Starting this September, the LSAT will be administered digitally.
Daniel Waldman, an admissions consultant at Stratus Admissions Counseling and contributor at US News, recently discussed what applicants need to know about the new digital exam and what to expect.
THE JULY EXAM
If you’ve already registered for the July exam, you’ll likely still receive a paper test as only half of the exams will be administered digitally.
“To add to the uncertainty, due to the traditional and digital exams being administered simultaneously, scores won’t be released until Aug. 28, a month and a half after the exam,” Waldman writes. “This is double the current reporting time of three weeks.”
However, applicants will have the choice of canceling their exam and retaking it.
“If you do choose to cancel, you can then retake the exam – for free – as early as October; keep in mind that it won’t be feasible to take the September test, since the deadline for registering is Aug. 1, before you find out your score,” Waldman writes. “Schools will see your July score as a ‘candidate cancel.’ Remember that this will be treated by schools just as any other LSAT cancellation, so strategize accordingly.”
THE WRITING PORTION
Another thing to note about the LSAT is the take-home writing component.
“The writing sample – that oft-forgotten, never-studied-for part of the exam – now must be taken at home within a year of the exam,” Waldman writes. “While it’s nice to cut your day short by 35 minutes, this also entails a $15 fee, and requires you to install software from the Law School Admission Council that will use your webcam and microphone to ensure that you are indeed the person writing.”
Waldman advises applicants to not worry too much about the writing component.
“LSAC anticipates that more schools will use the candidate’s writing sample, but this is debatable – schools have much more informative pieces of your writing in your application, so treat the writing sample with the same stress-free approach that you would before the switch to digital,” he writes.
CHANGE IN FORM, NOT SUBSTANCE
While the digital LSAT will be administered via tablets, rather than paper, experts say the exam itself won’t change.
“The test itself will remain exactly the same,” Waldman writes. “This is purely a change in form, not substance, meant to make your life – and that of LSAC – easier.”