Do you need to know British law to do well on the LNAT? Are you necessarily penalized if you were a non-British test-taker? We explore these issues and more!
Does the LNAT Test my Knowledge of Law?
As with most things in the world of law, there is not a straight answer as for whether the LNAT tests your knowledge of law. For the most part, it does not. The official preparation guide for the LNAT states “The LNAT’s questions fall into seven general categories: law, philosophy, politics, media, science, ethics and education. No prior knowledge of these subjects is required though having a general awareness of current affairs is recommended.” That being said, there are some other things to take into account.
For starters, the LNAT does to a large extent assume that its test-takers are British. This can be seen on the two sections that make up the LNAT: reading comprehension and the essay. Many of the reading comprehension passages will discuss issues that would not be familiar to non-British people. Also, most likely at least one of the essay questions (the student must choose from a list of three prompt questions to answer) will be over a British issue.
This does not at all mean anyone non-British cannot do well on the LNAT. Firstly, strictly speaking, all information needed to answer the reading comprehension questions are in the passages. One may not base the answer to a reading comprehension question on external information. Nevertheless, having some knowledge about the issues being discussed in the passages will help test takers better understand the passage.
Secondly, it is highly unlikely that all essay questions will be over British issues. Therefore all test-takers have the choice of writing an essay on a “less British” topic. However, this does not necessarily mean that the less British topics will be easier.
Here are some “non-British” topics from some recent official practice test papers:
“Would you agree that travel and tourism exploit poorer nations and benefit only the richer ones?”
“The Olympic games, today, are less a test of personal athleticism and more a measure of national investment and authority. Do you agree?”
“'Modern society is too dependent on debt: we should all pay our way.’ Do you agree?”
These are not exactly simple questions.
There are some concepts pertinent to British law and politics that are especially helpful for LNAT test-takers to be aware of. These concepts include the British immigration debate, British political parties and their position in the Left-Right political spectrum, and the debate about whether Britain should remain in the EU.
Furthermore, to bolster one’s ability to perform well on the LNAT essay section, the test-maker recommends focusing specifically on comment articles in newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Irish Times, The New York Times, The Scotsman and The Times.
Subscription to all but one (The Times) of these newspapers is free for the online edition. Have articles delivered to your inbox daily. While reading, examine the issues being raised, the information leading to a conclusion and assumptions made (if any), and possible counter arguments. The issue being raised should be pretty simple to find – you just need to locate the writer’s stance on the issue. The assumption is something stated in the article that is not properly supported but the writer is acting as if it is true. Finding the assumptions is the best first step in composing a possible counterargument; if the assumptions are false, then the argument built on them is most likely false, as well.
We highly encourage you to read critically on a regular basis. You will not only hone the analytical skills that are necessary for the essay section, but also be familiar with the subject matter, structure and style used in the reading passages. How cool is that?
These are just some of the considerations to take into account when planning for the LNAT. Of course, the entire LNAT study guide linked above is worth reading, as is reviewing online study materials at https://lnat.ac.uk/how-to-prepare/. Finally, many students find review courses very helpful. It is important to remember that hard work and careful preparation is more important than talent!