The LSAC recently announced that the July LSAT will again be using the new “LSAT-Flex” format. That will mark the third consecutive LSAT (May, June and July) using the new format. What is the difference between the traditional LSAT and the “LSAT-Flex”?
- TRADITIONAL LSAT: The traditional LSAT has five (5) sections, not counting the ungraded LSAT Writing section which is offered at a separate time. Those five sections consist of two (2) Logical Reasoning sections, one (1) Analytical Reasoning section, and one (1) Reading Comprehension section. The fifth section is an ungraded “experimental” section that is either another Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning or Reading Comprehension section. There is a 15-minute break after the third section.
- LSAT-FLEX: The “LSAT-Flex” has three (3) sections, not counting the ungraded LSAT Writing section which is offered at a separate time. Those three sections consist of one (1) Logical Reasoning section, one (1) Analytical Reasoning section, and one (1) Reading Comprehension section. There is no “experimental” section and there is no break.
- The “LSAT-Flex” is taken at home and proctored remotely via webcam by the LSAC.
- There are no substantive differences in the content of the exam questions between the traditional LSAT and the LSAT-Flex. The question types are the same, the number of questions per section are the same, and the amount of time per section (35 minutes) is the same. The only differences are (1) the number of sections on the exam (5 vs. 3), and (2) the location where you take it (a testing center vs. at home).
- There is no reason to believe that the “curve” should be harder or easier between the two formats. The LSAC uses a complex equating system to “pre-curve” the exam. As a result, students are not being compared to other students taking the same LSAT for purposes of creating the “curve.”
- Whether the LSAT-Flex is “harder” or “easier” for students overall should not affect the 120-180 LSAT scale, since the LSAC’s equating system is designed to adjust for that. Of course, there could be some small differences for individual students, since there is only one Logical Reasoning section (instead of two) on the LSAT-Flex. As a result, the Logical Reasoning section on the LSAT-Flex accounts for approximately 33% of the exam (as compared to 50% on the traditional LSAT), and the Reading Comp and Analytical Reasoning sections each account for approximately 33% of the exam (as compared to 25% on the traditional LSAT).
- It is reasonable to assume that the LSAT-Flex may continue to be offered for some period of time after July 2020, but that is not yet known.
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