Is the LSAT in person or online in 2023?
Starting in August 2023, you can choose whether to take the LSAT at an in-person testing location or remotely from home. Here’s what you need to know:
When can I take the LSAT in person?
- The August LSAT will be the first test date with an in-person option. The primary August LSAT dates are Friday, August 11th and Saturday, August 12th. It remains to be seen whether the test will be proctored in person on other days within the testing week.
- Registration for the August LSAT will open in mid-May. You can indicate at the time you register whether you wish to take the test at an LSAT testing location or remotely.
- Scheduling for the in-person LSAT will begin 37 days prior to the primary test date. For the August 2023 LSAT, that will be the 5th of July.
- If you’re taking the April or June LSAT, your test will still be administered remotely.
We also noticed that LSAC’s announcement page calls it “A New Option for the 2023-2024 Testing Year.” If this makes you think “What the heck is the LSAT testing year,” you’re not alone. For reasons we cannot explain, the LSAT testing year isn’t the Jan-Dec calendar year, nor is it the Aug-June academic year that you get at colleges and universities, the LSAT testing year runs from July 1 – June 30.
Unlike other recent changes such as the return of the 4-section exam which was projected out at least 2-3 years, we’re only guaranteed the in-person exam for one testing cycle. And in an unprecedented move, LSAC has already released all the primary test dates for the 2023-2024 testing year. This makes us think that this year may be a test run. If you want to guarantee your shot at taking the exam in person, we recommend planning both a primary and secondary test date within the 2023-2024 testing year.
Where are the LSAT testing locations near me?
- The in-person LSAT will be administered at Prometric testing centers.
- Prometric operates over 4000 testing centers in 180 countries and all 50 U.S. States.
- LSAC’s In-person FAQ page tells us that while Prometric centers are more concentrated in major metropolitan areas, but that they adapt to meet test taker news by increasing operating hours, adding temporary sites, and opening new testing centers as demand requires.
- When registration opens for the August 2023 test, you’ll have a better sense of where there might be an LSAT testing center near you.
As of the writing of this blog post, Prometric’s search tool doesn’t list the LSAT among the tests it offers, which means we can’t confirm exactly how many test centers will offer the LSAT or where those LSAT testing locations will be. We do know, however, that the LSAT will continue to be administered through the Law Hub digital platform. That platform should be accessible from any LSAT testing center, so we don’t see any reason the LSAT shouldn’t be available at all Prometric testing locations, especially those in the U.S.
Who can take the LSAT in person?
On the initial LSAC announcement page, they tell us “most test takers will have the choice.”
If you’ve been studying for the LSAT a while, you probably already know that “most” implies “more than 50%.” On their What to Expect [When] Taking the LSAT at a Test Center page, LSAC ups the ante from “most” to “the vast majority.” While we don’t know exactly what percentage “the vast majority” implies, we think the floor is probably 75% and the real percentage is probably 80 or more. Anything less than that really shouldn’t qualify as a “vast majority” in our book.
Is the in-person LSAT a paper test?
- Not unless you have a paper test accommodation.
Prometric testing centers provide cubicles with computers, and LSAC assures us that the test itself isn’t changing. We take that to mean that neither the content nor the format will be different, so expect to take the in-person LSAT on LawHub at a computer provided by the testing center. The default will not be pencil and paper, and we won’t be going back to the horrendous tablet-based test that some of us got stuck taking back in 2019. We do expect that you’ll be allowed five sheets of scratch paper, just as you are during the remote LSAT.
How do I schedule the in-person LSAT?
Scheduling the in-person LSAT will have two steps:
Step 1: LSAC Registration
Beginning for the August 2023 exam, when you register for the LSAT, most test-takers will be given the option to select either a remote test or an in-person test. We suspect that whether or not this option is available to you will depend on the zip code associated with your LSAC account.
Step 2: Prometric Scheduling
- 37 days before the first day of testing, LSAC will send all registered candidates a link to Prometric’s ProScheduler tool and an official “eligibility number.” You’ll use that to find a testing center available at the date and time you wish to take the exam.
- The scheduler tool will only be available for 7 calendar days.
For the August 2023 exam, the primary test dates are August 11 and 12. That means scheduling will only be available from July 5-July 12.
We anticipate the in-person LSAT schedule will fill up fast, so we recommend that you do the math (we know…), figure out the date scheduling will open, check your email often throughout that day, and schedule as soon as you receive the email.
If I’m registered to take the LSAT in person, can I change my mind and take it remotely?
Yes! If you indicate in your LSAC registration that you wish to take the test in person, you can still decide to take it remotely, whether or not you’ve already scheduled with Prometric.
That’s because this time around, Prometric is also handling remote testing! You can use the same scheduler to schedule a remote test, and this scheduling is open until 3 days before testing begins.
Will there be any changes to the remote LSAT?
- For the 2023-2024 testing year, all testing, both in-person and remote, will be run by Prometric.
Since this is a new relationship, it remains to be seen whether this is an improvement over the ProctorU experience. But if you know anyone who’s taken the LSAT in the last 3 years, you’ve probably heard at least one ProctorU horror story. Since its inception in 2020, the remote LSAT has been plagued by insane wait times, undertrained proctors, and wholesale platform crashes.
While LSAC didn’t formally address the litany of complaints they’ve received about ProctorU, they did frame the resumption of in-person testing as a “response to feedback from test takers since 2020.” Deploying a reasoning move we call “flipping the fact” from the Reading Comprehension Inference question playbook, we believe a change in response to feedback means the feedback indicated that the previous state was, at best, unsatisfactory.
- Starting with the August LSAT, LSAC will no longer provide a free loaner device or hotel for students who don’t have appropriate equipment or an appropriate place to take the test remotely.
If you plan on taking the LSAT but don’t have your own laptop, a quiet room, and a strong internet connection, you should definitely plan to take it in person.
The last change to the LSAT applies only to International test takers. Starting in the 2023-2024 cycle, international test takers will have the same primary test days as U.S. test takers. They will no longer be waiting until the Tuesday of the following week to test.
Will LSAT Writing be in person, too?
- No. LSAT Writing will continue to be administered remotely.
If you’ll be one of the many students taking the LSAT in person because you lack the appropriate space or equipment to test remotely, it seems, for now at least, that you’re on your own for LSAT Writing. The Assistance Request forms are only valid for the April and June 2023 exams.
It’s also unclear right now whether LSAT writing will be proctored by Prometric or whether it will continue to be hosted by ProctorU. As of the writing of this post, LSAC’s Getting Ready for LSAT Writing page warns that the info therein is only good through June 2023 and will be updated in advance of the 2023-2024 testing year, which begins July 1.
Will accommodations be available for the in-person LSAT?
- Yes! All accommodations that are available remotely should be available at LSAT test centers, including extended time, paper and pencil, stop/start breaks and extended breaks.
That said, it remains to be seen how Prometric will handle certain accommodations that have the potential to distract other test takers, such as permission to read/speak aloud and use of a human reader. Even accommodations like the ability to sit and stand during testing and stop/start breaks might potentially disrupt fellow test takers, so students with these or the accommodations above may find themselves testing in a private room.
So, should I take the LSAT in person or at home?
If you experience any of these issues, the in-person exam is probably the best move:
- Spotty internet
- Kids / pets / housemates that create distractions and disruptions
- Limited access to the equipment necessary for the remote LSAT (a computer and a webcam)
It’s also possible that you simply perform better in a more official test environment than you do in your bedroom in your pajamas. That’s also a compelling reason to take the LSAT in person.
But remote testing is probably better if:
Getting to the LSAT test center near you involves a stressful commute or parking situation. LSAT Lab tutor Ally Bell almost missed her SAT because of a train, and founder Matt Sherman almost missed an LSAT because the parking lot he’d scouted the day before was full.
You have an extended breaks accommodation and you want to actually relax between sections.
You’re likely to be distracted by the sounds emanating from your fellow test takers.
You can construct a realistic testing environment at home and complete your practice LSAT tests there.
The bottom line…
We’re happy to see that the in-person LSAT is back! As convenient as it sounded to take the LSAT from home, for many, testing from home left a lot to be desired. There’s so much that can go wrong with online proctoring, and we’re happy that students will soon be able to decide whether they’d rather gamble on the digital proctor or whether skirting those issues is worth the commute to an LSAT testing location. We also think this represents a move towards greater equity in administration. For students who don’t have appropriate equipment or an appropriate place in which to test remotely, the ability to go to an LSAT test center near you will make the test day experience significantly easier.