Here you'll find a response to the LSAT-style Writing Sample topic involving the Dawsons. This essay argues for Brookville over Haven Hill and is brief enough for most test takers to write in 35 minutes.
Although the example is of high merit, it is intended merely as an illustration and not as a model. Other outstanding responses to the same topic might be organized differently, emphasize different points, or argue for Haven Hill instead of Brookville.
NOTE: The use of highlighting here is intended to help reveal the essay's rhetorical structure.
Sample Response (470 words):
Of the two communities, Brookville would better serve both of the Dawsons' objectives.
With respect to their first objective (reducing living expenses), Brookville is far and away the better alternative. By moving to Brookville, the Dawsons could apply a significant portion of their home-sale proceeds toward funding their retirement, whereas in Haven Hill they could not. Moreover, their property tax bill would probably be higher in Haven Hill.
Even aside from housing costs, resort communities are notoriously expensive places: restaurants are often upscale and pricey, and products such as gas and groceries often cost more because tourists are willing to pay more and because the costs to transport to these isolated spots are greater. The main recreational activity in Haven Hill, skiing, is notoriously expensive as well. By contrast, the sorts of amenities that Brookville has in spades — for example, bike paths, a good library, and an adult education program — are all either inexpensive or free.
Turning to the second objective,the Dawsons might find Haven Hill's local arts scene and Swanson College's performance program and art gallery equally attractive. However, Brookville holds more potential in terms of the entire array of cultural opportunities available to the Dawsons — who after all seek to enjoy their golden years largely by engaging in as wide a variety of cultural activities as possible. A good library is a cultural cornucopia, and the extension courses that Swanson now offers will in all likelihood serve to round out the Dawsons' continuing cultural education nicely.
Moreover, should the Dawsons seek other cultural activities — ones not available in Brookville — a major metropolitan area is only a short drive away. Haven Hill is far too isolated, and since it has no college or university and no continuing education courses for older adults, the Dawsons may soon tire of Haven Hill's local arts scene and find themselves culturally isolated and starved.
As for recreational opportunities, of the two choices Haven Hill might seem to have more to offer: skiing, hiking, and fishing. Yet it is entirely possible that Haven Hill is too crowded during the winter for the Dawsons to enjoy skiing on a regular basis, and they might soon grow to old or frail to ski or, for that matter, to go on rigorous hikes up and down mountain slopes. Leisurely strolls and bike rides around a college campus might very well suit them better, especially over the long term.
In sum, the Dawsons should move to Brookville because of the two choices it better meets both of the Dawsons' objectives. Owning a condominium and living in Haven Hill might very well drain them financially, while the more affordable Brookville would provide the broadest possible array of the sorts of cultural and recreational activities that the couple not only would like to but would be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives.
The LSAT test-writers must have some serious faith in you! They know that after five sections of intense logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and logic games, you will have the energy and willpower to write a wonderful essay on any random topic. Sounds great, right? Well, maybe it doesn’t sound so exciting at first.
But, thankfully, you can prepare for a pretty straightforward writing topic that will not stray too far from topics of the past. The main theme for LSAT writing sample topics could be described as “Making a Choice” (the LSAC calls them decision prompts). If you’re familiar with the basics of the LSAT writing sample, let’s move forward and take a look at some summaries of past LSAT writing topics and the general themes they’ve come under.
LSAT Writing Topics – “Making a Choice”
1. A City Newspaper – Business Decision – Preptest 36
For its new Arts & Leisure column, the Tribune must choose between a theater review and a restaurant review. You must help them choose one over the other, considering two major concerns–increasing circulation/advertising and helping revitalize the Lakewood district.
2. An Architect gets a partnership offer – Life Decision – Preptest 36
A landscape architect has to choose between partnering with a larger firm or continuing to work for himself, considering his reputation and interest in the work he’s doing.
3. Summer Care for the Wang Family – Life Decision – Preptest 62
The Wangs must choose between two summer programs for their ten-year-old. They must consider how the summer care would add variety to their child’s experience and how easy transportation will be for them. Each of the two programs has pros and cons that may satisfy one consideration or the other.
How to Approach “Making a Choice” Topics
Your task here is to decide which option of two is the best and clearly supports your choice with solid reasoning. As we learned from the basics of the LSAT writing sample, “Start with an introduction paragraph that explains the issue and its two sides, then pick your stance in your thesis statement. Follow up with at least three points to support your stance, and refute the side that you did not select. Don’t forget to write a conclusion paragraph that ties your ideas back to your original thesis statement.”
Hopefully this sampling of writing topics will help you feel more comfortable tackling the LSAT. You can practice at home by using the full prompts from the LSAC’s page on the writing sample. Finally, Magoosh’s video lessons on formal logic and flaw questions are great tools to understanding how to spot a flawed argument and avoid making one yourself–essential skills for the writing section.