Writing the LNAT: A student perspective

Kimberly Chitifa


One of the pivotal steps in pursuing a law degree at Durham University is taking the Law National Admissions Test, commonly known as the LNAT. This test plays a crucial role in helping universities assess your aptitude for the essential skills required to study law. Contrary to a common misconception, the LNAT doesn’t examine your knowledge of legal principles; rather, it evaluates your ability to think critically and communicate effectively. 

Understanding the LNAT

The LNAT is a two-part exam consisting of multiple-choice questions based on passages of text (Section A) and an essay (Section B).

Section A: Multiple-Choice Exam

In this part of the test, you’ll encounter passages of text followed by questions that gauge your comprehension, interpretation, analysis, synthesis, induction, and deduction skills. Your performance in Section A contributes to your LNAT score, which is marked out of 42. This section assesses your ability to extract information, read between the lines, and make reasoned judgments based on evidence.

Section B: Essay Writing

The second section of the LNAT involves writing an essay. While this part is not marked, it offers an opportunity to showcase your ability to construct a persuasive argument and arrive at a well-reasoned conclusion. Here, you can demonstrate your analytical and writing skills, which are vital in the study of law.

Preparing for the LNAT

Preparing for the LNAT might initially seem difficult, especially if you’re used to exams with clear mark schemes. However, a way to become familiar with the test’s style and format. Here are some practical tips to help you prepare effectively:

1. Review Sample Papers: Begin by studying sample LNAT papers available online. These resources provide insight into the types of passages and questions you’ll encounter. Work through them to get a feel for the test’s structure and difficulty level.

2. Practice Under Timed Conditions: Sitting a past LNAT paper under timed conditions is essential. This practice will help you gauge the time needed for each section, enhancing your time-management skills.

3. Read Widely: Engage in regular reading, especially newspapers. As you read, critically evaluate the issues presented. Consider the assumptions, sources of information, and logical conclusions. Challenge your ability to formulate counterarguments. This habit not only prepares you for the LNAT but also keeps you informed about current events, which is valuable for any aspiring law student.

4. Construct Practice Essays: Take time to write practice essays on a variety of topics. Focus on constructing coherent arguments and backing them up with evidence and logical reasoning.


Remember that the LNAT isn’t about what you already know about law; it’s about your ability to think critically, analyse information, and express your thoughts persuasively. By familiarizing yourself with the test format, practicing under timed conditions, and honing your analytical skills through reading and essay writing, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the LNAT.

Discover more

Our Law School is a world leader in legal education. We are ranked 5th in The Complete University Guide 2023 and 46th in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023, up from 49th in 2022.   

Our award-winning academic staff deliver a cutting-edge, research-led curriculum through small-group teaching that is much prized by employers. Our graduates go on to great things and include some of law’s leading figures, for example, current or previous members of the UK Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and Members of Parliament. 

Feeling inspired? Visit our Law School webpages to learn more about studying with us. 

Durham University is a top 100 world university. In the QS World University Rankings 2024, we were ranked 78th globally. 

Kimberly Chitifa

Hi! My name’s Kimberly and I am a Graduate Student Ambassador in Recruitment and Admissions. I studied Law, and was at Trevelyan College. My hobbies include trampolining, singing and playing guitar.

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