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Understanding LSAT Scoring

The Law School Admissions Test, or the “LSAT”, typically contains 100 or 101 questions. An LSAT score is based on the total number of answers that are correct; this is known as the raw score. The raw score is converted using the LSAT Score Conversion Chart, which produces a scaled LSAT score. The LSAT utilizes a 120 to 180 scoring scale, 120 is the lowest possible score and 180, the highest possible score which can be achieved.

The 120 to 180 test scale contains 61 different possible scores. But what do the scores actually represent? The LSAT score is intended to compare the score of a person taking the test to the scores of all other test writers who have taken the test in the last three years, not just to the cohort of students taking the test at any one time. For example, a score of 165 represents the 91.5th percentile, or better than 91.5 percent of the people who have written the test over the last three years.

One of the unique factors of the LSAT is that there is no precise way to completely predetermine the logical difficulty of each individual test. As a result, there is a need to account for variances in the challenge from test to test. This is achieved by adjusting the Scoring Conversion Chart for each LSAT test in order to ensure that LSAT scores from different versions of the test measure the same thing.

An example of this would be, if two LSAT tests are given in the same year, one may be logically more difficult than the other. The adjustments to the scale would allow for a 160 on both tests to represent the same level of performance. This scale adjustment is known as equating.  Law school admissions offices see this as extremely important, in order to rank the quality of the candidates applying.

Everyone who writes the LSAT aims to achieve one goal, to score well, and to do that you have to answer the questions correctly. However, if you understand how the LSAT conversion charts work, and how they differ from test to test, it helps you assess your score, especially in the critical week after the test period, where you have a window to cancel your result. In addition, having some understanding of the LSAT percentile table will allow you to more accurately assess your position in the law school applicant pool, and your true position in the overall LSAT pool.

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