LSAT Engine Strategy Blog

With 23 schools (including some big names like Harvard Law, USC Law, and Columbia Law) now accepting the GRE for law school applications, you may be curious as to the differences between the GRE and the LSAT as well as which one to take.

Similarities Between the LSAT and GRE

  • Both tests have a Reading Comprehension section
  • The LSAT has a section dedicated to Logical Reasoning, and the GRE has a subset of questions dedicated to logical reasoning in its Reading Comprehension section.

Differences Between the LSAT and GRE

  • While both tests have writing components, that is essentially where the similarities end
    • The GRE has 2 essays - an Argument essay and an Issue Essay
      • Both are scored
    • The LSAT essay is unscored, and it is an Argument Essay, where you choose one of 2 positions and argue for it
      • If you want a full explanation of the Writing Sample, we actually have a blog post detailing the entire section that you can read here
  • The GRE is basically offered year round while the LSAT is offered only 6 times a year
  • The GRE has a math section, while the LSAT does not
  • The GRE explicitly tests your vocabulary, similarly to the SAT. Having a good vocabulary can’t hurt your LSAT score, but there’s no need to memorize definitions
  • The LSAT is a pen and paper test, while the GRE is taken on the computer
  • The LSAT results in a single score, while the GRE is separated into quantitative, verbal, and writing scores

Why Some Schools are Now Accepting the GRE in Addition to the LSAT

Harvard Law explained that this decision was to make legal education more readily accessible, by making it easier and more affordable to apply.


The reason this decision is not as groundbreaking as it may seem is that the ABA (American Bar Association) has not granted a blanket policy for schools to accept the GRE. Current ABA standards do not permit law schools to admit more than 10% of their incoming class without a traditional LSAT score. Also, the candidate must meet ABA requirements to be able to apply with a GRE score: for example, students obtaining dual degrees and those who attended undergraduate programs at the same institutions where they are applying to law school are among those who can apply with a GRE score. If you are curious about the full set of standards, you can read it here.

Our Recommendation for the Current Situation

If in doubt, apply with the LSAT. If you are a student with exceptional quantitative skills and believes that this strength will shine in the GRE, the GRE may be the better option. However, keep in mind that there are more resources that allow you to gauge which law schools to apply to with a LSAT/GPA combination. Additionally, unless you are only planning on applying to the schools that accept the GRE, you will still have to take the LSAT for other institutions. While we expect many other schools soon to hop on the trend of accepting the GRE, additional changes by the ABA must be made before this change will be truly radical in its effects. Especially if you are applying in the current cycle, the LSAT is the way to go.

Posted: 8-7-2018