Overview of LSAT Scoring for the Multiple-Choice Sections of the Exam
Compared to most graduate-level standardized tests, LSAT scoring is fairly simple. Test-takers receive a scaled score that ranges from a minimum of 120 to a maximum of 180 (increments of one point). This score is based entirely on the number of correct answers given in the exam's multiple-choice sections (Analytical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension). Of the five multiple-choice sections taken, only four contribute to the test-taker's score; the other is experimental. All questions have the same value, and no points are deducted for incorrect answers (the latter means that there is no penalty for guessing).
The LSAT Writing Sample
The LSAT Writing sample is neither scored nor informally assessed by LSAC, but it is a proctored portion of the exam. As of June 2019, the Writing sample may be taken on the same day as the multiple-choice LSAT sections or up to one year afterwards. Copies of essays are sent to law schools for their review; these essays are carefully considered by admissions committees and they do factor into decisions about which candidates to accept.
LSAT Score Reports
The LSAT score reports sent to institutions and test-takers include total LSAT scores (120-180) for all LSATs taken over the past five years. Students who have taken the LSAT more than once during this period will receive an average score for all test attempts. Also included are score bands (score ranges associated with specific levels of proficiency) and test-taker percentile rankings. LSAT score reports are typically sent about three weeks after the date of the test. LSAC online account holders will automatically receive score notification via email. Score reports are sent only to the test-taker and the law schools he or she has designated. They will not be provided to any other third party without the student's consent.
Raw Score Conversion
The term "raw score" refers to the total number of correct answers out of the total number of multiple-choice questions. Because all LSATs are not identical in difficulty level or in the total number of questions, there can be small differences in how many correct answers are associated with a specific scaled score of 120-180. For example, a student taking one LSAT may have to get 85 correct answers out of 101 questions to receive a score of 165, while someone taking another LSAT may be able to get the same score with just 83 correct answers. The raw score conversion process aims to normalize any testing discrepancies and make the exam as fair as possible for all test-takers.
LSAT Score Percentiles
According to LSAC statistics on the three most recent testing years for which data are available, the median LSAT score is between 151 and 152. About two-thirds of all test-takers scored 156 or below, and approximately 90% scored 164 or below. A score of 170 was in the 97th percentile, and less than 1% of students who sat for the LSAT during this three-year period received scores of 175 or above. On the other end of the scale, about 86% of test-takers scored at least 140, and less than 5% scored below 135.
Law School LSAT Score Standards
Law schools in the most selective tier almost invariably report median LSAT scores of 165 or above. Examples include Yale Law School (median of 173), the University of Pennsylvania School of Law (170), Georgetown Law Center (167), and the University of California-Berkeley School of Law (167). The next tier is represented by institutions such as the University of Alabama School of Law (164), the University of Wisconsin Law School (162), and the College of William & Mary Law School (162).
Examples of programs with median LSAT scores in the 150s include the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (157), the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville School of Law (155), and Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law (153). Law schools with 50th-percentile LSAT scores below 150, such as Roger Williams University School of Law (148), Appalachian School of Law (144), and Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law (139) are relatively rare. Although students at virtually every scoring level may be able to find a suitable program, higher scores will give any applicant more options for their legal education.