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GRE vs LSAT: Comparison & Conversion Guide
Can't decide which exam to take? Our GRE to LSAT conversion guide will help you determine which test is right for you
When considering going to law school, there are many entrance requirements to consider. Beyond compiling transcripts from undergraduate universities you attended, you also need to consider the type of entrance exam you will need to take. This often leads to a debate of the GRE vs LSAT. In this article, we cover which test is considered easier, how the two compare against each other, and which exam you should ultimately take.
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Deciding between the GRE and LSAT depends heavily on your preferred graduate school’s requirements, but it’s also essential to know the difference between these two tests in order to make an informed decision. And one question that routinely pops up is whether the GRE is easier than the LSAT. Who wouldn’t want to take the easier exam?
So, is the LSAT harder than the GRE? Well, unfortunately, it depends. Let’s explore the similarities and differences before making that determination.
GRE vs LSAT: Similarities Between the Tests
If you’re wondering how the GRE and LSAT compare, you’re not alone. The two exams pose many similarities. For example, when comparing the GRE vs LSAT, you’ll notice that both of these tests include a reading comprehension component.
The LSAT also includes logical reasoning questions within the reading comprehension component, while these types of questions are separated into a whole other section on the GRE.
Another comparison of the GRE and LSAT reveals that both graduate entrance exams include a writing portion, where participants are required to write an essay. You’ll also notice that both of these tests are designed to test your vocabulary.
The verbal section of the GRE focuses heavily on vocabulary and resembles many of the questions that are found within the reading comprehension portion of the LSAT that also focuses on logical reasoning.
While similarities do exist when comparing the GRE vs LSAT, there are many more differences. Although both tests require an essay writing requirement, the GRE poses two different types of essays which include an issue and argumentative essay.
The LSAT only requires one essay, and unlike the GRE, it is not scored. Instead, this essay is sent to prospective law schools for use during their admission process.
For those who might struggle with math concepts, the LSAT may be the preferred option. The GRE features an entire section of questions on math concepts whereas the LSAT does not cover math at all. The GRE is also much more of a personalized test.
This means that based on how you answer questions at the beginning of the exam, the difficulty of the test questions may increase toward the end of the exam.
So, if you are proficient in math concepts and score well on the first section, the second section of the math portion increases in difficulty. The LSAT, though, is more of a static graduate entrance exam, and the questions do not change based on your previous answers.
Individuals who consider both the pros and cons of the GRE vs LSAT have discovered that the LSAT features more logic games and questions that are not found on traditional standardized tests, such as the GRE. The logic games test the participant’s ability to respond to hypothetical situations, create rules and apply logic, similar to solving a puzzle.
When comparing the GRE vs LSAT in a practical manner, one primary difference is scheduling. Individuals seeking graduate admissions can take the GRE virtually any time of the year at approved testing sites. The LSAT, though, is only offered a handful of times each year.
With the LSAT, you are somewhat limited in the number of times you can take the test to improve your score, as you can only take the exam three times in one year. The GRE, however, allows individuals to take the test five times per year and no more than 21 days after the last exam was taken.
How scoring is reported is also different. You can choose to only report your best GRE scores to universities and colleges when seeking graduate admissions, but all LSAT scores are automatically reported to the schools you’ve indicated that you are applying for admission.
When you finish taking the GRE, you are prompted with the option to see your score and then forward it to potential schools to be considered with your graduate application materials.
One of the most prominent differences noticed when comparing the GRE vs LSAT is the purpose of the graduate entrance exams. In general, most students seeking entrance into a law school opt to take the LSAT because it was designed to determine readiness for law school and a legal career.
Because the test focuses heavily on analytical reasoning and logical reasoning, it’s a strong indicator of an individual’s ability to practice law.
The GRE is more focused on intellectual skills, which can be used for a variety of majors or career paths. Simply put, although the difficulty is not the same, the GRE’s purpose is often compared to the ACT or the SAT, which is used for undergraduate admissions.
When determining between the GRE vs LSAT, it’s important to first uncover which test your prospective graduate schools prefer or require. A common myth is that all law schools require the LSAT for admissions, but in recent years, many schools, such as Georgetown Law and Harvard Law School have accepted the GRE.
This change is often attributed to the availability of conversion charts that allow law schools to convert a GRE score to the equivalent LSAT score.
GRE to LSAT Conversion
The acceptance of the GRE by many schools is a result of the availability of GRE to LSAT conversion matrices and a tool they can use to convert your GRE Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores into a predicted LSAT score. When using the tool, you input your GRE Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative scores.
From there, the tool calculates your predicted LSAT total score. The conversion tool is helpful, but it isn’t perfect. The LSAT potential score range comes with a +/- 5-point margin of error.
If you are unsure about your career path, it’s often more advantageous to take the GRE because it applies to some law programs and majority of other disciplines. You may also want to consider your intellectual strengths.
If you struggle with math concepts, the LSAT may be a better fit since it excludes math from the test and only includes a small portion of vocabulary. If you have difficulty taking tests in general, the GRE may be the preferred option because you generally have fewer restrictions with how many times you can take the exam.
Ultimately determining between the GRE vs LSAT is a personal decision and one that should be made once you have fully understood the advantages and disadvantages of the GRE vs LSAT. It’s your choice and your future. Choose what is best for you.
Is the LSAT harder than the GRE?
It depends based on your personal strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you’re the type of student who tends to struggle with math concepts, you may actually find the LSAT easier than the GRE.
Should you take the GRE or LSAT?
The answer largely depends on what type of graduate program you’re most interested in. If you want to keep you options open, the GRE is often the right choice. However, if law school is your answer, the answer is much harder.