Do You Need GRE for Law School? (Is LSAT a Better Choice?)

William Cohen
Published by William Cohen
Last Updated On: February 28, 2022

Law schools started accepting the GRE only recently, so many students still have questions about the procedure.

Some students aren’t sure whether they can still submit LSAT scores. Others wonder whether one test will be favored over the other in the admissions process.

We’ve spent countless hours perusing official sources to get clarity on both points. Finally, we’ve got the answers.

Here’s everything you need to know about law schools that accept the GRE.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Most law schools now accept both LSAT and GRE scores. 
  • The LSAT is used strictly for law school admissions, while the GRE can be used for all graduate programs.
  • Law schools that accept the GRE may still favor the LSAT. 
  • Use the ETS comparison tool to convert your GRE test score to an LSAT score.

Do Law Schools Accept the GRE?

law student in a library and a justice symbol

The ETS (Educational Testing Service) lists as many as 80 US law schools that accept GRE scores for admission to their JD programs.

Here are some of the most prestigious law schools on the list [1]: 

  • Harvard Law School
  • Chicago Law School University
  • Columbia Law School
  • Duke University School of Law
  • Boston University School of Law
  • New York University School of Law
  • University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • University of Virginia School of Law
  • University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

But that doesn’t mean you can’t submit your LSAT scores instead.

Most law schools allow the applicants to choose whether they’ll submit their GRE or LSAT scores.

“By saying that we’ll accept their GRE scores, we are saving them money, because they don’t have to take another test. We’re saving them time, because they don’t need to prepare for another test and take off from work to take the test.” - Emily Gold Waldman, associate dean for faculty development and operations at Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law

But it’s true that the LSAT is still the only test accepted by all ABA-accredited law schools [2]. So, you should take the GRE only if you’re sure that your target school will accept it.

Don’t rely solely on the list on the ETS website to determine that. The list may not be complete since more law schools decide to accept GRE scores every day.

That’s why it’s best to check whether your dream school accepts the GRE directly with the admissions office.

LSAT vs GRE — the Key Differences

student answering a paper and a woman studying with laptop

To help you decide which test to take, we’ve compiled the four main differences between the GRE and the LSAT:

  • The computer-adaptive version of the GRE is personalized — The GRE questions change based on your performance, while the LSAT questions are set in stone. So, all applicants will have the same version of the LSAT, regardless of how they’re doing.
  • The GRE contains a math section — The math section of the GRE often includes questions that many students find difficult. On the other hand, the LSAT has no math.
  • The LSAT includes logic games — Although both the GRE and LSAT contain verbal/reading sections, the two are very different. The LSAT contains logic games that test critical thinking more than reading comprehension. That makes the LSAT harder than the GRE. But it might serve as a good prep for law school, where you’ll have to solve logic puzzles all the time.
  • The GRE is more general — The LSAT, or the Law School Admission Test, is used exclusively by law school applicants. The GRE, or the Graduate Record Examination, is an entrance exam used for any graduate program.

Besides these differences, the LSAT and the GRE also differ in their structure. Here are the sections that make up each exam:

  • The GRE — Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning (two sections), Quantitative Reasoning (two sections), Unscored or Research Section
  • The LSAT —Logical Reasoning (two sections), Analytical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, unscored Variable Section

The last thing to consider is that many law school admissions officers still favor the LSAT over the GRE.

They believe the LSAT is better at predicting your future law school success because it’s made specifically for legal programs.

How to Compare the LSAT and GRE Test Scores?

woman looking at a book with a magnifying glass

If you take the GRE, you’ll get two separate GRE scores:

  • GRE Verbal Reasoning score
  • GRE Quantitative Reasoning score

These scores make up the total score on the GRE.

But if you take the LSAT, you’ll get only one total LSAT score.

On top of that, the GRE and the LSAT are scored differently:

  • The GRE — Quant and verbal sections are scored on a 130 - 170 scale, while the essay is scored on a 0 - 6 scale in half-point increments. Harder questions are worth more. The total score is calculated on a scale of 260 - 340.
  • The LSAT — The entire test is scored on a 120 - 180 scale. Every question is worth the same (approximately one point).

So, comparing GRE scores and LSAT scores is challenging because they are measured on different scales.

That’s why many law schools use the ETS Comparison Tool to compare the two scores. The tool automatically converts GRE scores into equivalent LSAT scores.

However, the tool isn’t perfect and has its flaws. That’s why some prefer comparing the test scores based on percentile. For example, if your GRE scores are in the 85th percentile, your LSAT score would probably fall into the same group.


What Gre Score Do You Need for Law School?

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), you’ll need a GRE score at or above the 85th percentile for law school [3].

How Hard is the GRE Test?

The GRE is harder than the SAT or ACT but easier than other standardized tests like LSAT, MCAT, or GMAT.

What Is a Good GPA to Get Into Law School?

A GPA of 3.5 or above is a good GPA to get into law school.

Will You Submit Your GRE Scores?

The fact that many law schools now accept GRE scores pushed many aspiring students pursuing legal education to take the GRE instead of the LSAT.

That’s because the GRE is generally considered easier. But we suggest you consider the differences between the two tests to determine which one is right for you.

If you’re sure you want to submit only a GRE score, consider taking a prep course to bump your chances of admission. Here are the top 8 GRE prep courses you can take online.


  1. https://www.ets.org/gre/institutions/accept/law/jd_programs/
  2. https://openeducation.aua.am/test-center/lsat/
  3. https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/standards/2020-2021/2020-21-aba-standards-and-rules-for-approval-of-law-schools.pdf

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