University of Connecticut School of Law admissions and law students reacted with a mix of positivity and skepticism after the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) announced earlier this month it would be making the LSAT a completely digital exam, effective July 2019.
The exam will be taken on a tablet through software developed by the LSAC, according to an article on Above The Law. Only select testing locations will shift formats in July, with all locations making the change by September 2019, the article said.
Lauren Majchrowski, the director of admissions at UConn School of Law, said the digital LSAT will be helpful for efficiency and fluency in the administration of the exam.
“This [the change] is going to allow our scores to come out quicker, therefore we’re going to be able to offer more LSAT administrations. It increases accessibility,” Majchrowski said. “Before we were limited to four times a year, scores would take over a month to get back to students. Students will have a better idea of where they are, quicker.”
Those who are taking either the paper exam or digital exam come July 2019 will also have the option to waive their June testing fee if the result of their exam is lower than what they wanted, Majchrowski said. Those students will then be able to apply the fee to a later retake of the exam.
“So the fee that you pay for the LSAT will not go to waste if you feel that you weren’t prepared to take it in the new method,” Majchrowski said. “If you want to use that registration fee for say the November test, you have more time to adapt and do LSAT practice on a tablet so you’ll be more familiar with the format.”
Majchrowski said she does not think the tablet version of the LSAT will present any more issues or technical errors than the traditional pencil and paper version did.
“Will there be bumps? Undoubtedly. There are bumps no matter which way you do it,” Majchrowski said. “It’s just going to take some getting used to.”
The websites and companies responsible for administering practice tests are also working to adapt to the change before next July, Majchrowski said. The LSAC will also be offering a free online program that is designed to familiarize students with the format of a tablet test.
“I would recommend the prep courses online for those students who are practicing for the digital test,” Majchrowski said. “Conduct the prep course on a tablet if you have access to one.”
Arjun Ahuja, a member of UConn Law Society and a third-semester political science and philosophy double major, said the change is great because it allows students to have more flexibility with test dates, which was an issue in the past.
“The LSAT is a test that obviously requires a lot of time and effort, and if a student would want to maximize their admission potential, as most law schools have rolling admissions, the June LSAT is the ‘best’ one to take,” Ahuja said. “However, taking the June LSAT would require a student studying during the spring semester of their respective academic year.”
Ahuja said the new LSAT format and schedule will give students more time and availability to take the test at a time that suits them.
“It [the change] allows students to really tailor their LSAT program to their individual schooling, which makes it far more appealing,” Ahuja said.
Kadeejah Kelly, a student at UConn Law, said there are immense benefits in terms of offering the exam in a digital format.
“The LSAC’s decision to offer the LSAT digitally is a step in the right direction particularly for disability accessibility purposes,” Kelly said. “The digital nature of the exam will hopefully provide more accurate readings of exam offers.”
Kelly said there is a concern, however, regarding accessibility to the test for all students.
“Students like myself are concerned with the possible disadvantages this offering might have on students who can’t afford laptops to bring or who live far from the testing centers that host the digital exam,” Kelly said. “We will wait for LSAC to put out a more detailed description of this new approach.”
The switch, while new and improvable, is long overdue in relation to other career exams, such as the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), Majchrowski added.
“It’s actually quite a delayed start in moving to digital format when you think about other standardized tests that are using that already,” Majchrowski said.
Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.