Taking the GRE for Law School
While the LSAT is still the go-to test for those looking to enroll in a law school program, many institutions also look at GRE scores when considering potential candidates. To decide which of these entrance exams is right for you, you'll need to understand how the tests differ, learn what law schools accept the GRE, and determine what score you need to get into your chosen institution.
Do You Need to Take the GRE?
Not every school accepts the GRE, though this policy can change from year-to-year. For those that do, experts claim that the GRE can be a reliable indicator of how well a first-year law student will do in the classroom. Accepting these test scores can also make legal education more accessible to students from different educational and geographical backgrounds.
Do Law Schools Prefer the GRE or LSAT?
Although law schools are starting to accept the GRE as part of the admission process, some institutions still prefer to use LSAT scores to measure a candidate's potential for success. Even schools that consider GRE test results tend to favor the LSAT over the GRE if an applicant submits both scores.
GRE vs. LSAT
What Are the Differences Between the Exams?
While both of these standardized tests share some similarities, they also have several key differences that might affect your decision to take one over the other. The following factors can help you decide whether the GRE or the LSAT would be a better option for you:
- Acceptance Rates: While not every university currently accepts the GRE, almost all of them accept the LSAT. Depending on the law school requirements for your chosen program, taking the LSAT may be your only option.
- Difficulty Level: Since the GRE and LSAT difficulty levels vary for each person, one of these exams may be a better fit for your academic abilities. Students who lack certain vocabulary and math skills may struggle with the GRE's Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Reasoning sections. Meanwhile, the logic games on the LSAT may be more challenging for some test-takers.
- Availability: Testing centers offer the GRE and the LSAT at different times of the year. While students can register for the GRE year-round, the LSAC only offers the LSAT during certain months. If you fail to register for the LSAT within the necessary time frame, the GRE may be your best bet.
- Retake Opportunities: Students can take the GRE five times in a calendar year. However, you only have three chances to hit your target LSAT score within that same time frame. If you think you'll need to retake your law school admission exam multiple times, it's important to recognize this distinction.
What Is a Good GRE Score for Law School?
Since accepting the GRE for law school admission is a relatively new practice, there isn't as much data on acceptable results. While most institutions expect candidates to earn a total GRE score of 318 or higher, others may require specific results for each individual test section. Either way, earning the highest possible score will likely improve your odds for acceptance into your preferred program.
Law Schools that Accept the GRE
As more and more institutions start welcoming candidates' GRE scores, aspiring law school students will have more opportunities when pursuing their legal careers. Although the list of universities that accept the GRE can change on a yearly basis, many prominent law schools currently consider applicants' results, including:
- Harvard Law School
- Yale Law School
- University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
- Cornell Law School
- Columbia Law School
Choosing an Exam
Is It Harder to Get Into Law School with the GRE?
Prospective law students should carefully review their chosen school’s requirements when deciding which test to take. However, if you are still undecided about where to apply, taking both exams will allow for more flexibility in your options.