GRE is a standardized test for admission in graduate schools to study in the USA and other popular higher study destinations. Conducted by the Educational Testing Service, GRE is typically for college students applying for masters, business, or law programs across the globe and particularly in the US.
While LSAT remains a universally accepted test for Law Schools across the US, however, in the last few years, several law schools (including Harvard Law School) are also accepting the GRE exam score in lieu of LSAT.
The acceptance of the GRE score among law schools remains a growing trend, allowing us to evaluate the new role that this exam plays for law school aspirants.
How the Change from LSAT to GRE came to be?
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is specially designed for prospective law school aspirants. With a long-standing legacy, LSAT requires months of hard work in order to gain a competitive score.
For decades, LSAT has been the only accepted admission test for law school. But in 2016, the University of Arizona announced a result of a study showing the grades of their current Law School students’ LSAT and GRE scores. The study proved GRE to be a reliable source, which made it an acceptable exam in some Law Schools.
According to the American Bar Association’s law school accreditation standards, the Standard 503 states, “a law school shall require each applicant for admission as a first-year JD degree student to take a valid and reliable admission test.”
The same study was further conducted at Harvard Law School which led to the same conclusion after which over 16 Law Schools started accepting the GRE scores with more to follow in the future. Click here to know more.
Quick Fact: As of May 2019, GRE scores from law school aspirants in accepted in 26 Law Schools.
LSAT vs GRE
|Full-Form||Law School Admission Test||Graduate Record Examinations|
|Organizing Body||Law School Admission Council||Educational Testing Service|
|Mode of Exam||PBT||CBT or PBT|
|Duration||3 hours 30 minutes||3 hours 45 minutes|
|Exam Date||6 Times every year||Almost Any day of the year|
|Accepted by||The majority of Law Schools in the USA.||Accepted in over 94 countries by Graduate Schools|
|Results||3-4 Weeks after Exam||Immediately after exam|
Flexibility of the GRE for Law Aspirants
With GRE being conducted almost every day across over 1,000 testing centers in 160 countries, it is more accessible and flexible for students. As more and more law schools give GRE a green signal, the aspirants are less restricted to their career choices.
Taking GRE is especially better for students who are still unsure of the career they want to opt for. They can research for different degree options that interest them which leads to them applying for different graduate programs with the help of their GRE score.
All in all, GRE is more convenient as it is widely accepted and opens doors to many degree options that go beyond Law Schools, contrary to the LSAT.
Acceptance of the GRE scores in Law Schools also helps aspirants looking for dual-degree programs. Usually, students have to invest their time and money to study for two different entrance exams to apply for a dual degree; as they traditionally require separate entrancesf. But with the trend of several Law Schools accepting GRE scores, students can easily apply for dual degree programs.
Attracting STEM Majors
One of the aims of Law Schools to start accepting the GRE score is to attract STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), major students, as there is always a need for a technical expert in the legal field.
As Boyd of Boyd Corporation said, “There are so many types of human transactions that lawyers get involved in that have been impacted by rapid change in technology,”
The legal industry needs expertise in the technical department so that even the lawyers can straighten out the issues concerned with Artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and virtual reality.
For students with STEM majors who have a very busy graduate schedule, the investment of time and energy to prepare for LSAT is not very high. So, with Law Schools accepting GRE scores, many STEM major students applied for Law.
Between 2015 and 2016, 105,883 students took the LSAT, whereas 585,677 students took the GRE.
The Dean of the University of Arizona Marc Miller explains why they started accepting GRE scores, “I don’t understand why anyone would say, ‘yes, you have your 4.0 GPA, your Ph.D., your Nobel Prize—those are very impressive, but unless you take a test we say you have to take, we won’t even talk to you.’ I don’t see any school putting themselves in that position”.
When asked about a first-year law student Peter McFadden who applied for law school in his final year of P.hD Program in Organic Chemistry, he did not want to restrict his life by just sitting in a lab and experimenting. Applying to law school with his GRE score helped him to have a career in the legal field while still using his degree in science.
Conclusively, with law schools in the US accepting the GRE, it has become easier for aspirants from various educational backgrounds to pursue law. Currently, more than 50 law schools in the US accept GRE scores, and the number is bound to grow.