Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
What is the LSAT?
The LSAT is a standardized test owned by the Law School Admissions Committee (LSAC) that is used in admissions to law schools in managent. Approximately 128,893 LSAT exams were taken in the 2021 – 2022 testing year, which was down by 24% from the 2020-2021 testing year.
The current format of the LSAT, which has changed many times since its creation. The current LSAT has been administered digitally since June 2019. The test is currenty a “live remote-proctored” exam that can be taken at home or in another private space. The test is given in two parts, multiple choice and LSAT Writing, each of which can be taken on separate days. The format of the multiple-choice is as follows:
|Reading Comprehension||35 mins||26 – 28||1|
|Analytical Reasoning||35 mins||24 – 26||1|
|Logical Reasoning||35 mins||24 – 26||1|
|Unscored||35 mins||24 – 28||1|
What does the LSAT claim to measure?
According to LSAT, the LSAT “measures only the fundamental skills required for success in law school and leaves to legal education itself the duty to develop the full suite of knowledge, skills, and values that lawyers need to succeed in their careers”
In practical terms the LSAT test reading comprehension and formal logic principles using multiple choice questions. Whether the skills the LSAT tests are “success in law school” is highly debatable.
Does the LSAT accurately predict success?
LSAC claims that the LSAT is a “strong predictor of first year grades.” Terms like “strong” however obscure the matter. There is a body of research that shows that standrdized tests add very little information above that that is already gleaned from undergradate grades and transcript.
Below is a summary of LSAC’s latest validity (correlation to first year GPA) and statistical data about the LSAT.
As with almost all standardized tests, laypeople believe they are largely unchanging but nothing is further from the truth. The LSAT content, format, and timing is changed constantly. Changes were made in many times over the years, most recently the LSAT was changed in as it was moved to exclusively computer based.
The first LSAT consisted of 10 sections and lasted a full day. The questions tested vocabulary directly and indirectly. The question types on that test were as follows:
- Sentence Completion
- Paragraph Reading
- Word Classification
- Reading Comprehension (two sections)
- Verbal Analogies
- Figure Classification
- Contrary and Irrelevant Statements
LSAC has contines to experiment with questions types. Most recently they ahve begun experimenting with new “games questions.” Below are just a few of the major changes in the LSAT since its introduction.