Money & Business

LSAT Organizers Make Changes to Test Rules Amid Law School Shifts

By / May 30, 2017 (iStock/Thinkstock)

With some law schools allowing applicants to apply with GRE scores rather than LSAT scores, the council that administers the law school test is eyeing changes to improve the test’s flexibility.

If you’re trying to get into law school, you may not be stuck taking the Law School Admission Test anymore. And this shift away from the test by some universities is leading the group that organizes the LSAT to make some big changes.

In recent years, some universities have started to accept the Graduate Record Examinations as an alternative to the LSAT, in part because of the GRE’s flexibility. Traditionally, the GRE is administered multiple times each week, versus the LSAT’s more rigid quarterly schedule. That has led schools like the University of Arizona and Harvard Law School to launch pilot programs allowing for the GRE to be taken instead of the LSAT. And other schools, like Northwestern, are looking into doing the same, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The move in this direction, driven in part by a decline in law school applications in recent years, has created some challenges for the American Bar Association, which hasn’t yet changed its requirements on the issue but is said to be voting on it in July.

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which puts on the LSAT, is also feeling some of this pressure and recently changed some of the requirements around the LSAT, removing limitations on the number of times a test taker can take the exam in a two-year period and revealing that it was planning to administer the test more often.

LSAC spokeswoman Wendy Margolis, in a statement to the Tribune, noted that the change was designed to build flexibility into the process.

“Our board of trustees thought that the test limitation might be an unnecessary impediment to test takers,” Margolis said. “This new policy could change if LSAC observes abuse.”

In comments on the shift, Jeff Thomas, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of pre-law programs, noted that LSAC’s rule change appears to be mostly beneficial to students.

“Offering the test more times throughout the year and allowing students to take it more than three times over a two-year period might make the LSAT a more attractive option for test takers,” Thomas said, according to Above the Law. “But our advice to students will always remain the same: prep once, get one killer LSAT score, and leave no doubt to admissions officers about your candidacy to your top law school choices.”

LSAC’s move comes just weeks after the hiring of Kellye Testy, the longtime dean of the University of Washington School of Law, as the council’s next president and CEO. Testy, who starts in July, has spoken of expanding the number of test administrations—but with a focus on high standards.

“What students want is easier access—more test administrations and more formats,” Testy said, according to Law.com. “As you do that, you have to make sure you don’t compromise quality. Some tests have gone so far to the access side that they’ve compromised their quality. We’re going to try to move toward access while still being the gold standard for quality.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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