October 2010 LSAT Scores Released! Curve Analysis

BPPjodi-lsat-blog-curvesWhen I opened my eyes this morning, I knew something was different. LA traffic was muted. Oprah was doing a special that didn’t involve Dr. Phil. Somewhere in Schenectady, a student executed a series of cartwheels on a linoleum floor. It can only mean one thing.

October LSAT scores are out.

And the question on everyone’s mind is…how was the curve? The short answer is that it was friendly. Which means it was a bit more pleasant than what we were expecting based off of our October 2010 LSAT recap responses.

Out of 101 questions, you could miss 11 or 12 for a 170, 18 or 19 for a 165, and 26 or 27 for a 160.

In order to compare how the October 2010 LSAT stacked up against other LSAT’s, and to give you something to do other than refresh your inbox every three seconds, we’ve tracked the curves over the last five years.

Let’s talk for a moment about December 2004. Otherwise known as the last time, in a long time, that you could miss twelve answers and still score a 170 on the LSAT. After December 2004, life got steadily rougher, culminating in the infamous December 2005 LSAT, where you could miss eight to get a 170. Eight. I have more toes than that.

After that, the number crept upward again until June 2007 (damn you, entrance of comparative reading) where another “only eight misses allowed for a 170” moment occurred. Then, in December 2009 we reach the hallowed ground of minus fourteen for a 170 and minus twenty eight (28!) for a 160. Imagine any other exam where you can miss 28 and receive a median score for a top-50 graduate school.

Is there anything intelligible to say about any of this? Are there trends to be located and discussed? And why are you hitting the refresh button when g-mail updates your inbox automatically?

We at Blueprint LSAT Prep thought that surely there would be some correlation between the recession and the LSAT curve. All those influx of people running back to law school should have some kind of impact. But the truth is, the test has been fairly consistent.

For the last five years, you can essentially miss roughly ten questions and score a 170 on the LSAT. Some administrations you get a ball buster and can only miss 8 or 9, but sometimes you get an early holiday present and can miss twelve or more. For a 160, you can miss roughly 25, and so on.

Which is as it should be. After all, the entire purpose of a standardized test is to be, well, standardized. With so many different GPAs across so many different kinds of majors, the LSAT is supposed to let admissions officers know how you stack up on essentially the same test on essentially the same day. Accordingly, lots and lots of effort goes into this endeavor so it’s not particularly surprising that they’ve succeeded.

So when you’re looking at the results of the October LSAT, or contemplating the upcoming December LSAT, the key is not that you want a test with an easier curve. The key is that, on a test where your score is dependent on how well you do in relation to everyone else taking the test, you have to prepare better than everyone else. And be really happy that you didn’t take the LSAT in December 2005.

Check out our discussion board for more conversation about the test and curve.

10 Responses

  1. Casey says:

    Gah, I missed 5 game questions when I normally miss at most 1, and I was pretty comfortable with the game section coming out. Totally screwed me, if I had just been normal on games my score would’ve been solid. Sigh…

  2. Dave Woods says:

    So frustrating. What happened – did you misread a rule?

    • Jeff says:

      i misread a crucial rule in the 3rd game that ended up causing me to miss more in my games section than the entire rest of the test. Retake december..

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Blueprint LSAT Prep, Jodi Triplett. Jodi Triplett said: October 2010 LSAT Curve Analysis by Blueprint LSAT. http://bit.ly/bqdqxk […]

  4. JT says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Mis-reading a rule sucks, but the good news is that it appears you’re a clear candidate for a retake. If you normally get 100% on the games and missed 6 or so questions, that’s a big swing for your final score. Be sure to keep your skills sharp on all sections so you’re still at your peak when December comes around!

  5. […] results for the October LSAT were sent out this past weekend. How was the curve? Pretty favorable again. It seems that missing 26 or 27 out of a total 101 questions still led to a score of 160. Missing […]

  6. Jaz says:

    Getting my test score I was a little shocked! I too thought the test was extremely straight forward and felt like I nailed the games section and both LR sections. Normally I miss very few in games, but had a -5 and I’m solid on RC and had a -7! Both were much higher than I thought I would miss.

    I took down on LR section fairly well even though I didn’t answer 2. The other one I apparently left my body because I thought I was killing it, but I did not.

    You guys rock and hopefully I can make you proud come December.

    • MW says:

      How do you know how many questions in each section you got wrong? I thought they only tell you the final overall score.

      • Todd says:

        Hi MW,

        Go to your LSAC.org account page, and click on LSAT status. Since the October exam is disclosed, you can download a PDF copy of any part of your exam. The item response report is what you’ll be looking for, and you can just add up the total from each section. Hope this helps!

        – TB

        • RW says:

          I am thinking of retaking the LSAT in December. I just received a 165, but had been constantly scoring low to mid 170s. 15 straight practice tests, I didn’t get below a 170. Every section, I did worse than I usually do.

          I know this is a good score, but am confident that I can do better, and at the very least, score the same.

          I am turning my applications in this week, but am wondering if taking it again will hurt my chances of getting into schools that are waiting for my december score. Would I be at a disadvantage because of waiting to report the december score when my october score is decent?


          Can I just apply with this score and have the benefit of applying early? Then, if I get a good score in December, send it to the schools where my application is still pending?

          I’d rather not put my application on hold.

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