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If you’ve considered going to grad school, then you’ve probably considered studying for and taking the GRE. I know when I was still in my undergrad I was guilty of popping out a pocket dictionary and trying to memorize some random vocabulary words in hopes that I would get a couple more points on the GRE. But then, I decided to go to law school and didn’t have to worry about that anymore.

So, while learning some random new English words never hurt anybody (well, that may not entirely be true…), you should probably ask yourself if that’s what you want to spend your valuable time doing. Without further rambling, here are the main differences between the two tests:

Difference #1: these tests have different goals

Fact: the GRE tests your ability to read, think, and write like a graduate student. If you want to gauge your potential success in grad school, you should take some practice GREs. Graduate schools have an interest in getting the students who are the best at thinking like grad students. It eliminates the need for them to train the uninitiated and proves fertile ground for choosing potential students.

At the end of the day, what matters most for those big school out there is the size of their endowment. Your potential grad school would like nothing more than for you to get a degree, become a major success, and then become a lifelong donor.

The LSAT on the other hand, measures your ability to be competitive. The vast majority of the exam is based on your ability to use logic … to reason and work your way through problems. Law schools want students who are willing to put in the time to learn a new way of thinking, and who succeed and excel in doing so.

Difference #2: they test different things

I just need to get this out of the way. The LSAT does not test your math schools. There is absolutely no math in law school, and math done as an attorney is the simple, basic, fifth-grade kind. In many other grad programs, math and advanced statistics are required.

In the GRE, you’ll also be required to write a bunch. While this is mostly true on the LSAT, your writing sample on the LSAT is not graded. Additionally, on the GRE, you have to know a ton of vocabulary and be required to summarize a bunch of dense material.

You may be thinking that last portion is also tested on the Reading Comprehension portion of the LSAT. While I agree that there is some crossover, it’s not that expansive.

Difference #3: Most law schools still don’t take the GRE

More and more law schools seem to be accepting the GRE in place of the LSAT, but these programs are still few and far in between. Check out this post for the most updated list of law schools accepting the GRE and find out whether or not the GRE is right for you.

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