Once you have a basic grasp of the LSAT, it's time to dig deeper. Read more about each LSAT section, discover which LSAT administration is right for you, and set the record straight about the notorious LSAT curve.
In December 2005, an event occurred that shook the LSAT community to its core. On that particular LSAC administration, one could only miss five questions to earn an LSAT score in the 99th percentile. Legions of test takers turned to Ben and Jerry's for delicious LSAT curve solace.
Then came the June 2007 exam, in which LSAC allowed only six missed questions for an LSAT score to land in the 99th percentile. Six was the magic number a year later when anyone who took LSAC's October 2008 LSAT could only miss that many questions to land in the 99th percentile.
Though this may seem innocuous to some, for students applying to elite law schools requiring a high LSAT score, the stingy LSAT curves were devastating. Rather than a typical LSAC administration in which 10-12 questions could be missed for an LSAT score to land in the 99th percentile, exams like the December 2005 had an LSAT curve that allowed just half that amount.
Two culprits may be to blame for a brutal LSAT curve. The first is an easier exam (thanks, LSAC). Because more people can answer more questions correctly, only those who miss a very small number can receive a high LSAT score. The second cause for a difficult curve is that students taking LSAC's tricky little test are getting better. Though the questions may not be easy, fewer students miss them. Thus, higher LSAT scores.
But how have things changed since then — aside from the availability of way more Ben and Jerry's flavors? Does this mean the brutal LSAT curve is here to stay?
Let's take a look at LSAC's September 2009 administration, which featured more test takers (60,746) than any LSAT in LSAC history. The LSAT curve on that exam allowed test takers to miss seven questions for an LSAT score in the 99th percentile.
The second-most popular administration in LSAC history was the October 2010 exam (54,345 test takers) and featured an LSAT curve that also allowed seven missed questions for an LSAT score in the 99th percentile.
This is not an attempt to pronounce causation between the number of test-takers and the LSAT curve. After all, the December 2009 and December 2010 LSATs featured very favorable LSAT curves — as will plenty of LSAC administrations in the future.
It's not in LSAC's interest to continue to make difficult LSAT curves. If the idea of LSAT scores is to differentiate between the abilities of law school candidates, having an LSAT curve where three LSAT scores are removed fails in this goal. It's like trying to differentiate Jeopardy candidates by asking who wrote Hamlet. When everyone gets the question right, it makes it nearly impossible to figure out the smartest person in the room.
The clearest way for LSAC to maintain an easier LSAT curve is to make it more difficult to earn a higher LSAT score, particularly in view of the fact that it's fairly clear more and more students have access to resources that will all but guarantee a higher LSAT score. If you're thinking about taking the LSAT, this means your own preparation must rise to meet these challenges. Studying diligently on your own or taking a preparatory course can help. That, and some judicious use of Ben and Jerry's.
©Copyright 2004-2011 Blueprint Prep. All Rights Reserved
1.888.4.BP.PREP // firstname.lastname@example.org