LSAT Revisions On the Way

University Testing

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), unchanged since 1971, will introduce modest revisions to its "reading comprehension" and "writing" sections beginning with the June 2007 administration. "Analytical reasoning" and "logical reasoning" items on the exam taken by about 137,000 law school applicants each year will not change.


Instead of questions about a single, lengthy passage, one LSAT item will be renamed "comparative reading" and feature two, shorter blocks of text with questions asking test-takers about similarities and differences between the passages. All items will remain multiple-choice. Similar question-types already appear on the SAT undergraduate admissions test.


On the "writing" section, students will no longer be randomly assigned to one of two prompts. All test-test-takers will be asked to respond to the same question in which they must defend a particular legal position. The writing sample is not scored but is forwarded to schools where students apply.


The reason for these changes is not clear. A spokesperson for the Law School Admissions Council, sponsor of the LSAT, told the online newsletter Inside Higher Ed, that they will provide "no noticeable benefits or challenges to test-takers." But, in the competitive world of law school admissions, they are sure to produce an enrollment windfall for the LSAT coaching industry.


Scoring for the LSAT, currently on a 120 to 180 scale, will not change. Nor does the $118 test registration fee.


A revised Graduate Record Exam (GRE) will also be administered for the first time this year, beginning in September. It involves more significant changes, including replacement of its computer adaptive format (see Examiner, August 2006).