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What are the LNAT essay questions and tests like?

First of all, let’s clarify what the LNATs are and who, precisely they are for. So far, there are several universities in Britain and there are also universities elsewhere that ask prospective students to sit the LNAT tests. This is the current list of these institutions: -


LNAT is an acronym for Law National Aptitude Test. Another meaning of the acronym is that it stands for National Admissions Test for Law (UK). Therefore, clearly, these tests are designed for people who want to study Law. The test assesses students’ aptitudes to study law rather than their knowledge of law.

The test requires candidate to prove their capacity for verbal reasoning and to demonstrate that he or she understands and can interpret the information presented. It’s a test of a candidate’s reasoning abilities, both deductive and inductive. It also requires candidates to show that they can analyse and draw conclusions from the given information.

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The test has two parts: -

  • Section A consists of 42 multiple choice questions. There are 12 passages on which the questions are based, which means that there are 3 or 4 questions for each passage. This part of the test lasts for 95 minutes.
  • Section B is the writing section. Candidates have 40 minutes to write an argumentative essay of not more than 750 words. The essay has to be concise. There are three questions to choose from.

Basically, the LNAT essay questions test a candidate’s ability to think critically and present an argument.

If you are thinking of taking this test you should download sample questions from the official LNAT website. Get as much practice in doing the test as possible.

Basically, the more you read, the better, although judicious reading is advisable. Read the quality press newspapers and magazines such as The Economist (this is recommended reading) and carefully think about the issues raised in the articles.

There are several publications that the LNAT Consortium recommend, and these are freely available online.

  • The Times
  • The Financial Times
  • The Guardian
  • The Daily Telegraph
  • The Independent
  • The Scotsman
  • The Irish Times
  • The Washington Post
  • The New York Times
  • The Sydney Morning Herald

While reading consider the underlying assumptions that the journalists are making. Also work out what information is used so that conclusions can be drawn. Finally try to come up with counterarguments.

The more you know about the world and the newsworthy issues, the better when it comes to taking the test and writing your responses to LNAT essay questions.

You can’t really be taught the skills involved, they will come with practice.

You need to take the test in the year you submit your UCAS application. It is advisable to take it as early as possible in that academic year. You can only sit the test once a year, between September and June.

You should keep up with current affairs and form your own opinions. Exercise your critical thinking skills. You are not tested on world affairs, but the more you know and understand about them the better. Read widely and watch the news and current affairs programme on TV.

Practise reading passages for gist (finding the main themes) and finding the overall point in the passage.

You can also practise making plans for essays so that when you begin to write them, you know what you are to write. This helps when you have to convey detailed information concisely.

1) Should schools have an all-inclusive policy?

In order to write this essay, you have to come up with points for and against inclusion policies in British schools. Here inclusion means that children with learning difficulties or disabilities are educated in mainstream classes with their peers who don’t have learning difficulties.

Of course, if we believe in equal opportunities for all, then we should back inclusion. There are certain advantages to this, as being with peers without physical or mental difficulties can be beneficial to both groups of children. Those with no difficulties come to see those with them as being essentially the same as them. Being educated together promotes tolerance of each other.

On the other hand, what about the teacher who has to devise materials at different levels, so creating more work? Teachers should routinely have different levels of material, as even in regular classes, children are at different stages of learning. Some children are quick to learn while others require the teacher’s help to understand new (to them) concepts. Classroom management problems can arise when the children are working at different levels, as some will finish quickly, get bored and cause disruption. The well-prepared teacher will have extra materials for these children to avoid such a situation.

Schools could employ more teaching assistants to take some of the workload from the teachers or employ more teachers. The schools have to work within their budgets though, so they are constrained by finances.

Do teacher training courses actually prepare trainee teachers to work in such a classroom environment? They should, but trainees may have all the theory but no practice in teaching in an all-inclusive environment. Should training courses consist of periods of teaching practice in all-inclusive settings? Is this a waste of time because many teachers don’t have to teach such classes?

Work out your responses to these questions and write a convincing argument for and against inclusion. Have a friend or teacher read your arguments and comment on them. If there are flaws in your argument, work on ironing them out.

2) Should we tolerate arranged marriages in Western societies?

Arguments for arranged marriages include: -

  • Parents of the couple would only want the best for their children, so perhaps arranged marriages are a good thing given the divorce rate in Western societies.
  • It can’t be a good thing to attempt to destroy the traditions that have been followed for centuries. Feelings of anomie could arise and the results could be disastrous for the families concerned and for the wider society.
  • People should be free to follow their traditions.
  • Traditions and customs are intrinsically linked. If Westerners don’t tolerate the customs and traditions of others’ then this is discriminating against people of different cultures. This could give rise to conflict.

Arguments against arranged marriages in the West include: -

  • We should all be allowed to discover our own partner. Whether or not they will be a lifelong partner is immaterial. If we make a mistake, we can always get a divorce.
  • Some arranged marriages, but not all by any means, lead to abusive relationships, especially if they were forced marriages.
  • If a couple consents to an arranged marriage, this could prove a barrier to integration. However, this is a choice and should be respected. We can’t impose our will on others just because we don’t agree with their cultures and traditions.

Find more arguments and practise writing an essay.

3) Should our media be censored so that images of violence and sex can’t be seen by children?

Arguments against censorship include: -

  • Freedom of expression, including freedom of speech, is central to a democracy. Our predecessors fought for us to enjoy the freedoms we no have. Therefore, it would be wrong of us to bring back censorship.
  • As thinking human beings, parents should censor what their children have access to.
  • We do still have censorship as regards what is deemed suitable for children to watch in cinemas and on TV. Films and videos have information stating that some films are not suitable for those under 18 years of age. There are also films which specify the desired age for viewing. Parental discretion is advised. Children may be more mature than others of the same chronological age, so there should be an element of choice.
  • If censorship is reintroduced, there is no way of knowing how draconian it could become. In this day and age, when information is more important than ever, it would be impossible to censor the internet, for example.

Arguments in favour of censorship include: -

  • Upholding the morals of society by banning controversial films that have graphic images of sex and violence. Think of books that have been banned, for example, D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. (BUT, the lower classes did not generally embark on affairs with titled ladies after reading the book, one assumes.)
  • If children watch porn films, they might believe that the acts they see are the norm. Similarly, if they watch violent films they might believe that violence is acceptable, especially if it is perpetrated by the police. In order to prevent this happening, parents should discuss right and wrong with their children and point out that certain acts are definitely illegal.
  • Speeches inciting people to violence and to stir up racial hatred should be banned to ensure that there is racial harmony. BUT, one can’t prevent people from holding racist views.
  • The UK’s Official Secrets Act can be used as a form of censorship and has been by a variety of politicians.

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