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Column: Future LSAT changes cause concerns for some prospective law students

The UNC School of Law stands tall on Nov. 1, 2022.

On Oct. 18, the Law School Admissions Council announced that it would remove the logic games, also known as the analytical reading section, from the Law School Admissions Test. This change reflects a settlement for a 2019 lawsuit, where a legally blind test taker said he was put at a disadvantage by the logic games section of the test, as it often requires drawing diagrams. 

While this recently announced change has brought light to several important issues, such as the test’s accessibility and equity, it has also created a lot of uncertainty for pre-law students and those looking to take the exam. 

Previously, the LSAT consisted of four sections: logical reasoning, reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and an additional, unscored section that could be any of those three. 

However, the elimination of logic games leads to questions about what the revised test will look like. 

According to the LSAC, the logic games section will officially be cut from the LSAT starting in Aug. 2024. The new test will include two logical reasoning sections, one reading comprehension section and an unscored section of either.

Logic games are said to be the most learnable section of the exam because test takers can study specific tips and tricks that can help increase scores.  The elimination of logic games might make the exam more challenging for people who don’t intuitively understand the remaining sections, but it can also make it more equitable in terms of exam preparation.

Senior Zoe Helms said that one of her LSAT study books had an entire section dedicated to logic games. “I find logic games really easy,” Helms said. “And if that part went away, I think it would definitely affect my score negatively.” 

For pre-law students looking to take the test, it draws into question whether or not a student should take the test prior to the change and how scores can be compared when the same pools of law school applicants take different versions of the exam.

Junior Aubrey Carter said a reason she plans to take LSAT this upcoming spring is because it is the last chance to take the exam before logic games are axed. “I just think it may be harder for people taking it in the next couple of years,” she said, “just because we don't know how to study for the test sans logic games.”

Part of the uncertainty for pre-law students and law students is the potential for a change in LSAT scores depending on the version of the test that is taken. But, according to the LSAC, research indicates that the changed test will have "virtually no impact on overall scores.”

O.J. Salinas, clinical professor of Law and director of the Academic Excellence Program at UNC School of Law, wrote in an email that he anticipates little impact from the change.

“I don’t think removing the logic games will have much of an effect,” Salinas said. "Carolina Law will continue to attract students who are academically strong and fully capable of succeeding in law school and in the practice of law."  

While some educators believe that the shift in the LSAT will not affect applicants’ ability to get into law school, some students express the opposite sentiment.

A potential concern for students may be a lack of information and practice materials. Because the change has yet to be implemented, there are no currently administered versions of the new test, so the students may struggle to practice the test verbatim the way it will look starting next August.

Carter said it may be difficult for people who are unsure of where or when to apply for law school to figure out LSAT timing, “especially considering the scores may have discrepancies.”

The ramifications of the shift in this exam also has the potential to decrease the importance of the LSAT overall, as it will likely be hard to compare applicants who have taken the exam with logic games and without logic games.

As a current student looking to take the LSAT exam, worrying about the exam is nothing new. What is most worrisome is that one of the most learnable aspects of the exam is gone. There is also uncertainty surrounding the change's effects on law school admissions, how test prep will look and how removing logic games will improve equity for those applying to law school.

While the uncertainty associated with the revised LSAT likely won’t go away until at least after the first test is administered, it is important for organizations, such as the LSAC and law schools, to clarify ambiguity for test-takers. Being prepared for the new change will provide relief for what is already a stressful time. 

As it is, students are now faced with the challenge of either cram-studying for the LSAT before Aug. 2024, or taking their chances with the new version of the test. 

@dthopinion |

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