Market Overview

Kaplan Test Prep Survey: A Majority of Pre-Law Students Want Law Schools to Require a Standardized Admissions Test


As the American Bar Association prepares to announce if it will lift the
rule mandating all accredited law schools require applicants to submit a
score from a standardized test like the LSAT® or GRE®, pre-law students
are rendering their own verdict. According to a Kaplan Test Prep survey,
58 percent of aspiring lawyers say the ABA should keep the standardized
testing requirement in place, 36 percent want it lifted, and 6 percent
are not sure.*

One student who favored keeping the requirement shared, "The LSAT puts
all students on a level playing field. GPAs vary tremendously based on
school and major so the LSAT is a good way to score all students," while
another said, "The LSAT is an important indicator of how students
perform under pressure and timed. It also is a good equalizer." An
opponent of the requirement said, "I don't think standardized tests are
really measuring a student's ability to excel at a law school. It's just
measuring how good you are at taking standardized tests."

The origin of the ABA's pending decision came two and a half years ago,
when, during the tail end of an unprecedented application drought
affecting law schools nationwide, the University of Arizona's James E.
Rogers College of Law announced that it would begin allowing applicants
to submit GRE scores in lieu of LSAT scores for admissions. Since that
February 2016 move, more than 20 other law schools across the country
(including many of the top-ranked programs like Harvard, Columbia, and
UCLA) adopted this policy too, in an effort to expand and diversify
their applicant pool. Most recently, Cornell and UPenn not only began to
accept the GRE, but also the GMAT®, which has long been the admissions
test used by business schools.

The decision, expected to be announced within the next week at the 2018
Chicago ABA Annual Meeting, may go one of two ways:

  1. The ABA House of Delegates could concur with the decision the
    Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

    made in May to drop the requirement, thus leaving it up to the
    individual law schools to decide if they want to require a test or
    not, or;
  2. The ABA House of Delegates could refer the decision back to the
    Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the
    Bar for further consideration, at which point the latter group would
    reconvene, taking the full House of Delegates' recommendations into
    account, but not obligated to act on them. After further discussion
    between the two bodies, their original ruling could still go into
    effect, lifting the requirement.

"Most pre-law students and their future selves -- law school students --
are fair, but fiercely competitive, so the fact that a strong majority
wants a standardized admissions test as a screening element makes sense
based on everything we know about them," said Jeff Thomas, executive
director of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep. "It's important to note
that even if the recommendation to lift the testing requirement is
approved and implemented, it's doubtful that law schools will decide en
masse to do so. In fact, we expect many will stick with their own
admissions test requirement, be it the LSAT, GRE, or GMAT, as admitting
students unlikely to complete their legal education (as measured by high
dropout rates and/or low bar passage rates) would risk the school losing
its accreditation. In that sense, standardized tests act like a
safeguard against bad admissions practices that can have long-term
ramifications for both law schools and their students. Additionally, recent
Kaplan research
shows that pre-law students would submit an LSAT
score anyway to gain a competitive advantage over those who do not."

To schedule an interview about Kaplan's survey results, please contact
Mike Tague at
or 212-974-2785.

*Based on the results of a Kaplan Test Prep survey conducted by email
in July 2018 of 127 pre-law students who took a Kaplan LSAT preparation

Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective
trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor
affiliated with Kaplan or this survey.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (
is a premier provider of educational and career services for
individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the
world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of
online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital
products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 100 standardized
tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and
graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys,
physicians and nurses. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and
graduate admissions consulting services.

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company

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