Is The LSAT Predictive Of Success In Law School?
Wondering if the LSAT is predictive of success in law school? You are probably asking this question for one of two reasons: A.) you did really well on the LSAT and hope this means you will continue your success in law school or B.) you didn’t muster up a high LSAT score and are worried if this will translate into your law school grades. Well, the answer is a bit complicated. And, depending on how you are approaching this question, it may delight or frustrate you.
Is The LSAT Predictive Of Success In Law School?
The LSAT is best at determining first-year grades, not performance throughout law school or as an attorney.
This is good news if you did well on your LSAT, as the first year of law school is quite important. However, your 2L and 3L years hold a lot of weight with your GPA as well, so do not stress. Additionally, there are plenty of techniques for succeeding in your first year of law school, no matter what your LSAT score was. It is vital to leave that test score behind you once you have accepted admission into a law school. Whatever your score was, high or low, it will not help you for what is ahead. What truly matters is everything you do from this point on. A clear mind will better assist you in gaining success in law school.
Nonetheless, as far as the mathematics of it all, there are quite surprising results. LSAC ran a study utilizing 2011 and 2012 LSAT scores and first-year grades to find a correlation on a 1.0 scale. 1.0 means there was a strong correlation, and zero shows no correlation beyond random chance.
The study found that in 2012, the mean correlation was low at 0.36, varying between 0.19 and 0.55 depending on the institution. An ABA analysis found a strong correlation would land at around 0.70. This means there were generally weak correlations between the LSAT scores of students and their first-year law school grades. Some students did match up, but most did not.
This is important to remember, as you cannot put too much weight on your LSAT score.
The data shows that performing well on the LSAT is not a ticket to the top of the class. We know from experience, it is going to take a lot more to succeed in law school than being good at taking standardized tests.
The one aspect of the LSAT that will certainly help you with success in law school is the time pressure. Your first-year law exams will most likely be tightly timed tests requiring you to provide a lot of information. This is similar to the LSAT, in which time is very precious. If you did well with staying within LSAT timing constraints, this would be a benefit for you come test day.
If you did not, don’t stress. You have plenty of time to sharpen this skill. Begin by adapting law school exam timing techniques. Then, put these to work by taking lots of timed practice tests before your final!
Overall, this information indicates that success in law school falls on you at the end of the day. The LSAT isn’t necessarily predictive!
Many law students come to law school with a lower LSAT score and weak UGPA but still manage to break through to the top of their class. It is also possible to come into law school with a great UGPA and LSAT score only to find yourself falling behind in your class ranking. Each and every student going into law school must approach it with a clean slate. (This pertains to your GPA too. Don’t rest on your lorels just yet. Having done well in undergrad doesn’t mean you’ll get all As in law school.)
As stated before, the LSAT will not help you once you walk through your first class’s doors, so it is best to leave it behind. You want to be sure you are in the best mindset for starting law school! This includes focusing on what is ahead of you, rather than what is behind you.
We don’t deny it would be great if we could all start law school knowing how well we will do, but that isn’t the nature of the beast. Take the time to create a plan for when you begin law school. Learn key tips for success in law school. Get yourself organized for life in and out of your classes by scheduling everything in a planner or calendar. Put together daily checklists for when you start school, so you know exactly what your law school days will look like. Get to know what an outline is and how to create one. And when the time comes to begin school, apply yourself as best and efficiently as you possibly can. Hard work, determination, and critical thinking are going to serve you well no matter what you scored on your LSAT!
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