What Is a Good LSAT Score?

Law school applicants benefit from strong LSAT scores. Learn more about what counts as a good LSAT score and how to improve your score.

portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.

Updated September 14, 2022

Edited by Tyler Epps
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What Is a Good LSAT Score?
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A 180 is a perfect LSAT score. But of the nearly 60,000 tests taken in 2022, only 119 test-takers scored 180, according to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). And around 1 in 3 test-takers scored within 5 points of the average LSAT score.

You don't need a perfect score to get into law school. But what is a good LSAT score exactly? And what score will you need for your target schools?

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What Is a Good LSAT Score Overall?

Around half of test-takers score above a 150, which is the median score on the test. But competitive applicants often need a higher score in the 160s or 170s to gain admission to their top-choice schools.

The LSAT is scored on a scale from 120-180. That scaled score correlates with the number of correct questions on your test, which can include anywhere from 73-78 total questions.

After taking the LSAT, you'll also receive a percentile score. Many top-ranked law schools largely admit applicants who score above the 90th percentile, or in the top 10% of test-takers.

The exact raw scores, percentiles, and scaled scores vary depending on the test. The following table provides an approximate percentile and scaled score for 2014-2017 LSAT tests. We contacted LSAC directly to confirm that these are the most recently released percentiles.

LSAT Percentiles and Scaled Scores, 2014-2017 Tests
Percentile LSAT Scaled Score
99.9 180
99.6 175
97.5 170
91.7 165
80.1 160
63.4 155
44.7 150
26.8 145
13.6 140
5.7 135
2 130
0.6 125
0 120

Source: LSAC

What Is a Good LSAT Score Based on Your Target Law Schools?

Every year, over 50,000 students take the LSAT, as per LSAC. After taking the test, you'll receive LSAT score percentiles, which weigh your performance against other students who took the test in the previous three years.

A good LSAT score depends on your goals. If you want to get into a top-10 law school, you'll likely need a very high LSAT score. However, many other good law schools admit students with lower scores.

Before taking the LSAT, consider your target law schools and research their median test scores. Many law schools publish the middle 50% of LSAT scores of admitted applicants on their official websites. Take practice tests to get a benchmark for how you might score on the LSAT.

You should apply to some reach schools, but make sure you also choose schools that match your GPA and LSAT scores, along with some schools where you have a high chance of admission.

Good LSAT Scores for 10 Popular Law Schools

Top-ranked law schools often report high LSAT scores for admitted students. According to the Internet Legal Research Group, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia all reported a 170 LSAT score for the 25th percentile of admitted students in 2020. This means most students scored in the 98th percentile or higher on the LSAT.

The following table shows the 25th and 75th percentile LSAT score for admitted students in 2020 at popular law schools.

LSAT Scores for 10 Popular Law Schools (2020 Cohort)
School 25th Percentile Score 75th Percentile Score
Harvard University 170 175
Stanford University 169 174
University of Chicago 167 173
University of Virginia 163 171
UC Berkeley 165 170
University of Michigan 165 171
University of Notre Dame 159 166
University of Washington 158 165
University of Arizona 155 162
Drexel University 153 158

Source: ILRG

4 Tips to Improve Your LSAT Score

Whether you're taking the LSAT for the first time or hoping to boost your score, these tips can help you improve your LSAT score.

1  Create a Study Schedule

Most test-takers spend months preparing for the LSAT. Create a schedule to block off study time, and pace yourself and stay on track. Early on, take a practice test to get a baseline score. Then, look for study resources that fit your schedule and needs.

For example, many students use LSAT prep books or sign up for LSAT prep courses. Continue to measure your progress with practice tests. Identify your weakest areas and focus on improving your scores. In addition, find your strengths to see if you can build on those areas.

2  Take LSAT Practice Tests

Practice tests accomplish two goals. They familiarize you with the format and timing of the LSAT, and they also give you benchmarks for studying. So make sure to take practice tests regularly while studying for the LSAT.

Where can you find practice tests? LSAC provides four official LSAT sample tests for free on its site. Since LSAC creates and administers the test, its practice tests are the closest thing to the actual test.

3  Use Test-Day Strategies

On the day of the LSAT, make sure to monitor your time and use test-taking strategies like eliminating wrong answers and leaving difficult questions until the end of the section. If you're feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and try a different question.

In addition, use your break to drink water and have a snack. These strategies — along with getting a good night of sleep — can help you perform at your best on test day.

4  Retake the LSAT

If you aren't happy with your LSAT score, you can retake the test. LSAC lets test-takers sit for the LSAT up to three times per year. And in most cases, test-takers improve their score on their second time. Keep in mind that law schools will see all of your LSAT scores.

Before retaking the LSAT, however, consider what contributed to your score. Were you unprepared because you didn't study enough? Or did you run into problems on test day? Make a plan to address those issues and correct them.

Does the LSAT Unscored Writing Sample Matter?

In addition to the scored sections of the LSAT, test-takers complete a 35-minute writing section. This section does not receive a score or contribute to your overall LSAT score. In spite of that, it still matters for your law school applications.

It matters because law schools receive the unscored writing sample along with your LSAT score. Admissions officers may use the writing sample when making decisions about your application.

While the writing sample is unlikely to make or break your application, you should still focus on writing a solid essay. Sloppy work or faulty logic on the writing sample might send up a red flag that can hurt your chances.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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