The Old Knewton Blog

The September 2009 LSAT: Not All Tests Are Created Equal

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If you recently took the September 2009 LSAT, you may be wondering whether your test was any harder or easier than previous LSATs. Though it’s true that the LSAT varies slightly in difficulty from administration to administration, this variation will not affect your final score. Consider Jonas, a fictional law school hopeful who took the LSAT twice: once in June, 2008 and again in June, 2009. In June, 2008 Jonas correctly answered 86 out of the 101 scored questions on the test. When LSAC converted his raw score of 86 to the 120-180 point scale, he received a 165. In June, 2009 Jonas correctly answered only 83 of the 101 scored questions on the LSAT. His scaled score, however, remained the same – a 165. Because Jonas was able to earn the same scaled score by correctly answering fewer questions on the June 2009 test than the June 2008 test, we can say that the June 2009 test was “harder” by a margin of about 2-3%.

While some LSATs are a little harder or easier than others, converting raw scores to scaled scores effectively erases the differences in difficulties between test administrations. A 165 is a 165 no matter which way you look at it. Since the disparities in difficulty from LSAT to LSAT are effectively erased in the conversion from raw score to scaled score, you needn’t worry if you were stuck with a particularly “hard” test. If you are considering taking the LSAT again because you got a “hard” test, think again. Unless you put in a great deal of study time between now and the next test, your score is unlikely to change.

There are reasons to re-take the LSAT. If you think you performed significantly below your potential on test day, because you were ill or panicky or a witch doctor put a curse on your pencils, then it may well be in your interest to practice and re-take the test. Law schools are increasingly willing to consider only an applicant’s highest LSAT score. You should re-take the test especially if your weak point is Logic Games, since that section is the most readily improvable through practice. Also, if you consistently run out of time, this is another problem that responds well to a few, focused weeks of timed practice.

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Written by Knewton

October 19, 2009 at 3:00 PM

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