Sunday, 7 September 2008

Cambridge opts out of LNAT (article)

*I will be leaving the LNAT advice in the Cambridge FAQ for now, as it is still relevant for 2009 candidates*

"In 2004, the University of Cambridge, along with a number of other universities, introduced the Law National Admissions Test (LNAT) as part of its admissions process. It was hoped that it would help with admissions decisions by providing additional information about applicants‟ aptitude for legal study. The intention was that LNAT performance would constitute one of several factors which would assist in the difficult task of distinguishing between the many outstanding applications which Cambridge receives every year from prospective Law students.

The LNAT consists of two parts: a multiple-choice section and an essay section. The University considers the opportunity provided by the LNAT to obtain written work produced by applicants under examination conditions to be a valuable one. But a view has been reached following a recent study commissioned by the Faculty of Law and the Cambridge Colleges that the numerical scores awarded to applicants in the multiple-choice section of the test do not provide sufficiently distinctive and useful information within the Cambridge admissions process to justify applicants being required to sit the LNAT and pay the fee involved in doing so.

The University is committed to using the LNAT in the forthcoming admissions round but is today announcing that the test will not be used thereafter. Applicants applying for entry in 2009 (or deferred entry in 2010) will therefore, as already advertised, be required to take the test, but applicants in subsequent years will not. The University will also withdraw from the LNAT Consortium Ltd, which runs the test and of which the University is a founder member. The Faculty of Law and the Colleges propose to work together with the aim of implementing new arrangements for the 2009-10 admissions round and thereafter. It is envisaged that applicants who are offered an interview at Colleges participating in the new arrangements would be asked to write an essay under examination conditions. As with the essay in the LNAT test, no knowledge of the law would be expected, and the essay questions would be designed to give an opportunity to demonstrate the ability to write clearly and construct logical, balanced arguments. It is intended that applicants attending for interview would write the essay in Cambridge as part of the interview process, and would not be required to pay any fee.

The Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges, Dr Geoff Parks, says the decision to phase out the LNAT has been based on criteria which may be unique to the university:

The University of Cambridge has made the decision to stop using the LNAT based on its own assessment of the usefulness of the test in the context of Cambridge‟s admissions process, which is distinctively different from those of other universities. The University appreciates that the test may be very helpful as part of different admissions processes in other universities, and its decision to stop using the test should not be taken as an indication that the test as a whole is unhelpful in those different contexts.”

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