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Exams » LAST » Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions about the writing section of the LAST.

1. What is the LAST writing component?
While most of the LAST consists of multiple choice questions, you are also required to write an essay — the writing component of the test.
2. How much does the essay part count?
The written component of the Liberal Arts and Science Test counts for 20% of the total test score.
3. What are LAST essay questions like?
The LAST essay requires you to argue one side or the other of a question. The two sides appear in two brief texts or paragraphs. Once you have reviewed the two presented sides, you will pick a side you want to argue.

Take a look at an example LAST question.
4. How much time should I allow for writing the essay?
You have four hours to complete the total test. Leave an hour for the written component of the LAST.

Some people find it works best to read the test question when the LAST begins, then work on the multiple choice section, and then return to the essay section.
5. What sort of essay must I write?

The LAST essay is an opinion essay. (Some people also call this an argumentative or persuasive essay.) You must state an opinion and defend it. To defend your position, you must provide a rationale for it. Support that rationale with evidence from newspaper articles, scientific studies, editorials and interviews with experts; you may also draw on personal experience.

For example,

  • Your opinion might be that holding down a job while in school has a positive effect on students.
  • Your rationale might be that jobs help people apply their education to life experience.
  • And, you might support this by telling a story about your job in high school, discussing the results of a scientific study on the topic of part-time work, or quoting an article you read in the newspaper on the subject.
6. How will my essay be graded?
The written section of the test is scored holistically. This means that evaluators assess your overall composition and do not evaluate components of the essay (grammar or cohesion) as distinct sections of the test. Your total ability to comply with each of the standards is considered in the overall computation of your score.

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