After to each LSAT, students naturally wonder what the scoring scale will be like, as the scale has a significant impact on their final score (see this post in the PowerScore LSAT Free Help Area for more information on how the LSAT scoring scale works). The reference point most often quoted is the number of questions that can be missed in order to achieve a 170 (typically quoted as -12 or -13, etc). In an effort to better understand the forthcoming December 2012 LSAT scoring scale, let’s take a look at a few of the past December LSAT scales and make some predictions.
Here are the past three December LSAT scales, from the perspective of questions missed to produce a 170, 175, and 180:
A consistent fact jumps out about the past three exams: they each had identical scoring scales at the top, regardless of the total number of questions on the test (101 or 102). Thus, if the past is indeed prologue, then extrapolating those numbers out to the December 2012 would suggest the following:
The December 2012 LSAT scoring scale will likely allow 3 misses to achieve a 180, 8 misses to achieve a 175, and 14 misses to obtain a 170.
Of course, the above conjecture uses only limited data, and there are many possible variations that could occur. For example, what if the December 2012 LSAT has only 100 questions? That could impact the scaling significantly. The December 2006, 2007, and 2008 LSATs had lower question totals, and the scales were very different:
These three scales were much tighter than the three more recent scales listed above, and they suggest that a test with fewer questions would have a tighter scale (that is, you could miss fewer questions in order to achieve a certain scaled score). Thus, one thing to note when you take the LSAT is the total number of questions that appear on the test: 101 questions suggest a looser scale, and fewer than 101 questions suggest a much tighter scale (and for more info on understanding which sections are real or experimental, see this post in the PowerScore LSAT Free Help Area).
So, keep your eye on the total number of questions (and try to track test difficulty), and let’s hope the December 2012 LSAT scale turns out to be a favorable one for you!