LSAT Engine Strategy Blog

With the September score release date coming up, and the November test date approaching, many of our students have asked what the curve on the LSAT is. Here’s the rundown:

What does a "-10 curve" mean?

The curve is usually spoken about in terms of -9, -10, -11, or -12. This number represents how many you can miss and still score a 170. A test that has a -12 curve is more forgiving than a test that has a -9 curve. The curve is a scale adjustment, meaning it affects every score, not just the 170, so that all the students who took that particular test will experience a tougher curve. So while people often talk about how many questions one could have missed to get a 170, A test with a -9 curve is going to be less forgiving than a test with a -11 curve across the board, which means that you'd have to get more questions right than you otherwise would to get any particular score.

Why does LSAC use this method?

Each score represents a percentile which shows how you did in comparison to everyone else who took the same test, and place you in the same percentile as those who scored the same as you in the past. With that being said, the test writers understand that some of their tests are a little harder than others. To this end, the harder the test, the bigger the curve. For example, the June 2017 LSAT was on the easier side, and therefore students could only miss 9 to score a 170. However, the December 2016 test was a little harder, so students could miss 11 and achieve the same score of 170. Essentially, the curve is the LSAT’s way of evening the playing field and making sure all scores are representative of the correct percentiles

We hope this clears up any confusion about the curve. Feel free to email us with any questions! Good luck!

Posted: 9-25-2018