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How Does the LSAT Score Scale Work?

If you’ve ever wondered how the LSAC takes your actual score and spits out the scaled score, you are not alone. It’s been a mystery to LSAT takers since the dawn of the LSAT. Luckily for you, I’m going to dispel that mystery and give you the inside scoop on how the LSAT score scale works.

Here goes …

The truth is, there isn’t much of a mystery. Ever since the scaled score started coming out, which was back in June of 1991, they haven’t really changed all that much. Sure every year they are different a point here, a point there, but it’s not that different.

Why the Scores Are Scaled

lsat scaled scores, why - magoosh

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It’s more simple than it seems. Every LSAT was not created equal. In fact, some of them have been amazingly difficult, and some of them … not so much. So, the LSAC decided to come up with a way for law schools to quickly digest the scores their applicants sent over.

Since there are varying degrees of difficulty over the years, the scaled scores are supposed to be able to overcome these difficulty gaps. If a test is more difficult, then lower scores are scaled higher. If it’s easier, the scaled scores are lower.

This saves the law schools quite a bit of time, since they no longer need to look into how difficult the tests are. Trust me when I say that law schools have in interest in taking as little time as possible to sort through admission information.

Here’s an example. Take a look at the difference between these two tests:

June
2011 LSAT
Scaled
Score
Lowest
Raw Score
180100(-1)
17596(-5)
17090(-11)
16583(-18)
16075(-26)
15566(-35)
15056(-45)
14547 (-54)
14039 (-62)
13532 (-69)
13025 (-76)
12520 (-81)

 

December
2011 LSAT
Scaled
Score
Lowest
Raw Score
18098(-3)
17593(-8)
17087(-14)
16580(-21)
16073(-28)
15564(-37)
15056(-45)
14547 (-54)
14039 (-62)
13532 (-69)
13026 (-75)
12520 (-81)

The differences are pretty big when you get above a 150. You’re looking at a difference of 2 to 3 scaled points in some instances with the same exact raw score on the exam!

Putting it Together

In a nutshell, here’s what you need to know: Not all LSATs are created equal. So the LSAC decided to scale the scores to make them equal for admissions purposes. But, while some tests are harder, and some are easier, the biggest differences in the scaled scores is seen with the higher scores.

For more information on LSAT scoring, head on over to this article.

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