If you’ve ever taken an LSAT or looked through the LSAC website, you probably familiar with the notice LSAC places on every LSAT registration page:
It’s easy to miss, and it really should be in big, bold red flashing letters–taking a nondisclosed LSAT is actually a pretty big deal. But why?
Let’s first start by explaining to what the terms disclosed and nondisclosed apply. They don’t actually apply to the specific topics of the questions on the test, or to what you need to do for the test. They apply to what happens after the test; specifically, to what you get from the test.
When you take a disclosed LSAT, you get the following information along with your score, percentile, and writing sample:
- A copy of the test questions.
- A copy of your answer sheet.
- A copy of the correct answers.
- The score conversion table for the test.
When you take a nondisclosed LSAT, you get the following information along with your score, percentile, and writing sample:
That’s right, nothing. You don’t get a copy of the questions, your answer sheet, the correct answers, or the score conversion sheet. All you get is your score and percentile.
So what? you might ask. That’s not that big a deal. The thing I care about the most is my score, anyway, so if I don’t get a copy of the questions or answers, it doesn’t really matter.
And you’d be right, it doesn’t matter–if you score exactly where you want on that examination. If you don’t score exactly where you wanted, then it starts to matter a great deal. How will you learn from and improve on the test you just took if:
- You have no idea how you performed on each section.
- You have no idea what kinds of questions you struggled with.
- You can’t study off the test.
- You can’t work through and figure out why you got certain questions wrong.
This is why, in my mind, it makes a lot more sense to take a disclosed test, if you have the opportunity.
As per LSAC, here is the list of disclosed and nondisclosed administrations:
Disclosed administrations at test centers in the 50 United States, Canada, and the Caribbean:
- Monday, June 11, 2012
- Saturday, October 6, 2012
- Saturday, December 1, 2012
- June, October, and December administrations at all test centers outside of the 50 United States, Canada, and the Caribbean
- February administrations at all test centers
- All Saturday Sabbath observer administrations
- June, December, and February braille administrations
- All other special administrations
For students in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean, taking a disclosed administration is not a problem–the standard June, September/October, and December administrations of the test are all disclosed. For those outside the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean, though, there is no such luck–all administrations will be non-disclosed, so you don’t have the option to taking a disclosed test.