After years of “will they/won’t they,” LSAC has finally decided to enter the 21st century and move away from the paper-and-pencil LSAT beginning in July 2019. We can grumble, we can complain, we can blame Gen Z, but love it or not, the LSAT digital revolution is coming. LSAC has been slowly releasing information bit by bit, and although we’ve diligently reported all the latest developments, it can still be a lot to digest at once. So, we’ve determined the top five things you need to know about the digital LSAT, regardless if you’re a seasoned LSAT vet or you’re taking the test for the first time this year.
1.The final guaranteed paper-and-pencil LSAT will be June 2019
The June 2019 LSAT is the last time the LSAT will be a paper test. July is a toss-up (see #2) and all exams will be digital beginning September. This means that, if you’re reading this at the time of publication, you only have two opportunities to take the exam in the way we’ve come to know. Registration for both the March and June exams is open, and now is the time to prep for the March LSAT!
2. The digital LSAT will be administered on Microsoft Surface Tablets
Sorry Apple fans. LSAC has partnered with Microsoft to exclusively use Microsoft Surface Go Tablets to administer the LSAT. The tablets will run on Windows 10 and will be pre-loaded with custom software to ensure the exam process and results are secure. You can now take a tutorial of the new digital LSAT.
3. Some of the test centers in July 2019 will administer the new digital test, while some will give out the paper-and-pencil format—but the content will be the same
To make an already stressful day even more unnerving, July test takers will find out which format of the LSAT they will be taking when they arrive to check-in. You can’t choose which version of the test you want to take, and you won’t know beforehand when you register for your testing center. Imagine this as a cruel lottery where your prize can either be to take the test you’ve come to expect, or be one of the first to usher in a new era of law school admissions testing. Either way, though the format will be different, the content on the paper test and the digital test will be exactly the same. In other words, one won’t be easier than the other, unless you absolutely hate a tablet.
4. You can cancel your July 2019 LSAT score, and then retake it for FREE
Normally, you can cancel your score six days after taking the exam, but you’ll never know what your score was. There are multiple reasons why students cancel despite not knowing their score, including feeling like they didn’t do very well or something happened that affected their performance during the exam. However, to ease the transition to digital, LSAC is allowing all July test takers to see their score before they decide to cancel it. Those who choose to cancel can retake the exam for free before April 2020.
5. The writing sample will be take home, and will cost you extra
I know, I know….we didn’t ask to take the writing sample, so why should we pay extra for it, right? Well, welcome to 2019. As of June 2019, the writing sample will cost an additional $15, but it remains unscored and mandatory. Fortunately, you will complete this section at home within a year of your LSAT date. You’ll have to download special software from LSAC, which will have access to your computer screen, webcam, and microphone. Learn more about the FBI-like process here. Students will also only need to write one sample, even if they take the LSAT more than once—don’t say LSAC never does anything for you.
While there certainly are people who have been waiting for the LSAT to retire its paper format, there are even more that would rather not try their luck with an entirely new test experience, and definitely not leave it to fate to decide which version of the test they receive in July. That’s why the time to prep is NOW before the test changes. Whether you prefer to take an LSAT classroom course, LSAT online course, a live online course, or prefer personalized private LSAT tutoring, the countdown is on to sign-up and complete the final paper-and-pencil LSATs.