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Breaking Down That June 2022 LSAT Experimental Section — What Happened?

  • by Liz Flagge
  • Jun 13, 2022
  • Advice, Analysis of Previous LSATs, General LSAT Advice, June LSAT, Law School, LSAC, LSAT
  • Reviewed by: Matt Riley

Our LSAT students are well prepared for anything the LSAT might throw their way; in fact, our students often find themselves with extra time to go back and check their work. That said, we’ve never heard that they had time to twiddle their thumbs and play with their erasers…until now. 

On Saturday the 11th, some June testers were presented with a 4th section which came with a notification from LSAC that it would be unscored. Students reported finishing the odd section with fully 20 minutes left to go. These students claim they literally sat and waited out the clock with their proctor; all the while experiencing that weird feeling you get when you know someone is watching you. Creepy. 

If you tested Saturday and didn’t get the announced experimental 4th section, your test included a standard LSAC experimental section that appeared as any one of the sections of your LSAT. Normally, these sections aren’t distinguished or announced in any way, so there’s no reason to worry if you didn’t see this announcement! Also, to assuage any feelings you may have of unfairness, remember that students in this cohort did not know their test would have this section until reaching section 4; therefore their stress levels while completing sections 1-3 were not altered by that information. As for whether having the experimental section in the last slot adds an advantage, LSAC has years of data to say experimental section positioning doesn’t significantly impact performance. 

The new, strange, and loudly unscored section seems to have been largely for the purposes of investigating Logic-Games-style items and how students go about diagramming, or not diagramming, them. Note that this is speculative based on student reports: LSAC is, understandably, not speaking to what was included or being tested in this new experimental section. One thing is for sure – even though all LSAT administrations include a section that is experimental, this one really lived up to the name.

But why would LSAC do this? For change, of course! Prompted by a 2019 lawsuit, LSAC has been investigating ways to increase the accessibility of the Logic Games section. This investigation resulted in an agreement to complete work within four years that would result in an LSAT that “enable[d] all prospective law school students to take an exam administered by LSAC that does not have the current [logical reasoning] section but continue[d] to assess analytical reasoning abilities.” There have been no major public updates since announcing this agreement, but if it does go forward, we would most likely see it in the 2023 or 2024 testing year per the original lawsuit. Saturday’s mysterious 4th section, with its oh-so-few questions and never-before-seen surveys, was, to all appearances, presented in service of this long-anticipated, momentous LG shakeup. 

While the LSAT has undergone changes in the past including two scoring overhauls, the content of the test has remained largely the same since its first administration in 1948. Other than my Great Aunt Ida’s pin curls, I can’t think of a single thing that has remained unchanged since the 40’s; and while it’s too late to talk Auntie out of her favored ‘do, it’s right on time for LSAC to shake up its test.

Moving forward, we can expect that LSAC will continue to use students to test out new questions using regular experimental sections. We can also expect that they will continue to conduct research, like the kind they conducted Saturday, as needed. Further, because this section was so unique, with its relatively few LSAT-style questions and its wholly unheard-of survey-style questions, it will never be able to blend in with regular sections. Thus placing a section like this anywhere other than last might appear to give testers with this non-stress-inducing section an advantage. So, if LSAC does include sections like this one in the future, they’ll probably continue being last on test day; but, remember that LSAC is under no obligation to include an announced experimental, so for the time being, you should continue to treat every section as though it will be scored. 

Saturday’s LSAT marks our first glimpse into LSAC’s processes for its first real content change since… ever. It’s a pretty big deal—and pretty cool! Test-takers who encountered this quirky little experimental section just found themselves occupying a little place in LSAT history.