Your LSAT vs GRE Questions Answered Now

Law School Admissions | LSAT Prep | GRE prep | Grad School Admissions

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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
    1. The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
    2. Columbia University School of Law
    3. Georgetown University Law Center
    4. Harvard Law School
    5. University of Hawai’i William S. Richardson School of Law
    6. St. John’s University School of Law
    7. Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
    8. Texas A&M University School of Law
    9. Wake Forest University School of Law
    10. Washington University School of Law
  • Answers to questions about how law schools will treat applications that contain both LSAT and GRE scores
  • 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:

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

 

LSAT

GRE

Notes

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. 

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