Digital LSAT Dates Announced

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DKilloranPowerScore

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Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby DKilloranPowerScore » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:22 am

Per LSAC, the Digital LSAT will begin with the July 2019 exam. That will be a "transitional" test, with some students being assigned paper and others digital. The big bonus: you get to see your score before cancelling, and you can retake for free anytime up until April 2020 if you cancel. Then, in September 2019, the test goes all-digital.

So, it's coming in less than a year...

albanach

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby albanach » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:25 pm

DKilloranPowerScore wrote:Per LSAC, the Digital LSAT will begin with the July 2019 exam. That will be a "transitional" test, with some students being assigned paper and others digital. The big bonus: you get to see your score before cancelling, and you can retake for free anytime up until April 2020 if you cancel. Then, in September 2019, the test goes all-digital.

So, it's coming in less than a year...


I think the most horrific section here will be RC. The passage might stretch over multiple screens which would significantly delay going back and scanning text.

QContinuum

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby QContinuum » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:05 pm

DKilloranPowerScore wrote:Per LSAC, the Digital LSAT will begin with the July 2019 exam. That will be a "transitional" test, with some students being assigned paper and others digital. The big bonus: you get to see your score before cancelling, and you can retake for free anytime up until April 2020 if you cancel.


To be clear, per my understanding, only July 2019 "transitional" test takers get the "big bonus" of the ability to see their score before deciding whether to cancel. Folks who take any other LSAT administration (including future Digital LSAT administrations) will not get that special ability.

This may weigh in favor of shooting for a July 2019 test date for those who were planning on taking the LSAT next summer/fall anyway.

albanach wrote:I think the most horrific section here will be RC. The passage might stretch over multiple screens which would significantly delay going back and scanning text.


IMO the whole thing reeks. I really don't get the benefit of having applicants take a multiple-choice test on a tablet instead of with paper and pencil. I guess it'd help with the essay section, but that section really isn't important anyway.

albanach

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby albanach » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:20 pm

QContinuum wrote:
IMO the whole thing reeks. I really don't get the benefit of having applicants take a multiple-choice test on a tablet instead of with paper and pencil. I guess it'd help with the essay section, but that section really isn't important anyway.


The advantage is obviously being able to do the test more often. There's a massively reduced burden from not having to distribute 100,000 test books and scan the same number of answer sheets each year.

Even if 99% scan perfectly, they have 1,000 that need manual intervention.

Similarly, with nothing being mailed, results can be issued more quickly.

So there are plenty of benefits, but it would be reasonable to expect they come at a cost. It should be easy to see from the July test - do both groups have similar outcomes?

QContinuum

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby QContinuum » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:39 am

albanach wrote:The advantage is obviously being able to do the test more often. There's a massively reduced burden from not having to distribute 100,000 test books and scan the same number of answer sheets each year.

Even if 99% scan perfectly, they have 1,000 that need manual intervention.

Similarly, with nothing being mailed, results can be issued more quickly.


At $190 per person per test, LSAC should well be able to hire enough minimum-wage workers to feed those Scantrons into machines. The other cost, of having to distribute test books, is actually likely to increase with the Digital LSAT, as now, instead of merely mailing paper booklets to test centers, they'll have to mail tablets. And instead of printing & recycling paper booklets, they'll have to service/maintain the tablets... A wild guess: Inspecting each tablet after each Digital LSAT administration will cost far more than the minimal cost of printing a paper booket.

As for the cost of "manual intervention," handscoring requests cost test takers an additional $100, which more than pays for someone to spend 5-10 minutes manually grading a Scantron.

nixy

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby nixy » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:44 am

But they can reuse tablets, they can’t reuse booklets.

The GRE has been administered electronically for yonks, no one was up in arms over that.

QContinuum

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby QContinuum » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:58 am

nixy wrote:But they can reuse tablets, they can’t reuse booklets.


On the one side, we have the cost of mailing out a tablet to a test center and maintaining that tablet.

On the other side, we have the cost of printing a paper test booklet, mailing it out to a test center, and disposing of the booklet. The cost of printing a paper booklet has got to be less than $1, the cost of mailing out a paper booklet has got to be at least $5+ cheaper than mailing out a tablet, and the cost of disposing of a booklet is probably on the order of pennies (certainly cheaper than having techs inspect and maintain a tablet between each LSAT administration).

This is not even considering the upfront cost of buying those tablets. How long do you expect those tablets to last? Corporate laptops are usually on a 2-year lifespan. If the tablets are $200 a pop, and used for 20 administrations each (that's more than 2 years), that's an additional $10 cost per tablet per test.

I fear the added expense of the Digital LSAT will be used as another excuse to further hike applicants' costs.

nixy wrote:The GRE has been administered electronically for yonks, no one was up in arms over that.


The GRE is quite different from the Digital LSAT. You take the GRE at a Prometric test center any day of the year (so increased flexibility); you can take it at any Prometric test center anywhere (so increased flexibility); you get your score the instant you finish the exam (so increased convenience). The GRE is also on a regular computer, not a tablet (I'd never choose a tablet over a regular computer in any situation where time is of the essence).

nixy

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby nixy » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:04 am

Has it ever been suggested that someone taking the digital test won’t have access to scratch paper?

DKilloranPowerScore

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby DKilloranPowerScore » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:46 pm

nixy wrote:Has it ever been suggested that someone taking the digital test won’t have access to scratch paper?


No. Last year at the field tests there was a scratch paper "booklet" and the digital stylus had a pen built into it, and all suggestions are that the use of scratch paper will continue.

DKilloranPowerScore

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby DKilloranPowerScore » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:52 pm

QContinuum wrote:To be clear, per my understanding, only July 2019 "transitional" test takers get the "big bonus" of the ability to see their score before deciding whether to cancel. Folks who take any other LSAT administration (including future Digital LSAT administrations) will not get that special ability.

This may weigh in favor of shooting for a July 2019 test date for those who were planning on taking the LSAT next summer/fall anyway.



Yes, that is indeed the case, and I confirmed that directly with LSAC just to make sure. It's for July only, and thereafter it goes back to the "regular" way of cancelling. It's a huge benefit intended to offset the uncertainty of not knowing which format you will be assigned for July.

nixy

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Re: Digital LSAT Dates Announced

Postby nixy » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:31 pm

DKilloranPowerScore wrote:
nixy wrote:Has it ever been suggested that someone taking the digital test won’t have access to scratch paper?


No. Last year at the field tests there was a scratch paper "booklet" and the digital stylus had a pen built into it, and all suggestions are that the use of scratch paper will continue.

Then it wouldn’t matter to me how I was expected to record my answer.



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