LSAT Scores and Percentiles: What Is a Good LSAT Score?

Pencil held over a multiple choice exam
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What is a good LSAT score? For the 2018-19 admissions year, the LSAT exam consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions. Your score is calculated based on four of the five sections. One randomly selected section of multiple-choice questions is used for data-collection purposes only and is not included in your final score. The exam includes one reading comprehension section, one analytical reasoning section, and two logical reasoning sections. A separate writing section, taken remotely within a year of registering for the LSAT, is also required but is not scored. LSAT scores can range from a low of 120 to a perfect score of 180. The average LSAT score is between 150 and 151.

LSAT Scoring Basics

Each administration of the LSAT exam consists of a total of approximately 100 questions, and every question answered correctly accounts for one point of your raw score. The raw score, which can range from 0 to 100, is converted into a scaled score ranging from 120 (lowest) to 180 (highest). Raw scores of 96 and above translate to scaled scores of 175 to 180. Note that points are given for correct responses, but are not deducted for incorrect answers. Differences in scaled and percentile scores for different test administrations are based on adjustments made for variations in exam difficulty.

When you receive your LSAT score report, it will include a percentile rank. This percentile rank tells you how you compare to other applicants who took the LSAT test at the same time. It’s also a good way to gauge how competitive you are for different law schools. For example, if your percentile rank is 70% for the October LSAT exam, that means that you scored equal to or higher than 70% of test-takers, and the same or lower than 30% of test-takers who sat for the October test.

Current LSAT Percentiles

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) releases LSAT score data for all tests administered during a three year period. The table represents the most current data with percentile ranks for all test administrations between June 2016 and February 2019.

Overall LSAT Percentiles (2016-2019)
Score Percentile Rank
180 99.9
179 99.9
178 99.9
177 99.8
176 99.7
175 99.6
174 99.3
173 99.0
172 98.6
171 98.1
170 97.4
169 96.6
168 95.5
167 94.3
166 92.9
165 91.4
164 89.4
163 87.1
162 84.9
161 82.4
160 79.4
159 76.5
158 73.6
157 70.0
156 66.4
155 62.8
154 59.0
153 55.1
152 51.1
151 47.6
150 43.9
149 40.1
148 36.3
147 32.6
146 29.7
145 26.0
144 23.0
143 20.5
142 17.7
141 15.5
140 13.3
139 11.3
138 9.6
137 8.1
136 6.8
135 5.5
134 4.7
133 3.9
132 3.2
131 2.6
130 2.0
129 1.7
128 1.3
127 1.1
126 0.9
125 0.7
124 0.6
123 0.5
122 0.4
121 0.3
120 0.0
Source: LSAC Score Distribution - Law School Admission Test

The overall LSAT percentile ranking is useful for noting how your score for a specific exam compares to other applicants who sat for the same exam. However, law schools are more interested in your numerical score. The table below provides the score ranges for students accepted to top 20 law schools.

LSAT Score Ranges by School

The data in the table below represents the 2018 LSAT score ranges for 20 top law schools. The percentiles represent the range of LSAT scores of students who were admitted to each school.

To understand the data, remember the following:

  • 25% of admitted students scored at or below the 25th percentile score. That means 75% of admitted students got a higher score. If your score is below a certain school's 25th percentile score, your chances of admission to that school are not high.
  • 50% of admitted students scored at or below the 50th percentile score (the median). That means half of the admitted students got a higher score.
  • 75% of students scored at or below the 75th percentile score. That means 25% of admitted students got a higher score. If your score is in the 75th percentile or higher for a particular school, your odds of admission are favorable.

Note that this data is specific to each school, unlike the LSAC data which is for all students who took the LSAT in a given year or years.

LSAT Percentiles by School (2017-2018)
Law School 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile
Yale Law School 170 173 176
University of Chicago Law School 167 171 173
Stanford Law School 169 171 174
Harvard Law School 170 173 175
University of Virginia School of Law 163 169 171
Columbia Law School 170 172 174
NYU School of Law 167 170 172
University of Pennsylvania Law School 164 170 171
Duke University School of Law 167 169 170
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law 164 169 170
University of Michigan Law School 165 169 171
Cornell Law School 164 167 168
UC Berkeley Law 165 168 170
University of Texas at Austin School of Law 160 167 168
Vanderbilt University Law School 161 167 168
Washington University School of Law 160 168 170
Georgetown Law 163 167 168
UCLA School of Law 165 168 169
USC Gould School of Law 163 166 167
Notre Dame Law School 159 165 166
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

The Truth About LSAT Cutoff Scores

Most law schools do not have minimum cutoff LSAT scores. The Law School Admission Council strongly discourages LSAT cutoff scores, unless the minimum score is supported by “clear evidence that those scoring below the cutoff have substantial difficulty doing satisfactory law school work.” Several top tier law schools, including Yale, Harvard, and Columbia, specifically state that they have no minimum score requirements. However, the score data for the most selective schools indicates that most successful applicants score above the 90th percentile on the LSAT.

How Important Is It to Have a Good LSAT Score?

A good LSAT score is perhaps the most important part of your law school application as it is ultimately a measure of your potential for success in law school. However, it is not the only significant part of your application. Your undergraduate GPA is also a strong determinate of your chances for admission to law school, so it's useful to consider your index score, which takes into account your LSAT score and undergraduate GPA. Law school admissions calculators offer predictions as to how competitive your chances are to particular law schools given your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score.

Beyond quantitative measures, other important factors in law school admissions include your personal statement, letters of recommendation, resume, and work experience. While these factors may have less weight in the admission process, they are essential to a successful application. In particular, a strong personal statement exhibits writing and communication skills that are vital in the legal profession.