LSAT Goes Digital at UCSB

Photo: WikiCommonsLaw 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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