With changes to the Law School Admission Test going into effect in June, students applying to law school will have to take a slightly different test under conditions some say could make the testing environment more stressful for students.

The Law School Admission Council, which administers the LSAT, has changed the reading comprehension and writing sections of the exam. It has also instituted new rules about what students can and can’t bring into the LSAT.

Students are no longer allowed to bring digital watches, cell phones or other electronic devices into the testing room, which might make the test feel like a trip to the airport, said Jeff Meanza, the director of graduate marketing for Princeton Review, a test-preparation company, in a written statement.

“It’s sort of a hassle,” Meanza said. “In the past, rules like these were not explicitly stated nor were they enforced with uniform regularity.”

The rules were instituted to make the testing experience the same for all students, said Tricia McCloskey, the executive director for graduate program development at Princeton Review.

“LSAC has become more concerned with test security and administering the test,” she said. “In the past, proctors have had their own interpretations of the testing rules.”

McCloskey said the rules are “silly” and will stress out students – for example, those who need to call friends during breaks in the test for moral support or to arrange a ride home.

The LSAC has also changed the writing section of the LSAT.

Test-takers currently write an essay either about making a tough decision or evaluating a point of view. The writing section will no longer include the point of view prompt starting in June.

The change was made to make grading easier for the LSAC, said Tricia McCloskey, the executive director for graduate program development at Princeton Review.

LSA junior Claudia Perez-Tamayo, who started to prepare for the LSAT in February, said she isn’t really worried about the changes to the writing section.

McCloskey said the writing section isn’t that important because it isn’t graded – meaning a poor showing on the section probably won’t hurt your chances at getting into the law school of your dreams. It’s there so admissions officers will be able to see a writing sample that represents an applicant’s skills better than a prepared essay, she said.

Perez-Tamayo said she’s worried about the changes to the Reading Comprehension section, though.

There will be a new comparative reading section, which requires students to analyze two short passages.

“It will be hard, not having previous exams to study from,” Perez-Tamayo said.

LSAT Legalities

What you can take into the classroom when taking the LSAT.

– A clear plastic bag (for storing personal items)
– Tissues
– Juice or water
– A snack
– Hygienic products

…and what you can’t

– Cell phone
– Digital watch
– Electronic devices (laptop, PDA,
mp3 player)
– Backpack
– Hooded sweatshirts or hats

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