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So, about that Writing Sample

J.Y. PingJ.Y. Ping Administrator Instructor
edited November 2019 in General 13466 karma
Admin. Note (11/8/2019)
Edited to add: Please see the following update by @"David.Busis" (also in Comments)
"Hey everyone—I can speak for @"J.Y. Ping" when I tell you that this advice from six years ago is no longer valid.

The writing sample matters.

Some admissions officers read all writing samples as a rule; some only read it for certain applicants under certain circumstances. Regardless, it matters. If the admissions team might read it, you have no choice but to act as if they will read it."


It doesn't matter. It's not a part of your score. Do it according to instructions and you'll be fine. I'm not really convinced that admissions officers even read the samples. Seriously, who can still read handwriting?

The setup will ask you to make an argument, so make an argument. You will argue that out of the two options to pursue, one is better than the other. What metric do you use to argue for "better?" The setup gives you two goals, constraints, metrics, whatever you want to call it, that's how you argue for "better."

Make arguments for both sides. But, ultimately argue for just one side.

For example, we need to get off the island. We have two options: bridge or ferry. We have two constraints/goals/metrics: safety and speed.

Argument: We should take the bridge. The bridge is safer and faster. Some people think the ferry is safer and faster but they are idiots. They make arguments like X, but, come on. X, really? That's all you got? Come on. So, we're in agreement, yes? Off to the bridge!

The above satisfies the instructions, but is a very bad argument. Imagine if that's on an LR section. You'd tear that argument to pieces! So, make sure you don't make arguments like that one. Call out any assumptions you make, e.g., "I presume blah blah blah is the case." Don't make fallacies, e.g., attacking an argument with "Come on."

Anyway, by the time you get to this section, the test is pretty much over and you should feel overwhelming relief. So, try to have some fun with it! :)

Comments

  • dan.dongsungdan.dongsung Member
    4 karma
    Thanks for the tip- I was wondering about that-and yes! given the fact that my hand writing is complete garbage to begin with, I can only imagine that my writing sample will make chicken scratch look like some ornate Turkish Calligraphy. To perhaps take the fun to another level, I just might as well draw out the scenario and argument, some basic labeling, and heck, even a Venn Diagram to show off my imperfect circle drawing skills :)
  • paulfan2011paulfan2011 Member
    125 karma
    The way I was always told is write something on topic and don't draw any pictures.
  • KK Member
    345 karma
    I would rather take another LG section xD
  • jsolomon759jsolomon759 Legacy Member
    51 karma

    with the change from handwritten to digital, do you think law school administration will continue to ignore the written section ?

  • Woodsy_567Woodsy_567 Legacy Member
    257 karma

    It will definitely change. I’ve been to a few admissions panels where deans at top schools made clear that they will definitely be looking at the writing portion now since it will be legible.

  • David.BusisDavid.Busis Member Moderator Admissions Consultant
    6837 karma

    Hey everyone—I can speak for @"J.Y. Ping" when I tell you that this advice from six years ago is no longer valid.

    The writing sample matters.

    Some admissions officers read all writing samples as a rule; some only read it for certain applicants under certain circumstances. Regardless, it matters. If the admissions team might read it, you have no choice but to act as if they will read it.

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    The Reddit forum has had some reports of technical difficulties during the writing portion. How can we avoid this? Did anyone end up going to a test center for the writing portion, and if so did this help?

  • zacharytsmith26zacharytsmith26 Alum Member
    edited November 2019 844 karma

    @"David.Busis" said:
    Hey everyone—I can speak for @"J.Y. Ping" when I tell you that this advice from six years ago is no longer valid.

    The writing sample matters.

    Some admissions officers read all writing samples as a rule; some only read it for certain applicants under certain circumstances. Regardless, it matters. If the admissions team might read it, you have no choice but to act as if they will read it.

    I did a writing sample on an earlier test when we did written right after the test. I have bad doctor like handwriting, and since I've heard the photo copy and scanning makes the writing ever harder to read, they almost certainly won't be able to read it. Will it make me look lazy if I don't do a typed version? I don't think the one I wrote was bad, but there is a 99.9% chance they won't be able to make out a lot of it.

  • Like_SpikeLike_Spike Alum Member
    edited November 2019 203 karma

    @"David.Busis" I hope this isn't too much of a bother, but I have two questions regarding this that may or may not be time-sensitive given that I'm planning to submit my apps next week. I took the the LSAT five times, three of which still included the handwritten writing sample, and two with the digital/typed sample.

    1. My first LSAT attempt was the one I also gave the most amount of effort toward the writing—about five decent-sized paragraphs (handwritten) and, IMO, not half-bad. The other two handwritten attempts I was pretty blasé toward. On each, I wrote two modest paragraphs and called it a day. I wasn't flippant or glib, but I was fatigued and wanted to be done. If 1 out of my 3 attempts show real effort, will they hold those other two against me? Or is this merely to get a sense/glimpse of my writing ability, and thus that first attempt is all they're seeking?

    2. Because of that first attempt, I hadn't bothered attempting either of my digital writing samples that are available. Would it be wise to do a typed sample given all of this, or does it not matter?

  • mariannemarianne Legacy Member
    10 karma

    @"David.Busis" I just took the test on 11/25 and want to get my writing portion done as soon as possible...my biggest challenge is retraining myself away from taking like 33 minutes "crafting" the intro paragraph and then running out of time. The best way for me to do that I think is by doing a bunch of practice attempts for the muscle memory...do you guys have a stash of writing prompts that I can work off of??? I bought the full package with all the practice tests and though I haven't gone through all of them I don't remember seeing the writing portion included in any.

    Thanks!

  • BrainiacMSBrainiacMS Alum Member
    98 karma

    Are there any samples of the writing test I can reference on the 7sages? I am awful when it comes to writing on paper (Asia test) and I want to have a firm structure in mind before I go in.

  • Mario RoboMario Robo Alum Member
    266 karma

    Also, we had admission forums at my school and they said now it is something that they can definitely look at. Before the digital, they said, they couldn't always read any of them so many times it wasn't worth it, but now that everything is digital that doesn't apply.

  • David.BusisDavid.Busis Member Moderator Admissions Consultant
    6837 karma

    @mariannefichtel Unfortunately, we don't have any writing prompts. It's something we're working on!

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    @mariannefichtel, The ThinkingLSAT podcast has an episode on planning this essay you might find helpful.

  • MIT_2017MIT_2017 Alum Member
    470 karma

    @"David.Busis" said:
    Hey everyone—I can speak for @"J.Y. Ping" when I tell you that this advice from six years ago is no longer valid.

    The writing sample matters.

    Some admissions officers read all writing samples as a rule; some only read it for certain applicants under certain circumstances. Regardless, it matters. If the admissions team might read it, you have no choice but to act as if they will read it.

    Wondering if you can elaborate on this -- if you have already done a writing section when it was included as part of the paper exam (and most likely did not craft a particularly effective essay...) do you recommend we do it a second time (I also took the June 2019 exam, and have yet to take the associated electronic writing section) ??

  • mariannemarianne Legacy Member
    10 karma

    @lsatplaylist said:
    @mariannefichtel, The ThinkingLSAT podcast has an episode on planning this essay you might find helpful.

    Thanks, I'll check it out!

  • David.BusisDavid.Busis Member Moderator Admissions Consultant
    edited December 2019 6837 karma

    @MIT_2017 , if you think the essay went well, I don't think you need to take it again. If you don't think you did well, or if you think you can write a better one with a keyboard, then I do recommend you do LSAT Writing again.

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