What Is the LNAT?
The Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) helps specific UK universities to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for an undergraduate law course. It is not a legal knowledge test, nor is it an intelligence test. Rather it looks to test your general comprehension and reasoning skills, which are essential for studying and practising law.
Created in 2004, The LNAT is used alongside other processes such as UCAS and academic qualifications to assess the many competent candidates applying for undergraduate law programmes. The test content is handled by the LNAT consortium members and the test administration is run by Pearson VUE.
If your chosen university is part of the LNAT consortium, you will need to sit the test. The list of universities can be viewed on the LNAT website but, currently, they are:
- Durham University
- King’s College London
- London School of Economics
- University of Bristol
- University College London
- University of Glasgow
- University of Nottingham
- University of Oxford
- What the LNAT Measures
- The Format of the LNAT
- What Does the Test Cost?
- When Can I Take the LNAT?
- Booking Your Test
- How to Prepare for the LNAT
- Sample Questions
- LNAT Test Day
- What Happens After the Test?
- Useful Resources
- Further Reading
What the LNAT Measures
To be a competent lawyer you need a specific skill set. The LNAT has been designed to identify which candidates have the analytical reasoning skills to potentially become a practising lawyer. Some students may be academically gifted and be able to talk knowledgeably about the law, but they may not possess the ability to apply principles and reason effectively.
The LNAT test measures:
- analytical ability
- reading skills
- comprehensive understanding
- deductive and inductive reasoning skills
- verbal skills
- strategic approaches
The Format of the LNAT
The test takes two hours and 15 minutes. You have one hour and 35 minutes to answer the first section, which consists of 42 multiple-choice questions. These questions relate to 12 passages of text, with three or four multiple-choice questions to answer on each passage. Once you start the second section of the test, you can no longer alter your answers in the first section.
You have 40 minutes to complete the second section of the test. This involves answering one of three essay questions. The essay must be typed and submitted online at a test centre.
What Does the Test Cost?
The current test costs are £50 at a UK/EU-based test centre or £70 at test centres outside the EU. The payment is due at the time of booking online.
An LNAT bursary might help if you need funding support. You can apply on the LNAT website (note that you need to do this a week or two before you book the test).
If you fit any of the criteria below, you might be eligible:
- You are receiving one of the following: an adult learning grant, a 16-to-19 bursary in England, or the top rate of Educational Maintenance Allowance in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
- You live with a relative who collects Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance.
- You live with a relative who earns below £30,000 a year and gets Child Tax Credit.
- You receive pupil premium payments or a free school meal.
When Can I Take the LNAT?
LNAT test registration opens in August, with tests beginning in September (for start at university the following year). The LNAT can be taken before or after you submit your UCAS application.
Check the LNAT website for information on dates and deadlines; these are the general dates to look out for:
- Early August: LNAT registration opens
- Early September: LNAT testing begins
- Early October: deadline for booking LNAT test (Oxbridge applicants only)
- Mid-October: deadline to sit the LNAT (Oxbridge applicants only)
- Mid-January: deadline to sit the LNAT (all other universities)
Candidates may only sit the LNAT once between 1 September and 31 July, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Booking Your Test
Register on the LNAT website, inputting your UCAS ID number if you have one. Once registered, log on to the site and navigate to the booking page. You can then choose your test venue and date. Check whether you are eligible for an LNAT bursary before you submit your application and make payment. You can choose from over 150 test centres in the UK (out of 500 globally).
If you need to cancel or reschedule your test, make sure you do this before noon, two working days before the test date to receive a refund. You will not receive a refund after this point.
How to Prepare for the LNAT
You can download example papers from the LNAT website, plus take a practice test and see screenshots of how the test will look at the test centre. Take a look also at JobTestPrep's LNAT practice package.
Another way to prepare is to read quality newspapers or current affairs magazines and review the content critically. When you read an article, try to think analytically about what’s being said:
- Can you identify the main issues in the article?
- Are assumptions being made? What are they?
- What conclusions is the writer drawing?
- What might be a counter-argument against this view?
The LNAT provides a useful guide to preparing for the LNAT exam, which is well worth reading.
Here is an example question for Section A of the exam, which is multiple-choice questions based on passages of text. (Source: https://lnat.ac.uk/)
Text: Physicians and Patients
Traditional medical oaths and codes prescribe a physician’s character, motives, and duties. Typically they portray ideal physicians as devoted to the welfare of patients and to the advancement of the medical profession and medical knowledge, responding compassionately to the suffering of patients, humbly mindful of the limits of their curative powers and the harms they may unintentionally cause. The Hippocratic injunction “Strive to help, but above all, do no harm” is the ruling maxim.
Although still supported by religious texts and medical tradition, this ideal physician is increasingly criticized as “paternalistic”, too willing to act on judgments of a patient’s best interests without the patient’s knowledge or consent. To treat without consulting a patient is to assume that a patient does or should share one’s own assessment of the risks, benefits, and burdens of treatment. But current hospital specialists, it is said, rarely know their patients (or themselves) well enough to make this assumption without serious risk of ignorant arrogance. Given hospital hierarchies, such paternalistic physicians are seen to resemble Victorian patriarchs.
Some physicians reject such criticism as intervention by lawyers, philosophers, feminists, and other social critics ignorant of the realities of medical and hospital life. But the “neo-paternalists” admit that physicians should attend more carefully to a patient’s desires and to give them greater weight in arriving at a treatment of choice. Unmollified critics, however, continue to insist that treatment choice belongs to the patient, however imprudent, and not to the physician, however attentive and knowing. To curb Hippocratic paternalism they define a range of patients’ specific rights to be told about, and choose among, alternative treatments, including a right to refuse all, even life-saving treatment.
These rights confer adult status on patients whom paternalists regard as children, replacing quasi-familial with quasi-legal relations. A patient’s “free and informed consent” reflects an implicit therapeutic contract, defined and reviewed as treatment proceeds. A physician who treats without such consent is not a patriarch, but a batterer. Less litigiously, these rights define a “principle of autonomy” traced to Kantian notions of respect for persons and inherent human dignity.
Attempts to apply this principle have raised questions of scope: Is a patient’s “free and informed consent” needed for routine procedures with slight or rare risks? Is consent required if a patient would, in the physician’s judgment, be “medically harmed” by information about diagnosis and prognosis? Are refusals to be honoured even if patients risk death, as do surgical patients religiously opposed to blood transfusion? Does the principle (contra Kant) cover voluntary euthanasia? Can children or mentally ill patients give informed consent at least for some procedures? Can parents or other surrogates give or refuse “substituted” consent when a patient is too ill to consider the options or to speak?
Whatever the scope of a principle of patient autonomy, this challenge to paternalism has shifted the categories of concern. Physicians’ power, not their character, has become the issue. Consequently, “Who is to decide?” has become more pressing than “What is to be done?” Proper procedure has become as important, in medical ethics, as correct conclusions.
1. Which of the following pairs is not used as an opposition in the passage?
(a) ideal physician and Victorian patriarch
(b) adult and children
(c) quasi-familial and quasi-legal
(d) patriarch and batterer
(e) paternalism and autonomy
2. The writer takes the view that:
(a) physicians need to change their attitudes
(b) some doctors are too old-fashioned
(c) we need to reconsider the validity of the Hippocratic oath
(d) the most important issue in medical ethics today is who decides
(e) the patient should decide on their treatment, not the physician
3. Why might voluntary euthanasia be against Kantian principles?
(a) It is not a medical treatment
(b) It does not respect human dignity
(c) It is contrary to natural law
(d) It undermines the patient/physician relationship
(e) It is not an example of autonomy
The correct answers are:
Question 1: (a)
Question 2: (d)
Question 3: (b)
Section B of the test is an essay question that you will choose from a couple of options. You get 40 minutes to write a maximum of 750 words.
Here are some example essay questions, some of which are taken from the LNAT website:
- Should teachers be allowed to discipline their students?
- Does it matter if some animal and plant species die out?
- Are tuition fees fair?
- Does tourism only benefit richer countries?
- ‘Arranged marriages should not be tolerated within a Western society.’ Do you agree?
- We must be prepared to sacrifice traditional liberties to defeat terrorism.’ Discuss.
- Should the law require people to vote in general elections?
LNAT Test Day
On the day, arrive at least 15 minutes before the test start time. Make sure you have a printout of your confirmation email plus photo ID.
You will be asked to leave your bag/personal items in the lockers by the seating area. You are not permitted to take anything into the test room.
Candidates will be asked to sit at a numbered desk with a computer plus a portable whiteboard and pen for making notes. If you have special access requirements you will need to fill out a form before you book your test.
There is an invigilation desk in the testing room. Computers within the test room will only run the LNAT programme.
What Happens After the Test?
Within 24 hours of completing the test, your university will be able to view the results. The university’s admission policy will determine the next steps; some universities are looking for a particular score, others might use it as the basis for an interview.
The first part of the test will provide you with your LNAT score. The essay does not contribute to this mark but it is used as supporting information. How your university uses the LNAT essays depends on its admissions policy, and this will vary from institution to institution. Some might use it to inform interview questions, and other universities will use it alongside your personal statement.
It may also help to differentiate between candidates who are on a par with each other when it comes to other supporting data.
You will receive your results via email in mid-February (if taken before mid-January) or early August (if you take it after January). The result is valid for the year in which you have taken the test.
The following may help with your LNAT preparation:
> Advice from students who have taken the LNAT
> Preparation tips from The Lawyer Portal
> General career advice for those looking to study law, from The Law Degree Guide
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