One of the most common talking points you'll hear leading up to an LSAT score release—and incessantly on the day scores become available—is the notion of "going grey." In fact a hysterical flurry of "I'M GREY!!" announcements on twitter and elsewhere is one of the most reliable predictors that scores are imminent.
So what's all this grey business about, and how can you determine your own color status?
Two quick notes before we begin. First, the grey/gray debate is really one of pure preference. "Gray" tends to be the American-ized spelling, while "grey" is much more commonly used throughout the rest of the world. Seeing as the LSAT is a global exam, I'm using the broader spelling, "grey."
Second, as always, remember that score releases are singular events, in that scores can go out at different times not only from person to person, but also from test to test: for example, as seen in this article, 2017's first three releases were 2 days, 1 day, and 1 day earlier than the official release date, respectively, while the December 2017 score release came a whopping 12 days ahead of the scheduled time! In 2018, on the other hand, four of the five releases—all but February—occurred on the official date (although June's began somewhat cruelly at 12:04 am EST on the official day, leading to an awful lot of sleepless nights), and that trend of official-date-releases appears to be the plan for the foreseeable future.
Thus, per LSAC, we felt confident predicting that the November 2018 would begin around 9:00 am EST on December 8th, and sure enough the first reported score receipts came in at 9:09 am on 12/8.
The same should hold for 2019 tests and beyond.
However, due to the scores being released in random waves, many test takers won't see their scores right at 9:00 am (or whatever time the release officially kicks off). Sadly, there's really no telling when it will appear on release day—it could take ten minutes or ten hours—which adds either to the fun or the frustration, depending on your perspective. Simply put: be patient.
Alright, back to the matter at hand. What's with all the grey talk?
In your LSAC account—the one you created at lsac.org when you signed up for your LSAT—you'll see a number of green icons under the various form columns for your most recent test date. It looks like this for any disclosed test (such as the traditional June, September, and December exams*):
At some point on the day that LSAT scores are to be released those icons will change. They will, you guessed it, go grey:
So just how long will it take between grey and glory?
Well, historically—surprise, surprise—it's tended to vary quite a bit. Some people have seen scores within 5 to 10 minutes of the icon change, while others may wait an entire afternoon, possibly into the early hours of the following morning, before that fateful number arrives. There's no telling and, worse, no reliable way to predict it either: scores are released in random batches, entirely independent of your name (not alphabetical), where you took the test (not geographical), and—take heart here—how you did. Aaron Adams in Albany with a perfect score and a meticulously-bubbled Scantron may be in the first wave, last wave, or anywhere in between. Ditto for you.
Rule of thumb then is that grey gives the day, but only fate knows the hour.
There is one final, slightly unnerving trend of late, at least for the uninitiated: the past several score releases have seen icons go grey shortly after midnight EST on the official date, prompting some mild hysteria from those understandably interpreting that to mean scores were just minutes away. But alas, even with an icon change at 12:01 am, the release itself has still held steady at nine hours delayed, beginning right around 9 am on the promised date, and inching along steadily, randomly, for that day's duration.
*Many LSATs these days (and most in 2019-2020, in fact) are nondisclosed exams, meaning you won't get a copy of the test like you do for the other, disclosed administrations. You'll simply see your score and percentile. So your account icons still go from green to grey, but you won't have as many icons since the test content links aren't present. Same principle, slightly different presentation.
Title Image: Grey Block Pattern, courtesy of Public Domain Images.
LSAC Green Icon Image courtesy of reddit user /drewleighderm