First, and I just need to get this out of the way, says that in a battle between the LSAT and the GMAT, the GMAT wins, hands down. Here’s the link, in case you’re burning to see the results. Beyond these two tests engaging in mortal combat, however, you should probably know the difference between the two exams.

lsat vs gmat

Difference #1: they don’t test the same things

While they both test reading comprehension, that’s about where the two tests diverge. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the LSAT reading portion is more difficult than the GMAT.

The remainder of the exams couldn’t be more different. First, the GMAT tests your math abilities. I’m not psychic or anything, but I’m willing to wager, if you want to be an attorney, that there’s a reason you want to be one, and that reason has a very good chance of revolving around the fact that you don’t want to do math. Come on, you know I’m right.

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In the GMAT, you’re also going to be fixing sentences and analyzing arguments. Sometimes I kinda wish I got to fix crappy sentences as a part of an entrance exam, since I’m doing that with other legal assistants’ work all the time.

You really won’t see those things on the LSAT. The whole reason the LSAT exists is to measure students’ abilities to use logic and reason, and the drafters of the exam attempt to do that without requiring any specialized knowledge to do so. Although, I’m not so sure the math tested on the GMAT qualifies as “specialized knowledge,” though it may appear that way to most attorneys.

Difference #2: The tests are taken on completely different mediums

In case you haven’t heard, the LSAT is still in the 19th century. You are required to fill in bubble sheets, and the whole thing is graded by hand … okay, the last part isn’t true, but the first part definitely is.

The GMAT, on the other hand, is completely computerized. On top of that, a complicated computer algorithm calculates the difficulty of your next question. The LSAT doesn’t come anywhere near this sophistication.

In short, the more questions you get right in a row at the beginning of the GMAT, the better your score is going to be. On the LSAT, all you need to do is get questions right. There is no weight, as each question is only worth 1 point, and each question is scaled accordingly.

Difference #3: Law schools don’t take the GMAT

This is the biggest difference between the two exams. If you want to get into law school, you should probably look into the test title the “Law School Admissions Counsel.” That’s your first clue. Let me reiterate this one: taking the GMAT will not help one little bit. So please, please don’t take it.

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  • Randall

    Randall earned his JD from the University of Denver in 2013. He received his BA in Communications and Social Science from the University of Washington in 2010. Randall took the LSAT twice, and managed to improve his score by 14 points the second time around. He paid the price of learning to score high on the LSAT and hopes to help other potential law students avoid similar pain.

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