The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a basic requirement at most law schools across the country as well other parts of the world. It measures a test-taker’s ability to be successful in law school and a subsequent career practicing law. With various parts of the exam, there are different ways in which schools use the scores and information from these pieces to make their admission decisions.
First, it’s important to note the LSAT score is only one aspect in the decision-making process. For admissions, law schools look at compilation of factors like your undergraduate GPA. Since a GPA only tells part of story as far as your potential and understanding the law schools need something more fair-across-the-board. The LSAT will measure you equally with the other applicants and give laws schools a way to measure applicants against each other.
Understanding the scoring process will help you understand the way a law school interprets these scores. Like many standardized tests, the combination of the different sections will come together to determine your overall score between 120 to 180. Your percentage could vary slightly depending on the year in which you take it as you’re scored with the other test-takers. Generally, though, the 50th percentile is a score of about 151 and a high score (within the 90th percentile) would be about 165.
Law schools measure the applicant’s score against other LSAT test-takers to identify each individual’s likelihood of being able to handle the rigorous curriculum ahead. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the organization that administers the LSAT and updates the exam as needed, has done numerous studies to prove that an applicant’s score on the LSAT is in fact a dependable indicator of their eventual performance in school. The reason the LSAT provides law schools a more dependable insight than GPA into one student’s abilities over another is because GPA can be drastically effected by a student’s chosen workload. So just because one student chose a more challenging and full set of courses than someone else but ended up with a slightly lower GPA, that might not mean they are less capable of handling law school.
On a final note, for repeat test-takers, it would be beneficial to know that during your application process, each test attempt will be sent to your prospective schools, not just your most recent or highest. Law schools generally take into account a variety of mixes when looking at numerous scores from repeat test-takers including an average of all attempts, the most recent, and/or the highest score.