New LSAC Article and PowerScore Features
The LSAC just unvieled a new article comparing features of the LSAT and the GRE. Some highlights include:
- A list of all law schools that currently accept the GRE
- The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
- Columbia University School of Law
- Georgetown University Law Center
- Harvard Law School
- University of Hawai’i William S. Richardson School of Law
- St. John’s University School of Law
- Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
- Texas A&M University School of Law
- Wake Forest University School of Law
- Washington University School of Law
- Answers to questions about how law schools will treat applications that contain both LSAT and GRE scores
- Answer: Somewhat vague (up to law schools), but all LSAT scores will be submitted as part of your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) file.
- Harvard, for example, will consider both GRE and LSAT scores if they are submitted in an application, and HLS does not indicate whether one will be given preference over the other.
- Logistical details about how law schools may obtain CAS files for applicants who have not taken the LSAT
This article is helpful insofar as it addresses concerns about LSAC policies that needed clarification. However, this article does not exactly get down to brass tacks about some more basic student questions. ETS, for its part, has put out press releases touting the GRE compared to the LSAT, but these announcements also don't respond to fundamental student concerns.
PowerScore has published several articles comparing and contrasting the LSAT and GRE General Exam. Some of these include:
- Harvard Law School Will Accept the GRE for Admission Beginning in 2017 — Excellent overview
- GRE Now Accepted for Admission at Georgetown Law and Northwestern Law — Summary and suggested first steps
- GRE versus LSAT: Reading Comprehension — Detailed analysis of GRE versus LSAT Reading Comp
- In Focus: GRE Short Passage Questions vs LSAT Logical Reasoning — In-depth analysis of Logical/Critical Reasoning Tasks on the LSAT and the GRE
- The GRE and the LSAT: The Big Picture — Comprehensive Summary of Test Features
In an effort to consolidate some of these resources into a quick-and-easy student resource, please read on to consult our new, user-friendly Q&A Table.
Quick Answers to Your LSAT and GRE Questions
|Number of Sections||6 (one experimental)||6 (one experimental)||Both Analytical Writing Measure (AWM) tasks for the GRE combine to form the first section.|
|Test Length||210 minutes of test time, roughly 4-5 hours total, including breaks and check-in process||Approximately 220 minutes of in-test time, also roughly 4-5 hours total time|
|Test Format||Pencil-and-Paper||Computer-Based Test (CBT), Section-Level Adaptive||Contrast GRE CBT with GMAT CBT, which is question-level adaptive; Pencil-and-Paper GRE General Test available only in regions without access to testing centers|
|How Often Test is Administered||4 times a year increasing to 6 times a year for 2018-2019||By appointment, on demand at testing centers, according to center hours and appointment availability|
|How Often Allowed to Take Test||No limit||Once every 21 days up to 5 times in a rolling 12-month period||Starting in September 2017, the LSAC lifted all limits on eligibility to retake the LSAT|
|Section Analogs||Reading Comprehension (RC)||Verbal Reasoning (VR)||GRE Verbal also includes Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions that test vocabulary knowledge not tested on the LSAT|
|Section Analogs||Logical Reasoning (LR)||Verbal Reasoning|
|Section Analogs||Analytical Reasoning (AR)||No Analog|
|Section Analogs||No Analog||Quantitative Reasoning (QR)|
|Section Analogs||Writing Sample||Analytical Writing Measure||GRE essays scored and 1 hour total length. LSAT essay unscored and 35 minutes length. LSAT essay is roughly comparable to the GRE Issue essay.|
|Scoring Scale||120-180 Scaled Score, 100-101 point raw score||130-170 Scaled Score VR, 130-170 Scaled Score QR, 0-6 Scaled Score AWM||ETS does not disclose raw scores for the GRE|
|Where Test is Accepted for Admissions||All Law Schools||10 Law Schools (many more expected), most major Graduate Programs, all major Business School MBA programs|
|How Long Scores are Valid||5 years||5 years|
|Available Test Preparation Material||>80 retired official LSAT exams, extensive third party products and services||2 free (with registration) CBT GRE tests, 2 additional CBT GRE tests for purchase, 2 pencil-and-paper tests in the GRE Official Guide, 1 pdf pencil-and-paper GRE, extensive third party products, including "fake" GREs||There is far more "official" LSAT preparation material than there is GRE preparation material.|
Should I Take the LSAT or the GRE (or Both)?
Our advice from August is still valid for students considering the LSAT or the GRE:
- Interested exclusively in law school: take a free practice LSAT, assess your performance, and plan to prepare for the LSAT.
- Interested in law school but also considering other graduate programs or dual degree programs: take the free practice LSAT but also take an official ETS computer based GRE; evaluate performance on both tests. Contact law programs and other graduate programs in which you are interested to determine their existing admissions test policies and any planned changes. You should weigh your relative desire to pursue law against your interest in other advanced studies as well as your ease with both tests to help make a final decision about which standardized test to take. If at any point you find yourself dissatisfied with your results with one exam, you now have the option to consider the other.
- Interested primarily in graduate studies other than law: consider the GRE first. Take an official ETS computer based GRE; evaluate your performance; make a preparation plan. As law school adoption of the GRE continues, your GRE score may open additional doors for you. Should you wish to consider law, you could apply for law programs that intersect with your other academic and professional interests.
Summary and General Recommendations
Students preparing for law school admissions in 2018 (and later) should at least explore the GRE to assess their strengths and weaknesses compared to the LSAT. Students may ask which test is easier to prepare for. Unfortunately the answer is that it depends. If you have strong overall verbal (and vocabulary) skills, writing skills, and are comfortable with math (even if you're out of practice), the GRE may be a good fit, if you can deal with the limitations in law schools that currently accept the GRE. If you have strong verbal and analytical skills, do not be intimidated by the LSAT; you may find it a better match than the GRE. In addition, if you plan to apply to a program that only accepts the LSAT, there is no question that you should focus your attention on the LSAT. Skills from one exam translate somewhat to the other, as indicated above; however, there are important distinctions between the tests that make preparation for one not entirely analogous to preparation for the other.
In addition to taking diagnostic practice tests, if you are considering the GRE, we encourage you to visit our free GRE prep resources to find answers to your questions and to take advantage of many tools we share free of charge.
If you have further questions, please comment below or register for our GRE forum, where you will receive expert answers to all your GRE and grad school admissions questions.