LSAT: Legitimate?

[Our law school admissions consultant David Yi is going to be contributing to the Ivey Files, starting with this post. Please welcome him to the blog! ~ Anna]

Why should the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) matter so much?

The obvious answer is: Because law school admissions officers will rely heavily on the LSAT in making admissions decisions.

The not so obvious answer (the one that most people don't like to hear) is: the LSAT is an extremely efficient test. It does what it is supposed to do very well, very quickly and very accurately.

What is the LSAT supposed to measure?

Well, it's supposed to measure how well you will do during the first year of law school (see here and here). So is a low LSAT score (120) a definite prophecy of your imminent failure in law school? No.

However, if you did get a low LSAT score (120), there is a good chance you will fail. Although imperfect, the LSAT is as perfect as it can get in measuring an individual's success in law school.

My experience has been that the skills required to do well on the LSAT (reading vast and diverse amounts of information, and critically thinking and assessing the validity of these arguments/sets-of-facts; reading through dense and boring literature, and pin-pointing the flaws and main-points; quickly thinking of all the different angles and possibilities to a complex problem/situation) are also the skills required to do well in law school.

The only major flaw on the LSAT is the fact that it measures all of this in one sitting. I do believe that some people are not such good standardized test-takers. For these people the pressure of having to sit through a timed test chokes them. This is the only drawback to the LSAT's otherwise perfect (my opinion) testing.

Anyone who moans and groans about the LSAT's logic games and how they are irrelevant are simply in denial...trying to make themselves feel better about their failure.

I'm not an elitist; simply a realist.

Having said all this …

I firmly believe that ANYONE can do well on the LSAT. It comes only after great sacrifice and due diligence. The LSAT can be studied; people can learn to think more logically (unfortunately, many people's minds do not think very logically … I know, I've taught this thing).

In teaching this test to hundreds of students, I've seen it crop out the bright from the dense, the quick and keen from the slow and dull. The good news is that the LSAT can be studied, and that everyone who studies could improve (drastically).