GMAT vs LSAT

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alexrodriguez
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby alexrodriguez » Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:45 pm

Nova wrote:
MAcc2007 wrote:I believe the GMAT is more difficult because you are forced into studying to improve your score, whereas your LSAT score is unlikely to improve much with more study.

Huh? Most people who study right improve their LSAT score significantly.


It's okay. He's new.

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Louis1127
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby Louis1127 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:09 pm

MAcc2007 wrote:
qtf wrote:The guy teaching the Powerscore LSAT course I am in teaches the GMAT too and says that LSAT is way harder.


Having taken both and having done slightly better on the LSAT than the GMAT, I believe that the GMAT is generally the more difficult test. The key reason for this is that more studying must occur to perform successfully on the GMAT. That is, you must be ready to deal with more topics (i.e. PS, DS, CR, RC, SC, IR, and AWA) than the LSAT (i.e. RC, CR, AR, and writing). Also, you can prepare for the GMAT more than you can for the LSAT; the more tricks you know for factoring numbers or dealing with shapes, the easier the GMAT becomes. However, you must learn all of these tricks (and there are a lot of them). Perhaps, I didn't get taught well enough in high school, or I wasn't a good student in high school. The fact that someone can simply study for the GMAT until they learn all of the tricks creates the situation in which a person simply studies more than someone else to thereby improve his or her score above my score.

The LSAT is easier in my mind because it is very difficult to improve your score through study. That isn't to say that the LSAT is easy, but it is, in my opinion, simply a test of how well you understand RC, CR, and AR and there aren't very many tricks that are going to help you on test day. Thus, you are likely to get consistent test scores on the LSAT.

I believe the GMAT is more difficult because you are forced into studying to improve your score, whereas your LSAT score is unlikely to improve much with more study.


Right.

MAcc2007
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby MAcc2007 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:13 pm

Nova wrote:
MAcc2007 wrote:I believe the GMAT is more difficult because you are forced into studying to improve your score, whereas your LSAT score is unlikely to improve much with more study.

Huh? Most people who study right improve their LSAT score significantly.


Maybe it is because I don't have room to increase my score and I didn't study for the LSAT nearly as long as I studied for the GMAT.

MAcc2007
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby MAcc2007 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:16 pm

Louis1127 wrote:
MAcc2007 wrote:
qtf wrote:The guy teaching the Powerscore LSAT course I am in teaches the GMAT too and says that LSAT is way harder.


Having taken both and having done slightly better on the LSAT than the GMAT, I believe that the GMAT is generally the more difficult test. The key reason for this is that more studying must occur to perform successfully on the GMAT. That is, you must be ready to deal with more topics (i.e. PS, DS, CR, RC, SC, IR, and AWA) than the LSAT (i.e. RC, CR, AR, and writing). Also, you can prepare for the GMAT more than you can for the LSAT; the more tricks you know for factoring numbers or dealing with shapes, the easier the GMAT becomes. However, you must learn all of these tricks (and there are a lot of them). Perhaps, I didn't get taught well enough in high school, or I wasn't a good student in high school. The fact that someone can simply study for the GMAT until they learn all of the tricks creates the situation in which a person simply studies more than someone else to thereby improve his or her score above my score.

The LSAT is easier in my mind because it is very difficult to improve your score through study. That isn't to say that the LSAT is easy, but it is, in my opinion, simply a test of how well you understand RC, CR, and AR and there aren't very many tricks that are going to help you on test day. Thus, you are likely to get consistent test scores on the LSAT.

I believe the GMAT is more difficult because you are forced into studying to improve your score, whereas your LSAT score is unlikely to improve much with more study.


Right.


I'm interested in the reasoning behind this opinion. The LSAT has three question types. Once you get the AR timing down you are left with CR and RC. Your reading comprehension can be improve albeit, slowly. CR gets to a point where you aren't going to improve much, I would think.

I really thought the GMAT was harder, but that may have been for me.

MAcc2007
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby MAcc2007 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:04 pm

louierodriguez wrote:
Nova wrote:
MAcc2007 wrote:I believe the GMAT is more difficult because you are forced into studying to improve your score, whereas your LSAT score is unlikely to improve much with more study.

Huh? Most people who study right improve their LSAT score significantly.


It's okay. He's new.


Was your score a 180? Just wondering because of your avatar. If it was a 180, what was your study technique?

Glaucon
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby Glaucon » Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:51 pm

I wrote both twice; scoring ~720 on the GMAT (94th percentile) and ~165 on the LSAT. I spent 5 weeks total studying for the GMATs and 3 months total for the LSATs. I took the LSAT first, GMAT second and third, etc. I scored about the same for both writes. I don't know if I would have felt the same on the GMAT if i studied for it as much as I did for the LSAT, but I feel it was harder to score at the higher end of the GMAT. Computer adaptive tests leave no room for error, so silly mistakes are potentially ruinous. Many GMAT CR questions are also flawed; they rely on shallow assumptions that wouldn't withstand the formal scrutiny one would regularly apply to LSAT LR questions. The GMAT has almost 0 formal logic questions whereas the LSAT has only a few questions that focus on content instead of formal reasoning or structuring. Hence the GMAT's counterpart is called "critical reasoning" instead of "logical reasoning" because the word "critical" denotes that the focus is not on formal logic but reasoning critically with "common sense", although I personally frown on what GMAC considers common sense. Fortunately, one can sense from the most recent tests that GMAC is retiring some of the old questions with questionable assumptions. That's another thing: you can't practice hard official GMAT questions, you can only do tough questions cooked up by prep companies with vested interests in either lowering your score or raising it to give a false impression of improvement, because GMAT recycles their questions so they never release any official ones (except for grossly outdated ones). Finally, GMAT CR and RC questions are 1000x more dense than their LSAT counterparts. Ever read an academic article in an economics journal? Each sentence in a GMAT RC passage could itself be a paragraph. GMAT RC passages don't "flow" at all, whereas one could skim through a LSAT RC passage when one falls behind; doing that on the GMAT spells certain death. GMAT passages are completely monotonous and crammed to the brim with factual content instead of descriptive sentences (the type that fills three lines but only says about two things).

Those people who think the LSAT is supremely more difficult than the GMAT are probably right because it does seem that the GMAT has a lower ceiling and is far less complex (many, many schools reject people with perfect GMAT scores than law schools do for people with perfect LSAT scores). However, those who thrive on formal logic may struggle with its other pitfalls.

tomwatts
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby tomwatts » Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:13 pm

MAcc2007 wrote:I'm interested in the reasoning behind this opinion. The LSAT has three question types. Once you get the AR timing down you are left with CR and RC. Your reading comprehension can be improve albeit, slowly. CR gets to a point where you aren't going to improve much, I would think.

I'm a little unclear on what you're trying to say. Everything that you've just said about the LSAT is also true of the GMAT. The GMAT has three section types, too: Math, Verbal, and IR. The LSAT and the GMAT both have RC and an arguments question type (LR on LSAT, CR on GMAT). To the extent that your reading comprehension can be improved, albeit slowly, that applies to both the LSAT and the GMAT. To the extent that arguments get to a point where you aren't going to improve much, that applies to both the LSAT and the GMAT. (I think the former is sort of true, and I think the latter is not, but that's beside the point.)

So what exactly did you mean? It sounded as though you were trying to justify a statement about differences between the LSAT and the GMAT, but you did it by pointing out what they have in common.

I will just mention that, as a test prep teacher who took both of these tests and taught both of them, too, I put my thoughts on the matter on the previous page. Long story short: the GMAT is easier where the two are comparable, but it's also just kind of different (math).

As some have pointed out, it's also a little harder to study for the GMAT, because — unlike the LSAT but like most every other test — you have to be a little discerning about the materials that you use. Official questions are few (there are three books and there's the GMAT Prep software), so most people make use of questions written by prep companies to supplement their studying. This is not itself a problem, as long as you understand where stuff is coming from.

MAcc2007
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby MAcc2007 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:08 pm

tomwatts wrote:
MAcc2007 wrote:I'm interested in the reasoning behind this opinion. The LSAT has three question types. Once you get the AR timing down you are left with CR and RC. Your reading comprehension can be improve albeit, slowly. CR gets to a point where you aren't going to improve much, I would think.

I'm a little unclear on what you're trying to say. Everything that you've just said about the LSAT is also true of the GMAT. The GMAT has three section types, too: Math, Verbal, and IR. The LSAT and the GMAT both have RC and an arguments question type (LR on LSAT, CR on GMAT). To the extent that your reading comprehension can be improved, albeit slowly, that applies to both the LSAT and the GMAT. To the extent that arguments get to a point where you aren't going to improve much, that applies to both the LSAT and the GMAT. (I think the former is sort of true, and I think the latter is not, but that's beside the point.)

So what exactly did you mean? It sounded as though you were trying to justify a statement about differences between the LSAT and the GMAT, but you did it by pointing out what they have in common.

I will just mention that, as a test prep teacher who took both of these tests and taught both of them, too, I put my thoughts on the matter on the previous page. Long story short: the GMAT is easier where the two are comparable, but it's also just kind of different (math).


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.

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Nova
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby Nova » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:14 pm

I think Im going to teach myself GMAT math cause Im bored and like to be in the 90th+ percentile of things.

Whats the best way to master the math section? Pretty sure CR/RC will be cake.

MAcc2007
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby MAcc2007 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:28 pm

Nova wrote:I think Im going to teach myself GMAT math cause Im bored and like to be in the 90th+ percentile of things.

Whats the best way to master the math section? Pretty sure CR/RC will be cake.


If you have recently taken the LSAT the CR/RC sections will be cake. I hardly had to study those sections because I took the LSAT first. I recommend Manhattan GMAT math books. I used some of them and they were really good. I also used the Kaplan prep book, which was quite good, though it wasn't as detailed as the Manhattan GMAT books.

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Nova
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby Nova » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:30 pm

Cool, I loved the Manhattan LSAT guides so its good to know the Manhattan GMAT math guide is legit

thx

tomwatts
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby tomwatts » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:16 pm

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.

Glaucon
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby Glaucon » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:22 pm

My second LSAT sitting was for the Dec '12 test, and I made 4 errors in both LR sections combined. This was only slightly worse (by a few tenths of a decimal point) than the average % of errors for my GMAT CR practice sets (omitting my earlier CR scores when I didn't know what the heck I was doing). I also have two friends who both scored 173+ (better than the 99th percentile) but only 44 and 45 on their GMAT verbal, scores sub and on the dot of 99th percentile (they insist SC was not the problem and I'm inclined to believe this for English majors). Maybe they goofed on a few questions, but that just highlights the perils the testing format poses. GMAT RC and CR are not irrelevant costs considering that the margin of error for those who want a 95+ percentile score on the verbal is about 6 errors. A lot of GMAT instructors will also tell you as they have told me, sincerely I hope, that the hardest RC passages on the GMAT is actually more difficult than the hardest RC passages found on the LSAT. If your SC score is -2, then you can only afford -2 for each RC and CR sections, which is actually quite difficult. If you score north of 165 on the LSAT, don't get complacent and gloss over GMAT's RC and CR. You'll regret it.

MAcc2007
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Re: GMAT vs LSAT

Postby MAcc2007 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:36 pm

Glaucon wrote:My second LSAT seating was for the Dec '12 test, and I made 4 errors in both LR sections combined. This was only slightly worse (by a few tenths of a decimal point) than the average % of errors for my GMAT CR practice sets (omitting my earlier CR scores when I didn't know what the heck I was doing). I also have two friends who both scored 173+ (better than the 99th percentile) but only 44 and 45 on their GMAT verbal, scores sub and on the dot of 99th percentile (they insist SC was not the problem and I'm inclined to believe this for English majors). Maybe they goofed on a few questions, but that just highlights the perils the testing format poses. GMAT RC and CR are not irrelevant costs considering that the margin of error for those who want a 95+ percentile score on the verbal is about 6 errors. A lot of GMAT instructors will also tell you as they have told me, sincerely I hope, that the hardest RC passages on the GMAT is actually more difficult than the hardest RC passages found on the LSAT. If your SC score is -2, then you can only afford -2 for each RC and CR sections, which is actually quite difficult. If you score north of 165 on the LSAT, don't get complacent and gloss over GMAT's RC and CR. You'll regret it.


I agree that one should not be complacent about CR and RC, but I didn't spend anywhere near the amount of time studying CR and RC as I did studying PS, DS, and SC. At the end of the day, I spent at least 90% plus of my time studying the last three topics when compared to RC and CR.




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