How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

justbubbles
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How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby justbubbles » Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:28 pm

I am aware that TLS forum rules prohibit us from talking about the actual contents of the LSAT test, due to copyright laws and what have you, so I'll try and keep things generic...

Question: How much of a difference (from the regular sitting of the LSAT) can we except in the special accommodated version of the LSAT? :?

Well, let me elaborate further. Those with extraordinary life-long challenges (eg. physically disabled, visually impaired, amputees, etc) can apply for special accommodations (extremely difficult to get!). If approved, they are entitled to reasonable accommodations (audio reader, braille version of the LSAT, some additional time, special chairs & desks, access to prescription drugs during the test with approval from LSAC's own doctors, etc). That being said, what I do know is, those that do get accommodations:

* Do not have an experimental section;
* Lavatory breaks during tests are discretionary upon the proctor and not counted against the clock;
* Allowed extended lunch breaks (if some additional time on sections is granted);
* All accommodated tests are UNDISCLOSED (score only); and
* Must sign and agree to an LSAC agreement/disclaimer before the test, giving consent to LSAC that they will notify member law schools of the "special accommodations" along with the score and no percentile rank is issued. :(

Anything else? Other than that I am informed that the tests are held on the same day, at the same start time, at the same testing center (unless medical conditions warrant that the tests be held at a clinic or hospital), etc. But does LSAC give the very same test to test-takers receiving accommodations? :| I know that international students (taking the test outside of the US and Canada) get different versions (often previous or undisclosed tests). What I am asking is... can one expect to get some really obscure stuff (eg. some weird logic game from the very early LSATs)? :o

Thanks very much!

SupraVln180
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby SupraVln180 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:27 pm

I highly doubt you will get a previously seen LG or something like that. Regardless, if you want to go to law school, I would highly advise against special accomodations b/c even if you get a high score, law schools will look unfavorably on your accomodations and probably ding you.

I understand if you have a disability or something like that, you deserve accomodations, however since even if you do good, you probably wont get into the schools you want, I would just "thug" it out and take it with everyone else.

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2014
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby 2014 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:51 pm

If it is undisclosed it is almost assuredly a different test.

Advice above is good though, and in addition to that, you probably won't get accomodations during law school or when you eventually get a job. Plus it is extremely difficult to get those accomodations, LSAC denies most claims and happily defends themselves in court and wins against the ambitious ones who push the issue.

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suspicious android
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby suspicious android » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:11 pm

SupraVln180 wrote:Regardless, if you want to go to law school, I would highly advise against special accomodations b/c even if you get a high score, law schools will look unfavorably on your accomodations and probably ding you.


Eh, no. Besides the fact that this goes against official ABA policy, it'd be a pretty slam dunk case under the ADA. Also, it just doesn't fit with typical liberal law school faculty philosophy.

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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby SupraVln180 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:27 am

suspicious android wrote:
SupraVln180 wrote:Regardless, if you want to go to law school, I would highly advise against special accomodations b/c even if you get a high score, law schools will look unfavorably on your accomodations and probably ding you.


Eh, no. Besides the fact that this goes against official ABA policy, it'd be a pretty slam dunk case under the ADA. Also, it just doesn't fit with typical liberal law school faculty philosophy.



Even if it does violate the ADA, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Noone will ever win a case against LSAC, number 1, and number 2, there are students with disabilities who take the test under regular circumstances and do well. That would distinguish those with disabilities who got accomodations from the rest of their "group" in a negative way.

What I say is not canon by any means, but it seems the consensus, on TLS at least, is law schools look unfavorably on "extra time" and other accomodations.

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2014
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby 2014 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:05 am

suspicious android wrote:
SupraVln180 wrote:Regardless, if you want to go to law school, I would highly advise against special accomodations b/c even if you get a high score, law schools will look unfavorably on your accomodations and probably ding you.


Eh, no. Besides the fact that this goes against official ABA policy, it'd be a pretty slam dunk case under the ADA. Also, it just doesn't fit with typical liberal law school faculty philosophy.

Law schools obviously don't have to admit that is why they ding someone. It is as simple as claiming their personal statement didn't reflect what they were looking for in the class. No arguing that...

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lakers3peat
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby lakers3peat » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:07 am

I was diagnosed with ADD since I was a child ago and I still continue to take my medication but, I will under no circumstance attempt to get extended time on the exam for aforementioned reasons. If I had 5 more minutes, I could probably get another 5-6 points on the LSAT. If I get below a 165, I might consider doing this to bump me up to 170 because I want to go UCLA and a 170 even under asterisk conditions looks better then a 165 IMHO.

You should know that the extended time they give you is AT MOST 5 minutes; A friend of mine who has dyslexia is getting 5 extra minutes... You also have to have gotten extended time in the past(high school/college) and provide documentation.

If you are thinking about getting questions/answseers from somone who takes the exam earlier than you, I am almost postiive they mix up the exam.

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suspicious android
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby suspicious android » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:11 am

SupraVln180 wrote:Even if it does violate the ADA, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Noone will ever win a case against LSAC, number 1, and number 2, there are students with disabilities who take the test under regular circumstances and do well. That would distinguish those with disabilities who got accomodations from the rest of their "group" in a negative way.

What I say is not canon by any means, but it seems the consensus, on TLS at least, is law schools look unfavorably on "extra time" and other accomodations.


First, LSAC has been successfully sued, on multiple occasions, regarding this very issue.
--LinkRemoved-- Brought by the National Federation of the Blind.
--LinkRemoved-- Brought by the DOJ.

The ABA has fought very hard to prevent giving accommodations, but there is zero evidence to suggest that once those accommodations are granted that law schools discriminate against those applicants. To suggest otherwise is frankly ridiculous, a faculty full of lawyers is not going to engage in a conspiracy to unlawfully discriminate against disabled students; no one's going to risk their ass to keep a blind kid out of law school. Any kind of pattern of discrimination would be easy to recognize and there'd be be no shortage of lawyers eager to go after such low-hanging fruit. A similar situation was the basis of Gratz v. Bollinger Supreme Court case that created the current affirmative action system.

Anyway, I don't think this is really TLS's conventional wisdom, there's a lot of anger against people who seek accommodations, but I don't really remember a lot of people making the claims you are. Not that conventional wisdom on a message board amounts to much either way.

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The Gentleman
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby The Gentleman » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:33 am

suspicious android wrote:Not that conventional wisdom on a message board amounts to much either way.


So true.

tomwatts
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby tomwatts » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:15 pm

lakers3peat wrote:You should know that the extended time they give you is AT MOST 5 minutes

This is false. I've had several students get time-and-a-half (that's a bonus 18 minutes per section), which is reasonably standard. However, yes, you do pretty much have to have been given accommodated testing your entire life, including on the SAT/ACT, in high school classes, and in college classes. You also have to have been tested recently by a qualified psychiatrist or the like.

I would be shocked and appalled if accommodations are looked upon negatively by law schools, but that's not to say that it's impossible.

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pinkzeppelin
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby pinkzeppelin » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:52 pm

suspicious android wrote:
SupraVln180 wrote:Even if it does violate the ADA, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Noone will ever win a case against LSAC, number 1, and number 2, there are students with disabilities who take the test under regular circumstances and do well. That would distinguish those with disabilities who got accomodations from the rest of their "group" in a negative way.

What I say is not canon by any means, but it seems the consensus, on TLS at least, is law schools look unfavorably on "extra time" and other accomodations.


First, LSAC has been successfully sued, on multiple occasions, regarding this very issue.
--LinkRemoved-- Brought by the National Federation of the Blind.
--LinkRemoved-- Brought by the DOJ.

The ABA has fought very hard to prevent giving accommodations, but there is zero evidence to suggest that once those accommodations are granted that law schools discriminate against those applicants. To suggest otherwise is frankly ridiculous, a faculty full of lawyers is not going to engage in a conspiracy to unlawfully discriminate against disabled students; no one's going to risk their ass to keep a blind kid out of law school. Any kind of pattern of discrimination would be easy to recognize and there'd be be no shortage of lawyers eager to go after such low-hanging fruit. A similar situation was the basis of Gratz v. Bollinger Supreme Court case that created the current affirmative action system.

Anyway, I don't think this is really TLS's conventional wisdom, there's a lot of anger against people who seek accommodations, but I don't really remember a lot of people making the claims you are. Not that conventional wisdom on a message board amounts to much either way.


LSAC publishes data for the law schools to support the correlation between LSAT scores and 1L grades. The support for the LSAT as an indicator is very compelling, and this is the reason law schools rely so heavily upon it. But in addition, LSAC publishes data that shows that the correlation between LSAT scores taken with accommodations and 1L grades is very low.

Therefore, when taken with accommodations, the LSAT score doesn't mean nearly as much. So I would argue it's not so much discrimination as just ignoring the LSAT score.

My advice is that if you have a really high gpa, a great personal statement and recommendations you should take the LSAT with accommodations because the adcomm will largely just ignore whatever you get on the LSAT (as long as it's high enough), and the rest of your application will then have more weight. On the other hand, if you have a low gpa and a lackluster applications, a high LSAT score with accommodations will not sway the admissions committee because they know it indicates little, so you should take the LSAT score without accommodations (and still dominate it :))

justbubbles
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby justbubbles » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:31 pm

Somehow I knew this thread was going to turn into a referendum on accommodated testing! :D

Thanks to everyone that answered my question. And thanks to everyone for carrying out this discussion in a civil manner. Carry on.

I just want to comment on a few items:

1. Getting accommodations:

I agree with most of you guys. It is virtually next to impossible to get accommodations from LSAC. LSAC is brutally draconian. LSAC denies almost 99.9% of accommodated testing applications, especially where the need isn't as apparent (eg. those with mental or learning disabilities). And, yep, LSAC does have all the money to hire the top law firms and will vigorously defend themselves in court. Those that do manage to get accommodations, most have to fight it in court and this itself can take over 2-3 or more years. (You can get a law degree in 3 years! Yikes!). Someone up there posted a link to the DOJ-LSAC settlement, which only goes to show that the LSAC wouldn't budge so easily. This is frustrating because other standardized tests (GRE, GMAT, MCAT, etc) they are not as harsh as LSAC, when it comes to grating accommodations. Also, keep in mind that accommodations is way more than just extra-time. A physically disabled person would need special desks, chairs, etc. as I have alluded to in my original post. LSAC is known to be insanely stingy and uncompromising in this regard.

2. History of accommodations:

This is also correct. LSAC will need to see a history of accommodations. eg. SAT, high-school, grade school, etc. And a doctor's finding has to go back decades. You can't really just spend thousands of $, hire a shrink and have him/her write a favorable report diagnosing you with a 'disability'. That just doesn't work. Although, sometimes, this does happen. Example: A military vet who lost both arms while on service and therefore s/he is now an amputee and deserving of accommodations; or someone who is clinically blind and over the years has kept losing her eye-sight; etc. Also, LSAC routinely uses their own "medical/psychological experts" to evaluate applicants, in some cases. And if there is a dispute between your doctor's findings and the LSAC doctor's findings, then good luck dueling it out in court!

3. LSAT-GPA-PS correlation and law schools:

This is very important, IMO. If you have someone who has been given accommodations and if s/he gets a very high score (eg. 175+), I would think that the adcoms would be skeptical, especially if the applicant doesn't have an impressive PS or an impeccable GPA. Given that the law schools will be privy to the very same medical history that LSAC was privy to... well, you know. The truth is - even the top schools like H, Y and other T1s will admit (a few) accommodated testers with a LSAT score of low 150s range score, a 2.XX GPA, PS identifying life-long challenges, etc. simply because it diversifies the class demographic. Also, I am told that stats of accommodated testers do not go into the overall incoming class stats because they do not get a percentile rank (it is reported to the ABA separately and it is not disclosed to the public due to privacy reasons), therefore the law school adcoms have ample room to apply discretion.

4. Disclosures:

As I have said in my original post, all candidates will have to sign a disclosure allowing LSAC to release and an all medical information about the applicant to the law schools. Therefore, indirectly, you are playing a game of "convincing" the adcom and also trying to garner sympathy from them as well. With all these checks & balances in place, it's next to impossible to "game the system", unless you can go back in time and amend your history of diagnosis. This is not to suggest that abuses do not take place (and I'm sure they do), but to imply or assert that accommodations are a "backdoor" or an "easy-way" to do well on the LSAT or even gaining admission to a top law school is a notion that is completely false and unsubstantiated. If you really want to talk about abuses and special treatment... errr, how about legacy admits and those that have wealthy parents that donate $ to the school's endownment fund? That's another discussion topic altogether... :wink:
Last edited by justbubbles on Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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suspicious android
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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby suspicious android » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:45 pm

pinkzeppelin wrote:Therefore, when taken with accommodations, the LSAT score doesn't mean nearly as much. So I would argue it's not so much discrimination as just ignoring the LSAT score.


Yeah, you can call it whatever you like, but it'd be about the simplest application of illegal discrimination under the ADA that I can think of. The ABA has a policy of "seeking diversity" or whatever, so they're happy to discriminate in order to help individuals from underrepresented groups, but discounting a 175 that came from a disabled person is essentially the exact opposite of their stated policy.

To be clear, I don't really care if this is a sensible way to sort applicants, just saying that's the way it is, and I'd love to see even a shred of evidence that law schools actually discount scores from those who have received accommodations. Just because a lot of law school applicants anxious about the competition wish that's what adcomms did doesn't make it more likely to be true.

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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby lebroniousjames » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:07 pm

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Last edited by lebroniousjames on Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How much "different" is the accommodated LSAT?

Postby lebroniousjames » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:28 pm

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