Ready to take the LSAT online?
Changes are afoot if you plan to take the LSAT! The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) has announced that starting with the September 21st test date, the LSAT is going fully digital. Candidates will take the LSAT on tablet computers provided by testing centers. As part of the transition to digital testing, half of all July 2019 test takers will take the LSAT on tablets, while the other half will take the test on paper, as usual. July test takers will not know in advance which option their test center is offering. However, the structure of the test and the test questions will be the same for both the paper and digital LSAT. Because of the changes being introduced, July test takers will have the opportunity to view their LSAT scores and then have five days to decide to make those scores official or to cancel them and get free admission to retake the test (on a tablet) in the 2019-2020 testing year.
Marks Education is here to help answer your questions about taking the LSAT in digital format and what it means for your test taking experience and study plan.
Where can I go to preview what this will be like?
The LSAC has created web-based software that you can use to practice the LSAT on a tablet. You can access this software at the website here via tablet, computer, or mobile. The website includes video explanations about the interface and practice problems for each of the different sections of the test.
Isn’t it important to mark up the questions? How can I do that on a tablet?
Each candidate will have a stylus to use with their provided tablet when taking the LSAT. The software allows test takers to write on the questions using the stylus and cross out wrong answers. Additionally, scratch paper will be provided for the Analytical Reasoning (Games) section of the test.
Do I have to write the essay on the tablet or is that still on paper?
Surprisingly, neither. The essay is going to be separate from the exam. Test takers will be able to write their essays on their own computers at a time of their choosing up to a year after taking the LSAT. The essay will continue to be unscored but will be submitted to schools along with the candidate’s application. Further, students will not be required to retake the essay when retaking the LSAT as long as their previous scores and essay are still valid.
What kind of tablet will the LSAT use?
The test will be administered on a Microsoft Surface Go tablet (8.3” x 5.5” screen), which includes a stylus. Especially dedicated candidates preparing for the LSAT might choose to purchase this tablet to use as part of their prep work. As of this writing, these tablets retail for $400 and up. Practice software is also available for use on iPads, Android tablets and laptops.
Will I be able to practice full tests on a tablet?
Probably, but not yet. As of this writing, no full official LSAT practice tests are available in digital form, although a handful of practice questions are. It is likely that the LSAT will release digital versions of practice tests for use in studying, but there is no timeline for their release yet.
Should I avoid taking the test in July when the changeover is just starting?
Actually, the July test is a great opportunity to take the LSAT and see your scores before they become official. On other administrations of the test, once you see your scores, they are official and count for 5 years. On the July 2019 test date only, students will be able to see their scores before they become official. Students choosing to cancel their scores will then be offered a free retake. (Note that law schools will see that a student chose to cancel his or her score from this test. However, law schools are unlikely to give much, if any, weight to that cancellation.
For a suggested timeline to prepare for the July LSAT, read our article, LSAT Preparation Tips: When to Start Preparing for the July LSAT.