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New York, NY (April 12, 2018) — As momentum builds among law schools to allow applicants to submit GRE scores instead of LSAT® scores, those most directly impacted by the admissions policy are largely split on the issue. A Kaplan Test Prep survey of nearly 2,000 pre-law students finds them roughly evenly divided: 39 percent are against law schools offering applicants a GRE option; 33 percent are in favor of it; and 28 percent are unsure*. The survey also found aspiring lawyers divided on taking the GRE had they been given the option, with 28 percent saying they would have; 28 percent saying they would not have; and 44 percent unsure.
Among the pre-law students who would have taken the GRE, given the option, much of their reasoning focuses on the flexibility of the GRE and the perceived notion that the LSAT is more challenging:
- “Currently, I am interested in several different grad schools that accept the GRE. Also, the GRE tests knowledge rather than just skills. The GRE, in general, is easier to study for and still a strong predictor of how a student will do in law school.”
- The GRE is, as far as I know, a much easier test to study for and take. But more importantly, taking the GRE would allow me to apply for many different kinds of graduate school, rather than just law school.”
- “The LSAT is a monster. The GRE is also rough, but you can take the GRE at any time. You don’t have to force yourself to be ready by a certain date, because the GRE is offered so often.”
Among the students who would have still stuck with the LSAT, the reasoning often focused on the thinking that the LSAT is the more relevant test for law school:
- “The LSAT seems more appropriate and indicative of one’s ability to reason like a lawyer. I don’t know why any law school would require a test that contains two sections of math on it. Seems like a pretty irrelevant test with regards to law students.”
- “I wouldn’t, only because I believe the LSAT tests a specific set of skills that the GRE does not. There is a reason the LSAT was developed as the exam for law schools specifically, rather than using the GRE from the get-go.”
- “The LSAT is an exam for a specific profession, and teaches skills that are required for law school success. I imagine that students who submit an application with only a GRE score will be subject to higher scrutiny.”
The finding come just as the American Bar Association, which governs the nation’s 200+ law schools, deliberates this week on what, if anything, to do about the issue and law school admissions testing in general. To date, nearly 20 law schools already allow or have announced plans to allow applicants to submit GRE scores, including Harvard, Northwestern, and Georgetown.
“Opening up the applicant pool to GRE takers gives law schools more prospective students to choose from just as they begin to recover from a period of historically low application volume. It provides something of a safety net in case another application slump hits. It also gives law schools the opportunity to diversify their student bodies, a long-held goal by many in the legal education community. But our survey finds that many of tomorrow’s lawyers aren’t convinced of the efficacy or personal benefits of this admissions approach,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “Only 17 out of 204 accredited law schools currently allow applicants to submit GRE scores. That means most applicants are probably going to be applying to at least one law school that is still LSAT-only, so it makes sense to prepare for the LSAT. Additionally there is some uncertainty if the American Bar Association will allow this admissions policy to continue. If they come out and clearly state that law schools have a right accept GRE scores, we expect more schools to adopt this policy, which may provide students a true choice.”
Thomas also notes individual test takers’ skill sets and preparation may determine which of the two exams is more challenging, despite the perception among many pre-law students that the GRE is the “easier” of the two exams.
For a short video illustrating the results of the Kaplan survey, click here.
To schedule an interview about Kaplan’s survey results, please contact Russell Schaffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.453.7538.
*Based on the results of a Kaplan Test Prep e-survey conducted between June 2017 and February 2018 of 1,977 pre-law students who took a Kaplan LSAT course.
GRE® is a registered trademark of the Educational Testing Service. LSAT® is a registered trademark of Law School Admission Council, Inc. Neither is affiliated with this survey.
About Kaplan Test Prep
Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 100 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses. Among those tests are the SAT®, PSAT®, ACT®, GRE®, GMAT®, LSAT®, MCAT®, NCLEX-RN® and bar exams. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.
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