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Is it better/easier/more strategic to take the GRE rather than the LSAT?

youbbyunyoubbyun Alum Member
edited October 2018 in General 1755 karma

hey all,

so i've been really grappling with this question. 11 out of the top 15 law schools accept the GRE - Harvard, Chicago, Columbia, NYU, UVA, Penn, Georgetown, Cornell, Northwestern, Texas.

Through my 1.5 years of studying for the LSAT, I've realized it's really hard. I've done all the PT's from 30-63, and I am scoring in the mid 160s timed, BR score is mid 170s.

Honestly, I'm feeling kinda burned out of the LSAT. The thought of hundreds of more hours of fool proofing more games, blind reviewing, etc. is putting a lot of weight on me. There's also the constant fear of underperforming on my LSAT (I haven't taken it yet), only to have to retake it again.

I've really considered the GRE. From what I've heard, the GRE is A LOT easier, and could be prepared for in a MUCH shorter amount of time than the LSAT.

From my friend who got into HLS with her GRE:

"The LSAT is so time consuming!! If we HAVE to take the LSAT, I would have. But if I can get in with the GRE, why put myself through the torture? GRE was two weeks of intense study, the LSAT would be like, 12 months."

She skipped the LSAT, took the GRE, and is a 1L at HLS.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome. Thanks!

Comments

  • FixedDiceFixedDice Legacy Member
    edited October 2018 1804 karma

    On its ABA-required disclosures, Stanford identified only two out of 180 enrollees as not included in its LSAT calculations. Harvard has a similar figure, albeit with an incoming class with 560 enrollees. Both disclosures are for the previous year. Let's assume that (1) those people took only the GRE and (2) the figure is about the same for this year's incoming class as well.

    If my assumptions hold, about 1% of one of Stanford's most recent incoming class took only the GRE and managed to get accepted. Harvard? About 0.4%. In other words, your friend is a statistical anomaly. If your friend took only the GRE and was admitted to Harvard, I am inclined to think (s)he would have gotten into Harvard, even if (s)he opted for the LSAT.

    If you are confident in your ability to make it with the GRE only, then by all means go for it. Otherwise, I am inclined to think that the LSAT is a much better bet at this point. There's always the option of taking a break from the LSAT, you know.

  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    edited October 2018 3652 karma

    Personally I would rather gamble on myself being able to get a decent LSAT score and prepare a stellar application, than gamble on the possibility that law schools will even care that I did well on the GRE. There's not enough of a data pool to think that the GRE is a safe bet. I would also imagine that law schools are aware that the GRE is easier, and they would likely be able to tell if someone is trying to take the GRE as an easy way out. I think the reason they are allowing the GRE score is to entice people who are considering attending/are attending grad school...not to give students who are disgruntled with the LSAT an easier option.
    Someone who got into Harvard probably could have done great on the LSAT too

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    edited October 2018 2531 karma

    My GPA is unimpressive so I need the LSAT to boost my application for the T14.

    If you have a 4.0 then you can probably get away with a good GRE score instead.

  • BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Yearly Member 🍌🍌
    8668 karma

    I wanted to echo what others here have stated about the dearth of solid data for gre acceptances in law schools.

    One thing I wanted to ask those who might have experience with the gre, is it really that “easy”? I don’t know much about the exam but (I concede OP’s example is anecdotal) but could the alternative to getting a Harvard level lsat really be two weeks of intense study on the gre? I mean this with all seriousness. Again, I am admitting my ignorance on the issue, but something tells me that if a competitive score for the schools mentioned by OP was a few weeks away, people would be abandoning the lsat in droves.

    David

  • eRetakereRetaker Member
    2038 karma

    @BinghamtonDave said:
    I wanted to echo what others here have stated about the dearth of solid data for gre acceptances in law schools.

    One thing I wanted to ask those who might have experience with the gre, is it really that “easy”? I don’t know much about the exam but (I concede OP’s example is anecdotal) but could the alternative to getting a Harvard level lsat really be two weeks of intense study on the gre? I mean this with all seriousness. Again, I am admitting my ignorance on the issue, but something tells me that if a competitive score for the schools mentioned by OP was a few weeks away, people would be abandoning the lsat in droves.

    David

    The ease of the GRE comes from the scaling due to the population taking it. Traditionally, GRE does not matter that much for graduate school admissions and it is really used to fill a check box. The people applying for STEM programs will only try to study up on the math section while the ones trying to humanities will study up on verbal sections, again making the percentile ranks a bit wonky especially since the study time is significantly less than the LSAT. Furthermore, the top students are taking the MCAT, LSAT, and GMAT, so the person scoring 99th percentile on the GRE is facing a significantly weaker pool than someone scoring 99th on the other exams. So the idea is that someone who can get 99+ on LSAT can do so on the GRE but not vice versa, but of course it's possible that you can be really really bad at math and even then it is learnable like the Logic Games which is why a perfect GRE math is the 97th percentile. The one area that I felt the GRE was tougher in was the GRE's reading passages but again the ease of getting high percentile ranks are all that matters for whether or not you consider a test hard.

    As to whether someone should use the GRE to get into law schools, I wouldn't suggest it unless you have a GPA way above medians. The stated goal of the GRE is to increase access to STEM applicants. The other goal, if you read between the lines, is to raise the GPA medians without taking a hit to their LSAT medians by reverse splitters. Yes, the GRE also counts for rankings, but it's easier for a school to find high GPA/high GRE splits than high GPA/high LSAT splits. Anecdotally, the people I've seen on TLS/Reddit admitted to HLS with GREs had monster stats 3.95+/GRE 335+.

  • Nunuboy1994Nunuboy1994 Member
    346 karma

    Ok so actually I think I can answer this question. The GRE is a great option for prospective law students if they’re applying to law school if they’re already in a masters a program; one of the reasons law schools have decided to make this shift is to facilitate more interdisciplinary opportunities from other schools within a university. For example, if you took the GRE and got into Harvard Kennedy School or even HBS and now want a JD from Harvard Law then submitting your GRE scores makes a lot of sense. If you were a PhD economics student from some other school like Berkeley and want to appply to Yale Law School then taking the GRE makes sense. In terms of it being a lot easier, it’s easier but it’s not that much easier it shouldn’t be taken seriously. I’ve written the LSAT, GMAT and GRE and have to say the GRE was definitely the easiest but not so easy it was a joke. The trade off is that you also have to be good at math to get a high score; so if you scored high on the LSAT that doesn’t necessarily mean you will score high on the GRE if you can’t break say 155 on quant. Don’t give up on the LSAT unless you can’t break your target after about 3 tries. If you haven’t done a masters and just want to be a law student then LSAT is a better test generally speaking.

  • Nunuboy1994Nunuboy1994 Member
    346 karma

    I would like to add that in terms of relative difficult and the new retake policy for the LSAT, the GMAT is about the same level of difficult as the LSAT relatively speaking. The math on the GRE and GMAT is not to be underestimated; I sat in for a masters class at a really small crappy university 2 years ago to get a taste of an MBA class. Everyone laughed at me and thought the GRE was just geometry but it was very hypocritical because they themselves didn’t even take it and if they did they would at least be in a top 50 program.

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