LSAT Percentile Calculation and Interpretation
The percentile score you receive in your LSAT score card does not merely indicate the percentage of candidates who have scored less or the percentage of candidates who have scored more than you. LSAC uses a 3 step process to calculate your LSAT percentile score to ensure that all the external factors that can affect your LSAT score is taken into account. A step-by-step process of calculating your LSAT percentile is given below.
How to Calculate Your LSAT percentile
The calculation of the percentile LSAT score depends not only on the number of correct answers that you have given, but also on the difficulty level of the examination that you have appeared for. A step-by-step process of the calculation procedure is as follows:
- LSAC will first calculate your 'raw score' which is the sum total of all the correct answers that you have given. There is no negative marking; so even if you get an answer wrong you will not be penalizes for it.
- After getting your 'raw score' LSAC will convert this score to a 'scaled score' where the scale ranges from 120 to 180. This 'scaled score' will be mentioned in your LSAT score card.
- Now LSAC will analyze the difficulty level of the LSAT that you have appeared for. If the examination was a difficult one then 3 marks will be added to your 'scaled score' otherwise 3 marks will be deducted from it.
- LSAC will now convert this score to a percentile score after taking into account some other factors like, the competition level and the number of LSATs that you have appeared for. After that it will report your final LSAT percentile score.
- Although the process is apparently easy, but it is not so. LSAC uses a number of statistical data and a mathematical formula of equating to report your final LSAT percentile score. The use of the percentile score does not end here. It is necessary for you to be able to interpret it. Some methods of interpreting your percentile score is discussed in the following section.
Interpret Your LSAT Percentile Score
Although LSAC insists that the LSAT score is only a prediction of your logical and analytical skills, it is by far the most important thing that the admissions department of a law school will take into account while granting you admission. A combination of high percentile score and good GPA will ensure your admission into a good law school. For example if your 'scaled score' is 180 then your percentile rank is 99.9. Similarly, if your 'scaled score' is 153 then the percentile rank you will receive is 55.6. Some of the score conversions are as follows:
- A 'raw score' in the range of 98-101 will result in a 'scaled score' of 180 which will subsequently result in a percentile rank of 99.9.
- A 'raw score' in the range of 94-95 will result in a 'scaled score' of 177 which will subsequently result in a percentile rank of 99.8.
- A 'raw score' in the range of 84-85 will result in a 'scaled score' of 169 which will subsequently result in a percentile rank of 96.7.
- A 'raw score' in the range of 61-62 will result in a 'scaled score' of 155 which will subsequently result in a percentile rank of 63.9.
In LSAT, difference in only a few marks can create a vast difference in your percentile score. A candidate receiving a percentile rank of 75 has given only 3 correct answers, in each section, compared to a candidate who has received a percentile rank of 50. Thus, it is a good idea to answer all questions in LSAT. Since, they are multiple choice questions it might help in guessing sometimes. Moreover, you will not be penalized for a wrong answer, so if your guess works then it will give you an edge over other candidates.
Finally, the law schools that you apply to will use this percentile score along with your GPA to develop an index score. This mathematical formula used to calculate this index score differs from college to college. However, a high LSAT percentile score will result in a high index score. Thus, before you apply to law schools ensure that you can interpret your LSAT percentile score, as this is the yardstick against which you can measure the probability of your admission application being accepted.
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