What is the LSAT passing score?
The LSAT is scored on a scale of 120-180, with no passing score. However, law schools do have what is known as “percentiles,” which they use to determine what scores they want from applicants.
For example, if you want to go to the most prestigious school in the country and get into one of their top ten programs, then you will need an LSAT score that falls within the 98th percentile or higher (a 170+).
If your goal is to attend a less competitive program and attain admission into a lower-ranked institution, then you may only need an LSAT score in the 80th percentile range (a 150+).
There are 3 Types of LSAT Scores
The three “scores” that every LSAT student receives paint a picture of their performance:
1) The Raw Score
The raw score is the sum of all correct responses across the four sections, with each section weighted equally.
2) The Scaled Score
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) determines which raw score corresponds to which scaled score (on a scale of 120-180) based on a number of criteria, including the total number of questions on the exam and the test’s overall difficulty.
This is similar to converting a number grade into a letter grade, but the goal is to convert from one number (your raw score) to a more meaningful amount (your scaled score). The scaled score is typically the amount you would discuss if asked how you performed on the LSAT.
3) The Percentile Score
The LSAT percentile score is a number that indicates how many test-takers performed worse than you on the same exam. For example, if your LSAT percentile score was 99 (173), it means that 99 percent of other test takers scored lower than you.
The LSAT percentile chart isn’t just for one test administration; it’s also an average of many years.
What is the LSAT curve?
You’ve probably guessed by now that your LSAT scores contain a lot of complexity. Why is it so difficult? Because the LSAT is graded on a “curve,” a 160 on any one test is equivalent to a 160 on any other, even if the test was simple or hard.
This implies that not all tests are created equal in terms of difficulty.
Test takers frequently discuss the “curve” of an LSAT when they’re describing the number of questions you can get wrong and still receive a 170. A 170 is possible even if you get as many as 14 or 15 questions incorrect on a particularly difficult exam, whereas a simple test only requires you to get 8 or 9 questions wrong for the same mark.
So, if someone tells you that the LSAT was “tough,” they’re likely talking about the number of questions you may get incorrect and still score a 170, putting you in the 97th percentile of test-takers.