Hints and tips
Multiple choice question hints
You may like to start by skim-reading or “speed-reading” the multiple-choice passages. But then go back and read them slowly and deliberately, and think about the exact meaning of every sentence. Note key words and phrases on your whiteboard if it helps you to concentrate.
Don’t read anything in, and don’t read anything out. You are not being asked to surmise. And the questioner, not you, is the best judge of relevance. So take everything in the passage at face-value and give it all even-handed attention.
Don’t ever rely on what you know from other sources in answering the multiple-choice questions. They are always questions about the passage itself. If it contains falsehoods, never mind – treat them as true for the purpose of the test.
Accept that one (and only one) of the answers to each question is correct. All the questions have been thoroughly checked. If there are matters of degree, the question is there to test how you handle matters of degree. If there are ambiguities, we are trying to find out how you cope with ambiguities. The solution is always there in the passage.
Remember that one of the hallmarks of a good multiple-choice question is the inclusion of one or more answer options that are wrong but almost right. Work hard to find them and eliminate them. Questions like this are not tricks. They are there to test whether your powers of discrimination are fine-grained (i.e. can distinguish propositions that are very close together) or coarse-grained (i.e. can distinguish propositions only when they are quite far apart). There are no trick questions on the LNAT.
There is a point for each right answer. But none are deducted for wrong answers. So don’t leave blanks. If you really can’t work out the answer, it’s better to eliminate the answers you know to be wrong and guess from the ones that are left.
You can skip multiple choice questions and come back to them by marking them for review. Remember, though, that you need to go back to them before the multiple choice part of the test is over. You can’t go back to them after the essay.
Unlike some multiple-choice tests the LNAT does not put great emphasis on speed. We have designed it so that you have a reasonable amount of time to work through all the questions patiently. Pacing yourself correctly is one of the main things you can learn by taking our practice tests.
We don’t care whether you have any data about the topic. An argument based on assumptions can be just as good as an argument based on information. But you need to say what your assumptions are. (e.g. “I will assume that the demand for health care is growing, and will continue to grow, out of proportion to supply. That being so, what can be done to ensure that rich countries don’t monopolize it?”)
We are also not very interested in your opinions. We are interested in whether you can defend a position – which may or may not be your own personal position. Sometimes you may do better if you attempt to defend a position that you do not agree with personally. This may make your argument tighter.
Economy of expression is important. Our ideal LNAT essay is 500-600 words long. If you write much less than this your essay will be too short to be evaluated properly and you are unlikely to do well. But a very long essay will also put you at a disadvantage. This panel of text (from the top of the page to the word “disadvantage on the left) is already about 600 words long. It was typed in about five minutes using two-fingered typing. You have 40 minutes to type a similar amount. So you have lots of time to think, organise your thoughts, compose, and edit. You should try and remove repetition, surplus words and digressions. This kind of discipline will be rewarded.
Don’t sit on the fence. Don’t say that each side in an argument has a point unless you go on to say which point each side has. It is perfectly all right to say that that one side is right about point 1, whereas the other side is right about point 2. It is also all right to say that, on closer inspection, the two sides are at cross-purposes and don’t really disagree. It is fence-sitting only if you say that they do disagree, that there is only one point of disagreement, and yet that they both have a point on that point. That makes no sense.
Don’t try to impress with fancy words or elaborate style. Be straightforward in your writing and your argument.
Read some sample essay answers here.
Advice from past candidates
- ‘The more you practice the more you can understand what the questions are getting at; tutoring doesn’t help, it’s common sense.’
- ‘Read the sample paper on the internet site, seek advice from tutors at college or school and familiarise yourself with texts of a more advanced and complex nature.’
- ‘Read newspapers and learn to formulate opinions and express them succinctly. Also practice at being able to read subtle differences in things, for the multiple choice.’
- ‘Doing the practice was useful to get a feel for how the test would go. This was helpful because I knew what to expect. I didn’t feel that I could have prepared any more for it though as you don’t know what the questions are going to be. Reading newspapers is helpful for the essay part as you’ll have a wider knowledge of the world and be able to answer a question more easily, it will also help your essay writing.’
- ‘Practice writing essays on subjects with which you are unfamiliar. This helps you to focus on the planning aspects of essay writing and the structure of the essay instead of getting too wrapped up in the subject detail.’
- ‘Perhaps read some difficult articles on topics of personal interest to familiarise with possibly difficult words that you may not understand out of context.’
- ‘Use the material and advice on the LNAT website. Familiarisation with typical content, format and timing was invaluable.’
During the test
- ‘Carefully read the instructions at the beginning of the test. I panicked half-way through the multiple choice section of the test and believed I only had half the actual time available to do this section.’
- ‘Stay calm and keep track of time during the test as it was very time pressured and it would be easy to mismanage your time and therefore not perform as well as you should.’
- ‘Try to keep to time on the multiple choice section and don’t over analyse the questions too much. I ran out of time on the multiple choice section and had to guess the last few which didn’t help my score. Also don’t panic or get unnerved by the timer.’
- ‘It sounds silly but thoroughly read the questions, everyone is likely to say it, but genuinely read every single word’
Section A: Multiple Choice - Reading Comprehension
The Reading Comprehension section comprises of ten passages, each of 300 to 600 words, with 3 multiple-choice questions per passage. Each question tests an aspect of your comprehension of the passage. For example "which of the following is the author's main argument in the passage?" and "which of the following is not stated in the article?" The passages are typically taken from newspaper articles, scholarly books and magazines. The issues they deal with are the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Each question is worth one mark and the final score will be out of 30. This is a difficult section but, with practice, you can excel.
Section B: Essay
In Section B you are required to type an academic essay, answering one of five questions. There are 40 minutes allocated to this section. The essay questions are on topical issues in the humanities such as education, politics and the environment. The word limit is 750.
You can instantly improve your score and hence your chances of admission into the University of your choice by slowing down! The benefit of spending a few extra seconds on a question can be huge. In this extra time you are far more likely to spot that crucial word or make that crucial judgement.
There is no negative mark for getting a question wrong. This means that in order to maximize your mark, you should give an answer for every question.
The best thing about multiple choice exams is that the right answer is there in front of you. However, it is the test writers' job to disguise the right answer and surround it with alternatives which look as good as, if not better than, the real one! So, to crack the LNAT, you must eliminate all the incorrect answers ...
Attack every answer- find something that's wrong with it and cross it off. Take a critical attitude. Think like a lawyer - pick the holes in any answer. Don't hunt for reasons why it might be right, dig out the reasons why it is wrong. With this mindset, you will eliminate wrong answers and do better on any multiple choice test. This is far better than the opposite mindset: trying to find the right answer.
One of the most common mistakes on the LNAT is to misread sentences. In the key sentences, just about every word is crucial to the meaning. Simply mistaking a 'should' for a 'could', because of carelessness is a sure way to fail. You will be misunderstanding the question, the
passage, and the answers.
Avoid misreading sentences by using these techniques:
- Read carefully and deliberately.
- Maintain a confident and critical attitude. Remember - these are two of the skills you will need to succeed in a law degree.
Practice ... Practice ... Practice
The central element of preparation is practice. To ensure that your practice is beneficial, consciously analyse your mistakes and learn from them. You may find yourself making errors consistently in the same type of questions or in the same part of the test.