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Should I Take the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT?


Remember when you were in high school and told repeatedly that the ACT or SAT was “the big one” that determined your future? That was a lie. To get into law school the single number that will most impact your future is your LSAT score. But there are two other big graduate school standardized tests: the GRE and the GMAT. Should you worry about taking these?

What is the GMAT?

The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admissions Test, is administered solely to students trying to earn their MBA. Other 7000 business programs accept the GMAT, which is scored on a scale from 200 to 800 and includes Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Integrated Reasoning sections along with an Analytical Writing prompt. You should only prep for the GMAT if you plan to go to business school, so if you want to go to law school don’t give the GMAT a second thought.

What is the GRE?

On the other hand, the GRE General Test (GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations) is a general knowledge and reasoning test that is used for the admissions process in a variety of fields. The GRE is the de facto graduate admissions exam, with other tests required in addition to or instead of the GRE depending on your desired program. For example, the GMAT is specifically for business school, while you could apply for select business programs and other types of graduate programs using only the GRE.


First, the University of Arizona changed its admission policies for its James E. Rogers College of Law. The university now allows law school applicants to submit either LSAT or GRE scores. Since then quite a few of the top law schools have followed suit, including Northwestern and Harvard.

Now you theoretically have a choice: the LSAT vs. the GRE. Not every law school is embracing the GRE with open arms, inciting a debate about the efficacy of accepting the latter over the former.

Should I Take the LSAT or GRE?

Some applicants may argue that the GRE necessitates less studying and preparation, and that point is valid. However, to secure your spot at a top law school you should take the LSAT regardless of whether you decide to take the GRE. Here’s why:

  • 1. Most schools still require the LSAT. Unless you’re only applying to a specific program that is GRE-friendly you will need an impressive LSAT score when applying to a variety of law schools.
  • 2. When you apply to law school you will be required to send your full Credential Assembly Service Report, assembled by the Law School Admission Council. The people at the LSAC design and administer the LSAT, meaning you cannot withhold your LSAT score from schools when applying. If you took the LSAT and underperformed it will appear on your application even if you take the GRE at a later time and attain a better score.
  • 3. The LSAT transforms the way you think into the inner workings of a lawyer—that is, thinking rooted in logic and deep comprehension. A Berkley study showed a Blueprint LSAT course changed the way participants’ brains worked. There’s a reason why LSAT scores are increasingly being linked to bar exam passage rates.
  • 4. Law schools are not required to accept one standardized test over another. So, they can rescind on their acceptance of the GRE and reinstate the LSAT as the end-all-be-all of standardized tests.

Ultimately, your primary focus should be on increasing your LSAT score. Ready to start studying for the LSAT? First, check out our free customizable LSAT study planner and practice test with analytics.