What is a Good LSAT Score?

By Rachel Shapiro Updated April 15, 2021

What’s a good LSAT score? The answer to this question is different for every student. The answer also depends on the law schools you’re applying to. If you’re taking the LSAT soon, here’s what you need to know about good LSAT scores and how to reach your score goal.

The LSAT Scoring System

The LSAT has three scored sections: Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. There are around 99 to 102 questions on the test. Each question is worth one point. There’s no penalty for wrong answers.

After you finish the LSAT, a computer calculates how many questions you got right to get your ‘raw score.’ For example, if you got 98 out of 100 questions right, your raw score is 98. This number isn’t what appears on your score report, though. After you get a raw score, it will be converted to a ‘scaled score.’ This will be on a scale of 120 to 180. If you got 100 questions right, your scaled score will be around 180. If you got 80 questions correct, your score will be around 160. LSAC has a full conversion chart on their website.

What’s a Good LSAT Score

Top 10% LSAT Scores

To score in the top 10% of all LSAT test-takers, you’ll need a 164 to 180.

Top 25% LSAT Scores

To get in the top 25% of LSAT scores, you’ll need a 159 to 163.

Top 50% LSAT Scores

You’ll need a 152 to 158 to score in the top 50% of all test-takers.

Below Average Scores

Any score that’s lower than 152 is considered below average. Keep in mind that scores of 151 or below may still get you into many law schools. They’re just considered below average compared to the testing population.

LSAT Score Percentiles

LSAT score percentiles show how well you did compared to other students who took the LSAT in the past few years. For instance, if you score in the 85th percentile, that means you scored higher than 85% of test-takers.

Your score percentile is included on your score report next to your scaled score. Some admissions officers put more weight on percentiles than LSAT scores themselves. Be sure to look at the average percentiles of law schools you’re applying to.

Important Things to Keep in Mind About Good LSAT Scores

The LSAT is a challenging standardized test. For proof of that, just look at how few students get a perfect score. Only about 30 out of every 100,000 students get a 180. This means less than .1% of test-takers get a perfect score.

This is important to keep in mind when creating your score goal. While it’s always good to aim high, remember that a 180 is very difficult to get. Plus, even Ivy League schools aren’t looking for perfect scores. The average LSAT score at Harvard and Yale is 173. At Columbia, it’s 172. To get into a top law school, you’ll typically want a score of 162 or above.

Because the LSAT is so difficult, you can get a few questions wrong and still be in the top percentile. Even if you get 10 questions wrong, you’ll still be in the 98th percentile. If you get 20 questions wrong, you’ll be in around the 90th percentile.

Since there are only 60 possible LSAT scores, getting one answer right or wrong makes a big difference. For example, if you got 57 questions right, you’d get about a 151 scaled score and land right in the 50th percentile. But if you got five more questions right, you’d move up to a 154 and the 60th percentile. Since around 130,000 students take the LSAT each year, this means you passed 13,000 other test-takers by just getting a few more questions right.

As you’re taking the test, keep reminding yourself that wrong answers don’t count against you. It’s always best to guess. As you can see from the example above, guessing right on one question could make a big difference.

Choosing Your LSAT Score Goal

When you start studying for the LSAT, set a score goal. This gives you a benchmark to work toward. The best way to decide your score goal is to look at the average scores of law schools you’re applying to. This will show you what you should aim to score.

Once you have a score goal, it’s a good idea to get a baseline score. You can do this by taking a free practice test on LSAC’s website. Getting a baseline score shows you where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Having this information will be beneficial as you begin studying.

How to Reach Your LSAT Score Goal

Once you’ve decided on your LSAT score goal, it’s time to start preparing. Spend time learning about the different concepts tested on the LSAT. Learn test-taking strategies. Do practice questions and practice tests. Read up on common question types and common puzzles in the logic games section. Read LSAT textbooks. Create a study schedule.

If you’d like a more guided approach, you can also consider taking a prep course with classes. Or, you can sign up for tutoring. Being prepared is the best way to reach your LSAT score goal.

Other Law School Admissions Factors

The LSAT is a big part of your law school application. Many schools use an ‘index formula’ that includes your LSAT score and undergraduate GPA. Schools weigh your LSAT score and GPA together to determine your application’s strength. At many schools, your LSAT score is weighed more heavily than your undergraduate GPA.

Your GPA and LSAT score are two of the most important parts of your application, but they aren’t the only things admissions officers look at. Admissions officers will look at your undergraduate coursework, resume, and letters of recommendation. They also weigh your personal essay heavily. They want to see that you can write well since that’s a skill you’ll need in law school.

Law schools also look at your extracurricular activities. Law schools want to admit motivated, energetic students who gave back to their undergraduate community. They like students who have leadership experience.

Questions to Ask Schools About LSAT Scores

Before you take the LSAT, consider reaching out to schools you’re applying to. See if you can get more information on the scores they’re looking for. Here are a few ideas for questions to ask law schools about the LSAT.

What LSAT Score Do You Need to Be Accepted?

Even if this information is available on the school’s website, it’s still good to ask again. This way, you’ll be able to learn if the LSAT scores on their website are accurate. An admissions counselor may also go into more detail about what the school is looking for. For instance, they could tell you what score percentiles they’re looking for.

Do You Look at an Applicant’s Whole LSAT Score History?

If you’ve taken the LSAT more than once, your score history will be available on your score report. Some schools will only look at your most recent LSAT score. Others will look at all your scores. Be sure to ask schools about this before taking the LSAT multiple times.

Do you Accept the LSAT and the GRE?

Some law schools have begun accepting GRE scores in place of LSAT scores. Some schools will also accept both an LSAT score and a GRE score. If you’ve taken the GRE and you’re happy with your score, consider asking the law school about their GRE policy.

How Do LSAT Scores Factor Into Scholarships?

Many schools use LSAT scores when determining who gets merit scholarships. They also use the scores when deciding how much scholarship money to give. It’s a good idea to ask law schools you’re applying to about this. They may tell you that you need a higher than average score to get a substantial scholarship.

Summing Up

When determining what’s a good LSAT score, there are a few things to keep in mind. Take a look at average LSAT scores and score percentiles for the schools you’re applying to. Use that information to create your LSAT score goal. Then, begin practicing with this goal in mind. Doing this will help you get the score you need for your dream law school.