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In-Person Vs. Virtual LSAT - 8 Questions to Decide Which Is Right for You

Once the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the LSAT changed its testing structure from in-person to entirely virtual. That means everyone who’s taken the LSAT for the last three-plus years has taken it virtually. Now, however, much of the world is returning to some semblance of normalcy, and the LSAC (the organization that designs and administers the LSAT) is following suit by bringing back in-person testing starting in August 2023.


However, the LSAT has also opted to continue offering the virtual testing option. This means that LSAT-takers are now faced with the choice of taking the test in-person and taking it virtually. So how do you know which option is right for you? In order to help you figure that out, we’ve come up with a list of key questions you should ask yourself to help determine whether you should take the in-person LSAT or the virtual LSAT.


1. Does Working at Home Help You Feel Calm?

If you’re studying for the LSAT, there’s a good chance you’ve done some of your LSAT prep at home, though this isn’t true for everyone. Still, you probably know your home well enough to have a sense of whether it helps you feel calm or whether it causes you anxiety. 

This likely has to do with the ambient environment of your home. Is your home work space well lit, well ventilated, clean, and quiet? Or is there constant noisy construction? You might not even have a room to yourself.

If your home is your sanctuary, and the place where you do your best thinking, it could be the right option for you when it comes to where to take the LSAT. If you regularly avoid your home, however, or if you’re constantly distracted or interrupted while working there, you might be better off taking the in-person LSAT.

Think about where you’ve instinctively taken your LSAT practice tests (which hopefully you’ve been doing regularly). Do you take them at home? Or do you go to a library or cafe? 

2. How Do Other People Affect Your Performance?

If you take the LSAT in person, you’re going to be working among many other aspiring lawyers, all of whom will be exuding some combination of concentration and anxiety. 

For some of us, working alongside other people helps us stay focused and motivated. For others, it can distract us or make us feel more stressed. Where you fall on that spectrum is likely to help you determine whether the virtual or in-person LSAT is likely to elicit your best performance.

3. How Do You Perform in Unfamiliar Locations?

Even if your home is your sanctuary, you might still find that it’s easier to focus and perform well when you’re in a neutral location. On the other hand, you might find that being in an unfamiliar place harms your performance. If you do your best work from the comfort of your own home, that’s the best place for to take the LSAT.

4. How Long Will You Have to Commute?

Commute time is another highly practical consideration. Look up where the next LSAT is offered and figure out how difficult it will be for you get there. You might be fine with some amount of commuting to take the LSAT—after all, you’ll (hopefully) only need to make the commute once. It’s also possible, depending on your location, that your commute will be considerable, which might drain you of energy and provide more opportunities for things to go wrong on test day.

5. How Have You Performed on Other Standardized Tests?

Odds are, most of the standardized tests you’ve taken have been in-person and at school. Are you the kind of person who shines on standardized tests? Or have you always represented yourself better on term papers and at-home assignments? The answer may be related to where and how you perform at your best.

6. Is Your Technology Reliable?

Another thing you need to consider as you decide where to take the LSAT is how reliable your technology is. To take the LSAT at home, you’ll need a computer with a camera and microphone, as well as an internet connection. Just as important as having these things is being able to trust that they’ll function without a hitch on test day.

7. Would You Feel More Comfortable with an In-Person or Virtual Proctor?

When you take the LSAT in person, the format will be similar to other standardized tests you’ve taken. There will be a live proctor offering instructions, supervising the test-takers, and responding to any unforeseen issues that may arise. The physical presence of an in-person proctor may give you some sense of comfort. On the other hand, it may make you feel more anxious. 

If you take the test virtually, there’s still a “live” proctor—however, you won’t see or hear from them unless a problem arises. You may find the anonymity comforting, or you may find it creepy.

8. Is Your Home Environment Stable Enough for the LSAT?

This is where you need to consider the other factors—specifically the other people—that make your home environment what it is. If you live with parents, siblings, roommates, children, or other relatives, ask yourself whether they can be trusted to remain quiet and out of sight for the duration of the test. If you live alone, you still need to consider whether you’re regularly disturbed by neighbors or other environmental conditions. If there’s any chance of your concentration being interrupted during the test, it’s likely that you’ll be better off taking the in-person LSAT.


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Now that you have the option of taking the LSAT in person or virtually, you’ll need to think long and hard about which option will allow you to perform at your best. Some people thrive from the comfort of their own home. Others find they’re home too stressful—or perhaps too comfortable—to perform well for something as high-stakes as the LSAT. Asking yourself the questions listed above will help you figure out whether taking the in-person or the virtual LSAT is the best option for you.