Your LSAT score is an important part of your law school application, so it’s important to do well on the test. Law schools don’t require a particular score for admittance; rather, your score is part of a larger, overall picture of your academic potential based on all the components of your application.
The LSAT is composed of five sections of multiple-choice questions and a writing sample. Four of the five sections are scored—the other (called the “variable” section) is used to help determine future test questions. The writing sample is not scored, but it is sent to the law schools for which you’re applying, along with your overall score. Admissions committees will consider your score and read your writing sample during review of your application.
;Your LSAT score is figured using a method of statistics called equating. You get credit for each correctly answered question on the exam (you’re not penalized for incorrect questions). The number of correct answers is then applied to a scale of 120 to 180. Equating simply factors in the slight differences in difficulty from one test to another.
In the most practical sense, a “good” score is one that contributes to your application enough to get you accepted into the law school you want. For the entering class of 2011 at Harvard Law School, the 75/25 percentile for LSAT scores was 176/171. The entering class of 2012 for the J. Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah had 75/25 percentile LSAT scores of 156/162. These two examples might give you an idea of how diverse the score ranges can be, depending on the school.
If you have registered with LSAC (Law School Admissions Council), you will receive your LSAT scores via email, about three weeks after you take the test. Make sure that LSAC has your current email address. Those without online LSAC accounts, will receive scores via snail mail approximately four weeks after the test date.
LSAC recommends that you retake the test only in certain circumstances—if you were sick, overly tired or poorly prepared, for example. Some people fail to appreciate the difficulty of the LSAT, so they don’t study enough. If this is the case for you, and your score is lower than the average score of accepted students at the school you’d like to attend, it would probably be in your best interest to retake the test. Just make sure to study properly before retaking—you can only take the LSAT 3 times within a 2 year period.