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How Is The LSAT Scored?

We cover everything you need to know about how the LSAT is scored in this detailed guide

As you begin your journey towards becoming a lawyer, you are probably studying hard in preparation for the LSAT.  And before taking this important exam, you are probably wondering how the LSAT is scored. This article serves to answer any questions that you may have regarding the scoring of the LSAT.

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What is the LSAT Out Of?

The LSAT is scored on a scale of 120-180. The average score is about 150, but if you are looking to get into one of the top 25 law schools, your score should be well over 160. Each LSAT typically contains 100 or 101 questions. The LSAT score is based on the total number of questions a test taker correctly answers, which is also known as the “raw score,” ranging from 0-101.

How is the LSAT Score Calculated?

Once the raw score is calculated, a score conversion chart is used for each LSAT to convert the raw score into a “scaled LSAT score,” ranging from 120-180 (120 being the lowest possible score and 180 the highest). This is like converting a number grade into a letter grade, except it is translating from one number into a more meaningful number. For example, a raw score of 99 out of 101 would be a 180 scaled LSAT score. Here is a model of an LSAT scoring chart:

LSAT Score Conversion

You also want to know how good your scaled score is, and for that you want a “percentiles chart.” The percentile chart will tell you how many people score at or below that score. So, for example, if you scored in the 99th percentile (172), that means 99% of other test-takers scored at or below that level. The percentiles chart is not just for the single administration that you take, but rather is an average over several years.

There are 61 different possible score outcomes for the LSAT within the 120-180 range. Each score places a student in a particular relative position compared to other test takers. These relative positions are represented through a percentile that correlates to each score. The percentile indicates where the test-taker falls in the overall group of test-takers. For example, a score of 160 represents the 80.1 percentile, meaning a student with a score of 160 scored better than 80.1 percent of the people who have taken the test in June 2014- Feb 2017. The percentile is crucial since it is an accurate indicator of your positioning compared to other test-takers and law school applicants.

lsat scoring chart

The average LSAT score is around 151. Because the range of scores is so small, minor improvements in your test performance can greatly increase your score and percentile ranking. One point more in your LSAT score pushes your percentile significantly.

While examining your raw score, remember that law schools are looking at your scaled score. So, be sure to check and use your converted scale score, referring to that instead of your raw score when applying. Most law schools will release the average scaled scores of their incoming students. While you might range within the average percentile, to stand out, you have to distance yourself from that average scaled score and percentile because law school is exceptionally competitive.

If you remain among the average, that means you are competing with a majority of students with the same scores. Reaching above that average scaled score and percentile will strengthen your chances of being accepted into your desired school. Each law school requires a specific average range, some being more competitive than others, and with that, those same schools are ranked the best. So, be sure to take your time researching which schools you would like to apply for as well as their requirements and score standards. You want to be sure to rank within or above your desired school’s expectations for the LSAT.

How Many Questions Can You Get Wrong to Score 170?

If your goal is to reach a score of 170 on the LSAT, the maximum number of questions you can answer incorrectly is 11. Correctly answering 90 out of the 101 total questions should give you your desired score of 170. If you are aiming for a higher score, keep in mind that even one more correct answer can place you far ahead of other examinees.

Guessing on the LSAT

There is no penalty for providing incorrect answers on the LSAT, so if you find yourself short on time or simply aren’t entirely certain about an answer, don’t hesitate to give it your best guess. Avoid impulse or random guessing. Instead, eliminate unlikely answer choices first. Reducing your number of choices increases the odds that your guess will be correct. Once your choices are narrowed, make your best educated guess. Sometimes you might just get a feeling about one of your remaining answers. It is perfectly ok to “go with your gut”. In any case, guessing is far better than leaving a question unanswered.

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