LSAT Scoring Scales: Correct and Incorrect Answers Counts
Students preparing for the LSAT often wonder exactly how many correct answers are required to obtain a particular score, and correspondingly, how many questions can be missed to obtain that same score. The chart below lists the number of correct answers needed to achieve scores from 150 to 180 (in five-point increments) on every released LSAT test over the last eight years, along with the number of questions that could be missed. Numbers are drawn from the scoring scales used for each exam.
One of the noticeable facts shown the above chart is that, depending on the test year, different raw scores translate into equivalent scaled scores. The reason for this apparent discrepancy is that the LSAT varies slightly in difficulty each administration. To account for these variances in test “toughness,” the test makers adjust the Scoring Conversion Chart for each LSAT in order to make similar LSAT scores from different tests mean the same thing. For example, the LSAT offered in June of a given year may be logically more difficult than the LSAT offered in December, but by making the June LSAT scale “looser” than the December scale, a 160 on each test would represent the same level of performance.
Test takers can draw important conclusions about their own performance from both the average raw scores and the standard deviations. For instance, though the average raw score corresponding to a scaled 160 is 74.85, the standard deviation shows that a majority of the scores are within ± 1.89 of this number, or from roughly 73 to 77. A student wishing to score 160 on an upcoming test should then expect, with a reasonable degree of confidence, that correctly answering somewhere between 73 and 77 questions correctly would result in that score. Similar conditions apply for a score of 170, where, with the standard deviation adjustment, a raw score between roughly 88 and 91 is likely needed.
Examining the scales from the standpoint of questions missed, in the last eight years, you could miss 25.54 questions to achieve a 160, and with the standard deviation considered, you normally can miss between 23 and 28 questions to get a 160 (although some individual tests fall outside this range). At the 170 level, the range is 9 to 12 questions missed.
Perhaps the most important realization for test takers is that to achieving a high score does not require perfect performance. Each of the raw scores above is the number correct out of 99, 100,101, or 102 questions, so it is clear that missed questions, within reason, are acceptable regardless of the desired score. Even perfect scores usually allow for one to four incorrect answer choices. Again, the averages and standard deviations listed are useful tools in determining an acceptable number of missed questions, whether setting pre-test objectives or evaluating your performance in the week following the LSAT when scores may still be cancelled.
For LSAT scoring scale junkies, here are a few more interesting facts:
|Average number of questions per LSAT:||100.38|
|Greatest number of questions on an LSAT:||102|
|Least number of questions on an LSAT:||99|
|Average number of questions correct needed to achieve a 180:||98.62|
|Greatest number of questions correct needed to achieve a 180:||100|
|Least number of questions correct needed to achieve a 180:||96|
|Greatest number of misses allowed to achieve individual scores:|