For many students, the LSAT is the most stressful and time consuming portion of the law school application process. Below we will explore common questions that come up about the exam, its administration, how it scored, and other related issues. While the majority of this information will focus on the LSAT, because it is still the most commonly taken and accepted law school entrance exam, we will also briefly explore the GRE and and its use in law school admissions.
What is the LSAT?
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a 3-1/2 hour standardized test. The purpose of the LSAT is to test the skills necessary for success in the first year of law school. Those skills include reading comprehension, reasoning, and writing, and the test results help admission decision makers and candidates alike gain valuable insight as to law school readiness. Law schools regard the LSAT as a crucial part of the application; in fact, many law schools give the LSAT as much or more weight than your GPA. Comprehensive LSAT information is available on the Law School Admission Council website. You can learn more about how to prepare for the LSAT here.
How is the LSAT administered?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the LSAT moved to an online, live remote-proctored format. LSAC has announced their intent to keep the test remotely administered through at least June 2022, though may also provide the option to take the exam at LSAT test centers in the future. You can read more about the
When Should I Take the LSAT?
We recommend taking the LSAT 12 - 15 months prior when you intend to start law school.
How do I register for the LSAT?
You can register for the LSAT through the LSAC website. Note that registration deadlines are firm -- if you miss the registration deadline for your preferred test date, you will not be able to sit for the exam.
How many times a year is the LSAT offered?
The LSAT is generally offered 7-8 times per year on specific dates. Registration is required several months prior to the exam. You can learn more about registering for the LSAT here.
Who can see my LSAT score?
Your LSAT score is one of the most important pieces of information in your application. By default, your score is released only to you and the law schools to which you have applied.
During the registration process, you can request that your score also be released to other law schools (as well as agencies or individuals working on the law schools’ behalf and other eligible programs related to legal education) through the Candidate Referral Service.
You can also have your score released to the prelaw advisor at your undergraduate school. We strongly encourage you to do so -- receiving LSAT scores enables prelaw advisors to improve their advising, both to you and to other students and alumni!
Your score will not be released to any other person (including a parent, spouse, friend, etc.).
How long is my score valid?
An LSAT score is good for 5 years.
What is a “good” score on the LSAT?
A “good score” on the LSAT is a score that will help you gain admission to your preferred law schools. The Law School Admission Council publishes the 25th/75th percentile and median LSAT scores for each law school, and many law schools also include this information on their websites. To determine a “good” score for a particular school, look at the school’s median LSAT score. The median score is calculated by putting in order the scores of all the students who were admitted, and selecting the middle value. While the median LSAT score is a “good” score for purposes of admission to that school, admission isn’t a sure thing just because you attain that score. Law schools will take a holistic approach to reviewing your application before deciding whether to admit you.
What is an LSAT score report?
Your LSAT score report is what is made available to you and to law schools you choose to release it to after you take the exam.
What is included in my score report?
Your current score.
Results of all reportable tests — up to 12 — including absences and cancellations for standard LSAT takers and cancellations only for LSAT-Flex takers due to the ongoing challenges related to COVID-19. An LSAT (or LSAT-Flex) result is reportable for up to five testing years after the testing year in which the score is earned. For information about how many times a test taker may sit for the LSAT, please see Limits on Repeating the LSAT. LSAT testing years run from July 1 through June 30.
Your percentile rank, which reflects the percentage of test takers whose scores were lower than yours during the previous three testing years. A percentile rank is reported for each of your scores.
If I am not happy with my LSAT score, should I retake the test?
Maybe. Before deciding to retake the test, you should evaluate what happened the first time and think about what will be different the second time. If during the first administration you were sick, had just suffered a traumatic or stressful event, or were unable to adequately prepare, it might make sense to take the exam again, but only if you can put in the time to re-study, incorporate additional study techniques or resources, or otherwise change the circumstances.
Good examples of when it may be wise to retake the exam include:
Getting Necessary Accommodations: If you need testing accommodations that you did not request or receive for the first administration but will be able to request and receive on a subsequent administration, it may be worthwhile to pursue taking the exam again if you are able to dedicate the time to preparing;
Additional Preparation Assistance: If you were unable to take a commercial preparation course or one-on-one tutoring prior to the first administration but are able to utilize such resources before the second administration, you might consider taking the exam a second time;
A significant shift in availability: If you were working or attending school full-time and unable to set aside adequate time to study AND something has changed that will allow you to dedicate significantly more time to prepare, it may be worth taking the exam again
If I take the exam multiple times, will law schools see my past scores?
Yes. Unless you cancel a score, law schools will be able to see all prior scores. Many law schools will consider only the highest score, while others may average the scores. In general, you will be able to find information about how law schools treat multiple scores on their admissions or application FAQ page, but if you can’t find it, don’t hesitate to reach out to the admissions office to ask!
How do I request testing accommodations if I have a disability?
Accommodations for the LSAT are available for students who have documented disabilities. To find out more about these types of accommodations, please see the Accommodated Testing section of the LSAC website or contact the Law Services Testing Accommodations Section at email@example.com or (215) 966-6625.
Can I take the GRE instead of the LSAT?
A minority of schools now accept the GRE instead of the LSAT. Make sure to confirm with any schools to which you intend to apply that they accept GRE scores. Because it is still a relatively new development for schools to accept the GRE, admission data related to GRE scores is not yet available.
An applicant may only use a GRE score if they have not taken the LSAT in the last 5 years. Schools will be able to see all LSAT tests you have taken during that time frame. If you have an LSAT score on file, then the LSAT score will be the only one used for consideration of your application.
Is it better to take the LSAT or the GRE?
It depends. Not every school accepts the GRE, but schools that do accept the GRE universally state that they do not have a preference for one exam over the other and the scores from both exams will be treated and used in a similar manner. If an applicant is applying to schools that accept either exam, it is a personal decision to determine which test will most accurately demonstrate the applicant’s academic potential.
How do I know if my GRE score is competitive for the school’s to which I am applying?
While there is not ample data about GRE scores and law school acceptance rates, students should assume that the percentile rankings are roughly equivalent (so, for example, if a school’s median LSAT score is in the 85% percentile, an applicant should aim for at least a GRE score in the 85% percentile).
How can I find out if the schools I am applying to accept the GRE?
Where can I read more about whether I should take the LSAT or the GRE?
There are many online resources for students considering which exam to take or who want to know more about the difference. Below are a few articles you may find helpful (but that shouldn’t replace your own research!):
What is an LSAT fee waiver and how do I request one?
The LSAT fee waiver program is designed to support law school candidates who are financially under-resourced, with the goal of increasing equity and access to legal education.
Does Legal Pathways have programs or resources to help students prepare for the LSAT?
Yes! Our Legal Pathways Fellows program provides students with a full tuition scholarship for a commercial LSAT preparation course. We also have a number of study aids available for students to borrow. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and make sure to review the “Preparing for the LSAT” section of our website!