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New York, NY (July 12, 2018) — A new Kaplan Test Prep survey of over 350 aspiring lawyers finds that even if law schools opt out of requiring applicants to take a standardized test for admissions, 73 percent said they would likely submit an LSAT score anyway to gain a competitive advantage over those who don’t*. This comes as the American Bar Association, the organization which accredits the country’s 200-plus law schools, is set to meet in Chicago in early August to decide the future of admissions testing for law schools: either to still require a “valid and reliable” exam or not require one at all, leaving it up to the individual law schools to decide what’s best for them.
“There’s some strategic thinking going on among these pre-law students. In an admissions process that’s becoming increasingly rigorous because of a recent surge in applicants, aspiring attorneys will continue to look for every competitive advantage possible. For generations, that competitive advantage has been a high LSAT score,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep.
Students surveyed who favor requiring a test in the admissions process focused on a high LSAT score acting as an equalizer and the exam acting as a reasonable barrier to prevent less qualified applicants from getting in.
- “Without the LSAT being so important I probably wouldn’t have gotten into a great law school. But because of the LSAT, I can show merit without needing to be able to afford a fancy school. In my opinion, tests like the LSAT really level the playing field for students like me.”
- “Many of the skills developed for the LSAT are vital to your future success as a potential lawyer…(abolishing the requirement) might lower the overall quality of the legal profession. Attempting to lower the standards can be detrimental.”
- “The LSAT is a very challenging test that students need to work hard to study for. I feel like it ‘weeds out’ the people who will not make it in law school. I believe that (not requiring a test) will result in more students not graduating or dropping out.”
Pre-law students who are against standardized testing in the admissions process often cited issues around fairness and access, with one calling their use “very limited.”
“While we won’t know the future of admissions testing in law school for another few weeks, we think that even if the requirement is abolished, law schools will stick with some sort of test for a few reasons. First and importantly, the ABA is cautioning that should a law school choose not to require a standardized test and then find themselves admitting students incapable of graduating, the school would risk being out of compliance with ABA rules and losing their accreditation. Second, law schools find a standardized test helpful in that it’s the common yardstick they use to measure applicants who come from colleges of varying competitiveness. An ‘A’ at an Ivy League school, for example, is not the same as an ‘A’ at a lower ranked, less well-known school. Third, test scores are important factors in law school rankings calculations, which are heavily relied upon by students in deciding where to attend. Schools will continue to prefer high scores in as much as they boost their place in the rankings,” added Thomas.
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 survey conducted by email in June 2018 of 359 pre-law students who took a Kaplan LSAT preparation course.
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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. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.
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