The LSAT exam is one of the critical parts of the law school admissions process. However, the recent pandemic connected to Covid-19 has created confusion as to the administration of the test. In response to a number of concerns, the LSAC–the administering organization of the exam–has created an online version of the exam that provides an experience similar to the paper test with some notable exceptions. In order to better understand the impacts of the pandemic on the LSAT and the online version, the LSAC answered questions from College Consensus about the exam and the future of the LSAT.
How has the Coronavirus affected the short and long term future of the LSAT?
We are pleased to be able to help candidates continue their law school enrollment journeys by offering the LSAT-Flex, an online, remotely proctored solution designed to provide candidates with the opportunity to earn an LSAT score even if the COVID-19 crisis makes it impossible to deliver the test in person. We will continue to follow the guidance of public health officials and return to offering the LSAT in person once it is safe to do so.
What do law school applicants need to know about the LSAT-Flex? Where is the best place to find information on the LSAT-Flex?
The LSAT-Flex is composed of genuine LSAT questions that have been developed and tested in accordance with LSAC’s rigorous standards and multiyear processes. To meet the anticipated demand and needs of this remote testing solution, LSAT-Flex is composed of three 35-minute scored sections (compared to the four 35-minute scored sections and one unscored section that comprise the traditional test). Every LSAT-Flex includes one section each of Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, and Logical Reasoning. Test takers will continue to take LSAT Writing online and separately from the multiple-choice portion of the test. LSAT-Flex test takers will receive a score on the standard 120-180 LSAT range, as well as a percentile ranking. You can find more information about the LSAT-Flex here.
The LSAC appears committed to helping applicants who do not have the technical capabilities to take the LSAT-Flex. Can you tell us more about those efforts?
LSAC is committed to ensuring that every test taker has the equipment and other resources they need to take the LSAT-Flex. For test takers who do not have the necessary computer equipment or other necessary hardware, we will work with them to try to provide loaner devices or other solutions if appropriate. In this time of tremendous uncertainty, LSAC is proud to provide a solution that can help ease the burden on our candidates and law schools, while continuing to serve the LSAT’s original purpose of promoting fairness, integrity, access, and equity in legal education.
Do you imagine that online testing and potentially online learning to be a larger part of the law school application process in the future?
The COVID-19 crisis has caused educators, assessment organizations, and others to rethink conventional teaching and testing methods, among other practices, and it is likely that some of the innovations that were designed to help students pursue their educational goals during the pandemic will continue to serve as viable options even after COVID-19-related restrictions and safety guidelines have lifted. With specific regard to the LSAT-Flex, it is too soon to speculate on whether the LSAT-Flex format will continue to be offered after the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a threat to public health and safety. Right now, we are focused on trying to ensure that everyone who wants to take the LSAT to pursue their legal education goals has the opportunity to test, even during this unprecedented time.
Should applicants prepare for the LSAT-Flex differently than the regular LSAT? Are there any technical skills that would be helpful to master prior to taking the LSAT Flex?
Test takers can familiarize themselves with the format and content of the LSAT-Flex by using the free Official LSAT Prep practice tests available on LSAC’s LawHub. These are the same test preparation resources we recommend for students preparing for the standard, in-person LSAT. While there aren’t any technical skills that must be mastered in order to complete the LSAT-Flex, we strongly advise test takers to review the technical requirements regarding the equipment and resources needed to take the test. If a test taker finds they need assistance, we will work with them to try to find an appropriate solution, which may include providing a loaner device on which they can complete the LSAT-Flex.
For international students who may not live in the United States, are they able to take the LSAT- Flex?
LSAT-Flex is available to anyone who had already registered for the March, April, or June LSAT administrations in the U.S. and Canada. March and April registrants were automatically moved into the May LSAT-Flex, which begins May 18, and June registrants were moved into the June LSAT-Flex administration, which begins June 14. Therefore, if a student from outside of the United States or Canada was registered for the LSAT and had planned to take the test in person in the U.S. or Canada, they would’ve been automatically moved to the respective online LSAT-Flex.
For the writing portion of the LSAT, can applicants also complete that portion online?
Yes. While the writing portion of the LSAT used to be administered in-person directly following the multiple-choice portion of the test, it was separated from the multiple-choice portion in 2019. Since then, LSAT Writing has been administered online, and is available for test takers to complete beginning on the day of their LSAT administration. LSAT Writing is included in their test registration fee, and they are encouraged to complete it as soon as possible after completing the LSAT, or the LSAT-Flex, as most law schools will not consider their file complete until they have completed LSAT Writing.
If applicants need a special accommodation when working on a computer, can they apply for one?
Yes. LSAC is committed to working with LSAT-Flex test takers with disabilities to see that their accommodation needs are met under the circumstances. All test takers who were approved to receive accommodations for the April 25, 2020, or June 8, 2020, LSAT test dates will receive the same or equivalent accommodations for their LSAT-Flex test being administered during the week of May 18 or June 14, respectively. LSAC will communicate directly with each registrant with approved accommodations who is scheduled to take an LSAT-Flex exam, regarding their approved accommodations in the context of LSAT-Flex. Test takers who feel they may require accommodations are encouraged to reach out to LSAC Candidate Services at LSACinfo@LSAC.org so that we can work with them to determine appropriate solutions.