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Should I Take the LSAT or the GRE for Law School?

  • by Gerry Hirschfeld
  • May 31, 2022
  • Admissions, Blueprint Products and Promotions, General LSAT Advice, GRE, GRE vs LSAT, Law School, Law School Admissions, Law School Advice, Law School Life, LSAT, Should I take the GRE, Should I take the LSAT
  • Reviewed by: Matt Riley

That’s a good question. As of 2016, some law schools are now accepting the GRE or the LSAT from prospective law students.  Since either exam could be a good choice, let’s look at the pros and cons of each test in terms of law school admissions. 

The LSAT is the “standard” law school admissions test. It is the “Law School Admissions Test” after all. The LSAT has been used for decades to assist law schools in making admissions determinations by predicting student success in law school. Since 1991, the LSAT has been scored in a range from 120-180. The LSAT is offered roughly 8 times per year. 

The GRE stands for the Graduate Record Examination and is aimed to predict graduate student success. Since 2011, the GRE has been scored in a range from 130-170. The GRE is offered year round.

Do All Law Schools Accept the GRE

No, and according to US News & World Report, only about 70 law schools currently accept the GRE. However, this number is steadily increasing. It is unclear whether the GRE will ever rival the LSAT in terms of law school opportunities. Before taking the GRE, make sure to check whether the law schools you plan to apply to accept this test. 

Do All Law Schools Accept the LSAT?

Yes! Although not all law schools require an LSAT score, every ABA-accredited law school accepts the LSAT. Therefore, with an LSAT score you will be able to apply to any ABA-accredited law school.

How is the GRE Formatted?

The GRE is broken into verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. The analytical writing section contains two essay prompts and the test taker has thirty minutes per essay (one hour total) to compose a written (typed) response. The verbal and quantitative sections contain five multiple-choice sections. One of the five will be experimental and will not count towards your score. The verbal reasoning sections are thirty minutes per section and the quantitative reasoning sections are thirty-five minutes per section. 

How is the LSAT Formatted?

The LSAT is broken into three thirty-five minute sections: one reading comprehension section, two logical reading sections (as of August 2024), and one experimental unscored section. The reading comprehension section involves reading short passages (usually 3-5 paragraphs) and then answering questions based on the reading. The logical reasoning section involves answering questions based on short stimuli (e.g. what must be true, what is the flaw, etc). Finally, every LSAT has one experimental section that can be any of the above, although you will not know which section that is. The experimental section will not count toward your LSAT score.

What are the Advantages of Taking the GRE?

If you are sure that you want to get an advanced degree, but are not 100% sold on going to law school, then the GRE might be the right exam for you. Other than law school and medical school, nearly every other graduate program accepts the GRE. However, less than half of ABA-accredited law schools currently accept the GRE. Therefore your options for law school may be  somewhat limited. 

Additionally, you can choose which GRE you want to submit. Unlike the LSAT, if you take the GRE more than once, you can pick which exam the law school will view. That said, although law schools will be able to see all of your LSAT scores, most will only place emphasis on your best LSAT score. Finally, the GRE is offered year round so you will have more opportunities to pick a test date that works for you. 

What are the Advantages of Taking the LSAT?

The primary advantage of the LSAT is that all law schools will accept it. More options for law schools means a higher chance of getting into a highly ranked law school. 

Also, there is no math on the LSAT. So if you despise math and don’t want to do math problems  to get into law school, the LSAT is your best bet. 

Finally, there is more information on the impact of the LSAT on admissions. Therefore,  you can better predict your odds of admission at a given law school with an LSAT score. Let’s face it, applying to law school can be expensive. It helps to have a good estimate of your safety, target, and reach school prior to applying.  score can be more helpful in creating a good list of safety, target, and reach schools.

Which Exam Will Give Me the Better Odds of Admission

It depends. However, according to US News & World Report, which determines law school ranking (and substantially influences employment opportunities for law school grads), the GRE is growing, but law schools still don’t look at the GRE quite the same as the LSAT. Because of this, at least for now, the LSAT has the  edge. 

Can I Take Both?

If you really want to take two exams, you can, but we don’t recommend it.  Since law schools will be able to see your LSAT score, and since schools generally prioritize the LSAT over the GRE, it is advisable that you don’t take both exams. Although a high GRE score can somewhat mitigate a low LSAT score, law schools are required to report the LSAT scores of their incoming class. They cannot completely disregard a lower LSAT score. Therefore, if you take both, law schools will prioritize your LSAT score. Accordingly, you should make a judgment call and pick the one that better fits your career and law school goals.

Finally, if you are in doubt, reach out to your goal  law schools and see what they advise. Although a law school might not be able to give you a definitive answer, it may be able to help point you in the right direction for your career goals.