b) an excessive preoccupation with the subject
(c) an involvement only with like-minded students
(d) an inability to see the subject’s difficulties
(e) a detachment from the subject’s deep truths

Section 2: Essay Writing

You will have to write an essay from a choice of three prompts. This section assesses your ability to construct a coherent argument, demonstrate critical thinking, and write persuasively. Here is a sample question from this section:

Sample LNAT Essay Writing Question

Answer ONE of the following questions. Your answer should be a reasoned and substantiated argument which justifies your response to the question.

1. In what circumstances should abortion be permitted and why?
2. Would you agree that travel and tourism exploit poorer nations and benefit only the richer ones?
3. The Olympic games, today, are less a test of personal athleticism and more a measure of national investment and authority. Do you agree?
4. Wearing a burkha in Western countries is just as offensive as wearing a bikini in Arab countries. Do you agree?
5. ‘Women now have the chance to achieve anything they want.’ How do you respond to this statement?

How long is the LNAT?

The LNAT is 135 minutes long in total. It consists of a 95-minute multiple-choice question (MCQ) section and a 40-minute essay writing section. Here is a table summarising the exam structure of the LNAT:

SectionQuestionsSkills AssessedTime AllocationAverage Score
Multiple-Choice Questions42 questions based on 12 passagesComprehension, Logical Reasoning95 min22 out of 42
Essay Writing1 essay from a choice of 3 promptsCoherent Argument Construction, Critical Thinking, Persuasive Writing40 minNot numerically scored

Table showing the complete LNAT exam structure

Understanding the structure of the LNAT is essential for effective preparation, allowing you to focus on developing the specific skills required to succeed.

Is the LNAT hard?

The difficulty of the LNAT is often a concern for prospective law students. Many find the test challenging due to its unique format and the skills it assesses. According to data from multiple universities, the average score is around 22 out of 42 in the multiple-choice section, indicating that even high-achieving students find it tough.

Several factors contribute to its difficulty:

  • Complex Texts: The reading passages are dense and require careful analysis.
  • Time Pressure: With only 95 minutes for 42 questions, time management is crucial.
  • High Standards: Essays are judged on clarity, argument strength, and writing quality.

LNAT Essay Section Score Distribution

Graph showing the LNAT Essay Section Score Distribution

Expert law tutors suggest that thorough preparation can make a significant difference, especially practice tests, reading complex texts regularly, and refining essay-writing skills can help students improve their performance. Ultimately, while the LNAT is challenging, diligent preparation enhances a candidate's ability to succeed and also prepares the students for the 11th hardest degree in the UK that they wish to pursue, Law.

When is the LNAT?

Candidates for the LNAT must take the test before 15 October in the year they apply, but not before the summer holiday of the year in which they apply. Please see below for a summary of the important dates and deadlines:

📅1 August – 15 September: register and book the LNAT. It is highly recommended to register and book by 15 September in order to secure an LNAT test date before the 15 October deadline. A delay in booking may mean applicants have to travel further to an available LNAT location.

📅before or on 15 October: take your test. In order for your score to be considered, you must sit your test before or on 15 October.

📅15 October: deadline to submit your UCAS form.

A-Level Law tutors indicate that students who take the test earlier tend to perform better, likely due to reduced stress and more available preparation time. According to UCAS, registering and booking your LNAT test as early as possible ensures you have a wider choice of test dates and centres. Expert advice suggests planning your preparation and test date well in advance to avoid any last-minute issues and to give yourself the best chance of success.

How much does LNAT cost?

The cost of taking the LNAT varies depending on your location. For test-takers in the UK and EU, the fee is £75, while candidates outside these regions pay £120. These fees cover the administration and processing of the test.

United Kingdom£75
Outside UK and EU£120

Table showing the LNAT cost

For students who may find these fees burdensome, many universities and organisations offer bursaries or financial assistance. It's important to check with the specific university or the LNAT website for details on how to apply for these aids.

These fees are essential to maintain the quality and security of the testing process. Experts recommend registering early and ensuring payment to secure your preferred test date and location. Being aware of these costs and planning accordingly can help you manage your application process more effectively.

How to register for the 2024 LNAT?

Registering for the LNAT involves several key steps, and it’s important to adhere to specific timelines to ensure a smooth process. Here’s a detailed guide:

  1. Create an Account: Visit the official LNAT website and sign up with your personal details. This step is essential to access the booking system.
  2. Book a Test Date: Registration and booking open from 1 August to 15 September. It’s highly recommended to book by 15 September to secure a test date before the 15 October deadline. Delay in booking might require traveling further to an available test centre.
  3. Payment: Pay the registration fee online using a credit or debit card. Ensure you receive a confirmation email after payment.
  4. Take the Test: You must take the test before or on 15 October. Arrive at the test centre at least 15 minutes before your scheduled test time, bringing a printout of your confirmation email and a recognised form of photo identification (such as a passport).

Remember, failure to register, book, or attend the test on the specified date can significantly affect your application. If illness or test centre disruptions occur, contact the relevant university admissions office immediately. Early registration and careful adherence to these guidelines can greatly enhance your application process.

Which universities require the LNAT?

Whether you are applying to UK universities as an IB Student or an A-Level student, the LNAT is a requirement for several prestigious universities in the UK and beyond, used to assess applicants' suitability for law courses. Key universities that require the LNAT include:

These institutions use LNAT scores as a significant part of their admissions process, evaluating candidates' aptitude for law studies. Performance on the LNAT can strongly influence admission decisions, with higher scores improving the chances of acceptance. Expert opinions from admissions tutors indicate that a strong LNAT score demonstrates critical thinking, analytical skills, and the ability to handle complex materials, all of which are crucial for success in law school.

What LNAT score do I need for Oxford?

How to get into Oxford university? Oxford does not specify a minimum LNAT score, but successful candidates typically score well above the average. According to data, the average LNAT score for Oxford applicants is around 27-30 out of 42. However, the exact score needed can vary each year based on the overall applicant pool. Oxbridge tutors also indicate that the admissions council also considers your essay, academic records, personal statement, and references alongside your LNAT score. Therefore, while a higher score improves your chances, it's important to present a strong overall application.

LNAT MCQs Section Score Distribution

Graph showing the LNAT MCQs Section Score Distribution

Best resources to prepare for the LNAT

How to prepare for the LNAT? Preparing for the LNAT requires strategic use of high-quality resources to enhance your skills and boost your confidence. Here are some of the best resources recommended by experts and high-scoring candidates:

  • Official LNAT Website: Offers sample papers and practice questions that mirror the actual test format.
  • Books: "Mastering the National Admissions Test for Law" by Mark Shepherd and "The Ultimate LNAT Guide" by Rohan Agarwal and Dr Rohan Agarwal are highly recommended for comprehensive preparation.
  • LNAT Tutoring: Personal tutoring from experts who have excelled in the LNAT can provide tailored guidance and strategies.
  • Practice Essays: Regularly writing essays on a variety of topics helps improve your argumentative skills and time management.
  • LNAT Past Papers: Extensive practice with past papers and mock exams helps familiarise you with the test format and types of questions.

Statistics show that students who use a combination of these resources tend to score higher. Expert advice emphasises the importance of regular practice, familiarising yourself with the test format, and critically reviewing your answers to understand mistakes. Engaging with these resources effectively can significantly improve your LNAT performance.

What is the role of LNAT in the interview process?

After successfully completing those A-Levels that you need to study Law, the LNAT plays a significant role in the law school admissions interview process, serving as an initial filter to identify strong candidates. Admissions tutors use LNAT scores to gauge applicants' critical thinking, analytical abilities, and potential for success in a rigorous academic environment.

  • Interview Selection: High LNAT scores can improve your chances of being shortlisted for an interview.
  • Discussion Points: Your performance on the LNAT, especially the essay section, may be discussed during the interview to assess your reasoning and argumentative skills.
  • Holistic Evaluation: While the LNAT is important, it is considered alongside other factors such as academic records, personal statements, and references.

Statistics from university admissions offices such as London School of Economics LSE show that candidates with higher LNAT scores often perform better in interviews. IB tutors as well as A-Level tutors suggest that demonstrating strong LNAT results can underscore your readiness for law studies and help you stand out in a competitive applicant pool. Therefore, excelling in the LNAT can significantly enhance your overall application and interview prospects.

Common Mistakes to Avoid on the LNAT

Avoiding common mistakes on the LNAT can significantly improve your score and overall performance. Here are some key pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Insufficient Practice: Not engaging with enough practice papers can leave you unprepared for the test's format and time constraints.
  • Ignoring Time Management: Failing to manage your time effectively, especially in the multiple-choice section, can result in unanswered questions and lower scores.
  • Weak Essay Structure: Writing an unstructured essay without a clear argument can negatively impact your score. Ensure your essay is well-organised and persuasive.
  • Overlooking Instructions: Misreading questions or ignoring essay prompts can lead to mistakes. Carefully read all instructions before starting.

Statistics reveal that students who practice under timed conditions and review their work thoroughly tend to score higher. Experts advise focusing on building strong analytical and writing skills, as well as simulating test conditions to avoid these common errors. Proper preparation and awareness of these mistakes can enhance your LNAT performance.

Can I retake the LNAT if I fail?

You cannot retake the LNAT within the same application cycle. The LNAT is designed to be taken once per admissions cycle, so if you are not satisfied with your score, you will need to wait until the next cycle to retake the test. This means careful preparation is crucial to maximise your chances of success on the first attempt.

  • Retake Policy: One attempt per application cycle.
  • Next Opportunity: Wait until the next admissions cycle to retake.

This policy ensures fairness and equal opportunity for all candidates. Expert advice suggests thoroughly reviewing your preparation strategy if you need to retake the LNAT. Focus on areas where you scored lower and consider seeking additional resources or tutoring. Remember, a well-rounded application also includes strong academic records and personal statements, so make sure these components are as strong as possible to enhance your overall application.

What should I bring on LNAT test day?

On LNAT test day, it’s essential to come prepared with the correct items to ensure a smooth testing experience. Here’s what you need to bring:

  • Photo Identification: A valid, recognised form of photo ID such as a passport, driving licence, or national ID card. This is mandatory for entry.
  • Confirmation Email: A printed copy of your confirmation email, which includes your test details.
  • Stationery: Although the test is computer-based, some centres may allow you to bring a pen and paper for notes. Check with your test centre beforehand.

Make sure your ID matches the name you used during registration to avoid any issues. Arriving at least 15 minutes early is advisable to account for check-in procedures. According to LNAT guidelines, failure to bring the necessary documents can result in being denied entry, significantly impacting your application. Expert advice stresses the importance of verifying all requirements ahead of time to ensure a stress-free test day.


The LNAT is a crucial test for aspiring law students, assessing critical thinking and reasoning skills. Success requires understanding the test structure, using quality preparation resources, and avoiding common mistakes. Remember, a strong LNAT performance can significantly boost your law school application. With dedicated preparation and strategic practice, you can excel in the LNAT and enhance your chances of admission to top universities.


How do I prepare for the LNAT essay section?

To excel in the LNAT essay section, practice writing essays on a variety of topics. Focus on constructing clear, logical arguments and supporting them with evidence. Time yourself to improve your ability to write coherently within 40 minutes. Reading opinion pieces in newspapers like The Guardian or The Times can help you understand how to structure arguments effectively. Regularly review your essays to identify areas for improvement. Using resources like "Mastering the National Admissions Test for Law" by Mark Shepherd can also provide valuable insights and practice prompts.

How do I interpret my LNAT results?

Your LNAT results include a multiple-choice score and an essay that is sent directly to the universities you're applying to. The multiple-choice section is scored out of 42, with the average score typically around 22. Universities interpret these scores differently, so check specific university requirements. Your essay is assessed for coherence, argument strength, and writing quality, although it is not scored numerically. It's important to understand that your LNAT score is just one part of your application, alongside your academic records, personal statement, and references.

How important is the LNAT essay for admissions?

The LNAT essay is crucial as it demonstrates your ability to construct and defend an argument, a key skill for law studies. Admissions tutors use the essay to assess your writing clarity, logical organisation, and critical thinking. While it is not given a numerical score, a well-written essay can significantly strengthen your application, especially if your multiple-choice score is borderline. It provides a more holistic view of your potential as a law student, so invest time in honing your essay-writing skills.

How long should I study for the LNAT?

Preparation time for the LNAT varies depending on your familiarity with the test material and your current skill level. On average, students should start preparing at least three months before the test date. This period allows you to develop a strong foundation in critical reading, logical reasoning, and essay writing. Consistent practice is key—regularly engage with practice tests, read complex texts, and write essays under timed conditions. Adjust your study plan based on your progress and any identified weaknesses.

Can international students take the LNAT?

Yes, international students can take the LNAT. The test is offered at various centres worldwide, ensuring accessibility for students from different countries. To register, international students need to follow the same process as UK students: create an account on the LNAT website, book a test date, and pay the registration fee, which is £120 for those outside the UK and EU. It's advisable to register early to secure a convenient test location and date.

Are there LNAT study groups or forums?

Yes, there are several LNAT study groups and forums where you can connect with other test-takers. Online platforms such as The Student Room have active LNAT discussion threads where you can share resources, tips, and experiences. Additionally, social media groups and websites like Reddit offer communities dedicated to LNAT preparation. Joining these groups can provide moral support, diverse perspectives on preparation strategies, and access to valuable resources.

What is the best way to improve LNAT scores?

To improve your LNAT scores, engage in consistent, targeted practice. Focus on reading complex texts to enhance your comprehension and critical thinking skills. Practice multiple-choice questions to become familiar with the test format and improve your time management. Writing essays on various topics will help you develop a clear and persuasive writing style. Use high-quality resources such as official LNAT practice papers and recommended preparation books. Additionally, consider seeking feedback from teachers or tutors to refine your skills further. Regularly reviewing your performance and adjusting your study strategies will also aid in steady improvement.

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Professional tutor and Cambridge University researcher

Thomas Babb

Written by: Thomas Babb

Oxford University - PhD Mathematics

Thomas is a PhD candidate at Oxford University. He served as an interviewer and the lead admissions test marker at Oxford, and teaches undergraduate students at Mansfield College and St Hilda’s College. He has ten years’ experience tutoring A-Level and GCSE students across a range of subjects.

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