Is the LSAT or GRE Harder?


If you plan on applying to law school you’re going to have to take an entrance exam. Traditionally, the LSAT was the only entrance exam available to law school applicants but an increasing number of law schools have changed their policies regarding the LSAT in recent years.

Most law schools still require the LSAT for consideration, but more than sixty J.D programs now accept either the GRE or the LSAT. This gives prospective law students more options in considering what exam to take. One of the considerations you are probably thinking about is whether the LSAT or GRE is harder.

Most people who have taken both the LSAT and the GRE would agree that the LSAT is more difficult. The GRE tests information that you can memorize whereas the LSAT does not, the GRE does not have logic games, and the LSAT is unique from any other exam whereas the GRE is similar to the SAT or the ACT.

There are several more reasons why the GRE is easier than the LSAT and I will go over them in this article. But the next logical question after determining which of these two exams is easier is which one should you take.

The LSAT is more difficult but they are two very different exams

You would not be wrong if you said that comparing the LSAT and GRE difficulty is comparing apples to oranges. The LSAT focuses on testing logical reasoning, analytical reasoning (logic games), and reading comprehension.

The GRE has a quantitative section that tests your mathematical skills, a verbal section, and an analytical writing section. The mathematical skill section is why some experts will tell you that the GRE is more difficult for students who have not brushed up on their math skills in a while.

But the GRE lacks a logic games section which is often considered the most difficult part of the LSAT.

The GRE significantly focuses on crystallized intelligence (accumulation of knowledge) whereas the LSAT makes a conscious effort to avoid that entirely.

Should you take the LSAT or the GRE?

The answer to that question depends on a few relevant factors. In determining which exam to take you should consider all of them.

The fact that the GRE is easier is not a good reason to take the exam

I wanted to get this out of the way initially because I have seen some students opt-in and take the GRE solely because the exam is known to be easier and less time consuming than the LSAT. This is a poor rationale.

Taking the GRE because it is easier is a bad idea because the LSAT provides more opportunities to set yourself apart from the crowd. If you study early and you study effectively you can outperform many of your peers on the LSAT and potentially receive a scholarship or admission into a higher-ranked law school.

The GRE is a significantly easier exam, many more students get perfect scores on the GRE, and students don’t have to study for as long to perform well. But the fact that it’s an easier exam also makes it more difficult for test-takers to separate themselves from the pack.

The LSAT takes longer to prepare for

Something you should be aware of is that preparing for the LSAT will take longer than preparing for the GRE. Most experts recommend that you study 1-3 months for the GRE, but you would be dead in the water if you began preparing a month before the LSAT.

The LSAT typically takes at a bare minimum 2-3 months of preparation and many students report studying for longer periods of time. I spent more than four months studying for the LSAT. It consumes a lot of time, in fact, it feels like you have an additional part-time job for several months.

You can check out my favorite LSAT preparation books here.

Cutting corners on the LSAT is a very bad idea, therefore if you don’t have time to prepare effectively for the exam it may be better to take the GRE.

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The LSAT is accepted everywhere, but the GRE is only accepted in some law schools

The fact that the GRE is only accepted at around 60-70 law schools is a serious problem. There are more than 200 ABA Accredited law schools throughout the nation so opting to take only the GRE is a serious limitation on the number of law schools you can apply to.

The number of law schools accepting the GRE is increasing every year, but you must keep in mind that it’s still a minority. The LSAT on the other hand is accepted at all law schools.

If you have several specific law schools in mind you should double-check that they accept the GRE. On the other hand, if you’re not sure where you want to attend law school than the LSAT is by far your best option. It will give you flexibility where the GRE will not.

Conclusion

Overall, if you are an aspiring law student I strongly recommend that you take the LSAT instead of the GRE. Even though the LSAT is more difficult and it takes longer to study for, I believe it has the advantage because every law school will accept the LSAT and it is easier to separate yourself from the pack with the LSAT.

Of course, the caveat is if you already took the GRE for admission into a graduate program. If you previously did this, and you’re happy with your score, then there is no reason to take the LSAT if your chosen law school accepts the GRE.

Hope this article helped out, check out some of our others on the LSAT!

Stephen Metellus

I am a 3L law student in Washington D.C and owner of theartoflawschool.com! I started law school with a lot of hopes and expectations, and it has certainly been a wild ride from the start! My goal is writing articles that help you in navigating through law school.

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