New LSAT Rules

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.
enz2103

New
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:51 am

New LSAT Rules

Postby enz2103 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:31 pm

Has anyone received an email talking about changes to the LSAT testing rules? I just received one, and it said that lsac, beginning in September 2019, will set the following limits on LSAT takers:

1. Can only take the exam 3x per year
2. Can only take the exam 5x in 5 years
3. Can only take the exam 7 times in a lifetime

Any thoughts on this?

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 6480
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:53 am

These limits seem a little nonsensical. Were the new rules really creating a lot of people with more than 7 retakes?

enz2103

New
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:51 am

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby enz2103 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:04 am

cavalier1138 wrote:These limits seem a little nonsensical. Were the new rules really creating a lot of people with more than 7 retakes?


That was what I thought. They seem unnecessary, so I thought maybe you guys would have some insight into why they are being put into place.

They did state in the email that these rules will affect fewer than 1% of test takers. However, what could those few test takers be doing that would encourage LSAC to implement these regulations?

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1652
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby nixy » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:07 am

I wonder if test prep companies were having people take the test over and over?

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 6480
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:15 am

nixy wrote:I wonder if test prep companies were having people take the test over and over?


That could be it. If the "1%" is referring to those people, then the rule would be structured to still expand on the number of retakes allowed under the previous regime but still prevent those companies from gaming the system.

Npret

Gold
Posts: 1987
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:42 am

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby Npret » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:26 am

From what I’ve seen here - the 5 times in 5 years is what might hurt people the most.

What do you think?

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2648
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby QContinuum » Sun Jun 16, 2019 1:06 pm

Npret wrote:From what I’ve seen here - the 5 times in 5 years is what might hurt people the most.

What do you think?

While I think the rule is a bit overly draconian (I think 7 times in 7 years would be more reasonable), I think it's unlikely to affect the vast majority of 0Ls, even TLS 0Ls (who're probably somewhat more likely than the overall 0L population to retake multiple times). 5 times in 5 years still gives applicants four retake opportunities. That's a lot. Even here on TLS, I don't recall coming across any 0L who's taken the LSAT more than 3-4 times total. I can't recall a single 5-time (let alone 6+-time) taker on these fora. It's pulling teeth to get a 0L to retake even once (for a total of 2 takes).

A somewhat common fact pattern we seem to see is folks who take the LSAT a single time on a lark, then, a few years later, decide to seriously pursue law school and then maybe take the LSAT two more times. Even under the 5-times-in-5-years rule, these folks would still have four takes left (after wasting their initial take on that long-ago lark).

I also wonder whether there is any provision for granting exceptions to the limit for good cause.

Bingo_Bongo

Bronze
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:25 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:33 pm

Is LSAC still peddling around the idea that the LSAT is a test that can't be studied for, and there's no reason to take it more than once since it's a perfect indicator of how well you're naturally inclined to do in law school, and bla bla bla? Because when I was took it that was what they were saying, and I bought it like an idiot. This new retake policy seems kind of in line with that type of thinking.

User avatar
KunAgnis

Bronze
Posts: 292
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:41 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby KunAgnis » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:13 am

Bingo_Bongo wrote:Is LSAC still peddling around the idea that the LSAT is a test that can't be studied for, and there's no reason to take it more than once since it's a perfect indicator of how well you're naturally inclined to do in law school, and bla bla bla? Because when I was took it that was what they were saying, and I bought it like an idiot. This new retake policy seems kind of in line with that type of thinking.


Couldn't LSAC be limiting retakes in order to prevent people from learning the exam? If it is learnable, then unlimited retakes (combined with a large population of students actually willing to retake to score higher) could lead to skewed curves that may affect LSAT's viability. Seems to me LSAC's limitation might actually suggest that it does think the exam is learnable.

enz2103

New
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:51 am

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby enz2103 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:45 am

QContinuum wrote:I also wonder whether there is any provision for granting exceptions to the limit for good cause.


According to the email I received, you can request an exception. I do not know the process for making these requests.

The email also said that the new policy is "forward-looking" and will not apply to LSAT exams taken before September 2019, which makes me wonder if the switch to the digital format has anything to do with this.

Granted, this policy change likely will not affect me, but I was wondering if perhaps there was some logic behind their changes that I did not notice. I posted this question primarily out of curiosity and because I figured knowing the new rules (only current registrants received emails as far as I am aware) might be beneficial to you guys.

Bingo_Bongo

Bronze
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:25 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:54 pm

KunAgnis wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:Is LSAC still peddling around the idea that the LSAT is a test that can't be studied for, and there's no reason to take it more than once since it's a perfect indicator of how well you're naturally inclined to do in law school, and bla bla bla? Because when I was took it that was what they were saying, and I bought it like an idiot. This new retake policy seems kind of in line with that type of thinking.


Couldn't LSAC be limiting retakes in order to prevent people from learning the exam? If it is learnable, then unlimited retakes (combined with a large population of students actually willing to retake to score higher) could lead to skewed curves that may affect LSAT's viability. Seems to me LSAC's limitation might actually suggest that it does think the exam is learnable.


Oh, I have no doubt that LSAC knows that their exam is learnable, and therefore does not provide an objective score as to how innately qualified an applicant is to do well in law school and become a lawyer, but that's not what they peddle around.

To justify the sheer weight of LSAT scores in law school admissions processes, LSAC has always asserted that their test is not something you can study for, and the score provides deep insight into how qualified somebody is to go to law school and become a great lawyer -- which, I think everyone knows deep down is utterly ridiculous.

The fact of the matter is that the LSAT is something you can absolutely study for, and a high score usually just means that you just spent a lot more time and effort studying for the test than other people (not so much that you're innately qualified to be a lawyer more than other people). I'm not saying a high score isn't an accomplishment to be very proud of, or that a high score is not indicative of an applicant's ability to pass the bar (since if they studied their ass for the LSAT, they're also probably going to study their ass off for the bar). But, that's never been how LSAC has ever framed their test. They try to make it out as some IQ test type of thing that measures how well somebody is naturally inclined to do in law school and the legal profession.

The way they talk about their test provides justification for law schools to weigh that stupid thing so heavily. Literally no other academic discipline puts so much weight on one test, and literally no other industry puts so much weight on where you went to school for hiring decisions. Really, the LSAT is insanely determinative of how much money you'll be making a few years after taking it -- and for no good reason.

Putting so much weight on high LSAT scores largely benefits rich kids without jobs who can afford to spend a bunch of time and money on test prep. People who have to work their way through undergrad, or have kids or other obligations, and don't have a ton of time and money to be spending preping for a test are at a severe disadvantage.

If I was in charge of law school admissions, I'd do the med school thing and look at applicants more holistically. But, I'm not in charge of admissions, so I guess I'm relegated to ranting on law school bulletin boards.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2648
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby QContinuum » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:59 pm

Bingo_Bongo wrote:They try to make it out as some IQ test type of thing that measures how well somebody is naturally inclined to do in law school and the legal profession.

Mensa seems to have bought the LSAT-as-IQ-test assertion. A top 5% LSAT score (which I believe usually hovers around 167-168) qualifies one to join. See https://www.us.mensa.org/join/testscore ... st-scores/

Bingo_Bongo wrote:literally no other industry puts so much weight on where you went to school for hiring decisions.

To be fair, management consulting and i-banking kind of follow the same approach. They'll take an Art History major from the Ivy League over a Business major from Random Public State University every day and twice on Sunday.

And while not quite the same, medicine also operates in a very prestige-driven manner. The prestigious hospitals and specialties (for residencies, fellowships and clinical positions) absolutely care a ton about which med school a doctor attended. And there's a huge pay gap too, between the most prestigious specialties and the least prestigious. The main difference with law is that even the "bottom-basement" med school grad in the least prestigious specialty still makes a ton of money, because it's much easier to forego filing a tort suit against your neighbor than to do without your birth control prescription.

Bingo_Bongo wrote:Putting so much weight on high LSAT scores largely benefits rich kids without jobs who can afford to spend a bunch of time and money on test prep. People who have to work their way through undergrad, or have kids or other obligations, and don't have a ton of time and money to be spending preping for a test are at a severe disadvantage.

But the same could be said of any standardized admissions test. The SAT. The MCAT. The GMAT. The GRE. Now, sure, med schools/colleges/etc. care about more than just GPA and test score. But they still place a whole lotta weight on test score - it's just that instead of GPA and test score adding up to ~99% of admissions outcomes, maybe they add up to two-thirds or three-fifths instead, with "softs" filling in the remaining third/two-fifths.

The alternative is to eliminate standardized admissions testing, but I'm not sure that would really be a net benefit to anyone (least of all poor students). Without standardized test scores to rely on, adcoms' focus would shift to GPA, and here the wealthy would have an edge too because grade inflation is most rampant at elite colleges, and even aside from grade inflation, wealthy undergrads can focus on studying (and supplement their studying with private tutors) while poorer undergrads will have to figure things out themselves while juggling part-time work to feed themselves. Adcoms would also probably focus more on softs, and here too the wealthy would have an advantage. First, the wealthy would likely have access to better knowledge regarding what softs are desirable. Second, wealthy students would also be able to focus on chasing prestigious internships and other opportunities without worrying about salary (if any) or expenses. A wealthy student might be able to fund a gap year doing human rights advocacy in Africa or southeast Asia, while his first-generation friend might be relegated to spending her gap year doing bartending work and maybe volunteering on the weekends at the local Legal Aid - guess which experience will look more compelling to a T13 adcom?

Frankly, standardized tests are more of an equalizer than anything else. They give the poor and the unconnected a chance to earn their way in to the club through merit.

Bingo_Bongo

Bronze
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:25 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:51 pm

QContinuum wrote:Mensa seems to have bought the LSAT-as-IQ-test assertion. A top 5% LSAT score (which I believe usually hovers around 167-168) qualifies one to join. See https://www.us.mensa.org/join/testscore ... st-scores/


haha, yeah that's ridiculous. The very definition of IQ prevents you from being able to improve it by 80 points in a few months of test prep. But MENSA is also mainly just a organization that people join to stroke their own ego.

To be fair, management consulting and i-banking kind of follow the same approach. They'll take an Art History major from the Ivy League over a Business major from Random Public State University every day and twice on Sunday.

And while not quite the same, medicine also operates in a very prestige-driven manner. The prestigious hospitals and specialties (for residencies, fellowships and clinical positions) absolutely care a ton about which med school a doctor attended. And there's a huge pay gap too, between the most prestigious specialties and the least prestigious. The main difference with law is that even the "bottom-basement" med school grad in the least prestigious specialty still makes a ton of money, because it's much easier to forego filing a tort suit against your neighbor than to do without your birth control prescription.


Medicine might be a little similar, but I'm talking about all fields (not just necessarily professional fields). The vast majority of fields do not weigh where you went to school nearly as heavily as the relevant practical skills that you possess. They care more about what you can do, not how prestigious your school was.

But the same could be said of any standardized admissions test. The SAT. The MCAT. The GMAT. The GRE. Now, sure, med schools/colleges/etc. care about more than just GPA and test score. But they still place a whole lotta weight on test score - it's just that instead of GPA and test score adding up to ~99% of admissions outcomes, maybe they add up to two-thirds or three-fifths instead, with "softs" filling in the remaining third/two-fifths . . .

Frankly, standardized tests are more of an equalizer than anything else. They give the poor and the unconnected a chance to earn their way in to the club through merit.


I agree that can be said about any standardized admissions test, which is at least part of the reason why most disciplines don't put as much weight on them as law schools do.

Personally, I'd rather admit the applicant who has been working since he was 16 and has done all sorts of cool entrepreneurial-type things, but only has a good GPA (3.4 +) and an alright LSAT score (160 plus) over the prospective K-JD applicant who's never had a job, hasn't done much of anything productive other than school, but has a near perfect LSAT score and GPA. To me, the first applicant has the better work ethic, and is more likely to be somebody who has the drive to go on and make something big of him or herself over the applicant who has dedicated their whole life to studying for standardized tests.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1652
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby nixy » Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:32 pm

I don’t know, getting a perfect LSAT and GPA means either you’re a savant - so probably worth hiring - or you have a pretty decent work ethic. I agree schools could look more broadly at people’s experiences, but I don’t think that should mean academic success is worthless.

(Not defensive, I did NOT have a perfect LSAT or GPA.)

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 6480
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:18 am

Bingo_Bongo wrote:Personally, I'd rather admit the applicant who has been working since he was 16 and has done all sorts of cool entrepreneurial-type things, but only has a good GPA (3.4 +) and an alright LSAT score (160 plus) over the prospective K-JD applicant who's never had a job, hasn't done much of anything productive other than school, but has a near perfect LSAT score and GPA. To me, the first applicant has the better work ethic, and is more likely to be somebody who has the drive to go on and make something big of him or herself over the applicant who has dedicated their whole life to studying for standardized tests.


How, exactly, does having a middling college GPA and LSAT score indicate a strong work ethic?

Resume points are nice, but they don't always reveal whether the person behind the resume actually has any real competence or intelligence. And I don't really see the connection between entrepreneurship and lawyering; lots of lawyers don't even work in private practice. I know Americans place an inordinate amount of weight on being a "self-starter" or "go-getter" or any other corporate buzzword that stands for profit-generation, but those skills don't necessarily have anything to do with legal practice.

I also think you're seriously downplaying the importance of standardized testing in other fields. Yeah, colleges accept students within a wider SAT band, but it's not like the more competitive schools don't have a floor. And my understanding of med school admissions (having never applied myself) is that the MCAT is extremely important. Medical hiring and legal hiring aren't exactly the same, so it's hard to draw direct comparisons, but "high-tier" med schools are known to have score cut-offs.

Yes, legal hiring is initially driven by how well you can signal your competence with what the profession has deemed to be important (school pedigree, law review, etc.). But unless the entire law school pedagogy is changed to be practice-focused, I don't see how anyone would be able to assess fresh law grads on anything else. Interviews are imperfect, and law students usually don't have enough substantive legal work to show a potential boss.

Ultimately, it just becomes a game of "Consider what I think is important, because these are the things I value most." And if enough people agree with you, the general perception will shift. But let's not pretend there's some objectively great standard for deciding how to admit/hire people.

User avatar
totesTheGoat

Moderator
Posts: 947
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:32 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby totesTheGoat » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:02 pm

Bingo_Bongo wrote:Personally, I'd rather admit the applicant who has been working since he was 16 and has done all sorts of cool entrepreneurial-type things, but only has a good GPA (3.4 +) and an alright LSAT score (160 plus) over the prospective K-JD applicant who's never had a job, hasn't done much of anything productive other than school, but has a near perfect LSAT score and GPA. To me, the first applicant has the better work ethic, and is more likely to be somebody who has the drive to go on and make something big of him or herself over the applicant who has dedicated their whole life to studying for standardized tests.


*nods vigorously*

When I have interviewed OCI, my recommendations almost always favor the 3.2 non-trad/military over the 4.0 K-JD. I distinctly remember that exact dichotomy between successive interviews one year. Top of the class K-JD had no clue why she was interviewing with us, except that she wanted to work less hours than biglaw and her lawyer dad had moved in-house for better quality of life. The hovering around median veteran could've been interviewing me, he had such command of the room.The latter made the short list. The former didn't.

Clearly, most of the industry, including the law schools, doesn't think the same way as me.

User avatar
totesTheGoat

Moderator
Posts: 947
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:32 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby totesTheGoat » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:13 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Yes, legal hiring is initially driven by how well you can signal your competence with what the profession has deemed to be important (school pedigree, law review, etc.). But unless the entire law school pedagogy is changed to be practice-focused, I don't see how anyone would be able to assess fresh law grads on anything else. Interviews are imperfect, and law students usually don't have enough substantive legal work to show a potential boss.


Here's why I think that it doesn't matter as much what your scores are. Assuming a prospective employer (or law school) makes a general cut to separate the wheat from the chaff, most everybody under consideration is going to be competent at the basic legal skills. Sure, there are things to learn and some start off better than others at things like writing and research. However, the most impactful characteristics are the non-legal aspects. Managing a docket in a timely fashion, de-escalating a situation when something goes wrong, social skills that allow you to read between the lines when a partner or client says something, juggling 50 different projects all with the highest priority. The kinds of things that are learned through experience, not through law school, even though they are beneficial in law school. Personally, I think the person hustling a part-time job to put food on the table for their family and getting decent but not amazing grades is more likely to have those non-legal skills than the person who spends 8 hours per day in the library to get that amazing LSAT score/GPA.

Bingo_Bongo

Bronze
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:25 pm

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:43 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
How, exactly, does having a middling college GPA and LSAT score indicate a strong work ethic?

Resume points are nice, but they don't always reveal whether the person behind the resume actually has any real competence or intelligence. And I don't really see the connection between entrepreneurship and lawyering; lots of lawyers don't even work in private practice. I know Americans place an inordinate amount of weight on being a "self-starter" or "go-getter" or any other corporate buzzword that stands for profit-generation, but those skills don't necessarily have anything to do with legal practice.


That's a strawman. I never said having a middling college GPA and LSAT indicate strong work ethic. I said an applicant being employed consistently since high school (especially considering that high school jobs are increasingly rare now) demonstrates a better work ethic than simply revolving life around standardized tests. I said that applicants who have shown loyalty to prior low wage menial jobs (by working there a long time), are probably people who can handle work life pretty well.

There are far too many K-JDs who know of nothing other than school, and it shows when they transition into professional life. They're used to sitting in a desk, getting lectured at by a teacher, going home and reading by themselves, studying, and taking tests. What they're not always so good at is:

1) Checking their egos at the door;
2) Not being lazy;
3) Taking orders; and,
4) Basic social skills;

The list goes on. When I see people that have never had a gap in their employment since high school (and have managed to show loyalty to low wage menial jobs), I know that person knows how to commit to something and knows how to handle work life.

As much as it sucks while it's happening, there are certain benefits you get as an 18-20 year old having some middle aged woman scream at you for something wildly outside the realm of your pay grade, asking to see your manager, that you just can't learn in school (or professional employment, really). I had this wonderful experience pre-law school, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

If you have five years experience at the same company being on your feet for 8-12 hour shifts, getting yelled at idiots constantly, handling all the drama that comes with low wage employment, you're not going to be the newly hired K-JD employee talking about "work/life balance" constantly all the time at work.

Last summer, one of my law clerks was K-JD, never had a real job (I didn't hire him), but had decent grades at a good school. This kid was literally talking TO ME about work/life balance all the time, explaining that he really wanted a job where he made good money and didn't have to work that much. He was constantly complaining TO ME about having to work (albeit "jokingly"). At lunch he told me the exact figure of how much his trust fund was worth (albeit jokingly) after I offered to pay his bill. He was one of the most spoiled and entitled people I've ever met (I still gave him a good letter of recommendation, though).

I still want to believe that had I done the hiring, and picked the kid who was working at McDonalds at 16, we probably would have had a way better clerk. If you can handle the horrors of low wage service industry employment/military/manual labor -- a cushy office job isn't something you're going to complaining about all that much. I've yet to encounter even the worst "screamer" partner that rivals some of the horrible supervisors and managers I had to deal with in the service industry.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1652
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: New LSAT Rules

Postby nixy » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:21 pm

I get the value of work experience, but I feel like this is setting up some kind of false dichotomy. Again, plenty of people with excellent GPAs and test scores have a great work ethic; they get those GPAs and scores by working really fucking hard. Work ethic and work experience aren't the same thing.



Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 21 guests