Jonathan13180

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Im not sure where to post this, so i thought id start here. Has anyone taken the lsat? if so, is it comparable to the mcat? easier? harder? Thanks.
 

beponychick

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ha, no comparison!!!! i hardly studied for it and did ok. The MCAT on the other hand is a whole different ball game. The LSAT is shorter, and to me a much more "fun" test. Not really comparable to the MCAT though.


Jonathan13180 said:
Im not sure where to post this, so i thought id start here. Has anyone taken the lsat? if so, is it comparable to the mcat? easier? harder? Thanks.
 

babyeva08

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i agree! after taking the MCAT, the LSAT was not bad at all. good luck to you!
 
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Jonathan13180

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Thanks-i havent even looked at the lsat yet, but i have taken the mcat and hope to the man/woman above that it isnt as mind-numbing
 

kinlog

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From what I understand, the LSAT is less based on knowledge and more based on logic and reasoning. Therefore one with a high IQ could probably do very well on it with little studying.
 

Shrike

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This has been discussed at length on a couple of occasions. The near-consensus in this biased forum is that the LSAT is simple compared to the MCAT, while some admit that it's also qualitatively different.

The LSAT has three types of questions. The notorious games section can be difficult for people who have never seen the problems before, is very subject to learning improvements with reasonable instruction and effort, and still can be done perfectly, in the thirty-five minutes given, by almost no one.

The argument sections (two scored, for half the total score) are very difficult for anyone whose grasp of either English or logical reasoning is imperfect. Also, all but the very fastest testtakers cannot finish a section in the allotted thirty-five minutes with good accuracy, and I have never had a student (among some 200 I've taught) who could do them perfectly with consistency. Questions start a little easier and get more difficult, however, so many smart people can do fairly well on the sections, and it is easy to get the sense that these are not incredibly challenging.

The reading comprehension section is analogous to MCAT verbal reasoning. Analogous, but not identical. Speed is more an issue than it is on the MCAT, as one gets an average of 8.9 minutes per passage instead of 9.4, with the passages requiring about the same amount of work. The easiest MCAT passage is easier to read than any LSAT passage; the hardest MCAT passage harder than anything on the LSAT; to me, MCAT feels slightly more difficult to read on average. Questions are qualitatively different, too (though not as much so as some MCATers would have you believe): MCAT favors tough-looking new information and other complex question types more than LSAT, but LSAT questions, though superficially easier, have harder-to-detect attractors (i.e., trap answers). LSAT favors linguistic precision and speed, relative to MCAT; MCAT, understanding, relative to LSAT.

The LSAT is far from an easy test; 175 total minutes of questions, with hardly a gimme in the bunch and only ten minutes of total break time in there, plus an unscored thrty-minute essay. But MCAT does cream it in this regard. You're frazzled and demoralized after an LSAT because it was so hard, but an MCAT leaves you frazzled, demoralized, and also exhausted.

For what it's worth, the law school application process is relatively easier, as nearly every serious applicant can get in somewhere if he is willing to apply to the right schools; on the other hand, the LSAT is higher pressure in a sense because it's a greater proportion of the total application. (For some applicants it's probably more important than all other factors, including grades, combined.) Also, law schools usually average your scores if you've taken it more than once, rather than just looking at the highest score, so there's always lots of pressure.

Scores are of course not really comparable. It is not true that it's impossible to study for the LSAT, though the studying is different, being primarily about the test-taking prcoess. My own students have improved an average of 9 or so points from first test to last (all these being real LSATs, so this is a solid number); our national average is less than that, but still significant. An increase of nine points can be a huge percentile increase, depending on what part of the curve we're talking about; for example, from 150 to 159 would be from 50th percentile to more than 80th. By comparison, my MCAT students average something like a ten or twelve point increase (I haven't calculated it exactly), though this number is subject to some argument because the first test is not an actual MCAT (see other threads for much too much on this topic).

Incidentally, every year there are a few 180s on the LSAT, which by the way do not require error-free tests (100 of 101 is enough). I and a few others I know at TPR can expect perfect scores if we take one. On the other hand, 45s don't happen. In that sense, and in terms of how difficult the experience is, the MCAT is clearly harder.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering: for anyone who's seen either the LSAT or the MCAT, the GMAT and the GRE are sad jokes.

More than you wanted to know?


Shrike
TPR physics, math, bio, LSAT, GMAT