In 2016, the GRE score became an acceptable compliment and, in some cases, a substitute to an LSAT score. With that, there are tons of common questions that students have regarding the subject. This post is an effort to consolidate a number of resources on the subject of the GRE vs the LSAT and answer some of those questions. Additional links to the resources we cite as well as others are at the end.
Should You Take the LSAT or the GRE or Both?
This depends on what your goal is. You should do your research on the schools you want to go to and consider the following mindsets.
- If you exclusively want to go to law school, take a free practice LSAT, assess your performance, and plan to prepare for the LSAT. In most cases, Law Schools still prefer the LSAT over the GRE. Even if a school accepts the GRE, some will only regard it as supplemental information. If you want to go to a school that will accept the GRE as a substitute for the LSAT, consider taking both.
- If you want to go to law school, but you’re considering other graduate programs as well. Take a free practice LSAT and an official ETS GRE. Evaluate your performance on both tests. Contact law programs and graduate programs you are considering and determine their admissions test policies. You should weigh your relative desire to pursue law against your interest in other advanced studies. Let your performance on the tests help guide your decision on which test to take. If at any point you don’t like your results with one exam, you have the option to consider the other.
- If you primarily want to pursue graduate studies other than law, consider taking the GRE first. Take a practice test, evaluate your performance, and make a prep plan. As law schools continue to adopt the GRE, your score may open additional doors for you! Should you wish to consider law, you could apply to programs that intersect with other academic and professional interests.
Summary and General Recommendations
Students preparing for law school admissions should at least explore the GRE to assess their strengths and weaknesses compared to the LSAT. A lot of people ask which test is easier to prepare for, unfortunately, the answer is that it depends. For those looking at law schools, the GRE might be a good fit if you have strong overall verbal/vocabulary and writing skills and are comfortable with math. With that, you do have to deal with the limitations in the number of law schools that currently accept the GRE. If you have strong verbal and analytical skills, don’t 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’s no question that you should focus your attention on it. Skills from one exam translate somewhat to the other, 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.
- 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