If your LSAT administration is swiftly approaching, you’re likely frantically trying to get your LSAT skills honed as sharp as can be. With all the stress, have you stopped to ask yourself why this test matters so much in the first place? Probably not. Not many students do, in fact. In the Great LSAT Score Race, it’s easy to miss the forest for the many, many trees. However, asking and answering this question can help you refocus why you’re spending so much time studying for and worrying about the test.
So, let’s ask and answer it: Why exactly is the LSAT so important?
It’s a Comparison Tool
Much like the SAT is used in college admissions, the LSAT is used as a standardized measure in law school admissions. Why? It is the only across-the-board numerical indicator that law schools have when comparing applicants. Admissions officers have no way of knowing how different degrees stack up from college to college. Or, how a 4.0 GPA compares between schools. It’s not an exact science.
With the LSAT, they know that everyone was given the same level of difficulty and very similar questions. This makes it the single most important number on your application. It can even be more important than your undergraduate GPA. In fact, some schools weigh your LSAT 4 or 5 times more than your undergraduate GPA. This means a three-and-a-half-hour test can weigh more than four years of college! Here’s a great article on how your score weighs in relation to your GPA and other factors on your application.
This test is considered an accurate predictor of first-year law school performance. Essentially, if you do well on the LSAT, you’re telling schools that you’ll do well your first, and arguably most difficult, year of law school.
The Bottom Line
Use this information to your advantage. Think of it this way. If your GPA is below the median for the school of your choice, you can significantly improve your chances by thoroughly preparing for the LSAT and scoring in a high percentile. If your GPA is well above the median for your dream school, give yourself a virtual shoo-in by getting a high score. Couple this with a well-crafted application and you’re as good as gold. No matter which category you fall into, you can play the LSAT score game to your advantage.