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3 Things to Consider Before Using the GRE for Your Law School Application

Published December 11, 2018

1. All valid LSAT scores must be reported
2. It might not be in your best interest to take the GRE if you intend to cast a wide net
3. Discover which test is a match for your skills

More than thirty law schools are now accepting the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), in addition to the traditional Law School Admission Test (LSAT), for admission to their JD programs.

The LSAT has long been a necessary evil for law school applicants, so why the recent change in practice? While the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), who owns, writes and administers the LSAT, is addressing access issues by increasing LSAT administrations from four to at least six per year, the GRE is offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) almost daily and widely accepted by graduate programs. In an effort to improve accessibility and expand applicant pools, law schools are accepting the GRE in hopes of reaching prospective graduate school applicants who may not have previously considered law school.

What does this mean for future law school applicants? Before you celebrate the death of the dreaded LSAT, consider the following:

1. All valid LSAT scores must be reported

LSAC remains the gateway to the law school admission process. Even if you opt to take the GRE instead of the LSAT, you must create an Account and apply for law school admission using LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS).

If you have a reportable LSAT score from within the past five years, it will be reported as part of your CAS Report to all law schools to which you apply. It is not possible to opt out of submitting valid LSAT scores. If you already have a valid LSAT score, it does not make much sense to prepare for the GRE.

Note: Some law schools accepting the GRE will review both your GRE and LSAT scores (if you have taken both) so be sure to research each school’s standardized test policies.

2. It might not be in your best interest to take the GRE if you intend to cast a wide net

The LSAT is the only standardized test accepted by ALL law schools. As of November 2018, only 15% of ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S. were accepting GRE scores. Therefore, applicants interested in applying to a wide-range of law schools should strongly consider taking the LSAT.

3. Discover which test is a match for your skills

If you have your heart set on attending one law school that accepts the GRE in lieu of the LSAT then determine which test is a better fit for you. If you struggle with logic games, but are confident in your quantitative reasoning skills, the GRE might be your best bet. Law schools accepting the GRE percentiles at or above their projected median LSAT percentile. For example, an LSAT score of 157 typically falls around the 70th percentile. A law school with a 157 median LSAT will most likely look for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores that fall at or above the 70th percentile.

Note: Law schools will have their own way of interpreting GRE scores. Though not a perfect comparison, most schools accepting the GRE will consider percentiles. Be sure to review each school’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If the FAQs fail to address your concerns, send an email or call the respective admission office(s).

As if taking a standardized test wasn’t stressful enough, now some prospective law school applicants have the added stress of choosing the best test for them. Regardless of your choice, make sure you take the time to research and prepare!

Discover the University at Buffalo School of Law’s GRE FAQs and LSAT Prep events.

Photo of Lindsay Gladney, Vice Dean for Admissions.

Guest blogger Lindsay Gladney is the Vice Dean for Admissions at UB School of Law.


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