The National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) is a 2-hour 15-minute test divided into two sections.
Section A is a computer-based, multiple-choice exam consisting of 42 questions. The questions are based on 12 passages, with 3 or 4 multiple-choice questions on each. You are given 95 minutes to answer all of the questions. You’ll be asked to read passages of text and answer questions that test your comprehension of them. Your answers to the multiple-choice section of the test are checked by computer, and a mark out of 42 is created. This is known as your LNAT score.
In Section B you will be given 40 minutes to write an essay from a list of three proposed subjects. This section is marked by the tutors at the college to which you apply, and this mark is taken into account as part of the selection process. The essay is your opportunity to show your ability to construct a compelling argument and reach a conclusion.
The LNAT isn’t designed to test your knowledge of Law or any other subject. Instead, it helps us to assess your aptitude for studying Law.
Why do I have to take a test?
Most applicants to Oxford University have outstanding academic credentials. It can therefore be difficult for us to choose between so many well-qualified candidates, especially as applicants come from all over the world and take different qualifications.
Tests give us an extra piece of information for every student who has applied for a given course, wherever they are from. Considered together with the other elements of the application, this helps us to identify the very best candidates. However, there is no specific mark that will guarantee that you will be invited to interview. The tests vary each year, and your test score will be considered alongside the scores of other students who apply for your course.
Do I have to pay?
The LNAT is administered by an independent company who charge candidates a fee of £50 to take the test in the UK. If you are taking the test in a centre outside the UK there is a fee of £70.
However, we do not wish the cost of sitting the test to be a barrier to doing so. An LNAT bursary scheme is available to candidates struggling to pay for their LNAT test. Test fees will be waived for UK/EU students in receipt of certain state benefits. You must apply for a bursary before booking the LNAT. It could take at least a week to process a bursary application from the date of receipt so you should allow for this extra time when planning your LNAT booking. For more information on applying for a bursary please read the detailed information about LNAT bursaries here.
How are the tests designed and reviewed?
The LNAT is not run by Oxford University. The test is used by nine UK universities as part of their admissions process for undergraduate applications to Law. The content of the LNAT is managed by the members of the LNAT Consortium (made up of six of those universities) and the test itself is administered by Pearson VUE, under contract to LNAT. A statistical report is produced each year for reviewing purposes and made publicly available. You can find out more information here.
How do I register?
In order to register for the LNAT you must follow these steps:
Step 1: set up an account on the LNAT website. You can do this from 1 August in the year you intend to apply. There are further instructions on the information you will need to provide and how to do this here.
Step 2: register with a test centre. Unlike our other admissions tests, candidates sitting the LNAT normally do so in a registered test centre, rather than in their school or college. There are over 500 LNAT test centres around the world with 150 in the UK. To find your nearest test centres you can use the LNAT live test centre locator. If you cannot find your country listed in the test centre locator or in the list of test centres scheduled to open soon, please contact the LNAT Administrator.
Step 3: book your test. In order to meet our deadlines, you must register for the LNAT by 15 September and take the LNAT before 15 October in the year you apply. You may take the test on any day when there is availability at your chosen test centre between those dates. The earlier you book, the more chance you have of getting an appointment on the day of your choice. You are therefore strongly advised to begin making arrangements as soon as possible.
Step 4: pay for your test. The LNAT must be paid for online in advance of your test, either via credit or debit card. If you do not have to an acceptable payment card, or live in a country with credit card verification problems you can apply for LNAT vouchers. Information about LNAT bursaries is available here.
If you are normally entitled to access requirements in your exams (e.g. extended time for dyslexia, arrangements for impaired mobility, hearing or vision) you shouldn’t book your test online. Instead, you should follow Step 1 to register, then fill out an Examination Access Requirements form, which you should submit, alongside appropriate documentary evidence, before booking your test.
Please note that while some examination access arrangements, such as extra time, can be verified and accommodated within a few days, others such as booking a reader recorder will take at least three weeks. Please allow for this extra time when planning to take your LNAT.
Once your request has been approved you will be given instructions on booking your test. For further information please see here.
When do I take the test?
Candidates for the LNAT must take the test before 15 October in the year they apply, but not before the summer holiday of the year in which they apply. Please see below for a summary of the important dates and deadlines:
- 1 August – 15 September: register and book the LNAT (in order to sit the test, before or on, 15 October 2020)
- before or on 15 October: take your test. In order for your score to be considered by us, you must sit your test before or on, 15 October.
- 15 October: deadline to submit your UCAS form
On the test day:
It is important that you arrive at the test centre at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start of your test. Please note that on the day of the test, you must take a printout of your confirmation email and a recognised form of photo-identification (such as a passport). If you do not bring ID you will not be allowed to sit the test.
If you don't take the admissions test(s) required for your course, either because you didn't register or didn't attend on the test day, then your application will be significantly affected. Your UCAS form will still be viewed by our admissions tutors. However, as the admissions test forms an important part of our selection process it will be extremely difficult for your application to be competitive when viewed against other candidates who have fulfilled all the admissions criteria.
It is not possible to re-sit the LNAT once completed. If you were ill on the day of the LNAT please contact the college to which you applied and let them know. If there was some form of disruption at the test centre you should ask for an incident number on the day of the test and contact the LNAT Consortium as soon as possible afterwards. For more information on the complaints procedure see here.
How do I get my results?
Candidates sitting the LNAT will receive their results in mid-February. All scores and essays will be sent directly to the tutors at the college to which you applied in time for them to make their shortlisting decisions in November, so candidates do not need to send their results to us separately.
How do I prepare?
Taking any type of test or exam can be stressful, but you can help build your confidence by doing a bit of preparation ahead of time. You may also do better in the real test if you've had a chance to practise some sample or past papers, and got used to the format and timings of the admissions test you have to take. Here are our top tips for preparing for the LNAT:
- Review the sample papers for the LNAT provided below. This will help you to feel familiar with the test paper and know what to expect. Make sure to have a look at the online simulation too.
- Sit at least one past paper in test conditions. This is really important as it will help you get used to how much time to allocate to each question.
- Have a look at the LNAT website, which contains lots of useful information on how to prepare including hints and tips from former candidates and an LNAT preparation guide.
Don't worry if you find the past or specimen papers very difficult - they're supposed to be! All our tests are designed to stretch you further than you have been stretched before – most candidates will find them really hard.
Section A practice papers
The first section of the LNAT is a screen-based multiple-choice test of 42 questions. You may find it useful to familiarise yourself with the format of the test using this online sample test. You may also like to attempt the following practice test papers which can be downloaded as PDFs. Remember you are given 95 minutes to answer all of the questions.
Section B essay questions
In the second section of the LNAT you will be given 40 minutes to write an essay from a list of three proposed subjects. Here are a few sample essay questions for you to think about. Remember that you get 40 minutes to write a maximum of 750 words – ideally about 500-600 words.
- How should judges be appointed?
- Make the best case you can for public funding of the arts.
- Does it matter if some animal and plant species die out?
- ‘It is right that students should contribute to the cost of their degrees.’ Do you agree?
- What disciplinary sanctions should teachers be allowed to use?
- ‘We must be prepared to sacrifice traditional liberties to defeat terrorism.’ Discuss.
- Should the law require people to vote in general elections?
- Should private cars be rationed? If so, how?
- What is ‘political correctness’ and why does it matter?
You may wish to prepare by simply reading a good quality English-language newspaper. As you read, think about the issues being raised; what assumptions are being made? What information is being relied on to draw which conclusion? How would you frame a counterargument? This will help you to be aware of the world around you. The LNAT essay topics will not be specifically about current affairs, and you will not be judged by what facts you know. But knowing how the world ticks, in general terms, will help you to write intelligently about a host of different topics.
We have listed some newspapers below worth considering. You can read the online versions (usually freely available, although registration may be required). If you do read the online versions, remember to read the comment pieces as well as the news. (One question you might ask yourself: What exactly is the difference between news and comment? Is the contrast really apparent in practice?)
- The Economist
- The Financial Times
- The Guardian
- The Independent
- The Irish Times
- The New York Times
- The Scotsman
- The Sydney Morning Herald
- The Daily Telegraph
- The Times
- The Washington Post
As part of your preparation you may also like to look at some materials on critical thinking. Here is a selection. Some of them include exercises that can help you develop your LNAT skills.
- Alec Fisher, Critical Thinking: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2001)
- Roy van den Brink-Budgen, Critical Thinking for Students (How to Books, 2000)
- Nigel Warburton, Thinking From A to Z (Routledge, 2000)
- Peter Gardner, New Directions: Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking (Cambridge University Press, 2006) (mainly for those who have English as a second language)