MAcc2007 wrote:GMAT really has more than three types of questions you have to prepare for. The unique question types you have to prepare for on the GMAT are math (both PS and DS), SC, and IR while the LSAT only has one unique section, which is the AR section. The questions on the LSAT are self contained in the sense that you do not need to know anything outside of the test to answer the LSAT questions. Honestly, there isn't one rule you need to know in order to take the LSAT. However, two of the unique topics on the GMAT, SC and math, require you to know the rules from outside the test in order to be able to competently answer the questions. In other words, the LSAT focuses heavily on your ability to understand a set of information that is in front of you, while the GMAT has large chunks that depend on your knowledge of a rule book from outside the test.
Let's ignore the CR and RC sections, because, to use business jargon, those are irrelevant costs. That is, CR and RC are more or less the same on both tests. I know that isn't entirely true if you aren't answering the 700-800 level questions on the GMAT, but for those who are answering those questions, the RC and the CR are very similar.
To be clear at the highest level, I believe the GMAT is the harder test not only because you have to memorize rules for certain sections, but also the number of skills you have to refine. The GMAT requires that you know the rules and how to do math for PS. The GMAT requires that you know those rules well enough to not necessarily need to the do the math on DS. The GMAT requires that you know the rules for sentence correction in addition to being able to read competently. The LSAT doesn't require any of these things; however, the whole LSAT is based on 700-800 difficulty questions, but the difficulty of the questions is largely irrelevant if you are a GMAT test taker who will score in the top percentiles. This leaves that test taker with the more difficult test because of the other differences between the two tests.
Ah, now I understand what you're saying, though I still disagree.
The GMAT is a test of both content and skills/strategy. The LSAT is a test purely of skills/strategy. That's true, but I think it goes too far to say that therefore the GMAT is harder. The SAT is also a test of both content and skills/strategy, but I think it would be hard to argue that the SAT is harder than the LSAT. Simply counting things tested doesn't give you a good measure of difficulty; you could say that the SAT has two formats of Math (multiple choice and grid-in), three formats of Reading (SCs, Short Reading, Long Reading — you could also count dual passages in there), and four formats of Writing (Essay, Improving Sentences, Error ID, Improving Paragraphs), so it must be harder than the LSAT. But that's clearly wrong.
Frankly, I think that content-based tests are easier because there's something to learn. If you learn how to solve for x, suddenly you're getting more questions right. With a skill-based test, you have to change how you think, and I think that's harder.
It's true that the GMAT has more question formats (PS and DS in the math; SC, CR, and RC in the Verbal; and whatever goes on with IR). But each question format is simpler. CR on the GMAT has predominantly four question types: Strengthen, Weaken, [Necessary] Assumption, and Inference. It has a few more types that you see maybe one or two times per test, each. Compare that to LR: there are maybe 12-15 question types (depending on how you count), each of which shows up regularly and none in gross disproportion to the others.
And then on an apples-to-apples comparison, your average Strengthen question on the GMAT is easier than your average Strengthen question on the LSAT, and the same is true of everything else that they share.
So much for LR and RC, where I think it's pretty clear that the LSAT is harder. As for Math and SC vs. AR, it depends a fair bit on how good you are at math/grammar vs. logic games to begin with. I tend to think that the kind of reasoning used in all three is essentially the same (core critical thinking/logical skills), but how you find these subjects will depend on your background in math and in grammar vs. your rule-interpreting and spatial reasoning skills. SC is not likely to be the deciding point here, because it's still fundamentally based on reading skills; it's mostly going to be how you feel about math as compared to logic games.
As someone who had a pretty good math background and studied Latin in college, I found the GMAT's stuff pretty straightforward; it took not very much practice to get pretty good at it. But without having done a lot of tightly timed brain teasers, it took a fair bit of work for me to get up to test speed with logic games. I suspect that most people will be the same way, except for people who know that they're very bad at math but somehow can deal with logic games.
So I'm not saying that the GMAT will be easier for everyone, but it will be easier for everyone except a particular subgroup of people (very bad at math, capable with logic games).
EDIT: Oh, I suppose you're talking about the comparison for high-percentile test-takers, not for the typical test-taker. Hmm. The track of questions that a high-scoring GMAT test-taker gets is medium to hard, but I don't think that changes what I'm saying much at all. I think the GMAT tops out at a lower level than the LSAT does, on apples-to-apples question comparisons.