LSAT ditches paper
Starting in September 2019, students taking the Law School Admission Test will no longer take the exam with pencil and paper but will instead take it digitally.
Jeff Thomas, executive director at Kaplan Test Prep, said this is the Law School Admission Council’s biggest change in the test’s 70-year history.
June 2019 will be the last month students will be able to take the LSAT with pencil and paper, and by September 2019, the entire test will be digitized. July 2019 will be a transition time, with half of the students taking the test digitally and the other half taking it on paper. Test takers will not know beforehand which version they will receive, which will give the LSAC a randomized sample.
According to Thomas, this transition period will ensure students are performing as well on the digital version as on the paper version. Because test takers will not know in advance which version they will receive, they will have the option to either keep or discard their scores. Thomas said July 2019 will be the only month students will have this option.
However, Thomas said Kaplan Test Prep is strongly encouraging students to take the LSAT no later than the end of June 2019, if at all possible. This way, they can prepare with familiar tools.
Kaplan Test Prep recommends students spend a total of at least 150 to 300 hours preparing for the LSAT, which is about 20 to 25 hours a week over a two to three-month period.
According to Thomas, the LSAT is the last of the graduate school tests to become computerized.
“A digital test environment allows scoring to be done much quicker,” Thomas said. “It won’t be instantaneous, but it will certainly be much quicker.”
Additionally, the test will be offered nine times during the 2019-2020 testing year. This is an expansion from the six times a year it has been offered in the past. Thomas hopes this will offer students more flexibility.
According to LSAC’s website, the LSAT consists of five sections of multiple-choice questions, and students have 35 minutes to complete each section. There is also an essay, which is allotted another 35 minutes. Thomas said having a digital exam will allow for more consistency with these time limits.
“Imagine that there is one proctor who is at the front of the room looking at their watch or the clock on the wall, and he gives 34 and a half minutes, or 36 minutes,” Thomas said. “That can greatly impact a student’s performance on the other end. We need the testing experience to be common across the country.”
More information about the LSAT can be found at https://www.lsac.org/lsat/taking-lsat.