LSAT vs. GRE - which is harder?

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Intelligentsia
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LSAT vs. GRE - which is harder?

Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:53 pm

I'm of the opinion that the GRE is considerably harder, at least for scientists, since the math section is basic high school stuff, solvable by any SAT taker, and yet the verbal, w/ impossible analogies and antonyms, makes the SAT verbal trivial. What this amounts to is a considerable disadvantage to anyone who hasn't spent his life in college copiously perusing fiction.

Also making the 99th percentile on the GRE is literally impossible unless you are naturally prepared (or keenly adept at memorizing vocab), whereas on the LSAT a 99th percentile seems only to take a little over a week of concentrated practice.

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Denny Crane
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Postby Denny Crane » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:57 pm

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Last edited by Denny Crane on Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

The Agitator
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Postby The Agitator » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:04 pm

Also making the 99th percentile on the GRE is literally impossible unless you are naturally prepared (or keenly adept at memorizing vocab), whereas on the LSAT a 99th percentile seems only to take a little over a week of concentrated practice.


Preposterous.

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Oklahoma Mike
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Postby Oklahoma Mike » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:05 pm

99th percentile is usually a 172, but even with that said the statement "whereas on the LSAT a 99th percentile seems only to take a little over a week of concentrated practice" is obviously not true for over 99% of the population taking the LSAT. Most prepare for more than 1 week, and only 1% are in the 99th percentile.

I think that because the math section is so easy to study for th GRE is less scary a test to prepare for. That said- I think that it may be easier to take the LSAT from a 90th percentile up past 95th than the GRE- because you can basically learn all the patterns for the LSAT. On the GRE you can study the math and get to a point where you are consistently near perfect- but the verbal is a bit harder to study for. You can learn the analogy patterns, but if you don't know the vocab you are still in trouble.

I think that it's easier to move your GRE score up from a percentile in the 70s to one in the 80s or 90s than to do the same on the LSAT. However, I think that the GRE is harder to move from a percentile in the low 90s to one in the high 90s than the LSAT is.

I don't think that really makes one test definitively harder than the other- they test different things and different people are more well suited to one than the other.

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DAC
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Postby DAC » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:05 pm

OP, you make me laugh. Can I take you to parties with me?

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Intelligentsia
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Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:16 pm

Haha, I guess you guys don't know how frustrated I was over the GRE...

After a few months of intense studying I improved my score by about 100 points. That's a terrible improvement given the time. Anyway, if you haven't taken the GRE you might not understand how the problems are literally impossible. I mean, the vocab is full of 10 letter long words with rarity 1 in 100,000 or more in common usage. So that means for every one of these you encounter, on average you need to read one novel (and remember the word). And at the high end of the test it's entirely composed of these words.

Also according to my figures a 99.0th percentile is 172, andmore people take the GRE every year, so I would expect more perfects, though I wouldn't say that "many" people make it given that I know some 180's and have never met anyone w/ a 1600+6 on the GRE (this is taking into account sampling errors since I actually know more people who took the GRE than the LSAT). If you want to argue statistics, I can give you a probabilistic model (though that'd be a total waste of time so in reality I won't do it; it's a possibility, but an unlikely one).

Basically my point w/ the last argument is that the GRE is not a studiable test, whereas the LSAT is. For the GRE, you have to have acquired a tremendous vocabulary over a long period plus test taking skills, whereas for the LSAT you just need test taking skills. I can deal w/ test taking skills, but not extraordinary memorization. Maybe you are better at the former.
Last edited by Intelligentsia on Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

The Agitator
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Postby The Agitator » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:19 pm

Basically my point w/ the last argument is that the GRE is not a studiable test, whereas the LSAT is. For the GRE, you have to have acquired a tremendous vocabulary over a long period plus test taking skills, whereas for the LSAT you just need test taking skills. I can deal w/ test taking skills, but not extraordinary memorization.


Possibly. But the ridiculous part was the one-week time frame.

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Intelligentsia
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Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:20 pm

Okay I take back the 1 week hyperbole.

moocow842
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Postby moocow842 » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:30 pm

Basically my point w/ the last argument is that the GRE is not a studiable test, whereas the LSAT is.


So because the LSAT is a studiable test, it's easier than the GRE? With that reasoning you can also say that the GRE is harder than the MCAT b/c the MCAT is a studiable test as well. Though I've never taken the GRE, I have taken the MCAT and I highly doubt the GRE is harder than the MCAT.

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Intelligentsia
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Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:34 pm

moocow, I find your argument circular. You started out assuming the GRE is easier than MCAT simply b/c you took the MCAT and found it hard. To be sure, we have to be comparing the two in a way that's meaningful, for instance if one person took both. That is the case for me and the LSAT/GRE.

Btw I find this argument highly entertaining, and I hope arguing like this helps everyone improve on the LR sections.

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Intelligentsia
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Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:44 pm

I should add the GRE has two writing samples, both graded.

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Intelligentsia
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Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:48 pm

Actually, for anyone that's curious. The probability of getting a 180 is 1 out of 5,000 test takers. The probability of getting a 1600+6 on the GRE is 1 out of 50,000. I'll let you decide which is harder.
Last edited by Intelligentsia on Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jbauer24
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Postby jbauer24 » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:48 pm

I have taken both and can say, personally, the general GRE was easier than the June LSAT. However, some programs for graduate schools require you to take a subject GRE as well- which I would imagine to require much more in depth studying/memorization vs. LSAT. I know a girl who aced her general GRE but retook her Chemistry GRE 3 times just because there was so much material.

YoungFogey
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Postby YoungFogey » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:48 pm

Intelligensia,

It sounds like your way of thinking is more in line with the LSAT than the GRE. You are jumping from your experience to a broad generalization about the exams.

I think the GRE is a much more "learnable" test. It primarily tests what you know, not how you think. The LSAT, OTOH, tests how you think more than what you know. If you think like the LSAT, then it will be easier. However, if you don't, then you will probably find it easier to study for the GRE than study for the LSAT.

And yes, I have taken both the GRE and the LSAT (well, am about to take the LSAT).

TOPLAWSCHOOLS
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Postby TOPLAWSCHOOLS » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:59 pm

.d
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Intelligentsia
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Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:00 pm

YoungFogey, I think you're using learnable differently than me. I define learnable to be easily enough accessible over a short enough duration. By that account, the LSAT is learnable b/c there are a specific number of question types and ways of determining the correct answer. On the other hand, based on the number of words testable on the GRE, you cannot expect an ordinary person to learn all or most of them, even given a few year's time. My vocabulary isn't small, and yet at the end I couldn't do any of the difficult GRE analogies. I simply didn't know those words, any one of them.

Anyway, if you define learnable to be able to be learned, that seems to undermine the point of strategic test taking. I mean, if you have to study for years to get a good GRE score, is that really practical? And moreover, if it's something nobody is able to do, then it's not learnable in the end, b/c you can't learn it...

Btw I just noticed a mistake in my LSAT vs. GRE max score statistics. Brownie points for anyone who catches it :)

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Intelligentsia
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Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:03 pm

TOPLAWSCHOOLS,

I find it hard to follow your reasoning given that there is absolutely no quantifiable measure of "doing well". I could say I made a 151 on the LSAT and did well b/c half of the people scored lower. Thus I'd beaten a majority of test takers.

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Denny Crane
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Postby Denny Crane » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:05 pm

...
Last edited by Denny Crane on Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jbauer24
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Postby jbauer24 » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:08 pm

'there are kids who can't even speak english and do well on the GRE. '

I am actually in agreement that the general GRE is easier than the LSAT, but the statement above is completely retarded. You are simply implying that not being able to speak english qualifies you as 'stupid.' The GRE tests you on same basic collegiate academics and not being fluent in English does not necessarily mean you will do poorly on it. I concede that you may find the verbal section more difficult if English is not your first language, but it is not impossible to prepare for it. (if you have ever taken the vocab on the GRE, then you know being able to speak English might not necessarily be much of an advantage as the vocab is INSANELY obscure).

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thisabyssisbliss
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Postby thisabyssisbliss » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:11 pm

brownie points? no way, the suspense is killing me, i hope someone catches it.


Anyways here is my opinion. With the LSAT much like logic you don't need to know anything outside of how to think which everyone knows (I don't literaly mean you don't need to know anything, you obviously need to know how to read, etc.) going into the test. Everyone at a very young age is capable of logical thought. The LSAT simply tests if you can apply this logic.

For the GRE (i haven't taken it and this is some speculation) you have to have knowledge (of the factual type) going into the test. You have to know definitions of complex words, know basic math, etc..

So the difficulty of each test is dependent on what your strengths are. That said most of what I have heard is that the LSAT is harder for most people.

Statistics about who gets a perfect score are irrelevant since in both cases a perfect score is on the basis of percentile. Both test arbitrarily chose how many (x out of y) will get a perfect score and if your score is in the top z percent you get that perfect score.

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Intelligentsia
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Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:13 pm

grey,

That def. helps, but the fact of the matter is a lot of words were coined in times such as the middle ages and even later. And also I find that a lot of words w/ similar structures are actually quite different. For example a prodigy means a person who is exceptional, where as prodigal means extremely wasteful. These words are differing in only the -y vs. -al, but you could never guess one from knowing only the other. I could probably spell on knowing the other, though.
Last edited by Intelligentsia on Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mosel
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Postby Mosel » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:16 pm

'there are kids who can't even speak english and do well on the GRE.

You are simply implying that not being able to speak English qualifies you as 'stupid.'


Is that was he's saying? I believe he was simply trying to point out that mastery of the English language is not necessary to do well on the GRE.

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Intelligentsia
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Postby Intelligentsia » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:25 pm

I think a lot of the arguments against my position have taken the form, you can't compare them b/c for different people it's different.

I find this incorrect b/c it should be possible to postulate how a mean, average person would do on both tests and thus judge which is harder. I mean, if we are to say everything should be so finely divided up, then why differentiate between people at all, why take standardized test? Why not give separate scores for the LR and LG and RC sections, since they test different things and maybe some people would do better on a certain section.

What I'm saying is, overall it is possible to determine something about people. And hence there exists a way to determine if an average person who takes both tests would find the LSAT or the GRE harder.

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jbauer24
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Postby jbauer24 » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:28 pm

Is that was he's saying? I believe he was simply trying to point out that mastery of the English language is not necessary to do well on the GRE.


Yes well before editing his own statement he said:

''there are kids who can't even speak english and do well on the GRE. you need to re check your intelligence'

or something to that effect- take this into context as this is in response to the OP arguing that the GRE is more difficult than the LSAT...
All bullshit aside-whether or not you want to justify this statement with whatever reason you want to pull out of your ass, I know what he was implying.
Although I don't really care or mean to get into an argument- I'm just responding to the criticism of my...well....own criticism.
Last edited by jbauer24 on Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Boblawblaw
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Postby Boblawblaw » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:31 pm

I've taken the gre and am taking the lsat in september. After doing the prep work for both, I think the gre is harder. However, after thinking this I remember that each test is based on relative ability. So the 'hardness' of the test really has no impact in my mind - each judge your ability relative to others ability on the same kind of test. The result is a negation of 'hardness' - each test is equally hard because they are weighted against other testers.




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