How hard is the LNAT?


It is impossible to give a short answer to this question. The LNAT Test is a challenging one at the very least – after all, students who take it try to get into top law schools at the world’s best universities. The content will test your verbal comprehension and reasoning skills to its limits, the time pressure will make you apply your full concentration levels, and the stress will have to be coped with.

However, the good news is that the difficulty of LNAT is really a relative concept. Everyone finds the exam hard and it is rather about practice to achieve that above average score in relation to the most demanding university choice on your UCAS form. In the end, each student is capable of attentive reading towards selecting material evidence for appraisal.

Know your aim

Each LNAT University treats the score and the essay differently. Inevitably, it forms an important data point for admissions tutors, however always part of a holistic assessment of candidates. Therefore, the first factor of difficulty comes with how high is your aim – we have analysed this quite extensively in one of our other guides.

Beat the cohort

Notice that each year the average LNAT score fluctuates – for those keen on statistics, there is plenty of subject matter to be found here. Each test-taker gets served a different combination of passages and questions. However, because of the large data sets, the university can be rest assured, in one regard, that a student who does above average has proven on paper his ability to manage the demands of a law degree. It may come as a surprise, but the “narrow window” of score that you have is somewhat beneficial.

Narrow distribution

In particular for University of Oxford LNAT, the distribution of scores is quite narrow around the mean. This is can be generalised to the following observation, backed through the individual candidate data Oxford has released for this year’s intake: performing a bit above average helps, performing a bit under the average is not the end of the day. You should stress less about the LNAT then, think less about how “hard” it is, and think more of it as an opportunity to provide a positive reason for why you are the right candidate. You do not have to attain perfection, and you should approach the test with a strategy in mind: get as many points as possible by selecting question answers about which you are most confident.

Essay: can it be anything?

You may be at first daunted by the fact that the question can pertain any segment of “social debate”. The topics are not necessarily current and the selection is somewhat narrow (3 question choices). Yet, their format is always the same: take a side, and make a cogent and concise argument. A good essay does not rely on “content” per se, and instead it is judged through the following medium: have you identified the key issues and considered them at the specific plane where the tension lies. Frankly, if you have been following at least vaguely what is going on in the UK and the world, you will be fine – after all, as an aspiring law student, it is likely your interests relate to the world of politics, economics and social debate.

In fact, researching well into the structure of academic law essays helps the most in making this part of LNAT less hard – see the example we provide, which gives you a good idea of the highest standard to be found in the cohort. Of course, Arbitio provides a wide range of essay topics and model answers to certainly enrich your preparation and make you more confident to take on any sort of question thrown at you.

How to make LNAT easier

Practice, practice and more practice. In essence, doing well on the test day relies on attaining a honed competency in reading a lot of “random” articles relating to select types of questions: nearly all phrased differently and mixed for difficulty. Developing a keen eye for the structure of an argument and ability to detect nuance behind author’s intentions and employed language is the foundation for certainty to answer selection. From our collective experiences, we have all found that the test day went much better than expected; there is something about being in a test centre you are unlikely to have visited before, at a secluded computer desk, with only a screen full of text, which really focuses you and makes you realise that a good LNAT score is up for grabs. Arbitio certainly tries to mimic this the most: simulate the Mock Tests and practice at a harder level than the LNAT itself.


If you were to spend a few minutes on Student Room forums pertaining LNAT, you would see a lot of candidates quite distressed about it. It does make sense to care enough about the exam to want to prepare, but equally you must realise that it is one of those tests for which you already have the skills – verbal reasoning is something you have picked throughout your education/your wider reading, and expanded upon in your A-levels.

In the end, you must work to develop an individual exam technique and Arbitio should be more than plenty of material to do so. Crucially, the true difficulty of the exam is having disciplined time management – something that naturally improves with practice and full analysis of what it is that you need to achieve on the exam day.

There is no day like today, so start you preparation with registering for our Free LNAT Practice Test and subscribe for full access to our platform.