In the past, applicants only had one testing option when applying to law school: the dreaded LSAT. Now, law school applicants have a choice. Currently, 40 law schools – including Harvard, Columbia, and Penn – are accepting the GRE General Test for consideration.
What are the implications for applicants?
Options are great. An applicant can choose the best testing opportunity for themselves. Options also require more research. It is imperative that you decide which test will best showcase your abilities. It is also imperative to understand each school’s policy on testing. For those institutions accepting the GRE, you must understand how they review scores, and if you submit both tests, the GRE and the LSAT, what will they do with that information? Will one test trump the other?
For example, while Boston University School of Law accepts both the LSAT and GRE, the website instructions state that “while the holistic review of your file will include all information submitted, the highest LSAT score will be the standardized test used in review of your candidacy.” Thus, in this case, the LSAT will trump the GRE and I recommend that if you are applying to any schools outside of the 40 currently accepting the GRE, then take the LSAT.
Regardless of the test you are taking, be prepared
Study for the test and take it seriously. For better or worse, a higher standardized test score will increase opportunity. Thus, it is an important aspect of the application and deserves ample attention. Pick a future test date and make it your part-time job to study for the exam. Take practice tests, gauge your test-taking abilities, and prep as necessary. Do not take an official test “just to see how you will do.” That test score will be on your permanent record and may then take some explaining in an addendum. It does not show good judgement to just wing it. Practice on real practice tests and take an official exam when you are ready.
Do your research
Yes, testing options are great. It is imperative, however, that you research thoroughly which option will best serve your testing style and law school choices. Make the best decision for yourself and your application cycle.
Which exam is best for you and your unique situation? Do you need help answering this or any other question about your law school candidacy? Do you need help putting together the other elements of your law school application? Wherever you are in the law school admissions process and whatever you need – our advisors are here to help! Explore our Law School Admissions Consulting & Editing Services for more information on how we can help you GET ACCEPTED.
Christine Carr is a Harvard graduate with over 15 years of admissions experience, including nine years as Associate Director of Admissions at Boston University School of Law. She has read over 10,000 personal statements and counseled thousands of prospective applicants through the application process Want Christine to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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