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SAT vs. LSAT: What’s the Difference? Comparison Table

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They sound similar, but these are acronyms with different connotations. But what is the real difference between SAT and LSAT? What do they stand for, exactly, and why do they matter to so many students?

LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) and SAT (Scholastic Assessment test) are standardized admission tests given to learners interested in higher education. That’s pretty much where the LSAT SAT correlation ends. They cover different types of content and are both scored in different ways.

The similarities and differences between SAT vs LSAT will become clear by the end of this page. You will know the SAT LSAT correlation and how they measure up to other exams. There are also study tips and a section on how to prepare for your tests.

But first, let’s start with a simple comparison table.

SAT vs LSAT Comparison

Basic tables offer a quick way to compare all educational examinations. They work equally well for SAT vs ACT, TOEFL vs IELTS, GRE vs GMAT, and LSAT vs GRE.

Our table highlights the similarities and differences between the two tests.

Admissions test for higher-educational institutions ✔️ ✔️
Timed exams ✔️ ✔️
Entry test for colleges and universities ✔️
Entry test for specialty & graduate programs ✔️
Dependent on math performance ✔️
Includes multiple-choice writing test ✔️
Tests reading comprehension ✔️ ✔️
Includes logical reasoning/logic games ✔️
Converts raw scores to scaled scores ✔️ ✔️
Students must answer every question (even when clueless) ✔️ ✔️

Now let’s go over some of these points in more detail.

Key Differences

The key differences between the two are the type of tests and their purpose. The SAT is simply an entrance exam accepted by most universities and colleges. It’s a multiple-choice paper that students complete using a pencil.

The LSAT is now an online test taken by students who plan to practice law. Most US law schools—and others around the world—require a satisfactory LSAT score.

Content on the LSAT vs SAT Paper-and-Pencil Tests

Much of your SAT score depends on math performance. But the only math asked on the LSAT is on the interaction between percentages/fractions and numbers.

Only the SAT has a multiple-choice writing test. They both include essays, though it’s optional with SAT. There’s lots of online help that explains how to approach the writing sample. Both assess the student’s reading comprehension, which typically includes short passages followed by questions.

Logical reasoning tests and logic games (analytical reasoning) are unique to the LSAT. You won’t find this type of testing on any of the other standardized exams.

SAT to LSAT Scoring

Your Scholastic Assessment Test result is your total score out of 1600

The scoring system considers sub-scores and cross-section scores to evaluate overall performance. Thus, your total score is the result of your combination section scores.

LSAT scores are based on a scale of 120-180.

Students who take the LSAT receive a certified score report. It includes their total score (120 to 180) and a percentile rank. The rank compares the student to other test-takers from the past three years. The scoring also includes a score band or score range that accounts for the margin of error.

Exam Timings

Both exams are timed, lasting around three hours (180 minutes), excluding essays. The SAT is in three sections, i.e., math, reading, and writing.

The LSAT is more challenging and comprises five sections.

  • Two sections for logical reasoning
  • One section for analytical reasoning
  • One section for reading comprehension
  • One unscored variable section

There’s also a 35-minute unscored writing prompt at the end. The purpose of this writing sample is to send it to the law schools that you apply to.

Also read: Which SAT Prep Course is the Best?

How to Convert Scores

Some students explore SAT to LSAT conversion (not LSAT to SAT conversion). There is a formula for this, but those who use it say it under-predicts. Most learners don’t try to predict scores as these are two very different tests. But if you want to try, here’s the formula that’s doing the rounds online:

LSAT Score = (0.048)*(SAT Score) + 100

Another SAT LSAT conversion looks like this:

LSAT = (SAT*/21) + 101 (m.o.e +/-5)

Which Is Harder?

Many would argue that the LSAT is more challenging than the SAT. But the reality is that it depends on what you’re best at. If you’re good at vocabulary and memorizing facts, then you’ll find SAT easier. But if learnable methods and techniques are your forte, you’re likely to sail through the LSAT.

This video sums it up nicely.

How to Prepare for These Exams

The way to prepare for exams depends mainly on the person and what works for them. Even so, there are a few general guidelines that can help. If you’re of average intelligence, try to commit 4-6 hours a week minimum. Do this for at least 3–4 months before your test date to help diagnose your strengths and weaknesses.

The structured approach is a great way to reduce stress and looks something like this:

  • Review the test format so that you’re familiar with it on the day
  • Work through sample questions and take practice runs
  • Go over practice test results in detail to learn from them
  • Relax, take a break the night before your exam and don’t cram
  • Don’t allow negative thoughts to occupy your mind in the lead up to your test
  • Make sure you’re physically and mentally prepared on the day

That last point is critical. The way you sleep the night before can have a significant influence on your results.


Below are the answers to the three most frequently asked questions.

Is There a Correlation Between SAT and LSAT?

There’s some correlation between the two tests, but it’s minimal. These are very different exams. Moreover, a low SAT score doesn’t mean you’ll get a low LSAT score. Likewise, a high SAT score won’t guarantee a high LSAT score, either.

If you need help with increasing your LSAT prep score, check our list of the best LSAT prep courses online.

Is the LSAT Harder or Easier than SAT?

It’s only harder if you’re better at SAT skills than you are at LSAT. The former tests on writing, critical reading, and math, while the latter focuses on logical, verbal reasoning.

What’s the SAT Score Equivalent to the LSAT?

There’s no straightforward answer to this question as the LSAT is a unique test. But some formulas attempt to do this. See the how to convert scores section above.


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