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Everything You Need to Know About the Digital LSAT

  • by Ross Rinehart
  • Jun 17, 2019
  • LSAT

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We’ve talked about the digital LSAT a lot … it’s a big change for this test! But I, for one, still get a ton of questions about the new test format. So let’s address these questions, one at a time, one more time. Here are all the answers to the questions you may have about the digital LSAT.

Wait, the LSAT’s going digital?

Yeah! Under which boulder-sized rock have you been living? For the July 15, 2019 exam, the LSAT will start to administer the test on tablets, with proprietary testing software, to some test takers. For September 21, 2019 exam, and all exams thereafter, in perpetuity (lawyer-speak for “forever”), the exam will be given in its digital format, to all test takers.

What the digital test gonna look like?

Check it out for yourself! LSAC provided a digital familiarization page for prospective test takers to get some first-hand experience with the digital format. There were some issues with the initial roll out of this page, but now it’s a solid resource to learn about the new software and to try out some actual practice exams.

Wait, aren’t you supposed to write stuff down on the LSAT? How am I gonna do that on this digital exam?

They will give you scratch paper! For the first time ever! They’ll also give you pens. Or you can bring your own pencil, if you have a lucky pencil that you cannot do without, or something. We don’t know how much scratch paper will be handed out, but we’re pretty confident they’ll give you enough to make notes for Logical Reasoning or Reading Comp, and to make your set-ups and scenarios and all else for Logic Games.

I’m an Amish/Luddite/tech-fearing person and I really don’t want to take the test on the tablet. What are my options?

You don’t have many, I’m afraid. The July 15, 2019 test will be given in its digital format to only some of the test takers. About half of all test centers will be administering the test in its digital format; half will be administering its test in its traditional paper-and-pencil test. The deadline to register for that test has already passed, but if you already signed up for it, the LSAT gods may give you the traditional paper-and-pencil test.

Other than that, you can request testing accommodations from LSAC.

LSAC is switching to the digital LSAT permanently, so if you’re taking any LSAT from now on, you should be prepared to take the digital test. And really, the digital LSAT is nothing to be feared. It’s the same test as it’s ever been. And most of the new features made possible by the digital software should make the testing experience a little bit easier.

How so?

Well, there are a few major advantages of the digital format. One, you don’t have to bubble in an answer sheet. You just use the LSAC-provided stylus to click the answer choice you think is correct. You don’t have to take the (admittedly small amount of) time to thoroughly color in a little bubble. You don’t have to worry if your coloring was thorough enough to be read, or so sloppy as to be maybe read incorrectly. That saves (again, a little) time. And time is the most precious resource on the LSAT.

Two, the digital testing software will display, prominently and clearly, the amount of time remaining in your section. On the trad test, you had to keep track of your own time, using a (not digital) analog wristwatch … like a freakin’ old person. That was harder to do, and you never knew the exact amount of time remaining. That’s not the case any more, which is a pretty big boon to test takers.

There are a few more marginal benefits, too. The scratch paper they’ll provide you will give more room to make notes than the test booklets of the trad test did. You can also flag questions on the digital test, and quickly return to that question at the press of a button, without flipping through a bunch of pages of your test booklet. The lack of page-flipping could make test centers quieter. Embrace the digital!

OK, but how am I going to study to take the digital LSAT?

Good question! LSAC is offering a limited amount of practice exams on its digital familiarization page, but that’s not enough. Our advice: to prepare for the digital LSAT you should … I don’t know … practice LSAT questions in a digital format? Shocking, I know.

Any test prep service worth its salt will have some digital component that will give you some experience answering LSAT question in a digital format. For Blueprint specifically, our students have been doing their homework through a digital interface for years. And recently, we just switched up the format of the practice exams students can take with us. Our students can now take any practice exam online, in a format that looks exactly like the testing software the real test will use. So our students will be able to get a lot of experience with the digital LSAT. You can check this out, gratis, with our free LSAT prep bundle.

If you want to go all-in in your LSAT studies, considering acquiring a tablet. The digital LSAT will be administered on a Microsoft Surface Go, so if you want to really replicate grab that one. But, really, all tablets on the market are fairly similar, so any tablet will get close enough to the real test experience.

Sounds good, but I have a few more hyper-specific questions!

OK! But let’s make this quick. We’re running out of space for this blog. Let’s do this lightning round-style.

It’s a digital test, so will the tablet’s computer-brain spit my score out as soon as I finish the test?

Nope! It’ll still take about three weeks to get your score back. For the July 2019 test specifically, it’ll take even longer — those test takers won’t get their scores back until August 28, a full six weeks after the test.

Will the exam be adaptive like the GMAT or GRE, in that the difficulty of the questions will change based on your performance?

Nope! In fact we could save a lot of time if I could just say …

Will I still have the same kinds of Logical Reasoning questions?

… that …

And logic games?

… all aspects of the test …

And those godforsaken Reading Comp passages?

… other than the fact that it’s on a tablet …

Will there still be an experimental section?

… will remain the same. You’ll still get two scored LR sections, one scored Logic Games section, one scored Reading Comp section, and one unscored “experimental” section. The test will be scored in the same way. The strategies and concepts that worked for the old test will continue to work for the digital test.

OK, those are all my questions!

Great! This blog is over.

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