All applicants must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) unless they fall within limited circumstances that allow them to submit the GRE or GMAT. For information on GRE or GMAT eligibility, please click here.
The Law School Admissions Test is a standardized, multiple-choice test generally offered nine times a year by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). It is required for admission to the law school.
Consider developing a test-preparation strategy and think about how you might manage any possible test anxiety. The LSAT is unlike other standardized tests because it doesn’t test specific knowledge. You can’t memorize vocabulary words or formulas to succeed on the LSAT. Instead, prepare for the test by knowing the types of questions that will appear and then practice the skills and strategies to master those sections.
When evaluating your LSAT score, we will consider whether similar tests have under-predicted your academic performance in the past. For example, if you can document that you have earned exceptionally high undergraduate grades but performed poorly on the SAT, then this may be taken into account in evaluating your potential to succeed in law school. Be sure to document your test-taking history by including a copy of your SAT or ACT scores with your application.
Create a Timeline
Register early to secure your preferred test date and location and plan your preparation schedule accordingly. We recommend that you plan to take the test no later than November of the year before you intend to begin law school. Neither March nor June test scores are accepted for admission consideration in the same year.
The LSAC keeps and reports old LSAT scores for five years. We accept all past scores reported to us by the LSAC, up to and including those from the January test.
Multiple Test Scores
We advise preparing well so that you perform your best on test day and that you take the LSAT only once. However, if something unexpected occurs that negatively affects your performance, or if you believe you can improve your performance, then you may wish to consider taking the test again. In general, we use the highest score. We will not penalize you for canceling scores in accordance with LSAC policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I register for the LSAT?
LSAT information and registration are available at the LSAC website. You should register for the test well in advance of the actual test date.
How long are my scores valid?
We will accept any score reported by the LSAC, generally for five years.
Can I get a fee waiver for the LSAT?
LSAT fee waivers are available on a financial-need basis directly from LSAC. You should act early by applying online.
How many times can someone take the LSAT?
Beginning September 2017, there is no limit on the number of times you can take the LSAT.
If a student takes the LSAT more than once, do the law schools to which the student applies see all the scores or only the highest score?
All scores an applicant received within the previous five years are reported to the law school. We use the highest score when making admission decisions.
Are some LSAT administrations harder than others?
No. All LSATs are constructed to be equal in difficulty regardless of when they are administered. LSAT scores are reported on a 120-180 point scale and can be compared across testing administrations and testing years. Test scores have the same meaning from one test administration to the next and from one year to the next as a result of a process called equating. When scores are equated, a given scaled score represents comparable ability regardless of when the student takes the test.
What does the LSAT test?
The LSAT assesses the kinds of verbal reasoning skills that have been shown to be critical for success in law school. The current makeup of the test, Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, and Analytical Reasoning question types, was reached through continual refinements to the test conducted over its long history with early input from law faculty. The first LSAT was administered in 1948.
What is tested in each question type?
Reading Comprehension questions assess the ability to read, with understanding and insight, examples of lengthy and complex materials similar to those commonly encountered in law school. Law school and the practice of law revolve around extensive reading of densely written and argumentative texts. This reading must be careful, distinguishing precisely what is said from what is not said. It involves comparison, analysis, synthesis, and application. It involves drawing appropriate inferences, and applying ideas and arguments to new contexts. Law school reading also requires the ability to grasp unfamiliar subject matter and the ability to process challenging material.
Logical Reasoning questions assess the ability to analyze, critically evaluate, and complete arguments as they occur in ordinary language. Arguments are a fundamental part of the law and analyzing arguments is a key element of legal analysis. Training in the law builds on a foundation of basic reasoning skills. Law students must draw on these skills in analyzing, evaluating, constructing, and refuting arguments. They need to be able to identify what information is relevant to an issue or argument and what impact further evidence has on it. They need to be able to reconcile opposing positions and use arguments to persuade others.
Analytical Reasoning questions assess the ability to consider a group of facts and rules, and—using those facts and rules—determine what could or must be true. These questions require the test taker to organize given information and draw logically certain inferences (or deductive inferences) from that information. These skills are key components of the ability to think critically. The reasoning skills assessed in Analytical Reasoning parallel those involved in the kind of legal reasoning that is used in law school and the practice of law in understanding and organizing a set of conditions, rules, or regulations and initial conditions, and then proceeding to determine what could or must be the case given that information.
Do I have to take an expensive test-prep course to do well on the LSAT?
Taking an expensive test-preparation course is not required to do well on the LSAT. We advise all test takers to practice and to become familiar with the test prior to taking the LSAT. To help test takers prepare, LSAC publishes thousands of test questions (with answer keys) that have appeared on previously administered LSATs. LSAC publishes thorough explanations of how to solve all the questions on several of these tests. These explanations are developed by the same LSAC test developers who write the test questions. Some of these materials are available for free on LSAC.org, others are available for purchase at low cost.
How far in advance should a test taker prepare for the LSAT?
There is no single right answer to this question. Much depends on how much time the individual student has to prepare each week. We generally advise people to prepare until they feel they have satisfied the following guidelines:
- none of the question types that you see in your practice seem new to you
- you feel you can manage your time well
- working through a test section becomes “second nature”
Does doing well on the LSAT have anything to do with actual law school work?
The LSAT is the single best predictor of first-year law school grades. The best overall prediction comes from combining LSAT score with undergraduate GPA. Admission officers use a combination of the LSAT and undergraduate GPA when making admission decisions. There is broad agreement in the legal education community that the skills assessed by the LSAT are directly relevant to law school and the practice of law.
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Berkeley’s concurrent degree programs usually require applicants to provide Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. You should contact the other campus department where you will apply to confirm if the GRE is required. For more information, visit the GRE website. The Haas School of Business requires the GMAT.