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Is the LSAT flex inherently physically easier to do?

ddeng888ddeng888 Core Member
in General 85 karma

^ would the current trend of crazy number of 175+ continue once we are back to the original LSAT format?


  • PlatinumPlatinum Member
    363 karma

    In my opinion, I don’t think the test itself is “easier” because they are still testing the LSAT skills. Maybe it is less stressful because of less sections? Maybe a bit easier on the brain?

  • lilpinglinglilpingling Member
    edited December 2020 638 karma

    I would argue that it's not. Hear me out- while the test is shorter and less physically demanding up front, the questions are worth more and the value of each is higher, thus the emotional demand is higher, which in turns makes the exam just as physically challenging in the end. I'd say it's like being hit by a bus versus being slowly dragged by one. Your body is just as taxed at the end of either experience.

    The increased numbers of ultra high scores may seem really scary, but I'm given to understand that more people are taking the test than ever and the proportion of high scores is not really any different. So they aren't seeing higher numbers than ever, they're seeing a higher number of test-takers than ever. One might be able to argue that there is also a higher number of low scores than ever. We're just in a weird situation in which:
    - A large number of people are working from home and have more time to study.
    - A large number of people are unemployed and have decided to pursue new options, and also have more time to study.
    - Political tension is higher than ever and more people are attracted/drawn to law careers in an effort to effect change.

    Ultimately, I don't think the test is easier. Given the current system, RC is now the most valuable (or at least point-heavy) section on the exam. And I know I'd much rather sit for the full exam than take the Flex again, but we just have to work with what we're given.

    FYI- I'm not claiming to be an expert. I haven't actually looked at the data myself, I'm just reiterating info based on articles, blogs, etc...

  • ddeng888ddeng888 Core Member
    edited December 2020 85 karma

    @lilpingling well... time to look at the data then...

    go to the LSAT score section and see the rate of change for every score and score range yourself. Compare those rates with the rate of change for "Total".

  • smileygeesmileygee Member
    edited December 2020 55 karma

    When people refer to the trend of high scores, or the inflation of people at 160+, what data are they pulling from? I'd love to take a look at it as I can't seem to find it myself.

    Nevermind the comment above me answered this question, woops.

  • This_is_HardThis_is_Hard Alum Member
    edited December 2020 815 karma

    Everyone's score increased dramatically when switching to FLEX. The test is 100% easier, the reason is if you are good at the Logic Game and/or the Reading Comprehension section, than your score will increase because both these sections are worth just as much as the one Logical Reasoning Section. Btw, most people are good and can improve at Logic Games, this alone can dramatically increase your score.

    Let's say before flex your section breakdown was: LR1 - 12 Correct, LR2 - 12 Correct, RC - 12 Correct, and LG - 18 Correct; you are sitting at about a 147 score according to old conversion. With flex every thing equal, minus the one LR section, you are sitting with a 152 according to the new conversion ( That's a 5 point increase for just eliminating the one section. You won't ever get a better deal than this.

    The only downfall is the curve is slightly higher since the test is easier. But still, this is a significant increase and if you do not get in this following year; it's a good time to test and try and get a high score for next year admissions when testing is back to normal conditions.

    Best strategy if you are under a time crunch would be to master LG and one of LR/RC, where as before you definitely needed to improve LR because it was worth 2 sections. This is very doable: LG - 22 Correct (3 wrong), LR - 18 Correct (7 wrong), and RC - 15 Correct (10 wrong) gives you a score of 161 via flex.

    My personal experience, emotionally this test is way easier and puts my anxiety at rests. The one experimental section they add to the pre-covid test is emotionally draining.

  • lilpinglinglilpingling Member
    638 karma

    @ddeng888 Thanks- I've only had about 10 seconds to look at the data, so I'll have to look more carefully when I have time to actually consider it.

    On a personal level, I struggle a lot with the home test setup, the distractions, and the lack of formality. Additionally, LR is a much stronger area than RC for me, so the overall impact of losing a "safe" section was a major source of stress for me. I find the flex to be more emotionally taxing and just all around more difficult because it doesn't play to my strengths. I would agree that it likely benefits many people and many find it less draining- I guess I'm just lucky in being unique. :neutral:

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    edited December 2020 8192 karma

    I've taken all but one of them and while the material isn't "harder" per se, they have definitely been sticking to the "middle of the road" as far as content. When you're pulling the "normal" sections from tests to create flex forms I think this could definitely make for higher scoring potential. Remember these sections were vetted to be used as part of a 5 section administration. While I'd assume the scales were re-adjusted for use on the flex, they likely didn't have the data to do so conclusively, hence the bland content. Given this, it stands to reason that scaling would fall in favor of higher scoring (especially combined with a shorter overall test, conveniences of taking it at home, and context-dependency), as opposed to punishing people for the necessity of a new format. This has started to change IMO from October on with a greater range of content difficulty and tighter scaling as they get dialed in further with each test. I think November scoring supports this.

    Great for people whose scoring was ready to rumble for the May-Aug tests... still good for any flex test though tend to I believe those benefits are reduced now. Just my take... I've been known to be completely wrong quite often.

    It'll be interesting to see how this affects medians. There are already consultants saying that last year's 75ths should be your benchmark this cycle, which is terrifying. Would any increase continue as long as flex does or will they get it dialed in? Will things even out or continue beyond this cycle? If so will there be a drop during the cycle that 5 section tests are re-implemented? All interesting questions.

  • VerdantZephyrVerdantZephyr Member
    2054 karma

    @ddeng888 Looking at that link you posted all is see is number of applications being up. That would support @lilpingling 's comment, which I will also echo.

    If more people are taking the LSAT and the LSAT is shorter so that each question is worth more, and more people have time to study and retake after they do poorly the first time, you are going to see more high scores as a percentage because so many people keep taking until they reach their goal score. If I take five times and get one score in the 150's, 3 in the mid 160's, and one in the 170' I still personally have both and average and a median in the 160's but my application will show only the 170's score. We have all seen so many people on the forums that post their journey, 145 diagnostic, 155 first LSAT, then two in the 160's and finally that amazing 176. With more free time and less work than ever before there are more people doing that instead of keeping that first or second 160.

    On top of that, shorter test equals more valuable questions equals greater variance. In a vacuum it is easier for a random applicant to have 3 strong/lucky sections than 4. It is also easier, as someone pointed out, to have 3 bad sections at the other end but people aren't using those numbers to apply. When they get a lucky break and only get 3 wrong on the test, even if on a four section test they might have gotten 5 or 6 wrong, they end up with that incredible 177 score and stop. That isn't to say that they don't deserve that score, or that they are certain to have gotten 5-6 wrong on a full 5 section test. It is just to say that it is easier to get lucky on 3 sections than four and at the highest level of scoring you need a little bit of luck. No one is 100% confident on every question and we all have to guess between two answers sometimes, at least in LR and RC. That does not mean the test itself is easier or that it is easier to get a given score as an individual. What it does mean is that you are more likely to score above or below what you normally do just by guessing right or wrong on a couple of questions. It does go both ways. Given the above point about not applying with your score when you feel it is lower than you should have gotten or you wanted to get however it creates a bubble at the highest scores.

  • noonawoonnoonawoon Alum Member
    3481 karma

    I can see how taking a shorter test in the comfort of your home would cause less distraction and test fatigue than taking a longer test in a testing center with some kid next to you coughing every 5 seconds. Of course the Flex disadvantages people who are not great at LG/RC, but if you are pretty good at each section, I can't see why Flex wouldn't feel easier. I only ever practiced with full 4-section practice tests and the Flex felt like a breeze compared to that.

  • HelloMotoHelloMoto Member
    400 karma
    In the above link for US LSAT scores, can anyone tell me what "ungrouped high LSAT scores" mean? I am just wondering how much of the increase in the number of 165+ scores in the link is due to high scorers taking the test multiple times since the earlier flex tests did not count towards the limit. Maybe they could have hit a 168 - 170 - 173. Are all three scores counted in the data or does it only count the applicants highest score?

  • AhmadinejadAhmadinejad Member
    46 karma

    To be honest I don't get why they made it shorter.

  • noonawoonnoonawoon Alum Member
    3481 karma

    @Ahmadinejad They made it shorter because they don't think they can proctor a break at home and can't do 4 sections without a break

  • howdoichangemyavatarhowdoichangemyavatar Free Trial Member
    52 karma

    I think @lilpingling kind of hit the nail in the head. I would add though that experts (spivy/powerscore/anna ivey) are saying that there is a score bubble at the very top. Powerscore’s podcast talks about this a lot but: the Flex is literally made of sections from (normal length) LSAT undisclosed tests. So the questions themselves aren’t inherently easier, and it would seem the scale shouldn’t be either. It could be that the scale is creating the score bubble at the very top, but it could also be that the pandemic has given ppl more time to study (i think this was the case for me), or it could be that the testing environment (home) is benefiting a significant number if people. Theres also the possibility that endurance is the reason. You have two less sections to work on. The counter argument here though would be that each question counts for more. Long story short, no has a clue. Maybe we’ll know by the end of this cycle.

  • AhmadinejadAhmadinejad Member
    edited December 2020 46 karma

    @noonawoon that's hilarious.

    It's kind of annoying though because I'm naturally good at LR and struggle a lot with logic games.

  • JPJ July2021JPJ July2021 Core Member
    1532 karma

    I think so. You still need to know the same content but sitting for 3 sections is much less demanding than 5.

  • noonawoonnoonawoon Alum Member
    3481 karma

    @Ahmadinejad Sorry to hear that! But LG is widely considered the easiest section to improve, so you're in a good position to be in (vs struggling a lot with LR or RC). Just gotta keep practicing the games and it will click soon!

  • Habeas PorpoiseHabeas Porpoise Alum Member Sage
    edited December 2020 1861 karma

    Before I start I need to say that I highly, highly doubt that the individual questions on the flex are easier--they're supposed to be from undisclosed exams.

    But I do agree with others in that the length of the flex exam likely makes stamina less of an issue. I know when I was studying a part of my prep was actively working on my mentality/stamina. So things like purposefully organizing my PT in a way that would kill my energy on the real exam (RC-LR-LR-break-LG or RC-LR-RC-break-LG-LR) or be distracting (testing in libraries, noisy coffee shops, home with silence, home with the tv on) because who knew what the environment would be like. I was also one of those nervous people who practiced getting to the test center without my phone via the subway (lol), and prepared enough extra sharpened pencils to make the proctor question if I'd robbed a stationary store, etc etc, so maybe I'm not a good example. But I do know plenty of other people who worked on their stamina, too, like taking a test after a long work day or two exams back-to-back (I really, really don't recommend that though!). But now I wonder how much does stamina actually impact scores?

    Of course, I think mental and emotional fatigue are a part of the flex test, too (or any important test, for that matter).I think you still benefit greatly by organizing and scheduling your PTs/PT environment in a way that's representative of your real exam, even for the flex, but you don't need to plan so much around the length of the test anymore.
    I wonder if the LSAC would even need to go back to a full-on 4-section/5-section test post-pandemic (unless they need an experimental section for new questions). What will they say then to justify a draining 3-hour exam?

    In the end I've never taken the flex and I resonate with the people saying each question is worth more on the shorter exam--that's still incredibly stressful. I personally don't know if I'd score differently on a flex vs non-flex, and would wonder if the score difference (if any) would be minimized as you get into the higher score ranges where each question has a bigger "point" impact regardless.

    Anyway, just my ramblings! Some of my classmates and I were talking about this. I realized I don't have strong opinions about it except on the stamina front. The test is still a challenging, emotional roller coaster 😂 Keep at it y'all got this!

  • clairew77clairew77 Member
    9 karma

    It depends. If your (only) weak section is RC like me, then Flex is harder to score. I averaged at177+ on full-length test, but got mid-low170s on Flex because it’s shorter. Another LR section will give me “free points” to comfortably sit in the mid-high 170s. FLEX benefits test takers weak at LR/good at RC/tend to have good luck/most affected by fatigue/can only take paper test if not for FLEX. For those in the low170s on regular tests, they will get 175+ with a strong RC or good luck, of course. The net effect will be more high scorers proportionally, I think, because more people are better off.

  • 16 karma

    I don't know where everyone is getting their numbers from, but you get your percentile with your official score and my percentile was basically identical to what it would've been in previous years.

  • edowado94edowado94 Core Member
    8 karma

    Physically easier? Yes, once you get through the check in anxiety of tech issues. Test your equipment beforehand! Easier in difficultly? No if you're like me, since LG weighs more and LR weighs less.

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