How The GRE and LSAT Differ

68 law schools across the US now accept the GRE in lieu of the LSAT.

For many law schools, the decision to accept the GRE helps widen the applicant pool as the exam is well-suited for those with STEM backgrounds.

Ilana Kowarski, a reporter for US News, recently spoke to experts on the key differences between the GRE and the LSAT that applicants should keep in mind when applying to law school.


While more law schools are beginning to accept the GRE, it still trails well behind the LSAT, which is accepted by all law schools.

“As it currently stands, only about a third of all law schools accept scores for the GRE in lieu of the LSAT for admission,” Jeff Thomas, executive director of legal programs at Kaplan, tells US News. “That means that unless you plan to apply only to one of those schools that appear on that list, you’ll still need to take the LSAT, which is the only exam accepted by every American Bar Association-accredited law school.”


The computer-adaptive version of the GRE chooses the difficulty of the remainder sections of the exam based on how accurately a test taker is performing in prior sections—something the LSAT does not do.

“This means the difficulty of a section can change depending on how you did on the previous section,” Will Haynes, a former test prep tutor manager for The Princeton Review, tells US News. “For example, if you do really well on the first math section, the next math section will have harder questions. If you don’t do so well on the first section, the second section can seem easier. This can really change a student’s approach or strategy and can mess with their psyche, not to mention there are random, unknown experimental sections that don’t count.”


Unlike the LSAT, the GRE tests math and vocabulary questions, making it a more popular choice for applicants with STEM backgrounds.

“The Quantitative Comparison questions most often throw students for a loop,” Haynes tells US News. “Students are given two quantities (that may contain variables, equations, shapes, numbers, etc.) and must decide if they are equal, if one is always bigger, or if there is no way to know. It gets complicated.”

On the other hand, the LSAT includes logic games—something that the GRE doesn’t test for.

“The Games section should remind you of something you’d see in a puzzle book you buy at the airport,” Haynes tells US News. “It involves setting up some kind of situation, creating rules, and then asking questions regarding logical and hypothetical situations. This is typically where students struggle the most.”

Check out more key differences between the GRE vs. the LSAT here.

Sources: US News, ETS

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