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GRE vs. the LSAT: Everything You Need to Know

If you are a student thinking about going to law school, you may be wondering about what tests you will need to submit along with your application. You might be asking yourself,  “should I take the GRE or the LSAT?” There are a lot of students in the same boat as you, all wondering the same exact thing. We have the information that you need to know regarding the GRE vs the LSAT, so keep reading!

What is the GRE?

The GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, is a standardized test used for acceptance into most graduate schools. Basically, this test takes all of the knowledge that you should have learned during your time as  an  undergraduate and compiles it into one big exam to see how much you know. 

There are three sections in the GRE– analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The exam is timed, and you will have three hours and 45 minutes to complete it. 

What is the LSAT?

The LSAT, or the Law School Admission Test, is the standardized test nest known for acceptance into law schools. The LSAT is a multiple choice and written exam with four sections. The first three sections– Analytical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension– are multiple choice. The fourth section, the LSAT Writing, is written. 

Recently, some law schools are choosing to make the LSAT optional, and they are starting to allow GRE scores in place of LSAT scores when considering acceptance. This gives students more options when it comes to testing and lets them choose which one is best for them to reflect their knowledge. 

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Which exam do law schools prefer?

Which exam each law school prefers is up to the preference of the admissions professionals of each school applied to. We recommend checking out your potential schools websites or reaching out to their admissions department directly to be sure. 

Also see: Tips for reducing test anxiety

Which exam is harder? 

This depends on the type of test taker you are. What you find to be easy or difficult when it comes to exams depends on your strengths and weaknesses. A lot of students say that the LSAT is more difficult, but others may find that the GRE is harder. It ultimately comes down to how much time you spend preparing for each exam and what type of test you prefer. The LSAT is known to have more logical questions that need to be considered and thought about, whereas the GRE has questions that can be memorized. 

Which exam is right for me?

Which test is right for you depends on your skill set and what you feel most comfortable with. The LSAT focuses on reading, logic, and reasoning skills. Students should be prepared to understand arguments by drawing inferences based upon what they read. The GRE might be a better fit for you if you are more comfortable memorizing math and vocabulary questions. For students who have been out of school for a while, the math component of the GRE can be challenging unless they put a lot of effort into preparing.  

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Should I take both tests?

This question is up to you as the test taker. Both of these exams take a lot of time and preparation. Therefore, if you feel that taking both exams would stress you out, we advise you to only take one. But, on the other hand, if you take the LSAT and get a lower score, getting a higher GRE score could potentially cancel that out on your law school applications. Taking both exams could also show law schools that you are dedicated to showing them what you know and that you have gained a lot of knowledge throughout your years in college. 

Also see: How to get into law school with a low GPA

Closing thoughts about GRE vs. LSAT

Taking the GRE or the LSAT takes a lot of time, commitment, preparation, and dedication. Every student is different, so there is no need to compare yourself to other test takers or your peers. Aim for the score that is best for you, and the score that best reflects the school you are hoping to get into. 

Additional resources

If you want more information on the GRE or the LSAT, we have other articles for you to check out! Find out everything you need to know about the GRE or about what a good GRE score looks like, or find out more information about the LSAT and which schools don’t require it. Good luck on your test taking and with the rest of your studies!

Related: How to become a lawyer guide

Frequently asked questions about the GRE vs. the LSAT

Is the LSAT harder than GRE?

People tend to think of the LSAT as more difficult due to its focus on logical and analytical reasoning questions. The GRE involves more memorization, so is more predictable in that regard.

There are many law schools that accept the GRE for admission. This list continues to grow, with some of the most prestigious law schools, including Georgetown, Harvard, and Yale all accepting the GRE.

Is the GRE or the LSAT most like the SAT?

The GRE is most similar to the SAT because it broader that the LSAT, which was designed specifically for potential law students