LSAT Technical Reports

LSAT Performance With Regional, Gender, and Racial and Ethnic Breakdowns: 2011–2012 Through 2017–2018 Testing Years (TR 22-01)

The purpose of this report is to provide summary information about Law School Admission Test (LSAT) performance, including performance classified by country, region of the United States, gender only, race and ethnicity only, and both gender and race and ethnicity. Information regarding LSAT performance is summarized for the 2011–2012 through 2017–2018 testing years and compiled into a single report, enabling trends with regard to the performance and representation of various subgroups to be examined. Notably, there was an extra administration in March 2018 for LSAT test takers in Puerto Rico as a makeup for cancellations due to Hurricane Maria. The primary results observed for the time period covered in this report are summarized below.

In evaluating these results, the reader should bear in mind that “test takers” are defined as any person who took the LSAT and earned a valid score, noting that this report does not exclude those who took the LSAT multiple times. For those repeat test takers, either all scores were used in the analyses or scores were averaged, depending on the level of the analysis. Details are provided in the relevant sections of this report. The reader should note that test takers who contributed to the various regional, gender, and racial and ethnic statistics were self-selected. That is, these test takers chose to take the LSAT themselves; they were not randomly chosen to be assessed. Also, test takers voluntarily self-reported their gender as well as their race and ethnicity. That is, individuals chose whether or not to respond to these classification questions and decided how they would respond. As a result, differences in LSAT performance across regional, gender, or racial and ethnic subgroups cannot be attributed to those subgroups in general, but only to representatives of those subgroups who chose to take the LSAT and identified themselves as belonging to those subgroups.

General Trends Regarding the LSAT

  • There was a decreasing trend in tests-administered volume from the 2011–2012 through 2014–2015 testing years. From the 2015–2016 through 2017–2018 testing years, however, volumes increased, with the 2017–2018 tests-administered volume at approximately that of 2011–2012. A similar trend was observed for test-taker volumes, showing a decrease from 2011–2012 through 2014–2015 with an increase thereafter.
  • The overall distribution of LSAT scores remained fairly constant.
  • The largest numbers of test takers took the LSAT at the September/October and December administrations.
  • Average LSAT scores were slightly higher for test takers who tested at the September/October administrations and slightly lower for test takers who tested at the February administrations.

Trends Regarding Canada and Foreign Countries

  • Approximately 8.2% of test takers took the LSAT in Canada during the 2017–2018 testing year.
  • Approximately 4.6% of test takers took the LSAT in a foreign country during the 2017–2018 testing year. (For the purpose of this report, a foreign country is defined as any country outside of Canada and the United States.)
  • Canadian and foreign test takers had slightly higher average LSAT scores than test takers from the United States.

Trends Regarding the United States

  • The percentage of test takers who took the LSAT in each region of the United States remained somewhat consistent across the 7 testing years. The highest percentage of test takers tested in the Northeast region for all testing years covered in this report. The smallest percentage tested in the Northwest region for all testing years while the Mid-South region showed the largest amount of growth in test takers, increasing approximately 2% over the duration of this study.
  • The performance of test takers from the various regions, on average, remained fairly constant across the 7 testing years. Test takers in the New England region had the highest average scores across all of the testing years covered in this report. Test takers in the Southeast region had the lowest average scores.

Trends Regarding Gender

  • The percentage of female test takers was slightly lower than that of male test takers in 2011–2012 but increased to 55.1% versus 44.6% by 2017–2018.
  • Male test takers scored slightly higher than female test takers, on average.
  • The percentage of test takers not indicating their gender (i.e., the Gender No Response subgroup) fluctuated between 0.1% and 0.3% for the 7 years covered in this report. The Gender No Response subgroup had the highest average LSAT score across the 7 testing years.

Trends Regarding Race and Ethnicity

  • Caucasian/Whites comprised the largest percentage of test takers over the 7 reporting years, although the percentage decreased approximately 5% over the interval. The next largest subgroup in terms of percentage was the Black/African American test-taker subgroup.
  • Average LSAT scores were highest for Caucasian/White and Asian test takers. Black/African American test takers and Puerto Rican test takers had the lowest average LSAT scores.
  • The percentage of test takers who did not indicate their race and ethnicity varied between approximately 1% and 3%, and this subgroup had the highest average LSAT score for 6 of the 7 reporting years.
  • The percentage of test takers in the Multiple Races and Ethnicities subgroup steadily increased from 6.9% in 2011–2012 (ranking 5th among the top race and ethnicity subgroups) to 9.5% in 2017–2018 (ranking 3rd among the same top subgroups).

Trends Regarding Gender and Race and Ethnicity

Among the Caucasian/White subgroup, there were more male test takers than female test takers for the first 6 reporting years; there were more female test takers than male test takers for the last reporting year. The number of test takers who indicated neither their gender nor their race and ethnicity was highest in the 2017–2018 testing years (N = 121).

Additional reports in this collection

Summary of 2017, 2018, and 2019 LSAT Correlation Study...

Since the inception of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) has sought to evaluate and ensure its validity for use in the law school admission process. As predictive validity is an important component in the overall evaluation of test validity, LSAC has carried out predictive validity studies, also called LSAT Correlation Studies, since the test was first administered.

Summary of Self-Reported Methods of Test Preparation...

This investigation of Law School Admission Test (LSAT) preparation patterns for the 2014–2015, 2015–2016, 2016–2017, and 2017–2018 testing years represents a replication of earlier studies, with an additional testing year (i.e., the earlier studies spanned three administrations, whereas the present study spans four). From a list of nine possible test-preparation methods on the answer sheet, test takers were asked to voluntarily select the method(s) they had used to help them prepare for the test.