Law School Admission Test Changes To Digital Format

Bryce Gill, Assistant Biz & Tech Editor

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Since the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) was created over 70 years ago, students have taken the exam in a paper and pencil format. However, there was a soft launch of the digital version for the July 2019 LSAT.

Although the format of the exam will change, the content itself will not. Yet this may change the way some law students might have to prepare for the test.

“The main focus is timing yourself because you only have a certain amount of time for each question. All of my practice materials have been paper and pen. I am the type of person with exams – for even just my general classes – I like to be able to cross out answers and flag questions I am going to come back to. I am also interested in how those classes adapt to that change,” said Chrystina Pacchini, a political science major with a legal studies emphasis.

There are some positive attributes that the digital format has to offer. For instance, test takers can expect to receive their scores back more quickly than they did with the paper and pencil test.

Also, the number of times the LSAT is being offered has increased to nine, with possible intentions to increase to 10 by the next cycle of exams.

“The LSAT is actually the last major graduate-level admissions exam to go digital. The GRE made the switch in 2011, the GMAT in 2012 and MCAT in 2015. It would seem highly unlikely that the test would revert back to paper and pencil. None of the other major tests that have made the format switch have done this,” said Jeff Thomas, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of admissions programs.

There are some precautionary measures taken in case of a technical error. In other words, if there is a technical glitch, administrators can and will swap out hardware and give additional time to ensure every student has 35 minutes per test section. 

Additionally, there is the problem that not many students studying law are aware of this change in the LSAT format.

“I had no idea the test was going digital, but I’m sure it is to keep up with the rapid digitization of the current time. Hopefully the courses I can sign up for through Law School Admission Council (LSAC) will help,” said Kate Swanson, a political science major with a legal studies emphasis

A low LSAT score is the biggest aplication deal breaker. Pre-law students are advised to get the highest score possible to secure entrance into a law school program. A strong LSAT score can help gain merit-based aid. Each point on the LSAT pushes each student over many other law school applications, so approach every question accordingly.

Pre-law students should prepare for digital exams in the field moving forward.