Recently LSAC studied performance trends on the LSAT and released its findings to the general public. The study was not necessarily a scientific one – results were based on test takers information that was voluntarily submitted; the information received was not necessarily verified by LSAC or anyone else. Certainly, if the study was the subject of an LSAT logical reasoning question, we would look for flaws it in; nonetheless the results are interesting.
Looking at those people taking the test only in the United States (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), LSAC identified certain trends with respect to gender concerning numbers taking the test and score results.
As a general rule, it appears that more men take the LSAT than women. In some years, the differences are slight; for example at one time as few as 679 more men than women took the LSAT. The testing year 2008-2009 reported a difference of approximately 3800 more men than women taking the test, but as recently as the 2011-2012 testing year 856 more men than women took the LSAT. Interestingly, in 2008, about 60 more women than men took the LSAT.
Looking at scores based on gender over the past 7 years, the scores of men taking the LSAT were generally higher than the scores of women. LSAC studied the years from 2005 through June 2011 and found that men tended to score, on average, 151 while women taking the LSAT scored around 149. As a rough trend, the difference in scores tends to be around 2.5 points.
This information was released by LSAC without explanation as to the reasons for the differences in scores. In addition, LSAC did not differentiate between test takers who may have prepped for the LSAT and those who did not. Also, there is a lack of information concerning educational background, number of times the LSAT was taken by test takers or age of test takers. So, what should you do if you are a woman (or a man) looking to score high on the LSAT?
First, remember that these score reports are simply indicative of trends but not necessarily a guarantee of how you as an individual will perform on the LSAT, regardless of gender. Second, the best way to achieve a high score on the LSAT is to get ready for it. This means prepping as best as you can – taking on of our courses, for example, or simply taking practice tests and doing sample questions, plus knowing what to expect on test day. Have a plan of action for the exam, whether you are taking it in June or next fall. The LSAT is not a test that should be taken cold; it requires critical skills and practice. Becoming familiar with the test and the test process will translate into points. Finally keep a good perspective – the skills needed for LSAT success are not gender specific; they are skills that can be perfected by everyone. In teaching and tutoring LSAT students my colleagues and I see students achieve great LSAT scores and gender has nothing to do with it.