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LNAT Success Series: How To Ace Your LNAT Essay Plan

Do not fear, LNAT takers, for TLP is introducing the LNAT Success Series of blogs to aid you in your preparation. Over the next few weeks, one of our top contributors and law students Alicia Gibson will be unveiling 3 must-read articles, sharing her wisdom. If you want to own that LNAT exam, read on and stay tuned.


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In the final 40 minutes of the LNAT, you will be invited to answer one of three controversial questions on a range of topics. The temptation with such a short amount of time is to pick a question without thought and rush into your response – this is not how a successful LNAT candidate should view the essay section of the test.

In all academic subjects which require essay writing, you will be told that planning your response is paramount; however, planning your LNAT essay is even more important than this because you will not have prepared nor learnt the material for these questions. The unique aspect of the LNAT essay is that the essay questions and topics are completely unseen and therefore you could be faced with three questions that you have absolutely no background knowledge on. Therefore, the tempting, quickfire response is likely to end up being unstructured, unclear and – worst of all – badly argued. Consequently, in order to avoid these pitfalls, you should use the first 5-10 minutes of writing time (practice will show you how much time personally you need to set aside for planning) to plan your essay response.

In the next section of this article, I seek to highlight some tips and tricks to help you to plan an LNAT essay which will impress the universities you are applying to.


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LNAT Essay Plan Tip 1: Before you plan, know your argument

You cannot set out a coherent plan to your essay if you do not lay down your overall argument and response to the question before you begin. For me, I like to write this as the heading of my plan to ensure that when I am creating my structure and picking the best points to argue that I am always reverting to my main stance on the question. Doing this is beneficial as it allows you to continuously ensure you are focusing on the question which will help keep your overall plan, and therefore essay clear.

LNAT Essay Plan Tip 2: Know your structure

The structure that you decide on is not what is important it is merely important that you stick to it. For example, the general structure I use for LNAT essays and now legal essays alike is a strong introduction, 3—4 well evidenced points maximum and an equally strong conclusion. This is an entirely personal thing. For instance, you may have found a structure for essay writing throughout your studies which works best for you, alternatively, you will, through your practice for the LNAT, find an essay structure which you feel helps you argue your point most convincingly. Finding a structure you work well with will provide you with a road map to help you build a logical argument throughout your essay. This is imperative as universities want to see that you can structure an argument persuasively to prove your response is the right response.  


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LNAT Essay Plan Tip 3: Make first and last impressions count

It is obvious that part of your plan will include an introduction and conclusion but it is a good idea not to leave it at that. I like to leave myself reminders whilst planning to ensure I remember the purpose of an introduction and a conclusion in order to make them effective. A strong introduction and conclusion is a must in any essay and it is no different for the LNAT. These need to be impactful as they are the first and last attempts to highlight the strength of your response to the question. An introduction should be used as a way to clearly highlight your argument and introduce the points you are going to use to illustrate it. By accentuating the way you intend to defend your argument you will not only intrigue your reader but begin to convince them you are right.  A conclusion, on the other hand, should be used as a final emphasis of your presented argument as the right one and should leave the reader feeling persuaded of your argument even if their personal response would be different. Finally, make sure the argument you emphasise in your conclusion matches the argument presented in your introduction.

LNAT Essay Plan Tip 4: Brainstorm your points, then choose the most persuasive

This does not have to be a laborious task in fact your initial desire to rush into writing your response will disappear if you utilise this tip. Use the first minute or two of planning time to write down all possible points and evidence you could use to defend your chosen argument, as many as come to mind. After you’ve got that out of your system you will be able to more easily pinpoint which particular points you will be able to expand on in order to convince the reader of your main stance. My best advice is to pick no more than four main points to argue, with three being optimal within the time constraints given in the LNAT. The reason why three compelling arguments is better than ten, for example, is simple – merely asserting the points you have does not convince the reader of your argument. You need to spend time to properly explain what you mean by it as well as supporting your assertion with relevant evidence, examples and analysis in order to connect it to the main premise of your argument. A reader is never going to feel adequately convinced by a series of ambiguous statements which don’t cohere to the main argument.

I have included a copy of how an LNAT essay plan of mine would have looked to show you exactly what I meant by each tip.

Written by Alicia Gibson

 

LNAT Essay: Top 6 Tips

Section B of the LNAT is made up of a choice of essay questions inviting you to form and present an argument. You have 40 minutes to complete this and your essay will be sent to each university you apply to which requires the LNAT. The LNAT essay gives the university an opportunity to assess the skills you have which are important for a prospective law student. Here are my top tips for approaching this part of the assessment with confidence.


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1. Practice writing similar essays

Practice writing essays in 40 minutes, incorporating 5-10 minutes planning time. This might seem like a harsh time constraint but I can ensure you that 30 minutes is often all you receive to complete an essay question in a law exam and it is important you can complete your work accurately in this time. Moreover, the LNAT essay does not need to be pages long. Realistically, they are expecting an essay of around 500-600 words with a 750 word limit. Trust me when I say that with practice you will see that you are given ample time to respond to the question.

2. Plan your essay response

Planning is crucial if you want your LNAT essay to be of the highest quality. Planning helps you pre-determine a solid structure, enables you to ensure you have a position that you can defend and gives you something to refer to if you go blank. Therefore, it is most efficient to factor in time within the 40 minutes to plan your response fully. Develop a plan using whatever technique works best for you: mind maps, bullet points, lists or flow charts are all incredibly useful methods to adopt.

Planning can also help you rule questions out. If you are struggling to figure out which question you can argue best, my advice is to think of a very rough plan for each and it will help you organise your thoughts to see which question you can complete to the highest standard.

3. Don’t panic if you have no knowledge of the LNAT essay topic

In Part B the LNAT essay is primarily testing your ability to form an argument and defend it. It is only useful to use your own personal expertise in answering the question if it adds to the argument you are advancing. Therefore, if you know you can still create a defensible position then don’t let lack of knowledge hold you back.

Having parents, teachers or friends make up a series of questions for you to practice writing is incredibly helpful in getting yourself ready to face questions you have never seen before. For example, one of my questions was based on artificial intelligence – something I know nothing about but was still able to write a good argument on.

4. Pick a side

If I could underline this piece of advice 500 times, I would. You must pick a side. This does not in any way mean that the opposing view has no merit, but you must seek to persuade the reader that your argument is more compelling. In other words, acknowledge opposing arguments and find a way to reject them to further your own argument.

Personal opinions should be used only if they strengthen your argument. Additionally, if something you disagree with altogether provides a tighter argument then don’t be afraid to recognise that and go with it. This might be difficult at first but will become easier the more you practice. The more you look past your possible bias the more convincing and persuasive your argument will be.

5. Be careful with language

Arguments made in court must be kept concise and clear so that the details of the case come across clearly to the judge and any jury involved. Believe it or not, university legal writing and the style required in the LNAT essay is no different.

It is imperative that you make a clear and persuasive argument devoid of flowery language, big words you may only half understand, and all slang and abbreviations. The reader will appreciate the clarity of your argument much more than the breadth of your vocabulary.

6. Proofread

This was a piece of advice given to me by a teacher that I almost disregarded as it seemed like the biggest waste of my final few minutes. However, by some miracle I had minutes to spare by the end of my essay and on re-reading it, I spotted continuous repetition of points and more spelling mistakes than I would like to admit. Whilst your spelling is certainly not being tested, going through and quickly fixing any mistakes will make you feel more confident about your argument when the time eventually runs out.

Good luck!

Words: Alicia Gibson

Still Stuck?

Take a look at our LNAT Success Series!

How to Ace the LNAT Essay Plan

How to Answer the LNAT Questions

How to Read the LNAT Passages

 

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