Thursday, February 28, 2019

How to compare the GRE and the LSAT?

With more than three dozen law schools now accepting the GRE for admissions purposes, this question is no doubt on the agenda at many schools across the nation.   Nearly four times as many students take the GRE each year as take the LSAT.   Are these two pools of students comparable in terms of academic achievements and intellectual ability?   I would guess the GRE group is, on average, stronger.  Remember the pool of GRE-takers includes those aspiring to PhDs in philosophy, economics, physics, chemistry, electrical engineering, linguistics, and mathematics.  The GRE includes both verbal and quantitative sections; one suspects that the average LSAT-taker is not going to do as well on the latter as the average student aspiring for a PhD in any STEM field.  From what little I know, I would guess the GRE verbal section is the better predictor of law school performance than the quantitative section, and that a 98th percentile GRE verbal score is better than a 98th percentile LSAT score.

But I may be completely wrong!

As it happens, the Educational Testing Service has offered a conversion tool here.   The tool seems to confirm that ETS views the GRE as a bit harder than the LSAT (and it clearly gives more weight to the verbal score than the quantitative, although that matters too).   I'd be glad to hear from readers with more knowledge about these questions; please e-mail me, and I'll do a follow-up post in a week or two depending on what I learn.

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