Every law student knows they’ll have to attempt the LSAT at some point and get a good enough score to suffice for their dream law school.
To determine what score you need to aim for to get into your law school of choice, it’s crucial to understand how the scoring system works and why the LSAT is so important.
That way, you know the ins and outs of the exam, what to prepare for, and how many questions you have to get right to achieve your desired score.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know.
How is the LSAT Scored?
The Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT, is a four-hour-long examination that is composed of around 100 or 101 questions. It’s a four-section test that is administered through LSAC LawHub. You can take it online at home or in another private space.
The difference between getting accepted and receiving a scholarship or getting put on a waitlist and applying for a loan largely depends on your LSAT score.
What that means is although it might not be a representation of your actual intelligence or worth, it is a pretty massive deal.
Types of LSAT Scores
Each LSAT score depends on the number of questions the test taker gets correct. The result they get from this is called their raw score. Every student gets three scores to understand their performance on the test.
- Raw Score:
As mentioned before, the raw score is a representation of correct responses the test taker achieved across all four sections of the test. This could be anywhere from 0 to 100 or 101.
- Scaled Score
Your raw score is then converted into a scaled score using a Score Conversion Chart, which varies across each LSAT. The raw score (0-101) is converted into a more meaningful number ranging from 120 to 180, the former being the lowest.
The conversion is based on various factors like the difficulty of the questions and the overall number of questions on the test. The scaled score is usually the one people talk about when mentioning theirs.
- Percentile Score
The percentile score shows the percent of test takers that scored lower than you on that test. For instance, a 151 scaled score has roughly stayed as the 50th percentile score. The conversion from the scaled score to the percentile score doesn’t change much.
What is a Good LSAT Score?
If you’re wondering what a good LSAT score is to get into the law school of your choice, then it’s important to understand that the answer to that question strictly depends on what school you want admission into.
For instance, a score anywhere around the mid-150s should be good enough to get into a good law school. But if you’re planning on entering a top-ranking school, then 160 is a fine score to aim for. In comparison, a score of 170 or above is what you’d need for any of the top 10 schools.
If you get a 150, there’s no need to be discouraged. While it may be a bit more of a challenge, you can find admission in plenty of law schools.
While scoring a 170 puts you in the 2%-3% of test takers. It won’t guarantee admission to a top law school, as other application factors still apply, but it gives you a higher chance than most.
Does the LSAT Matter More Than GPA?
It might sound absurd that a four-hour multiple-choice questions test is worth more than four years of undergraduate work, but it’s true. Some law schools might give 70% importance to your LSAT test versus only 30% value to your GPA.
However, each law school has its own policy for weighing LSAT and GPA scores. For instance, some schools are known to use an index like (LSAT score – 120) + (GPA x 20) to evaluate students.
Reasons Why the LSAT is More Important
You might wonder why exactly an MCQS standardized test is so important for law school admissions. To understand this, you have to consider the weaknesses of the other admission factors.
- GPA Score
The reason why your GPA score isn’t as acknowledged as the LSAT score is because it’s not reliable. It’s impossible to compare the grades from different programs of various schools.
Law school admissions officers don’t have the luxury of a reasonable standard that can equally reflect an applicant’s abilities in comparison to others.
- Application Essay
It’s not easy to speculate on an applicant’s academic abilities or emotional intelligence through application essays.
There are countless consulting programs that help or offer to write essays for the students. If your GPA and LSAT scores are below consideration, your application will never be seen.
References are entirely subjective, and there’s no way to separate the hundreds of different applicants whose professors believe their students are above average or excellent. Many college administrators encourage professors to help their students get into top schools by any means.