Students often wonder whether they can score high on the LSAT with no preparation – the answer is most likely not
If you’re considering going to law school, you’ve probably heard a story from a classmate, colleague or friend of a friend who heard that “their cousin’s boyfriend” scored 175 on the LSAT with zero preparation. While that could be true, chances are the story you heard is pure urban legend. In this article, we cover what you can expect to score without studying and what sort of score bump you can expect if you do decide to hit the books.
The reality is that the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is extremely difficult. It’s designed to predict how well the brightest students across the world will fare in law school. In other words, just because you have a 4.0 grade point average from a top tier university doesn’t mean you’re a lock to score high on the test.
To be clear, there are dozens of verified examples of individuals over the past decade who have scored above 165 without studying, but those are few and far between. The statistics show that the vast majority of students who sit for the exam with no preparation do not score well enough to get into top schools.
What You’ll Likely Score Without Studying
Before we address these scores, allow us to provide some context. The LSAT is scored on a 120-180 scale. The test consists of four multiple-choice sections that test logical reasoning, analytical reasoning and reading comprehension (three scored, one unscored). There’s also a writing sample included in the exam which is not scored.
From our independent research, we’ve found that students who take the LSAT without studying achieve scores between 145 and 153.
Scoring for the LSAT is scaled. This essentially means the number of questions you answered correctly will be compared to the other students who took the exam at the same time. Therefore, your score indicates how you stack up against other test takers.
What Is A 50th Percentile Score?
According to Kaplan, the average score on the LSAT is 151. That means if you score 152, you answered more questions correctly than 50% of the students who took the test.
Now that you have some background regarding the LSAT, you might be thinking that a score between 145-153 is actually pretty good. To be fair, a score in that range actually isn’t bad, but if you are looking to get into a top-ranked law school, you’ll need something better.
The Score Bump You Can Expect By Studying
With the score range being relatively small, any enhancements you make to your performance by studying can make a big difference in your overall score, which in turn will bump up your percentile ranking. Sometimes, a five-point increase in your percentile ranking can by achieved with a one-point score increase.
On average, with studying beforehand, it is likely that you can expect a LSAT score that is 10, 15, or possibly even upwards of 20 points higher than the scores of those who chose to take the test without study preparation.
Of course, there are exceptions. There are those who exceed the 10-, 15- or 20-point score increase, and those who realize lower than a 10-point increase. Student environments, backgrounds, study habits and overall problem solving skills all come into play in determining the score increases that can be achieved with a LSAT study regimen.
The Different Prep Options
With the knowledge that you can expect a noticeable increase in your LSAT score by studying, you’ll be happy to know that there are a multitude of study options available to assist you in your test prep journey.
First and foremost are LSAT test prep courses offered by the likes of Kaplan, Princeton Review and Blueprint. There are a multitude of course choices available to you. You can opt for in-person, classroom courses, online class instruction, webinars, or self-paced classes.
Some have mobile apps, and all options come with extensive online resources. With the many different test prep courses available, you are certain to find one that is fine-tuned to your specific needs.
If taking a prep course isn’t up your alley, be assured that there are many LSAT test prep books and manuals, both hard copy and online. Depending on your particular needs and study habits, test prep books may not be as effective as taking a test prep course, but the books and manuals can be great assets for your study routine.
What can students expect to score on the LSAT without studying?
Based on our independent research, students who sit for the LSAT without studying typically score between 145-153. However, that is the average and does not mean you can not score higher than that.
Should you study for the LSAT?
Without a doubt, you should study for the LSAT. Even modest preparation can boost your score by 5 points or more.