LSAT-Flex, A New Format in Response to COVID-19. Part One: What Should April/May Test-Takers Do?

The Law School Admission Council has managed to save the April LSAT by moving it to May and introducing a remote format they are calling “LSAT-Flex.” Anyone registered for the April test should obviously be thoroughly familiar with what LSAC is doing. So, should anyone schedule for tests throughout the summer. The most complete information on the format is at https://www.lsac.org/update-coronavirus-and-lsat/lsat-flex. Do not check it only once, because there are a lot of unanswered questions that, one hopes, LSAC will answer over the coming weeks.

I will have a few posts on the new format, all assuming that the new format works smoothly. However, the big question for April (now May) test-takers is, Should you assume it will work smoothly and keep you in position to get your best LSAT score?

I expected LSAC to cancel the April test but they developed this format instead. I stand by recommending to my clients that they not register for the April test. The reason is that however good LSAC is at test-writing (they are very good), they are equally poor, in my experience and the experience of some of my clients, at putting clean logistics in place. And those logistics can have a significant impact on your LSAT score.

The expansion to 6 annual LSATs created a lot of logistical issues that LSAC simply did not seem particularly attentive to, including making sure tablets worked, that proctors were properly trained in the new format, and that facilities were quiet and test-friendly and not, for example, next to a noisy hotel ballroom.

That said, the horror stories became less frequent over time (except for poorly trained proctors). The point is that LSAC has a history of putting new processes in place before they are really ready. In the case of COVID-19, it’s forgivable since the emergency brought a lot of people up short. But that won’t matter if you’re one of the April test-takers and things are not conducive to doing your best work.

My advice to those who are registered for the April is to defer to a different date, if possible. If things go wrong, what LSAC is likely to do—at most—is to offer you the opportunity to take the test again at no charge. No direct financial charge, that is, but the score will still be reported to law schools, you will still have to put in the time and energy to prepare again, etc.

I think the best alternative is to defer to another date when either LSAC will go back to the old format or—in view of the progress of COVID-19—will have to work out the kinks in the LSAT-Flex process. You simply don’t want to be one of those kinks, unless there is no other realistic time for you to take the LSAT. The time to be a lab rat is not when you are taking a test as important as the LSAT.

~ by Kyle Pasewark at Advise-in Solutions on April 14, 2020.

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