Applying to Harvard Law? What You Need To Know

LSAT Sees New Format

The Law School Application Test (LSAT) is getting a brand-new format.

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) recently announced that the LSAT is going to a digital format starting with the July 2019 test.

“The LSAT will be fully digital in North America starting in September 2019. We’ve planned this transition carefully to ensure candidates have all the information they need to decide their preferred testing schedule,” Kellye Testy, President and CEO of LSAC, says in the press release.

The Transition

LSAC is planning to make the exam digital for the July 2019 exam, but that doesn’t mean everyone will be taking the exam on a computer.

According to LSAC, it plans to have some test takers assigned to pencil-and-paper tests and other to digital tests as it transitions to fully digital.

Additionally, LSAC plans to offer all July test takers the option of seeing their score before they decide whether or not they want to cancel it. If they do decide to cancel their July score, LSAC says, they can retake the LSAT through April 2020 for free.

“The structure of the test sections and test questions will not be any different than the paper-and-pencil LSAT, and we’ll be providing free online tutorials, so we don’t think test takers will have any problems moving to the digital version,” Testy says. “In our field tests, candidates found the Digital LSAT easy to use. That said, we wanted to provide additional options for those who register for our July transitional test.”

The Need For Higher Security And A Better Experience

One of the main reasons why the LSAT is going digital, Testy says, is to provide higher security and a better user experience.

According to LSAC, the digital LSAT exam will be administered on a tablet device that’s loaded with patented software developed by LSAC. The digital exam will allow for more features, including faster score reporting.

“The LSAT is widely acknowledged as the best tool for assessing the potential for candidates to succeed in law school and pass the bar examination,” Testy says. “The Digital LSAT will maintain the quality and predictive value that the LSAT is known for, while providing a modern delivery system that enhances security, access, and ease of use.”

What This Means For Test Takers

For test takers, the new digital exam will require some transitioning. But, experts say, test takers shouldn’t be too anxious about the new format.

“We do not think students should be overly concerned about the new format. But at the same time, we know there is always some anxiety when there is a test change,” Jeff Thomas, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of pre-law programs, tells The National Jurist. “It would behoove test takers to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible by taking the exam in its current format, the format they are familiar with, and the format for which there are exhaustive practice tools.”

For test prep companies like Kaplan, the new format will also mean adjustment.

“Kaplan will continue to work diligently to update our curriculum to reflect digital test-taking strategies and will be providing extensive practice tools for students who will be taking the LSAT in its new format,” Thomas tells The National Jurist.

Sources: LSAC, The National Jurist