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What is a good LSAT Score?

Considering LSAT Scores and Percentiles.
Tags: LSAT, applying to law school, taking the test
Apr 2, 2023

Note: Throughout this article LSAT numbers reported in 2022 for the 2023 rankings are used. LSAT medians change every year so it is vital to use the most up to date numbers when thinking about the question: “What is a good LSAT Score?” We will keep these numbers updated every year when USNews releases their rankings. 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. How do schools report LSAT Scores?
  3. What does the 25th, 50th, and 75th LSAT score at a law school mean?
  4. Counting school LSAT percentiles for each LSAT score
  5. What is a good LSAT Score for a T3 Law School?
  6. What is a good LSAT Score for a T6 Law School?
  7. What is a good LSAT Score for a T14 Law School?
  8. Related Articles

 

This article is for people who want to understand LSAT scores and LSAT score percentiles in general. If you are interested in LSAT score percentile information from the perspective of an applicant, then check out our more detailed article here.

A brief introduction to the LSAT and the question “What is a good LSAT Score?

 

The LSAT is a test that law school applicants take months and often thousands of dollars to prepare for. Law schools use the LSAT to compare applicants and select candidates for admission. 

 

In general, when people talk about “a good LSAT score” they mean above a 160. However, a good LSAT score really depends on the school that a student is applying to. There is no clear cut answer to the question “What is a good LSAT score?” But you aren’t the only person to ask this question. Another common refrain is “What LSAT score do I need to get into a good Law School?” or “X is my dream law school, what LSAT Score do I need to get in?” Unfortunately, none of these questions has a perfectly clear answer. 

 

Instead, it is easier to think about the fact that there are good LSAT scores based on each law school. The score an applicant needs in order to get into a top US law school is much higher than the LSAT score needed to just get into at least one law school.

 

In order to have a score in the 99th percentile on the LSAT, meaning that you scored better than 99% of all other test takers, then you need to score about a 172 on the LSAT. The test isn’t traditionally scaled so the exact score you need to get into the top 99th percentile can change slightly over time. So, a great score on the LSAT is a 172, but more than 100,000 people take the LSAT every year and only 1% score 172 or higher. 

 

For the top 50 law schools, the median LSAT score is between 164 and 174. A good LSAT score for top tier(defined by T14 schools for this article) law schools is between 171 and 174. This means that a student in the 99th percentile of test takers with an LSAT score of 172 will still be at or below the median LSAT for 6 top-tier law schools.  

 

On the other hand, applicants at lower ranked law schools have a good chance of getting in with an LSAT score of 150 to 155 and students CAN get accepted to law schools with any LSAT score. 

 

A good LSAT score can open the door to get accepted to a great law school, especially when paired with a strong GPA. However, a good LSAT score is not a guarantee of acceptance at any law school. 

 

For better or worse, an applicant’s LSAT score is the single most important piece of their application. So, what really makes an LSAT score ‘good’ is whether or not it gets someone into the law school of their choice. To understand if a specific LSAT score is good, it is important to understand how schools report their median LSAT scores. 

 

How do schools report LSAT scores?

Law schools report the 25th, 50th (median), and 75th percentile LSAT scores to the ABA and USNews, so this is what many companies (including us at LSD) will show to people when comparing schools. It is important to understand what law school LSAT percentiles mean. First, it is important to know that LSAT scores range from 120 to 180, with 120 being the lowest someone can score and 180 being the highest someone can score. The 25th percentile LSAT is the score that 25% of the incoming class scored at or below. This means that if Windsor Law School has a 25th percentile LSAT score of 160, and a class size of 100, that 25 people in the incoming class scored between 120 and 160. In this case, a good LSAT score is probably higher than 160. 

What is the 25th percentile, 50th percentile, and 75th percentile LSAT score at a law school? 

These numbers are how law schools report their LSAT scores and share them with the world. The easiest way to understand these LSAT percentiles is look at an example. 

 

Let’s consider Boston College Law School for this example:

The incoming BC Law School class had about 354 students. 354 divided by 4 is 88 students. BC Law School’s 25th percentile LSAT score was 161, 50th was 165, and 75th was 167. 

 

Score Range

120 to 161

162 to 165

166 to 167

167 to 180

Number of students

88

88

88

88

This table shows that in the incoming class of BC Law the same number of people had an LSAT score of between 120 and 161 (41 point range) as had a score between 166 and 167 (2 point range).

Let’s consider some specific LSAT Scores and see if they are ‘good’ LSAT Scores.

A 152 LSAT score is about the average LSAT score of all test takers over the past three years. Test experts tend to claim that applicants have to get at least a 150 on the LSAT to be confident that they will get into at least one ABA accredited law school. An applicant’s combination of LSAT and GPA is important for getting into any law school, but scoring above a school’s median LSAT score puts an applicant in a good spot for an application. This means that we can look at different scores and see how many schools have a median at or below each score. 

 

The lowest LSAT median for any ABA accredited school in the USNews 2023 rankings (ranked in 2022) is a 146, so we can start there instead of at the lowest possible LSAT score of 120. There are 192 ABA Accredited Law Schools in the US.

 

 

LSAT Score

Number of ABA Accredited Law Schools where score is higher than the 25th percentile

Number of ABA Accredited Law Schools where score is higher than the 50th percentile

Number of ABA Accredited Law Schools where score is higher than the 75th percentile

146

2

0

0

148

15

3

0

150

35

11

1

152

60

29

3

154

93

47

21

156

109

76

38

158

133

97

65

160

149

113

90

162

165

132

111

164

172

148

133

166

177

162

149

168

185

171

165

170

187

177

172

172

191

186

179

174

192

189

186

176

192

192

189

178

192

192

192

A common refrain is that a good LSAT score is a 160. From the table above, we can see a lot more specificity to what an LSAT score of a 160 really means. An LSAT score of 160 can be considered a good school because with a score of 160, your score is above the 50th percentile (or median) LSAT score at 113 law schools in the US. 

 

Another commonly considered idea is that an LSAT score of 150 will get you into at least 1 ABA accredited program. The reason that this is true is that an LSAT score of 150 puts an applicant above the median for 11 law schools and above the 75th percentile for 1 law school (Southern University Law School). 

 

On the other end of the spectrum we can consider an LSAT score of 172. An LSAT score of 172 means the student scored better than about 99% of applicants. From the table above we can see that with a score of 172 that there is still one school where the student would fall below the 25th percentile (Yale Law School), 6 schools where the student would fall below the median score, and 13 schools where the student would bust through the 75th percentile. In fact, the only T14 school where a 172 LSAT score would put a student in the 75th percentile of scorers for the incoming class, and that school is UC Berkeley Law School which has an 75th percentile LSAT score of 171 in 2022. 

 

The next step is to look at specific categories of schools to determine what a good LSAT score is. 

 

What is a good LSAT Score for a T3 Law School?

 

T3 Law Schools are those that are consistently ranked between 1 and 3 by US News. Although UChicago Law School passed Harvard in the 2023 rankings, the typical T3 schools are Yale Law School, Stanford Law School, and Harvard Law School. 

 

To have a good LSAT score at a T3 school and be above the median for each, an applicant would need to have a 174 or better. Stanford law school’s LSAT median is slightly lower at 172 while Yale and Harvard both had a median LSAT Score of 174. 

What is a good LSAT Score for a T6 Law School?

T6 Law Schools are those that are consistently ranked between 1 and 6 by US News. Generally, T6 schools applies to Yale, Stanford, Harvard, UChicago, Columbia, NYU, and UPenn. BUT THAT IS 7 SCHOOLS! True, T6 is more of a loose term and the USNews Rankings are fluid. 

 

To have a good LSAT score at a T6 school and be above the median for at least 4, an applicant would need to have a 172 or better. The lowest T6 school median LSAT is UPenn which has a median LSAT Score of 171.

 

What is a good LSAT Score for a T14 Law School?

T6 Law Schools are those that are consistently ranked between 1 and 14 by US News. Generally, the term “T14 schools” applies to Yale, Stanford, Harvard, UChicago, Columbia, NYU, UPenn, UVA, UC Berkeley, UMich, Duke, Cornell, Northwestern, and Georgetown. Sometimes UCLA is also included because it often challenges Georgetown for the 14th spot.

 

To have a good LSAT score at a T14 school and be above the median for at least half, an applicant would need to have a 171 or better. The lowest T14 school median LSAT is UC Berkeley which has a median LSAT Score of 169.

Related Articles

  1. What is the LSAT?
  2. The Best LSAT Prep Books
  3. A Guide to the LSAC Fee Waiver
Windsor MIT '22, Harvard College Advisor

I am the half of LSD that didn't take the LSAT, or go to law school (Sorry about that). But I did go to MIT business school while surrounded by law students and lawyers, so I am somewhat qualified to talk about the intricacies of law school apps and finances.

Windsor (the dog) didn't write this but he WAS a Resident Tutor and career advisor at Harvard College with me, so deserves some credit.

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get scholarships
Pookie52
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parents
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inheritance
Pongleton
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Most schools are generous with aid and you can usually get 25-50% off
grad plus loans
Then you have to take significant loans
Or get a full ride
@slaughter: test well, negotiate well, be debt-averse in your decision-making
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It’s not that hard lmao just have a 177+/4.0 and some school will offer u a full ride
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But yeah what everyone else suggested works too especially crypto scam and rich parents
Rich parents is the meta
Ijustwannagetinman
18:27
I think there are studies that paying for education, specifically advanced education, and giving your child money for their first home downpayment are the biggest propellants towards wealth a parent can give their kid
Ijustwannagetinman
18:27
Once a family has achieved enough wealth to do the above 2, then future generations almost certainly will also have the ability. That's how generational wealth remains. Debt is a wealth killer
Absolutely, valuable insight
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19:13
Any real reason to consider USC over UCLA for BL?
Pookie52
19:14
UCLA is even a bit cheaper but I'm just curious if there's anyone reason to consider it
UCLA is categorically better
Pookie52
19:15
thats what im thinking
19:40
The only reason ppl go to usc over ucla is cuz the former is more generous with aid
19:40
UCLA is better in almost every single aspect especially location
ElderlyUnadvisedPikachu
19:51
I think this site used to have a calculator for estimating total paid including interest for loans. Does anyone know how to find it?
[] ararara
19:59
@ElderlyUnadvisedPikachu: YO Pikachu! For me, when I click "my profile" there is a school finances page at the bottom with editable categories!
ElderlyUnadvisedPikachu
20:02
Thank you!!
What would y'all pick between Chi and Columbia?
Pookie52
23:08
@NalawAndButtorts: Chicago is pretty much objectively better by every metric except maybe location
[] ararara
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@ElderlyUnadvisedPikachu: ofc np! Hope you’re having a great weekend we’re still going in!
[] ararara
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@NalawAndButtorts: idk flip a coin lol those are both great schools! I can think of one metric where CLS has chi beat hahaha the median salary for CLS is 20k higher than chi! I would do the basics! Visit both and talk to alumni! Cultures are difference, Columbia is larger! Congratulations on all your hard work!
[] ararara
6:01
Cultures are different*
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