The Law School Admission Test (LSAT®) is a critical part of the admissions process to law school. Interpreting LSAT® scores includes understanding what the test measures and how scores fit into the overall law school admissions process. Knowledge of the typical score ranges of those admitted to an applicant’s preferred law school is also essential to interpreting LSAT® scores.
There are five sections to the test. Each section is 35 minutes in length, and only four sections counting towards the score. Questions are meant to test reading comprehension skills, analytical skills, and logical reasoning ability. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) simply uses this section to examine potential new test questions.
Scores received on the LSAT® provide potential law schools with evidence of a candidate’s ability to be successful in law school. Scoring well is necessary to demonstrate the ability to handle the difficulties and complexity surrounding the study of law. Test scores reflect a person’s ability to comprehend difficult text and evaluate both sides of an argument through the use of critical thinking.
Test results will provide what is considered a scaled score. The score range of the scale is between 120 and 180 points. An average scaled score on the LSAT® is typically 151, and the majority of test takers score between 145 and 159. Scores above 160 place a test taker among the best.
When interpreting an LSAT® score, the percentile score is also taken into account. The scaled score provides a candidate with information related to the percentage of test takers she scored better than. For instance, a percentile score listed as the 90th percentile means that the test taker scored better than 90 percent of those who took the exam.
Taking a look at the score band can help a test taker make a decision on retaking the test. The score band represents a range of scores that an individual is likely to achieve when retaking the exam, according to statistical measures. Score bands include scores between three points less and three points more than the scaled scored.
Test takers can use their individual LSAT® scores to compare how they rank amongst their peers. Law schools provide information related to average LSAT® scores of those who they admit to law school. For instance, those who are accepted at Harvard tend to have high LSAT® scores ranging from 170-176, which puts them in an elite group of test takers.