National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) Section B Essay Task

What is the LNAT and how is the paper formatted?

The LNAT is a 2-hour 15-minute test (unless you have specific requirements that mean you need extra time) divided into two sections.

Section A is a computer-based, multiple-choice exam consisting of 42 questions. The questions are based on 12 passages, with 3 or 4 multiple-choice questions on each. You are given 95 minutes to answer all of the questions.

In Section B, which will be the focus of this guide, you will be given 40 minutes to write an essay from a list of three subjects. This section is marked by the tutors at the college you are applying to, and this mark is taken into account as part of the selection process. The essay is your opportunity to show your ability to construct a compelling argument and reach a conclusion.

The LNAT isn’t designed to test your knowledge of Law or any other subject. Instead, it helps the examiners to assess your aptitude for studying Law. 

What is the assessment criteria for the essay?

The purpose of the essay is to see whether you can build a strong case, using evidence and analysis, so avoid sitting on the fence!

How to approach writing your essay

The first thing you should do, before writing any essay, is write a plan. You should firstly take some time to figure out your overall argument before starting. Write this as the heading of your essay plan- this will help ensure you always have the main argument in mind when you are planning which key points will support your essay. It might also be worth spending two minutes of your planning time writing down all the possible points and evidence you could use to support your overall argument. That will make it easier to pinpoint the three strongest and most convincing points. Spend about five minutes coming up with a plan.

Given you have 40 minutes, you should aim to have an introduction, about three paragraphs (one for each point) and a conclusion. Remember: your essay should be analytical, not descriptive! That means you should make a clear judgement and persuasively convince your reader that your argument makes sense, by using evidence.  According to the Lawyer Portal, here is an example of how you can structure your essay, so that you can clearly express your ideas:

1. Introduction

  • Definition of key terms;
  • Explanation of assumptions;
  • Framing of the question;
  • Signposting your approach.
  • 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.

2. Next section: Arguments in Favour of Your Position

  • Reasons why you agree/disagree with the topic.
  • Three clear, well-defined arguments with examples.

3. Arguments to the Contrary

  • Identifying arguments against your position.
  • An attempt to undermine these.

4. Conclusion

  • What you believe and why.
  • 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.

Advice on how to prepare

Read some past papers so you feel more familiar with the paper. You can find these here:

It may be useful to sit a few mock exams, so you can get used to the timings of the paper, which can be quite intimidating for those unfamiliar with the test!

To learn more about how to prepare, take a look at the official LNAT website: