## LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.
longagofaraway30

Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:47 am

### LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

I know there's varying opinions on the correlation between SAT and LSAT scores, I've seen at least 5 different equations that claim to predict LSAT score based on your SAT (+/- 3-5 points), and people claim for the most part that they seem to work. I've also heard a few arguments against them - one is that it's just correlational and may just prove that some students do consistently well on standardized tests, while another is that such equations may not work well for students who prepared well for one test but took the other one cold, etc.

I haven't even taken the LSAT yet, and my undergrad gpa is "OK" - a 3.5, yet I don't think going to law school in this economy is even worthwhile unless I get into at least a top 30 with some scholarship money.

I took the SAT years ago when it was out of 1600 (the last year before the change, 2005), and I received a mediocre 650 verbal, 600 math. Did I study? Not really. I DID take the PSAT sophomore year before taking the SAT junior year just once. But I think altogether I only devoted about 2 hours to studying the SAT in all of high school (and even that amount of studying was done kind of carelessly).

Based on one equation:

1250/21 + 101 = 160.52

I need at least a 167 to have a safe shot at getting into a top 30 school. But based on those equations..I have no chance. My question is for the people who do buy into such equations - is the LSAT learnable, at least to a certain extent? Is there any realistic chance at all I could get a 167, if I devote 2 months to studying the LSAT and considering that my SAT score was achieved after little preparation? People seem to imply as much, but I want to be realistic here.
Last edited by longagofaraway30 on Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

NoodleyOne

Posts: 2327
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 7:32 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

I got a 1200 on my SAT (didn't study one bit) and while I haven't gotten my score back for my LSAT yet, I was PTing in the 172-177 range, and I don't think I did significantly worse than that. I wouldn't worry too much about any perceived correlation.

longagofaraway30

Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:47 am

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

Thanks for your input, such personal anecdotes encourage me. But I still worry..People are always making these correlational statements about everything. SAT and GPA predict college performance, uGPA predicts GRE, SAT predicts GRE, SAT predicts LSAT, LSAT does/doesn't predict law school performance, Oy vey I say!!

/was kind of a slacker in high school

NoodleyOne

Posts: 2327
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 7:32 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

I was a slacker pretty much everywhere until my sophomore year of college (when I finally got serious). Had to overcome a 1.9 GPA Freshman year and brought it to a 3.5x by my senior year. Screw correlation, etc. If you're taking the LSAT, you'll soon realize that correlation does not imply causation, and other factors could explain the discrepancy. Just be serious about your grades and be serious about the LSAT. It's an old hat here, but it is important to note that the LSAT IS learnable. Study hard and study well, and you'll do just fine.

VasaVasori

Posts: 571
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:36 pm

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Last edited by VasaVasori on Sat May 02, 2015 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

elterrible78

Posts: 1119
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:09 am

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

NoodleyOne wrote:I was a slacker pretty much everywhere until my sophomore year of college (when I finally got serious). Had to overcome a 1.9 GPA Freshman year and brought it to a 3.5x by my senior year. Screw correlation, etc. If you're taking the LSAT, you'll soon realize that correlation does not imply causation, and other factors could explain the discrepancy. Just be serious about your grades and be serious about the LSAT. It's an old hat here, but it is important to note that the LSAT IS learnable. Study hard and study well, and you'll do just fine.

Well, I don't think anyone in their right mind has ever claimed that SAT scores cause LSAT scores. It's definitely one of those correlations that just goes right ahead and assumes that there is another cause (or other causes) such as intelligence, natural aptitude, etc. that account for correlated LSAT and SAT scores.

Scotusnerd

Posts: 811
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:36 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

Anything that compares you as a high school student taking a test to you as a college student taking a test is going to be inaccurate. The sites that want to correlate are based on an age old formula:

Your test-taking anxiety + their obsessed bullshit = repeatable result

Please note that this formula is NOT:

SAT + bullshit numbers = LSAT score range.

Why do I think this is bullshit? Simple. A mathematical formula cannot predict how much time you spend studying for the test, which is the number one difference between scores.

Don't waste your time figuring out how you're going to score. Just take the damn PT on the website.

inmans

Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:12 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

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Last edited by inmans on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Micdiddy

Posts: 2228
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:38 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

The correlation thing depends on a number of insupportable assumptions, the worst of which being that people will try equally hard. If we make this assumption, I might buy into this idea, but since it's simply not true I think it's mostly useless to even think about.
I got a 1280 on my sats without studying at all, but now studying very hard for the lsats I expect a 175+ once scores come back.

Mr.Binks

Posts: 574
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:49 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

inmans wrote:got a 1210 on my sat... 170 on the lsat

took one cold, and i studied for the other.

prepare well and you should be fine

Credited.

manofjustice

Posts: 1321
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 10:01 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

There is probably a bit of a correlation, more so, however, with your verbal than your math. Your logic games section will correlate very roughly with your math. Correlations are more with your percentile ranks than your score. There is also a bit of difference for some people based on their neurological style.

Nova

Posts: 9113
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

It is not necessary to have done well on one's SAT to do well on one's LSAT. HTH

JJJ123

Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:08 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

I have discovered that, despite the frequency with which the concept is brought up, most posters on this site have a childish/foggy understanding of what a correlation is. Of course the SAT and LSAT are correlated. They both require test-taking skills, mental acuity under pressure, reading comprehension, etc. and both are, to a certain extent, reflective of general academic achievement, willingness to prepare for standardized exams, and intellectual curiosity.

Saying that the SAT scores are correlated with LSAT scores DOES NOT mean that someone with a high SAT score will NECESSARILY score highly on the LSAT, and vice versa. But, in general, the subgroup of perfect 1600 SAT scorers will, as a group, outperform, say, 1000 SAT scorers. I find it baffling that people on this site repeatedly muddle this basic distinction in statistics...

JCFindley

Posts: 1283
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:19 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

I did the ACT and not the SAT. FWIW I took both the ACT and the LSAT cold with no studying.... I was in the 95th percentile on the ACT and I took it hung over. I did NOT do as well on the LSAT....

Correlation, true or not, doesn't matter. Studying for the LSAT does.

Nova

Posts: 9113
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

JJJ123 wrote:I have discovered that, despite the frequency with which the concept is brought up, most posters on this site have a childish/foggy understanding of what a correlation is. Of course the SAT and LSAT are correlated. They both require test-taking skills, mental acuity under pressure, reading comprehension, etc. and both are, to a certain extent, reflective of general academic achievement, willingness to prepare for standardized exams, and intellectual curiosity.

Saying that the SAT scores are correlated with LSAT scores DOES NOT mean that someone with a high SAT score will NECESSARILY score highly on the LSAT, and vice versa. But, in general, the subgroup of perfect 1600 SAT scorers will, as a group, outperform, say, 1000 SAT scorers. I find it baffling that people on this site repeatedly muddle this basic distinction in statistics...

Any loose correlation doesnt mean much at all. Just like how one's LSAT score only loosely correlates with their LS grades, there are just too many variables at play to be that importaint. Equations like this
1250/21 + 101 = 160.52

But based on those equations..I have no chance.
need to be disregarded. OP could score 170+, and it would have nothing to do with how they did on the SAT 4 or 5 years prior.

elterrible78

Posts: 1119
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:09 am

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

Nova wrote:
JJJ123 wrote:I have discovered that, despite the frequency with which the concept is brought up, most posters on this site have a childish/foggy understanding of what a correlation is. Of course the SAT and LSAT are correlated. They both require test-taking skills, mental acuity under pressure, reading comprehension, etc. and both are, to a certain extent, reflective of general academic achievement, willingness to prepare for standardized exams, and intellectual curiosity.

Saying that the SAT scores are correlated with LSAT scores DOES NOT mean that someone with a high SAT score will NECESSARILY score highly on the LSAT, and vice versa. But, in general, the subgroup of perfect 1600 SAT scorers will, as a group, outperform, say, 1000 SAT scorers. I find it baffling that people on this site repeatedly muddle this basic distinction in statistics...

Any loose correlation doesnt mean much at all. Just like how one's LSAT score only loosely correlates with their LS grades, there are just too many variables at play to be that importaint.

Again, just as JJJ (and I, in an earlier post) pointed out, the existence of any SAT/LSAT correlation likely reflects those factors that you are talking about. The correlation by itself, however, is pretty goddamned useless as a predictor. JJJ is right...1600 (or 2400 or whatever it is now) SAT scorers, as a group, are probably going to score better on the LSAT than 1000 SAT scorers, as a group. But say, for instance, person A busted ass studying and got the 1600 on the SAT, and goes in and takes the LSAT cold, whereas person B didn't study at all for the SAT, pulled a 1000, and studied his balls off for six months for the LSAT...well, you see where I'm headed.

Correlations by themselves are reflective of a relationship, and that's all. How, or why, anyone looks at a bivariate correlation like that and then starts to draw meaningful conclusions regarding the inevitability of their LSAT scores based on their SAT scores, is beyond me. Just as JJJ said, these people completely misunderstand the nature and meaning of bivariate correlation.

KevinP

Posts: 1322
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:56 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

I didn't study at all for the SAT/didn't even try on test day (the school I was applying to already had a program that guaranteed me admission, but they still required me to take the SAT). Got in the mid 1200s/1600.

I took the LSAT seriously and studied pretty hard for it. Scored in the 170s.

In general, I think there is a correlation between the SAT/LSAT, but the correlation is affected by multiple factors. However, I doubt the SAT has any useful predictive value for how well you'll do on the LSAT.

Clearly

Posts: 4163
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

I would say very little correlation for a number of reasons

1)The bare minimum time between taking one and the other is about 4 years, and very often more. People change A LOT in four years, these four years in particular. I was smoking a lot of pot around SAT years, and now haven't so much as had a beer in 5 years... Even without such a drastic change as mine, people mature, they learn the value of studying through college, and apply it to the LSAT.

2) They test totally different things. I couldn't do math to save my life back then, and I still can't now. Seeing as the test is significantly math based, I'm already starting screwed. I destroyed the English section of the SAT, and did average or below on the math section. The LSAT doesn't target my weakness, but only my strength.

3) The curve. I believe the SAT is curved or equated in some way. The sample group between the two would be so different. I have no idea what the numbers are, but I'd bet a huge portion of HS kids take the SAT. This includes the dumb ones, the potheads, the jocks, etc. The only people who take the LSAT already have completed college, already show the drive to at least try getting into grad school.

Being curved against two totally different groups of people, on a test that shares very little similarities, at two very different times in ones life couldn't possible lend itself to the type of correlation that should concern LSAT takers who performed poorly on the SAT.

emkay625

Posts: 1987
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:31 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

I did better on the LSAT than the SAT. I also studied for the LSAT and did not study for the SAT.

hookem7

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### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

I was actually in the same percentile for both fwiw

JJJ123

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Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:08 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

Clearlynotstefan wrote:I would say very little correlation for a number of reasons

1)The bare minimum time between taking one and the other is about 4 years, and very often more. People change A LOT in four years, these four years in particular. I was smoking a lot of pot around SAT years, and now haven't so much as had a beer in 5 years... Even without such a drastic change as mine, people mature, they learn the value of studying through college, and apply it to the LSAT.

2) They test totally different things. I couldn't do math to save my life back then, and I still can't now. Seeing as the test is significantly math based, I'm already starting screwed. I destroyed the English section of the SAT, and did average or below on the math section. The LSAT doesn't target my weakness, but only my strength.

3) The curve. I believe the SAT is curved or equated in some way. The sample group between the two would be so different. I have no idea what the numbers are, but I'd bet a huge portion of HS kids take the SAT. This includes the dumb ones, the potheads, the jocks, etc. The only people who take the LSAT already have completed college, already show the drive to at least try getting into grad school.

Being curved against two totally different groups of people, on a test that shares very little similarities, at two very different times in ones life couldn't possible lend itself to the type of correlation that should concern LSAT takers who performed poorly on the SAT.

Hahahaha this is exactly the sort of faulty reasoning that clogs up this forum and ruins a bunch of threads. Its like you, as someone who didn't score well on the SAT, take personal offense to the notion that there is a correlation between the SAT and the LSAT... A correlation is not definitive proof that one person will score equally well/poorly on the LSAT as he/she did on the SAT. That is a complete misunderstanding of a correlation.

Your evidence is a single (not to mention, emotionally charged) anecdote of your own experience with both tests. You may have changed drastically in four years. Not everyone does. In all likelihood, the people who scored high (say, a perfect score) on the SAT have developed and will more likely continue to develop academic habits, test-taking skills, etc. that may ultimately help them 4+ years later if they take the LSAT (and vice versa). There are other variables, and those many other variables make sure the correlation is very far from a perfect 1:1. However, the idea that there is NO correlation or only a trivial correlation seems absurd to me.

But, I digress. This is a largely irrelevant topic to this forum and our lives as potential law students. Yet, the world would be a better place if more people understood the correlation/causation distinction...

cc.celina

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### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

JJJ123 wrote:stuff
I don't particularly care about discussing the existence of a correlation, but calling notstefan's anecdote "emotionally charged" and "faulty reasoning" is a bit uncalled-for. Being bad at math and smoking a lot of pot are completely valid reasons for performing worse on the SAT than on the LSAT, which requires no math, without smoking frequently.

OP, while referencing a correlation (which undoubtedly exists), in fact appears to be asking about the predictive power of one variable (SAT) for another variable (LSAT). After controlling for factors that are in control of the test-taker -- amount of time studying, motivation to study, management of test anxiety, nutrition and physical fitness at time of test -- the correlation undoubtedly becomes less pronounced, and the SAT loses some of its predictive power, if any existed. Attacking other posters for their anecdotal evidence is uncalled for -- in this case, it is actually very valuable, since OP acknowledges the correlation and seeks to know whether there are exceptions.

The only responsible answer to the OP's question is that there is no way to tell. Whether or not a 167 is in your range will be much, much easier to determine based on a diagnostic test or two and the amount of time you can reasonably devote to studying. Do not let a less-than-satisfactory SAT score determine whether or not you try your hand at the LSAT if you're serious about law school, even if many posters have (validly) pointed out that there is a correlation between the two.

Scotusnerd

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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:36 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

JJJ123 wrote:Hahahaha this is exactly the sort of faulty reasoning that clogs up this forum and ruins a bunch of threads. Its like you, as someone who didn't score well on the SAT, take personal offense to the notion that there is a correlation between the SAT and the LSAT... A correlation is not definitive proof that one person will score equally well/poorly on the LSAT as he/she did on the SAT. That is a complete misunderstanding of a correlation.

Your evidence is a single (not to mention, emotionally charged) anecdote of your own experience with both tests. You may have changed drastically in four years. Not everyone does. In all likelihood, the people who scored high (say, a perfect score) on the SAT have developed and will more likely continue to develop academic habits, test-taking skills, etc. that may ultimately help them 4+ years later if they take the LSAT (and vice versa). There are other variables, and those many other variables make sure the correlation is very far from a perfect 1:1. However, the idea that there is NO correlation or only a trivial correlation seems absurd to me.

But, I digress. This is a largely irrelevant topic to this forum and our lives as potential law students. Yet, the world would be a better place if more people understood the correlation/causation distinction...

So...let me get this straight. Your argument is this:
Paragraph 1: You had an experience. Therefore, it's wrong.
Paragraph 2: You had an experience, but it might not be like other people's experience. Therefore, it's wrong.
Paragraph 3: This doesn't matter anyway because I understand a distinction that no one else does, haha.

Brilliant logic.

JJJ123

Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:08 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

Scotusnerd wrote:
JJJ123 wrote:Hahahaha this is exactly the sort of faulty reasoning that clogs up this forum and ruins a bunch of threads. Its like you, as someone who didn't score well on the SAT, take personal offense to the notion that there is a correlation between the SAT and the LSAT... A correlation is not definitive proof that one person will score equally well/poorly on the LSAT as he/she did on the SAT. That is a complete misunderstanding of a correlation.

Your evidence is a single (not to mention, emotionally charged) anecdote of your own experience with both tests. You may have changed drastically in four years. Not everyone does. In all likelihood, the people who scored high (say, a perfect score) on the SAT have developed and will more likely continue to develop academic habits, test-taking skills, etc. that may ultimately help them 4+ years later if they take the LSAT (and vice versa). There are other variables, and those many other variables make sure the correlation is very far from a perfect 1:1. However, the idea that there is NO correlation or only a trivial correlation seems absurd to me.

But, I digress. This is a largely irrelevant topic to this forum and our lives as potential law students. Yet, the world would be a better place if more people understood the correlation/causation distinction...

So...let me get this straight. Your argument is this:
Paragraph 1: You had an experience. Therefore, it's wrong.
Paragraph 2: You had an experience, but it might not be like other people's experience. Therefore, it's wrong.
Paragraph 3: This doesn't matter anyway because I understand a distinction that no one else does, haha.

Brilliant logic.

1. A single anecdote is insufficient to establish a statistical generalization, and so the evidence is insufficient.
2. There are an abundance of good/plausible reasons for believing a correlation exists.

Paragraph 3 was not part of the argument, but was a reflection on the futility and masturbatory nature of this discussion.

Lol.

cc.celina

Posts: 602
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 1:17 pm

### Re: LSAT/SAT correlation + realistic potential score?

JJJ123 wrote:1. A single anecdote is insufficient to establish a statistical generalization, and so the evidence is insufficient.

OP wasn't interested in establishing a generalization, he was interested in becoming an exception to it. Sometimes common sense is helpful. OP's question was not "masturbatory," he was simply looking for reassurance that he is not doomed.

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