Law library at Santa Barbara Courthouse

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) will go completely digital for the first time at UCSB on September 21 and, indeed, across North America. The LSAT is the last graduate-school entry exam to go digital — but the Law School Admission Council claims this was an intentional decision. “We were not satisfied with the current electronic testing formats available,” said Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the council. “We wanted higher security and a better user experience.”

The council has now partnered with Microsoft to administer tests on Microsoft Surface Go tablets loaded with its own patented software. “The structure of the test sections and test questions will not be any different than the paper-and-pencil LSAT, and we’ll be providing free online tutorials, so we don’t think test takers will have any problems moving to the digital version,” Testy continued. The transition offers a plethora of benefits, according to the council, including faster scoring and customizable screen settings. The change is expected to attract more participants than last year, which had 138,597 test takers. (Full disclosure: The author will be taking the September LSAT.)

July’s Law School Admission Test — which is given nine times a year — was a trial run to ease into the transition. It randomly supplied half of its testing centers with traditionally printed versions and half with digital. Because the resulting data needed to be analyzed and compared, scores were released later than usual — seven weeks instead of the usual three. “We know it’s important to have consistent and dependable score release dates and we intend to provide them in the future,” the council told about 30,000 test-takers in an email last month.


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