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LSAT Scoring. How Is the LSAT Scored?

February 13, 2024
5 min read
Contents

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Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 12/20/23

LSAT scoring is a critical aspect that can shape your journey into law school. But what exactly is it, and why should you care about it? Have you ever wondered how those numbers on your LSAT score report can influence your path to becoming a lawyer?

As we explore scoring for the LSAT, we'll aim to make it crystal clear. You don't need to be a math whiz to understand it. We'll go over how it impacts your future, helping you grasp its significance in your legal career journey.

So, whether you're a prospective law school applicant or simply curious about the LSAT, keep reading to learn all about how the LSAT is scored.

How Is the LSAT Scored?

The scoring of the LSAT, including the LSAT-Flex, is a straightforward process. Your LSAT score is primarily determined by the number of questions you answered correctly, known as your "raw score." 

Every question on the test carries the same weight, so there's no distinction between different questions in terms of their impact on your score. Importantly, there are no penalties for incorrect answers, meaning you won't lose points for guessing.

To facilitate score comparisons across different LSAT administrations, your raw score is converted to the LSAT scale. This converted score is the one you'll find on your score report. 

The LSAT scale spans from 120 to 180, with 120 representing the lowest possible score and 180 the highest. This standardized scoring system helps ensure consistency and fairness in evaluating test-takers' performance across various LSAT tests.

Factors Impacting the LSAT Score

Several factors can affect your LSAT score, and it's crucial to keep them in mind as you prepare for the exam. First and foremost, your level of preparation plays a major role. The more effort you put into studying and getting familiar with the test format, the better your chances of scoring well.

Your test-taking skills matter, too. Managing your time effectively, staying focused, and handling test anxiety can make a difference. So, it's a good idea to work on these skills.

LSAT questions come in varying degrees of difficulty, so your performance on both the easy and challenging ones can impact your score. Logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and analytical reasoning (those logic games) all play a part. So, strengthening your skills in these areas is essential.

Getting to know the LSAT format is also important. Practicing under timed conditions and understanding the types of questions you'll encounter can help you adapt to the test's demands. Lastly, don't underestimate the test-taking environment. A quiet, distraction-free place can make a significant difference in your performance.

Remember, your LSAT score is just one piece of the law school application puzzle. While it's important, admissions committees also consider other factors like your GPA, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and more when making their decisions. So, give it your best shot, but if you have a low score—try to keep the bigger picture in mind!

woman writing on paper

Raw Scores vs. Scaled Scores

To understand the LSAT scoring scale, you need to know about raw scores and scaled scores:

  • Raw Scores: Your raw LSAT or LSAT-Flex score is simply the number of questions you answered correctly. Every question is worth the same, and you don't lose points for wrong answers. What counts is how many questions you get right.
  • Scaled Scores: To make it fair and easy to compare scores, your raw score is converted into a scaled score. This scaled score is what you see on your score report. It ranges from 120 (lowest) to 180 (highest). This system helps make LSAT scores consistent and fair for everyone.

Your LSAT Score Report includes your scaled score, results from all your tests (up to 12), your percentile rank (how your score compares to others), and your score band (a range around your score). Just keep in mind that LSAT scores earned before June 2018 aren't considered valid for law school admission. But you can still get a record of them if you want.

How Many Questions Are on the LSAT?

The LSAT is a two-hour and 30-minute long test, and it typically consists of 99–102 multiple-choice questions. 

It's important to note that the LSAT is intentionally designed in a way that the average test-taker may not have enough time to comfortably complete all the questions within the allotted time frame. This design challenges your ability to manage time and prioritize questions effectively during the test.

How Many Questions Can You Answer Incorrectly?

To achieve a score of 170 on the LSAT, you can answer a maximum of 11 questions incorrectly. In other words, you should aim to correctly answer 90 out of the 101 total questions to reach your desired score of 170. 

It's important to note that scoring is based on both the number of questions answered correctly and the difficulty of those questions, so achieving a high score requires not only accuracy but also careful consideration of question difficulty and time management.

How to Improve Your LSAT Score

Improving your LSAT score is a journey that requires dedication and strategy. Here's how you can work on enhancing your performance in a more conversational manner:

  • Know the LSAT Inside Out: Start by getting to know the LSAT format, question types, and how the timing works. Think of it as getting familiar with the rules of the game.
  • Take a Practice Test: To gauge where you stand, take a practice LSAT test. It's like figuring out your starting point in a video game.
  • Plan Your Attack: Create a study plan that's like your game plan. Set a schedule, gather your study materials, and decide what you want to achieve.
  • Get the Right Tools: Invest in quality LSAT study materials. These could be official LSAT prep books, online courses, or study guides. They're your trusty tools for this quest.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Consistency is key. Practice LSAT questions, sections, and full-length tests regularly. It's like leveling up your character.
  • Learn from Your Mistakes: After practice, review your answers carefully. Think of it as studying your game replays to understand where you went wrong and where you excelled.
  • Focus on Weak Spots: Identify areas where you struggle the most, whether it's logical reasoning, reading comprehension, or something else. These are like the challenges you need to overcome.
  • Mind the Clock: LSAT is a timed game. Practice answering questions within the time limits, just like racing against the clock in a video game.
  • Simulate the Real Deal: Take full-length practice tests under test-like conditions. It's like a dress rehearsal before the main event.
  • Get Expert Advice: Consider getting help from an LSAT prep course or a tutor who's like your in-game guide, providing you with personalized tips.
  • Use Official LSAT Prep Tests: The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) offers official LSAT prep tests. These are like the official game levels that give you a true feel for the exam.
  • Stay in Good Shape: Don't forget to take care of yourself physically and mentally. Get enough sleep, eat well, and use relaxation techniques to manage stress.
  • Stay Positive: Keep a positive mindset and believe in your ability to improve, just like believing in your character's abilities in a game.
  • Take Breathers: Avoid burnout by taking short breaks during study sessions. Frequent, focused practice is better than long, exhausting sessions.
  • Keep Practicing Test Day: Practice taking full-length tests under conditions similar to the real LSAT test day. It's like practicing the final boss fight multiple times.
  • Track Your Progress: Regularly check your progress by taking practice tests and noting score improvements. Think of it as earning experience points and leveling up in the game.
student studying together


Remember, improving your LSAT score is a journey. Stay patient, stay positive, and keep pushing forward. With dedication and the right strategies, you can level up your LSAT skills and increase your chances of getting into your dream law school.

FAQs

In the following LSAT scoring FAQ section, we'll demystify how LSAT scores are calculated and shed light on their significance in the law school admissions process.

1. Are There Score Validity Periods for LSAT Results When Applying to Law Schools?

Absolutely, LSAT scores have an expiration date. Each LSAT score and LSAT Writing sample is valid for only five years. So, when you're gearing up for law school applications, make sure your LSAT score falls within this five-year window from your intended start year in the JD program.

2. What Is the Average LSAT Score for Law School Applicants?

The average LSAT score for law school applicants typically hovers around 151-152. Keep in mind that this can vary a bit depending on the specific law school you're eyeing.

3. How Often Is the LSAT Administered, and How Soon Are Scores Released?

LSAT offers some flexibility in terms of test dates. You can usually find LSAT administrations in November, January, February, April, and June. And as for score release, you can expect to see your results roughly two to three weeks after you've taken the test. It's a good idea to plan your application timeline around these score release dates to stay on top of those law school deadlines.

Final Thoughts

Overall, scoring for the LSAT plays a significant role in your path to law school. Understanding how it works and how the LSAT scored, is essential.

But remember, it's not the only factor in your law school application. Admissions committees look at the bigger picture, so give it your best shot while keeping your overall application in mind.

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