The LSAT and the GRE: Two options for law school applications

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is the preferred test for law school admissions. Recently, some law schools began using the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), creating a second option for fulfilling the standardized test requirement on law school applications.

The LSAT is administered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)—its website is www.lsac.org. In previous years, the LSAT was offered at testing centers throughout the US, and Touro College offered the LSAT from June 2011 through January 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift to online testing, and it is likely that this change will become permanent. The new LSAT-Flex is substantially shorter than earlier LSATs—it has only three sections: logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension, each 35 minutes in duration. Scores are normally available within three weeks of the date the test is taken. All LSAT scores must be reported when applying to law schools.

The GRE is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Their website is www.ets.org/gre. It is offered on numerous dates at Prometric test centers throughout the US. The test is given on a computer, and consists of two analytic writing sections of 30 minutes, two verbal reasoning sections of 35 minutes (20 questions), two quantitative reasoning sections of 35 minutes (20 questions), and an unscored experimental section of 30-35 minutes. Scores for the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections are available at the conclusion of the test, while the analytical writing score is normally available within two weeks. You may choose which GRE scores you report when applying to law school.

Even if you have done well on previous standardized tests, you should devote at least two months to studying for the LSAT. There is a free Khan Academy preparation course available on the LSAC website that allows you to focus on the question types you find most difficult, and many students have found this helpful. Other applicants pay to take an LSAT prep course. You can also buy study materials and prepare for the exam by yourself. There are also GRE prep courses available.

The decision about which test to take depends on many individual factors, and you should consult with a prelaw advisor before you make this important decision.