LSAT: A Nightmare Relived

I’m not sure I can speak for all law students when I say this, but the LSAT is a pain in many people’s sides. Sure, there are those who fully enjoy doing the LSAT, studying for the LSAT, or talking about it with other equally excited LSAT do-ers and reminiscing about how great of a time it was. But, for the rest of us who hated every second of studying for that God-awful thing, let’s take a walk down memory lane a bit, shall we?

My reservations about this exam are not based on any frustration with my LSAT score, but are based on general assumptions about the legal profession, my experiences as a law student, and my interactions with other students. Before I proceed, I highly recommend you watch (or, at least skim through) this lecture by Prof. Alex Johnson. He’s had a fair bit of personal experience with the LSAT both as a student as well as a writer for those exams, and I think his opinion on the validity of this exam should be listened to:

The need for a major hurdle between undergraduate studies and a graduate program like law school is essential. I think it has a two-step filtering process: one is it filters people who are too lazy to actually write the exam, as well as people who cannot afford to write the exam (these categories are often mutually exclusive). The second step, however, is the frustrating one: separating those who are likely to succeed in law school from those who won’t. And according to that lecture presented by Prof. Alex Johnson (see above), the correlation between law school success and LSAT success is 16%. So, what I’m saying is, while the procedure is certainly the right one to take, the LSAT itself may not be the best measuring device to size up this already difficult task.

So what else should be done? I can’t say I have an answer for this question, but I would think one step that needs to be done is to re-examine what it takes to succeed in law school.

Reading? You betcha. But when you’re reading text that you’ve just been introduced to and asked to find the fundamental assumptions of that article based sometimes on socially relevant observations or context, the LSAT will tell you that you’re not cut out for law school. However, in reality, this is something that a lot of people can pick up on through their own relevant experiences, but you can’t express that through the LSAT.

Writing? Absolutely! But is writing a fully logical, coherent writing sample in 25 minutes really a reasonable expectation? I would think not. (However, if the only purpose of that writing sample is to see if you have basic grammar skills, I would argue to keep that in there).

Something to think about, I guess?


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