No more LSAT?

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MoS
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No more LSAT?

Postby MoS » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:22 pm

At the end of this video (last 2 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7_xHsce57c of the University of Virginia law professor Alex Johnson, former chair of the Law School Admissions Council and former dean of Minnesota Law School, talking about the LSAT and its use, he strongly implies that the LSAT will be eliminated in the admissions process sometime in the next few years.

Any thoughts?

If you have the time watch the whole video, its really interesting. I am not a minority and I still feel like it was highly informative on the admissions process, the use of the LSAT, and the effects of USNEWS on admissions.

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gdane
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby gdane » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:37 pm

I do think some kind of standardized test is necessary for law school. Maybe not the LSAT, but something needs to be there. Otherwise, everyone will be allowed to go to law school.

I just think the LSAT needs to be redone. I dont understand how some of the things tested are supposed to predict your success as a 1L. I get reading comp and LR, but LG. Worst of all is the time constraint. Why 35 mins? Why not 30? Why not 40?

Plus, I've always thought about the legal aspects of the LSAT and LSAC. It seems like a monopoly since not only does LSAC handle all all law school related activities, but they also administer the test that is so heavily weighed in admissions decisions.

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manbearwig
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby manbearwig » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:45 pm

gdane5 wrote:I do think some kind of standardized test is necessary for law school. Maybe not the LSAT, but something needs to be there. Otherwise, everyone will be allowed to go to law school.

I just think the LSAT needs to be redone. I dont understand how some of the things tested are supposed to predict your success as a 1L. I get reading comp and LR, but LG. Worst of all is the time constraint. Why 35 mins? Why not 30? Why not 40?

Plus, I've always thought about the legal aspects of the LSAT and LSAC. It seems like a monopoly since not only does LSAC handle all all law school related activities, but they also administer the test that is so heavily weighed in admissions decisions.


The LSAT is timed because most people could bump their score up significantly with extra minutes. Why 35? Probably because they found it to be the happy number where not everyone will be able to finish, but it is possible to finish.

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Pricer
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby Pricer » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:49 pm

manbearwig wrote:
gdane5 wrote:I do think some kind of standardized test is necessary for law school. Maybe not the LSAT, but something needs to be there. Otherwise, everyone will be allowed to go to law school.

I just think the LSAT needs to be redone. I dont understand how some of the things tested are supposed to predict your success as a 1L. I get reading comp and LR, but LG. Worst of all is the time constraint. Why 35 mins? Why not 30? Why not 40?

Plus, I've always thought about the legal aspects of the LSAT and LSAC. It seems like a monopoly since not only does LSAC handle all all law school related activities, but they also administer the test that is so heavily weighed in admissions decisions.


The LSAT is timed because most people could bump their score up significantly with extra minutes. Why 35? Probably because they found it to be the happy number where not everyone will be able to finish, but it is possible to finish.


Agreed. At 35, I barely finish each section, sometimes just running out of time. At 30, I would not finish a single section, and at 40, I would improve my score by a couple of points.

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rayiner
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby rayiner » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:05 pm

I get reading comp and LR, but LG. Worst of all is the time constraint. Why 35 mins? Why not 30? Why not 40?


Law school exams involve juggling lots of parties/entities subject to various constraints. Hence why LG is relevant --- it tests your working memory.

As for the time constraint --- law school exams are heavily time constrained too.

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dutchstriker
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby dutchstriker » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:16 pm

I don't know how someone could watch that video and not get the impression that the LSAT is the single most useful admissions tool available to law school admissions committees. The UVA professor states that no other standardized test is as accurate in its predictive ability.

The problem isn't the LSAT; the problem is the effect USNWR has on the use of the LSAT in admissions. It basically takes marginal differences in scores (say, a 165 vs a 167) and makes them very significant. The LSAT should play a role in admissions, just not the inflated role it currently plays.

Stanford and Yale are the schools that seem to use the LSAT correctly. Obviously, they have the luxury of being able to do so. But you won't see an otherwise impressive candidate with a 172 and 3.9 lose out to an otherwise lackluster candidate with a 174 and a 3.9. Yes, their median LSAT scores will be much higher than most other schools, and with good reason. They just don't magnify the importance of small differences, because it won't have as a drastic an effect on their rankings as it might for a school like Virginia.

erniesto
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby erniesto » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:31 pm

The real problem with the LSAT is the socioeconomic divide it creates. Even with a fee waiver many intellectually qualified candidates are left in the dust. They're completely unable to afford the ridiculously priced classes. Even the independent study guides are ridiculously priced. Assuming these poor saps scrape together the cheddar for a powerscore bible and a set of tests, they're more prohibited than well-endowed test takers simply because they lack the equivalent study time due to work obligations created by financial hardship.

I don't think there's a complete solution with the current LSAT format, but at the very minimum LSAC needs to increase the time limit per section, or reduce the section size.

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gdane
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby gdane » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:36 pm

Yea you have a point. I despise the rankings. I really do. Schools cant give a low scorer a chance just because his/her lsat score will drag down their lsat median and possibly cause a drop in the rankings. Also, high scorers get screwed because they are either WL or rejected at schools for YP purposes.

The rankings a huge problem in my opinion. Should there be rankings? Yes of course, but they shouldnt be so focuses on the incoming class' LSAT scores. The rankings should include things like bar passage rates, employment earnings, quality of life, and endowment. Not just LSAT and GPA scores.

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MoS
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby MoS » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:26 am

I agree. I think the USNews rankings would be the single biggest motivation to get rid of the LSAT requirement. I suppose then the schools would still use the LSAT but they could chose not to report it. Right now they report it to the ABA which is where USNews gets their statistics because they had caught law schools fudging numbers when they self report statistics. If it wasn't required they wouldn't have to report it and then they could probably just not report it to USNews even if they used it. That would mean it would likely get taken out of the ranking formula. Its pretty smart if you think about it. You can still use the LSAT, and without the pressures of it being used in rankings. Meaning it could be used more like it should in evaluating applicants. So I guess I am hoping they do get rid of the requirement.

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rockchalk86
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby rockchalk86 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:11 am

erniesto wrote:The real problem with the LSAT is the socioeconomic divide it creates. Even with a fee waiver many intellectually qualified candidates are left in the dust. They're completely unable to afford the ridiculously priced classes. Even the independent study guides are ridiculously priced. Assuming these poor saps scrape together the cheddar for a powerscore bible and a set of tests, they're more prohibited than well-endowed test takers simply because they lack the equivalent study time due to work obligations created by financial hardship.

I don't think there's a complete solution with the current LSAT format, but at the very minimum LSAC needs to increase the time limit per section, or reduce the section size.


My friend (I promise it wasn't me) downloaded all the tests and kaplan stuff off bit torrent. I actually wasted my money on kaplan

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TheLuckyOne
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby TheLuckyOne » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:14 am

MoS wrote:At the end of this video (last 2 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7_xHsce57c of the University of Virginia law professor Alex Johnson, former chair of the Law School Admissions Council and former dean of Minnesota Law School, talking about the LSAT and its use, he strongly implies that the LSAT will be eliminated in the admissions process sometime in the next few years.

Any thoughts?

If you have the time watch the whole video, its really interesting. I am not a minority and I still feel like it was highly informative on the admissions process, the use of the LSAT, and the effects of USNEWS on admissions.


This video is indeed interesting.

By the way, I really hope they will not eliminate the LSAT. I would endorse maybe some minor changes, but to eliminate completely? NO way!

dutchstriker wrote:I don't know how someone could watch that video and not get the impression that the LSAT is the single most useful admissions tool available to law school admissions committees. The UVA professor states that no other standardized test is as accurate in its predictive ability.

The problem isn't the LSAT; the problem is the effect USNWR has on the use of the LSAT in admissions. It basically takes marginal differences in scores (say, a 165 vs a 167) and makes them very significant. The LSAT should play a role in admissions, just not the inflated role it currently plays.


True. Seriously, what is 165 vs 170? 5 correct responses, which is 1.25 per section.... I rest my case here

Geist13
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby Geist13 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:25 am

erniesto wrote:The real problem with the LSAT is the socioeconomic divide it creates. Even with a fee waiver many intellectually qualified candidates are left in the dust. They're completely unable to afford the ridiculously priced classes. Even the independent study guides are ridiculously priced. Assuming these poor saps scrape together the cheddar for a powerscore bible and a set of tests, they're more prohibited than well-endowed test takers simply because they lack the equivalent study time due to work obligations created by financial hardship.

I don't think there's a complete solution with the current LSAT format, but at the very minimum LSAC needs to increase the time limit per section, or reduce the section size.


If they increased the time limit, nothing would distinguish the good lsat takers from the great lsat takers. For those really prepared for the test (and yes I was able to fully prepare while working full time making $8 an hour and without a class, it's not that hard) five extra minutes would make the test a piece of cake. 3 minutes is the difference between 165 and 175.

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dutchstriker
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby dutchstriker » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:03 am

Geist13 wrote:
erniesto wrote:The real problem with the LSAT is the socioeconomic divide it creates. Even with a fee waiver many intellectually qualified candidates are left in the dust. They're completely unable to afford the ridiculously priced classes. Even the independent study guides are ridiculously priced. Assuming these poor saps scrape together the cheddar for a powerscore bible and a set of tests, they're more prohibited than well-endowed test takers simply because they lack the equivalent study time due to work obligations created by financial hardship.

I don't think there's a complete solution with the current LSAT format, but at the very minimum LSAC needs to increase the time limit per section, or reduce the section size.


If they increased the time limit, nothing would distinguish the good lsat takers from the great lsat takers. For those really prepared for the test (and yes I was able to fully prepare while working full time making $8 an hour and without a class, it's not that hard) five extra minutes would make the test a piece of cake. 3 minutes is the difference between 165 and 175.

I agree. Besides, increasing the time limit would not remedy any type of socioeconomic divide. The LSAT doesn't create a socioeconomic divide. That is already there, and as the UVA professor mentioned (IIRC) can be seen as early as second grade.

The world is not completely fair. Overall, it seems like the LSAT probably evens things out (by allowing people like me, who went to an unknown undergrad, to get into a top law school) more than it perpetuates inequalities.

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JazzOne
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:15 am

rayiner wrote:
I get reading comp and LR, but LG. Worst of all is the time constraint. Why 35 mins? Why not 30? Why not 40?


Law school exams involve juggling lots of parties/entities subject to various constraints. Hence why LG is relevant --- it tests your working memory.

As for the time constraint --- law school exams are heavily time constrained too.

+1

There were some pretty hairy fact patterns on my civil procedure test last semester. I had to make diagrams just to remember where all the parties were from and how they were involved in the case. Add to that the fact that I had to memorize and apply 30-40 complicated rules of civil procedure, and it was quite a challenge. Plus, some of those rules are vague or ambiguous, so you have to know how the Supreme Court has applied the rules. It reminded me very much of a logic game, only much more difficult.
Last edited by JazzOne on Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

generals10
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby generals10 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:21 am

dutchstriker wrote:I don't know how someone could watch that video and not get the impression that the LSAT is the single most useful admissions tool available to law school admissions committees. The UVA professor states that no other standardized test is as accurate in its predictive ability.

The problem isn't the LSAT; the problem is the effect USNWR has on the use of the LSAT in admissions. It basically takes marginal differences in scores (say, a 165 vs a 167) and makes them very significant. The LSAT should play a role in admissions, just not the inflated role it currently plays.

Stanford and Yale are the schools that seem to use the LSAT correctly. Obviously, they have the luxury of being able to do so. But you won't see an otherwise impressive candidate with a 172 and 3.9 lose out to an otherwise lackluster candidate with a 174 and a 3.9. Yes, their median LSAT scores will be much higher than most other schools, and with good reason. They just don't magnify the importance of small differences, because it won't have as a drastic an effect on their rankings as it might for a school like Virginia.


+1

Even though Yale dinged me, I feel great about their process--you need an LSAT that is "high enough," but once you get to a certain level, it just doesn't matter that much anymore, and your overall profile as a candidate--LOR's, experience, essays--helps them build an impressive and intellectually diverse class. Same for Stanford--I think it makes perfect sense that someone with an impressive Ph.D. and a unique perspective to bring to the law (3.9 UGPA, 170) has a better chance of getting in than a college kid like me with a mid-170s LSAT score (although luckily I did manage to sneak into SLS). My last dozen PT's ranged from 172 to 180, and it's not like I was a better law school candidate on the days when I got lucky and only missed one or two questions, or that I wasn't top-flight material when I messed up a game and dipped into the low 170s.

I think that if there's a socioeconomic divide issue, it doesn't really have to do with the expensive classes--at least not for the very top schools. It seems like most people who score 168+ do so through self-study, and the materials you need for that only cost a couple hundred dollars--miniscule, when you think about the total cost of law school. I realize that $200 for Powerscore Bibles and PT's isn't chump change for everyone, but if you're going to take out tens or hundreds of thousands of loans to attend law school, you kinda need to pony up that front-end investment somehow.

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englawyer
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby englawyer » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:05 pm

i disagree with your assessment of Yale/Stanford. Those schools have a strong socioeconomic bias. For example, roughly half of the matriculants to Yale Law School came from ivy-league institutions.

I do not think that a 3.9/171 from Harvard undergrad is the better law candidate than a 4.0/175 from umass-amhearst, yet we all know who is the more likely admit to Yale or Stanford. What is really happening here is that the former just bought their way into the best law school in the nation through paying for an elite undergrad education.

A standardized test is there to objectively compare candidates, and if one person has a better score, then they should be highly favored to get in IMO. I understand your perspective as well, but I don't share it.

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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby blsingindisguise » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:18 pm

TheLuckyOne wrote:
dutchstriker wrote:I don't know how someone could watch that video and not get the impression that the LSAT is the single most useful admissions tool available to law school admissions committees. The UVA professor states that no other standardized test is as accurate in its predictive ability.

The problem isn't the LSAT; the problem is the effect USNWR has on the use of the LSAT in admissions. It basically takes marginal differences in scores (say, a 165 vs a 167) and makes them very significant. The LSAT should play a role in admissions, just not the inflated role it currently plays.


True. Seriously, what is 165 vs 170? 5 correct responses, which is 1.25 per section.... I rest my case here


Actually, it's more like 7-8 correct responses, and you're forgetting about the experimental section, which means it's closer to 2 per section. To get two more correct answers in each section is actually pretty significant.

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nealric
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby nealric » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:18 pm

The real problem with the LSAT is the socioeconomic divide it creates. Even with a fee waiver many intellectually qualified candidates are left in the dust. They're completely unable to afford the ridiculously priced classes. Even the independent study guides are ridiculously priced. Assuming these poor saps scrape together the cheddar for a powerscore bible and a set of tests, they're more prohibited than well-endowed test takers simply because they lack the equivalent study time due to work obligations created by financial hardship.


As someone who self-studied while working a full time job, I really disagree here. If you are studying for the LSAT, you have graduated from college (or are close to that point). That already puts you past most of the economic hardships faced by those applying to college. The "10 real LSATs" book is what, $25? You can get them even cheaper used. Even a day-laborer (which a college graduate should be able to do much better than) can scrimp and come up with $75 to get access to 30 tests- which is plenty for self-study. IMO the only real use of the classes is to force you to put in the study time.

I agree with other posters that the problem is that tiny deviations in score make a huge difference in admission. I would support making the test either harder or longer, so that there is a 2-3 question difference between a 162 and a 163 rather than the current single question difference. I also agree that law schools should use more wholistic admissions criteria.

blsingindisguise
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:09 am

nealric wrote:


I agree with other posters that the problem is that tiny deviations in score make a huge difference in admission. I would support making the test either harder or longer, so that there is a 2-3 question difference between a 162 and a 163 rather than the current single question difference. I also agree that law schools should use more wholistic admissions criteria.


I think it would be a good idea to make the range a little wider, but ultimately I think people underestimate how much harder, say, a 173 is than a 168. It may only be a matter of 8 questions, but the questions are also of varying difficulties and getting those extra 8 often means you are getting the hard questions right.

I actually think a better system would be to have everyone required to take it 2 or 3 times (although this would be a massive windfall for LSAC) to eliminate some of the variation for people who just have a bad day for whatever reason. I do think it's a shame that someone who would normally hit 173 might wind up at a much lower-ranked school just because of a test-day headache or something.

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sophia.olive
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby sophia.olive » Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:17 pm

Am i studying for the october test just to get my score thrown out the window?

acrossthelake
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby acrossthelake » Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:20 pm

sophia.olive wrote:Am i studying for the october test just to get my score thrown out the window?


They would give way more notice if they were going to do that.

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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:24 pm

erniesto wrote:The real problem with the LSAT is the socioeconomic divide it creates. Even with a fee waiver many intellectually qualified candidates are left in the dust. They're completely unable to afford the ridiculously priced classes. Even the independent study guides are ridiculously priced. Assuming these poor saps scrape together the cheddar for a powerscore bible and a set of tests, they're more prohibited than well-endowed test takers simply because they lack the equivalent study time due to work obligations created by financial hardship.

I don't think there's a complete solution with the current LSAT format, but at the very minimum LSAC needs to increase the time limit per section, or reduce the section size.

This is so much fail.

Candidates who are actually intellectually qualified don't need the classes. Those are for people who don't get it and want to bump their scores up.

Also, good test takers now are finishing sections with 10 minutes left. You really want to increase the time?

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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby acrossthelake » Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:39 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
erniesto wrote:The real problem with the LSAT is the socioeconomic divide it creates. Even with a fee waiver many intellectually qualified candidates are left in the dust. They're completely unable to afford the ridiculously priced classes. Even the independent study guides are ridiculously priced. Assuming these poor saps scrape together the cheddar for a powerscore bible and a set of tests, they're more prohibited than well-endowed test takers simply because they lack the equivalent study time due to work obligations created by financial hardship.

I don't think there's a complete solution with the current LSAT format, but at the very minimum LSAC needs to increase the time limit per section, or reduce the section size.

This is so much fail.

Candidates who are actually intellectually qualified don't need the classes. Those are for people who don't get it and want to bump their scores up.

Also, good test takers now are finishing sections with 10 minutes left. You really want to increase the time?


Chyea. I hate standardized tests with too much time since you can't leave and then you just have to sit there and nap and then get a crick in your neck. No fun. Also, I spent less than $150 total for prep. That's not "ridiculously priced" in my opinion.

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sophia.olive
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby sophia.olive » Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:26 pm

"They would give way more notice if they were going to do that."
Do you really think that?

acrossthelake
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Re: No more LSAT?

Postby acrossthelake » Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:38 pm

sophia.olive wrote:"They would give way more notice if they were going to do that."
Do you really think that?


It'd be really unprofessional not to. No, any change as big as that they would announce well in advance of a cycle.




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