LSAT scores play a crucial role in whether or not applicants get into their chosen law school programs. Even if you submit an impressive resume, personal statement, and letter of recommendation, a subpar LSAT score can lower your chances for acceptance. Wondering what constitutes a good LSAT score? The answer differs for each test taker and depends on factors like:
- Your chosen law school's admission requirements
- Which percentile ranking helps you stand out among other test takers
- How well you expect to perform on each LSAT section
Law School Requirements
Scaled LSAT scores range from 120 to 180, with most students earning results in the 150s. Different law schools have different standards in terms of what LSAT scores they're willing to accept. Depending on where your chosen institution ranks among the top law schools in the United States, you may want to strive for an LSAT score in one of the following ranges:
- 160–170 and above: Common LSAT score range for Tier 1 law schools
- 156–160: Meets general LSAT score requirements for several Tier 2 institutions
- 151–155: Acceptable LSAT results for Tier 3 and Tier 4 schools
Do Law Schools Have Cutoff Scores?
While aiming for an LSAT score within your chosen law school's typical acceptable range is a good idea, try to give yourself a little wiggle room when setting your goal. The LSAC discourages law schools from having cutoff scores that disqualify anyone who tests below a certain point value. So, even if you miss your target score by a few points, you still have a chance of getting into the institution of your dreams.
Choosing a target score within a certain LSAT percentile is another excellent idea. Percentile rankings allow your selected law schools to see how well you tested compared to other applicants. Achieving an above-average percentile ranking can improve your chances of getting into a particular law school program.
The following table depicts LSAT score percentiles for the 2014–2017 testing years:
LSAT Scores & Percentiles
|Reported Score||Percentile||Reported Score||Percentile|
As you can see, each scaled LSAT score fits within a certain percentile. For example, those who got a 153 are in the 55th percentile, meaning they scored higher than 55% of the other test takers.
Most people aim for a score of 157 so they can reach the 70th percentile and make a good impression on their chosen law school's admission board. However, if you're hoping to attend one of the top institutions in the country, reaching the 90th percentile with a 165 or higher might be a better way to stand out from the other applicants.
Scored LSAT Sections
Examining your academic strengths can help you determine the most realistic LSAT score to aim for. Only three of the four LSAT sections receive a score, namely:
Exams also have an unscored written component that law schools review along with your test scores and application. An impressive LSAT essay can sometimes compensate for scores that fall slightly below your chosen institution's usual acceptance range. Those with strong writing skills may aim for a score between 155 and 160 and then write an essay that boosts their chances of getting into their desired school.
On the other hand, those who think the writing portion may be the most difficult part of the LSAT might want to choose a target score between 165 and 170. From there, test takers can dedicate more time to practicing logic games, reviewing sample reading prompts, and completing mock tests that help them earn high marks on the scored parts of the exam.
Achieving Your Target LSAT Score
Whether you're aiming for a school-specific score or simply want to earn high marks that can appeal to several institutions, you can use the tips in this article to pick a target LSAT score that works for your skillset and meets your chosen law school's expectations. Then use Grad Prep's resources to develop a study schedule and complete the right number of practice tests to accomplish your score goal.