We live in a time of constant change. Everywhere you look, what was once the norm is evolving to be more inclusive and the admission exams accepted by universities are no exception. Just as MBA programs are starting to accept GRE scores in lieu of GMAT scores, some law schools are accepting GRE scores in lieu of LSAT scores.
Up until 2016, when the University of Arizona decided to go against a decades-old tradition, law schools strictly required applicants to submit LSAT scores in order to be evaluated on how prepared they were for law school. When making their decision, the University of Arizona analyzed a study that showed the GRE was just as reliable in predicting the success of a future law student as the LSAT was.
The American Bar Association states that law schools must require their first-year J.D. degree-seeking applicants to submit scores from a “valid and reliable admission test.” The results of the study analyzed by the University of Arizona showed the LSAT was not the only exam that met this requirement. Since then, the list of law schools willing to accept GRE scores has been growing.
In this article, I will discuss which law schools accept the GRE, compare the GRE General Test to the LSAT, and finally speak to who might benefit from taking the GRE instead of the LSAT.
Which Law Schools Accept the GRE? Official List
According to ETS–the writers and administrators of the GRE–the following law schools accept GRE scores for admission to their J.D. Programs:
- American University Washington College of Law
- Boston University School of Law
- Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School
- Brooklyn Law School
- Chicago-Kent College of Law
- Columbia Law School
- Cornell Law School
- Florida International University College of Law
- Florida State University College of Law
- George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School
- Georgetown University Law Center
- Harvard Law School
- John Marshall Law School
- Massachusetts School of Law at Andover
- New York University School of Law
- Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
- Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law
- Pennsylvania State University — Penn State Law
- Pepperdine School of Law
- Seattle University School of Law
- St. John’s University School of Law
- Suffolk University Law School
- Texas A&M University School of Law
- University at Buffalo School of Law
- University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
- University of California, Davis, School of Law
- University of California, Irvine School of Law
- University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
- University of Chicago Law School
- University of Dayton School of Law
- University of Hawaii at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law
- University of New Hampshire School of Law
- University of Notre Dame Law School
- University of Pennsylvania Law School
- University of Southern California, Gould School of Law
- University of South Carolina School of Law
- University of Texas at Austin School of Law
- University of Virginia School of Law
- Wake Forest University School of Law
- Washington University School of Law
- Yale Law School
- Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
- Peking University School of Transnational Law
- Hamad Bin Khalifa Law School
GRE and LSAT Comparison
Below is a comparison of the structure, timing, and score ranges of the GRE and LSAT:
GRE General Test
|Measure||Number of Sections||Questions per Sections||Time per Section||Score Range|
|1 Section||2 timed|
|30 Minutes for each essay, a total of 1 hour||0-6, in half-point|
|2 Sections||20 Questions||30 Minutes||130-170, in one-point increments|
|Quantitative Reasoning||2 Sections||20 Questions||35 Minutes||130-170, in one-point increments|
|1 Section (Quantitati–ve or Verbal)||20 Questions||30 or 35 Minutes||Not Scored|
|Time per Section||Score Range|
|2 Sections||24-26 Questions||35 Minutes||Contributes to|
scaled score range from 120-180
|1 Section||4 Logic Games with 4-7 Questions each||35 Minutes||Contributes to|
scaled score range from 120-180
|1 Section||27 Questions||35 Minutes||Contributes to|
scaled score range from 120-180
(Arguments, Games, or Reading
|Writing Sample||1 Section||1 Essay Response||35 Minutes||Unscored but sent|
to score recipients
Biggest Differences Between the GRE and LSAT
Below is a numerical list of some of the main differences between the LSAT and GRE General Test:
- One of the biggest differences between the LSAT and GRE is that the LSAT is universally accepted when applying to law school and the GRE is not.
- The other significant difference between the two exams is content. Although both exams are written to test a person’s critical reasoning skills, how this is done varies. The GRE is a more general test and has a wider variety of questions. There are two math sections, two scored essays, and vocabulary is emphasized in the Verbal Reasoning measure.
The LSAT is specifically geared towards measuring someone’s potential for a legal career. The Arguments sections (Logical Reasoning) contain questions that will test you on your ability to decipher how an argument is put together, assumptions that were made, and what would strengthen or weaken that argument. This line of reasoning appears on the GRE, but not as much.
- The LSAT is only offered six times a year and the GRE is offered year around.
- The LSAT is paper-delivered and the GRE is a computer-delivered exam. Some test takers prefer to be able to write on their test booklet in order to work out problems or cross off answer choices.
- The LSAT does not adapt to difficulty level. Every question is predetermined the minute you sit down to take the exam. The GRE is section-level-adaptive. Hence, how well you perform on your first Verbal section will determine how challenging your second Verbal section is. The same applies to the Quantitative sections. Your performance on Verbal will not affect your Math sections and vice versa.
- You can sit for the LSAT as much as you would like. The GRE requires test takers to wait 21 days between test dates and you are restricted to taking the exam up to five times per calendar year.
- If you take the computer-delivered GRE, you can view your Verbal and Quantitative scores immediately following the test. This allows you to see how you did prior to deciding whether or not you want to submit your scores to schools. This is not the case with the LSAT.
- ETS gives test takers the option to use the ScoreSelect tool, which allows applicants to choose the scores they want to send schools (if they have taken the GRE more than once). On the other hand, the LSAT score reports include all past LSAT scores. Law schools are encouraged to take the average of all past LSAT scores when considering an applicant.
Who Should Consider Taking the GRE Instead of the LSAT?
Below are three primary reasons you might choose to take the GRE over the LSAT when applying to law school. However, the most important aspect you will need to consider is the law school itself. I do not recommend applying to a school simply because they accept the GRE if you feel there is another program out there that is a better fit for you.
Strong Math Skills
One of the reasons universities such as Harvard started to accept the GRE was to attract applicants that had more diverse backgrounds. It is known that one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when preparing for the LSAT is the logic games. On the GRE, many students dread preparing for the math section–particularly the Quantitative Comparison questions. Hence, if you already have a strong math background, you might find the GRE more suitable.
Pursuing a Joint Degree
Some of you might want to enter into a joint degree program. Instead of preparing for the LSAT and GRE separately, you can simply prepare for the GRE as long as the law school accepts it. This can save you valuable time and money during the application process. Due to the fact the exams are so different, trying to master both is not a good use of time unless you have no other option.
Already Took the GRE
Perhaps you have taken the GRE and are therefore either familiar with it or you already have a score that will make you a competitive law school applicant. For those of you who took the GRE because you are currently in a graduate program or have completed a graduate program, even better! These are the other types of applicants law schools are hoping to attract by accepting GRE scores.