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Have you been studying for the LSAT for months? Going to classes, reading textbooks, and trying out problems every day? Have you drilled all of your Logic Game types and figured out the secret to identifying every flaw known to humankind?
That’s awesome. But you’re not done.
Sadly for us, there’s a bit more to approaching the day of the LSAT than knowing all your material. As it turns out, the LSAC is extremely cautious (some might even say paranoid) about how people take the LSAT, so there are a ton of rules restricting what you can bring, wear, and do before and during the test.
Don’t stress out, though! Just follow this checklist to make sure you’re not going to break any rules and get kicked out on the day of the LSAT.
1. Don’t forget your PRINTED admission ticket and a PRINTED photo.
Yes, seriously. The LSAC wants you to print out your admission ticket and bring it to the testing center.
Plus, they want you to print out a photo of yourself—but not just any old photo. It has to be the same photo that you uploaded to LSAC.org when making your LSAC account. If you bring a different photo, it’s entirely plausible that you won’t be allowed to take the test that day, so be careful!
Finally, although you should figure out where your testing center is way ahead of time, make sure to check your ticket the night before you take your test. Sometimes, testing centers can be changed last minute—and you don’t want to assume that you’ll be notified over email. Be prepared to print out a new ticket in case this happens.
(In fact, you may want to print spares of both your ticket and your photo!)
2. Also, don’t forget your government-issued photo ID.
In addition to all that jazz, you’ll also need a driver’s license, passport, state ID, or similar government-issued photo identification on the day of the LSAT. Here’s a list of all IDs accepted by LSAC. Make sure yours is on there!
3. No mechanical pencils.
That’s right—number 2 or HB wooden pencils only!
Why? Well, you wouldn’t want to be the person stuck next to someone clicking their mechanical pencil over and over again for hours, would you? As a result, the LSAC prohibits mechanical pencils.
Make sure to bring enough pencils, erasers, and a non-electronic sharpener as well. You can’t count on the testing center having any spares.
4. No phone.
The next bit of this list will be mostly electronic items, but this one’s the toughest for students to grasp.
Don’t bring your phone to the testing center.
Don’t. Bring. Your. Phone. To. The. Testing. Center.
People do get kicked out—without a refund, with a black mark on their LSAT record—by simply bringing their phones on the day of the LSAT. It doesn’t matter if it’s on silent mode, or off, or stowed in your coat. You cannot have your phone.
Now, that’s not to say that some kindly proctors won’t ask to collect all the phones before the test starts, or be nice to you if you brought yours… But the theme of this day should be “Trust no one.” Don’t take a risk. Memorize or print out directions for getting to and from your test center (unless you can leave your phone in a car), and fight the urge to browse social media while you wait on test day.
One more time: don’t bring your phone. There’s an explicit zero-tolerance policy, so assume that if someone sees a phone on you at any point in the testing center, you’ll be kicked out and will receive a score cancellation
5. No digital watch or stopwatch.
If you’re not used to telling time on an analog watch, practice. That’s the only way you can measure your timing on the LSAT, because digital watches and stopwatches are completely banned. (This includes fitness devices and other wearables as well, naturally.)
Why? Again, nobody wants to hear beeping going off during the test. Plus, the more electronics someone’s allowed to take into the test, the easier it might be to cheat.
If you don’t love analog watches, consider purchasing an LSAT watch. These measure 35-minute increments, perfect for the LSAT, and often color code different bits of time to show you how much you need to be rushing. Many of my students have bought these gizmos, although I can’t personally attest to their use. (Just make sure to reset the watch for every section!)
You can’t assume that your test room will have a visible clock, so do make sure you have some way of keeping time on the day of the LSAT.
6. No music devices.
No iPods. No Walkmans. No Zunes. (Writing that made me feel like a real grandpa.)
You’re simply not allowed to have any music-playing devices, so that includes earbuds and headphones as well.
Seems like it’s pretty easy to get bored after arriving to your testing center early and waiting for things to get going, right? Well, it’s about to get worse…
7. No books, dictionaries, newspapers, or magazines.
No papers of any sort, in fact.
Sadly, this means you’ll have little to distract you once you’ve checked in. If you find yourself getting bored, try meditating to calm your mind and center yourself—it’ll pay dividends once you start the test.
8. No hats, hoods, or sunglasses.
Except for religious apparel and prescription eyeglasses, no headwear can be worn in the testing center. Even if it’s a sunny day or you have terrible bedhead, ditch the shades and cap or risk losing your seat.
9. Bring snacks!
Let’s end on a sweet note: you’re allowed to bring snacks and drinks to consume during your 15-minute break on the day of the LSAT!
That said, this wouldn’t be the LSAT without some big restrictions on top of that. You can only bring snacks or drinks that will fit in a clear plastic ziplock bag of up to 1 gallon, which everything else you bring (wallet, keys, ID, medicine and hygiene products, pencils, eraser, highlighter, and so on) also has to fit into.
The beverages have to be either in a juice box or a plastic container, up to 20 ounces, and can’t be in aluminum cans or glass containers. The snack can be pretty much whatever you want, although I’d recommend an assortment of fruits, nuts, and chocolate, so you keep your energy up and don’t crash in section 5.
You can check out the full list on the LSAC website. Make sure to prepare everything the night before, so you don’t have to stress out the morning of your test!
Don’t bring your phone. 📝
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Ben Rashkovich is a Manhattan Prep LSAT instructor based in New York, NY. He’s a graduate of Columbia University, and he scored a 172 on the LSAT. He enjoys the mental challenge and logical acrobatics of the LSAT—and he feels that studying for the test can teach everyone to approach problems more rationally. You can check out Ben’s upcoming LSAT courses here!