GRE vs LSAT: Which exam is best for you?

If you are considering which you should write between GRE vs LSAT, we’d advise you write GRE instead of LSAT. I’ll tell you why.

University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law began the movement to stop accepting LSAT over GRE for grad and law schools in 2016. And since after the announcement that it will no longer require LSAT results but accept GRE scores in 2016, 67 other US law schools have followed suit.

Despite the fact that both the GRE and the LSAT are rigorous and highly advanced exams, both can help you make a strong law school or business school application. However, truth remains that the GRE looks to be more flexible than the LSAT.

GRE allows you to apply to any school; business school and law school alike. But LSAT only allows for applying to law schools only. So, in this guide, We’ll give you a quick rundown of the LSAT and GRE, as well as some of their significant advantages and disadvantages. We’ll then provide you some pointers on how to choose which test to take.

Let’s get started!

What is LSAT?

The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is a test that assesses the key skills that students must possess in order to obtain a law degree. It is divided into six portions, each of which lasts 35 minutes. These are the sections:

  • Continuos writing
  • Reading Comprehension
  • 2 Logical Reasoning Sections
  • Extra Variable Section
  • Analytical Reasoning or Logic Games

Analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, and the two logical reasoning parts are the only ones that count toward your score. The writing sample is not graded, and the extra part is not scored; it is utilized by the test writers to assess content for future tests.

You won’t know which of the sections you completed is the unscored one because the extra portion won’t be included in the scoring information provided to law schools. All multiple-choice questions should be approached as if they are important.

The writing sample is also ungraded. It can, however, be read by law schools and may have an impact on admissions decisions. It’s debatable how much it influences that decision, but it’s worth doing your best nonetheless.

You’ll receive a score ranging from 120 to 180 if you complete all four sections. If you receive a score of less than 150 on the LSAT, you’ll almost certainly have to retake it in order to be admitted into law school. The range of 150-160 is considered average. 160-170 is considered above the ordinary. A score of 170 or higher is regarded as outstanding.

What is in LSAT for me?

The following are some of the most significant benefits of taking the LSAT:

A high score improves your chances of being admitted.

Scores on the LSAT can account for up to 50% of an admissions decision. In other words, if you have a good LSAT score, you’ll be able to get into law school, even if it’s not your first choice. If your GPA isn’t very spectacular, or if you’re not happy with any other component of your application, a solid LSAT score can compensate.

The LSAT is accepted by all law schools.

All law schools accept the LSAT, which is unsurprising. If you’re simply applying to law schools, it may be more beneficial to devote your effort to studying for this exam. As previously said, the results are more important than those of other entrance tests.

With these results, you’ll be able to apply to any law school you desire, not only those that take the GRE.

Retakes are available indefinitely.

The LSAT does not have any restrictions on how many times you can take the test. If you want to, you can sign up for every available exam date for the entire year. You probably don’t want to, but knowing you have that option is comforting.

Are there reasons why I shouldn’t consider writing LSAT?


The following are the LSAT’s biggest disadvantages:

There will be fewer chances to take the exam.

The LSAT is only available on certain days throughout the year, whereas the GRE is available all year. Even if you have the option to retake it, you can only do so the next time it is presented. If the next available day falls after your application deadline, you’re stuck with your current results.

You can work around this with appropriate planning. Create a timetable that allows you to take the test at least once more if your first try does not go as well as you had hoped.

It’s difficult to get over a Poor LSAT Score

The fact that the LSAT accounts for so much of the decision means that a poor LSAT score will almost certainly prevent you from being accepted. Even if the rest of your application is outstanding, most admissions authorities will be unable to ignore a poor LSAT score.

Even if you retake the test and improve your score, law schools will look at all of your results, good and poor. Of all, a higher score on your third attempt is preferable to not attempting at all. You might not make the cut if it comes down to you and another candidate who achieved your greatest score on their first try. The GRE does not carry the same risk.

It’s Tough to Study

Preparing for this examination is more difficult than preparing for other entrance exams, especially without assistance. While you can earn an excellent GRE score with mostly self-guided study, getting a 165+ on the LSAT will almost certainly require some formal tutoring or prep training.

This is due to the fact that there aren’t many shortcuts or methods available on test day. All you have to do now is practice, practice, practice until the patterns of the various question kinds become second nature to you.

It’s difficult to get a perfect score.

Of course, a perfect 180 isn’t required. But, surely, the closer you can get, the better. It’s nearly impossible on the LSAT. The nature of the test questions makes it impossible to get 100 percent of the answers correct.

You can’t just memorize formulas for math or acquire a lot of Latin and Greek roots for vocabulary tests. Although there are tactics that can help you perform well on the LSAT, only roughly 0.1 percent of test takers achieve a perfect score of 180.

Extensive studying, frequent practice tests in identical situations, and a logical approach to your study sessions will be required to reach the “outstanding” score region.

What is GRE?

The GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, is an exam that covers a wider range of skills than the LSAT. Verbal reasoning, numeric reasoning, and analytical writing skills will all be examined. This comprehensive exam is designed to assess your capacity to succeed in a number of programs, the most prevalent of which are MBA or other advanced business degrees.

There are three portions to the test, each having 2-4 subsections. The entire test will take approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. The portions of the exam are as follows:

Verbal Reasoning (1 hour)
Reading Comprehension
Completion of Text
Equivalence of Sentences
Reasoning in Numbers (1 hour, 10 minutes)
Data Examination
Analytical Writing (1 hour)
Analyze a Problem-Solving Task
Analyze an Argument Writing Assignment

In either verbal or quantitative reasoning, there is one unlabeled, unscored part.

Each of the three sections will receive a score. On a scale of 130-170, the verbal and quantitative parts are graded. On a scale of 0 to 6, the writing section is graded. If you get a score of less than 150 on the verbal or quantitative reasoning sections or a 3.5 on the writing section, you should retake the test.

Average scores range from 150 to 160. Scores of 160-165 are considered above average. A score of 165 or higher is considered outstanding. A 3.5-4 is considered average in writing. A score of 4-5 is considered above average. A score of 5 or higher is remarkable.

Some scores are more important than others depending on the program you’re applying for. For example, in STEM disciplines, your quantitative score is significantly more crucial and will almost certainly need to be at an excellent level. Your verbal and writing scores, on the other hand, maybe mediocre. In the humanities, however, the opposite is true.

The verbal reasoning and writing scores will be more essential for law schools that accept the GRE, but all results will be examined.

Never fail your GRE quantitative test again. See How To Pass Gre Quantitative Reasoning

What are the benefits of writing the GRE?

Here are some of the key advantages of taking the GRE:

Accepted by a Broader Range of Programs

If you aren’t sure about law school yet, or if you’re interested in dual-degree programs and career pathways that don’t include being a lawyer, the GRE may be a better choice. With the exception of medicine, it is a more adaptable test that will allow you to apply to almost any school.

Shows Only Your Best Scores

The GRE allows you to check your scores immediately following the exam. Your verbal and quantitative scores will be shown. The writing component takes a few weeks because it must be graded by a human.

After reviewing your scores, you can determine if you’re satisfied with them before sending them to the colleges you’re applying to. So, if you wish to retake it, you can choose to send only the highest results to institutions. They don’t need to know about your failed attempts or how many times you attempted the exam. This is not an option on the LSAT.

Year-round availability

You can book your exam for a time and date that is convenient for you. You do not have to make plans around the restricted days available, as you would with the LSAT. The GRE is available all year and at a greater number of testing centers.

It’s Easier to Achieve Your Goal Score

While the LSAT is tough to study for without outside assistance, you can most likely get your goal GRE score with only a self-guided study program. It may take a long time and a lot of work depending on how distant your base score is from your aim, but the procedure is considerably simpler.

Confused on which to write between SAT and ACT? Read this: Is The ACT Easier Than SAT? Best Decision To Make

What’s Wrong with the GRE?

The following are the key disadvantages of taking the GRE instead of the LSAT:

All Law Schools Do Not Accept

Every year, more law schools elect to accept the GRE, but the list of schools that accept the GRE remains rather narrow. Examine the law schools on your shortlist. They will normally have certain guidelines for what scores they will and will not accept.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the internet, contact the admissions office. If only a subset of the law schools on your list accepts the GRE, you must decide which are your top priorities and how important it is for you to forgo the LSAT.

Not as powerful in influencing admissions decisions

Even if you earn near-perfect GRE scores, most law school admissions officers will not respect them as highly as an above-average LSAT score. That is not to say it is worthless. It just means that the rest of your application must be strong as well.

However, if you are confident in the rest of your application and don’t want the danger of a poor LSAT score jeopardizing it, the GRE is an excellent alternative.

Retake Opportunities are Limited

If you are dissatisfied with your results, you must wait 21 days before scheduling a retake. In addition, you are limited to five attempts per year. That should be more than enough to get you the desired score. However, having that cap adds further stress to the already arduous process of applying to law school.

See How to check your SAT Scores in 2022 | Step by Step Guide

Is it possible to take the GRE instead of the LSAT?

Yes, in some situations. The GRE is increasingly being accepted as an alternative to the LSAT by law schools. It is, however, far from the majority. As a result, the answer to this question is very dependent on where you are applying and what your plans are.

In this section, we’ll go over some of the specific circumstances where you absolutely must take the LSAT and cases where you absolutely must take the GRE.

When Should You Take the LSAT?

Here are some examples of scenarios where taking the LSAT makes more sense and is most profitable:

When you’ve Already Tried the LSAT

If you’ve already taken the LSAT, your results will be shared to the law schools to which you apply. This is beyond your control. Even if you later decide that you’d rather take the GRE and use that score, the law school will still look at your LSAT scores.

So, if you’ve already taken it, it might be best to just stick with it. If you’re not satisfied with your results, study and retake the exam. It would be more beneficial to devote your attention to improving your existing LSAT score rather than obtaining a high GRE score.

When you are applying to top choice schools.

This is a self-evident reason. If your first-choice school only accepts the LSAT, you must take it. While other institutions on your list may accept the GRE, you should always tailor your application to the requirements of your top pick. There is not a single law school that will not accept the LSAT.

When you are applying to only law schools

You might as well take the LSAT if you’re only applying to law schools. Admissions officers are more familiar with that exam and have a better understanding of how those scores reflect your chances of success in law school. Even for law schools that have opted to accept it, the GRE is still uncharted territory.

When Should You Take the GRE?

Here are some of the most common reasons why you would choose the GRE over the LSAT:

When you are undecided about what you want to do.

If you are undecided about law school and wish to apply to several programs, the GRE will be more widely applicable. You’ll be able to utilize it to apply to more programs. It will, however, limit the number of law schools to which you can apply.

If you don’t want to limit yourself to law schools, this is the safer alternative. If you desire to take the LSAT later on, you can do so. You can take the GRE right now if you’re still undecided. Then, if your favorite pick demands it, take the LSAT later.

When you’re Not Sure You’ll Do Well on the LSAT

We don’t just mean that you’re tense. We mean you’re certain you won’t be able to raise your LSAT score to the required level in time. If you took a practice test and had a dismal result, and you felt completely lost for the majority of the exam, it’s possible that studying will assist. If you don’t want to take the risk, take the GRE.

As previously stated, once you take the LSAT, your results will be shared with the law schools to which you apply. Take the GRE instead if you’re not convinced you’ll achieve a reasonable score or if you’d prefer not risk having to retake the test numerous times to get a solid score.

When you have less than three months to complete your studies.

The suggested amount of time to prepare for the LSAT is 150-300 hours. To avoid burnout, it is also advised that you do not study for more than 15 hours per week. This isn’t a test that you can “cram” for in the traditional sense. It takes time for the techniques to sink in. That means you should spread your studies out across a period of 3-6 months.

The lower your practice scores, the more months you’ll need to study.

Meanwhile, the suggested amount of time to prepare for the GRE is 40-120 hours. Cramming is possible for this exam because mastering mathematical formulas and word definitions will help you get a high grade. As a result, you should be able to properly prepare for this exam in 1-3 months.

Choose the GRE if you don’t have at least three months to prepare for an exam. You can accomplish far more in much less time.

Final Thoughts

The choice is solely yours. Choosing between the LSAT and the GRE is a very personal decision that is based on your future aspirations and where your specific skills lie. If you’re still undecided, taking a full-length practice test for both examinations will give you a clearer idea of which option is right for you.

We do really hope this helps you find what you are looking for and helps you make the best decision available.

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