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January 2020 LSAT Instant Reaction


January test takers, you did it. You drove to your test center, waited through an interminable check-in process, sat in your assigned seat, and … used a stylus to click the screen on a Microsoft Surface Go for about three-and-a-half hours. Big congratulations there.

We kid, we kid. These moments are worthy of a sincere congratulations. In fact, if anything, you’re probably not proud enough of your accomplishment. Many test takers respond to a test with sentiments like, “that last game sucked lol see u in February.” But — and this is true irrespective of how test day went — this accomplishment deserves more than that. You sacrificed quite a bit to get prepared for this test, and deserve plaudits for that. You spent your free time learning how to make scenarios for logic games. You likely surrendered a good bit of your holidays to review the common fallacies or take some extra practice exams. If you really went all-in on your studies, your visage might be but a faint memory to your friends and loved ones. The point is, this test probably made the last few months of your sub-optimal. And yet, you persevered. That’s a big deal.

So, use let tonight be a celebration worthy of your accomplishments. Drink a stout. Forge a Vermeer painting. Commit a few internet crimes. And spare a kind thought for your LSAT instructor.

If you must reflect on the LSAT before doing so, though, let’s talk about this LSAT. On a nondisclosed test like January’s — one in which we’ll won’t see a released copy of the exam anytime in the near future — it’s tempting for us to simply assume that all of our predictions were 100% on-point, and leave it at that. But, still, we hear things about the exam. And we can chat about those things. Well, some of them. We can really only talk about the topics covered in the three sections. We can’t discuss which kinds of games were featured, or the answers to any of the questions, for obvious reasons. If you must reflect on this LSAT — to, for example, try to determine which section of your test was the experimental — here’s what we’ve been hearing …

It sounds like the scored logic games were about traveling to various towns, senior and junior team presentations, school assignments, and — as if it were a preview to what you would be doing after the exam — the fourth game was about drinking beer. Reports suggest that this was not quite as fearsome a section as the recent September and November exams, although the fourth game caused some hang ups (and perhaps some hangovers) for some test takers.

The actual topics of the passages always get somewhat distorted in the game of telephone played between the test takers and us, but here are what the passages covered, as far as we can tell: the notorious Johannes Vemeer forgery artist Hans van Meegeren, biological indicators of aging in flies, internet crimes, and Mobilian Jargon, a pidgin lanuage used among Native Americans living along the Gulf of Mexico. Many test takers pointed out that the last passage was difficult, but that the section as a whole wasn’t as crazy as some recent tests’.

And finally, Logical Reasoning. For this section, we really only hear about a random assortment of unrelated topics that were probably discussed in these sections, as people try to access their fading memories of these short questions. So here is the random assortment of unrelated topics that were probably discussed in the scored Logical Reasoning sections on January’s exam: chimpanzees, highways paying for themselves, evergreen trees, legal curb parking after 7 pm, dragonflies, and Neanderthals and the hole in the back of their skulls. Some test takers thought these Logical Reasoning sections may have been a bit harder than September or November’s exams.

On balance, it sounds like January was an easier test than the September or the November exams. Unfortunately, that likely means the “curve” will be a bit less forgiving — a -10 curve for a 170 seems plausible. Not that we’ll ever know — the curves aren’t released for nondisclosed exams. At any rate, leave any worrying about the curves to those nerds in suburban Philadelphia who now have to release these scores to you by February 6. It’s your time to celebrate, deservingly so.

If, however, you cannot find it in you to celebrate, you may be thinking about canceling your score. Before doing so, you can read up on LSAC’s official cancellation policy here. Or you can hear it from us: you have until Sunday, January 19, 11:59 pm Eastern to cancel. So you have some time. Sleep on it. Take a look at this video, featuring the sagacious wisdom of Blueprint co-founder Matt Riley.

Before canceling, you should also be aware that nearly every law school will simply use your highest LSAT when constructing your academic index, or whatever calculation it uses to assess you as an applicant. Although law schools will see every score you got on the LSAT in the last five years, the vast majority of them won’t hold having multiple LSAT scores against you to a significant degree. For most test takers, our recommendation is … don’t cancel. Choose to receive your score, just on the chance that you’ll be happy enough with the score that you don’t have to study for the next exam. For a more thorough discussion of this issue, check out this blog post.

No matter the decision, you did it. Now, please, close this post, leave your computer for a little bit, and toast to your accomplishment.