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LSAT in an Age of Testing Uncertainty

Amidst the pandemic, it is no secret that the landscape and availability of standardized testing for prospective college students has changed. Some students haven’t been able to get a seat in a test center near them, or their disability accommodations were unavailable, or their target schools no longer require test scores. While the College Board and the ACT spoke early in the year of shifting to an at-home computer-based test model in response to the current global crisis, such talk fizzled after critics raised concerns about access and fairness. Now, while committed students have found a way to take the tests, others have opted to apply to universities without scores. 

However, there has been no seismic shift for prospective law school students. When the pandemic took hold, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) quickly rolled out an at-home computer-based test called the LSAT-Flex and have successfully administered it across the world with minimal complication. Law schools have, by and large, continued to require a test score. 

Of course, the LSAC hasn’t always been so innovative and user-friendly. While the ACT and SAT rolled out score choice options years ago, the LSAC still hasn’t. Instead, this year, it finally rolled out an option for students to cancel their test score after seeing it. The catch? You’ll pay $45-75 for this right. And you can only use it once, on your first test. The cynic may ask why the LSAC made this move now. Was it to make a few extra bucks in these uncertain times? To inflate test registrations by pushing a few potential test takers on the fence to take it? Probably. But by motivating the LSAC to finally shift on post-viewing score cancellation, and by pushing it to offer an at-home testing option, the pandemic seems to have forced the LSAT into the future, while it has instead left the SAT and ACT in doubt.

Critics of the LSAT abound, of course, and schools do increasingly accept the GRE as a substitute. But, for the time being, the call to change the law school testing paradigm has not yet reached a fever pitch. While undergraduate colleges around the country are grappling with the future of standardized testing, any student looking to attend a top law school should remain fully prepared to take the LSAT after the pandemic passes -- perhaps from the comfort of their own home.