The Digital LSAT has arrived. And the reviews are mixed. More than 24,000 aspiring lawyers registered for the July LSAT at over 450 test centers across North America. Roughly half took the digital exam, which was administered at 203 test centers.
Kaplan Test Prep, an educational and career services provider, polled 118 of its students about their experience with the digital exam. Test takers were split on the overall difficulty: 37% said it was easier than expected, while 32% said it was harder and 31% said it was as expected.
When it came to the technology (e.g., touchscreen and stylus functionality, time keeping, etc.), over 50% rated the exam as “very good” or “good.” Almost 20% evaluated it as “poor” or “very poor.” Difficulty with the “sensitive” stylus highlighting interface was the most common issue reported. Modifying incorrect highlighting was described as cutting into test takers time.
After a successful pilot program, the Law School Admissions Council, which administers the LSAT, announced in October 2018 that it would transition to the digital format beginning with the July 2019 test.
“The Digital LSAT will maintain the quality and predictive value that the LSAT is known for, while providing a modern delivery system that enhances security, access, and ease of use,” said Kellye Testy, President and CEO of LSAC, in the October 2018 release.
The digital exam retains the same structure as previous versions of the LSAT but is taken via a Microsoft Surface Go tablet rather than a booklet. Additional features include tapping the screen to select answers for multiple-choice questions, a timer, highlighting functionality and flagging to keep track of questions that a test taker may want to revisit.
To ease the transition, July test takers could review their score before deciding whether to cancel it. Those who decide to cancel have until April 2020 to take the test free of charge.
Citing uncertainty with the change, Kaplan said that 58% of its students were hoping to take the exam in the pencil-and-paper format. The September LSAT will only be administered in the digital format.