American Bar Association Permits Law Schools to Accept GRE Test Scores

GRE exam

The Council of the American Bar Association (ABA) has finally given the green light to law schools in the United States to accept Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test scores from applicants instead of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

The decision has been voted in a closed session on Tuesday, November 30, and is a major victory for the operator of the GRE, which is the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Today’s decision by the ABA to reinforce and endorse the use of the GRE in law school admissions is a testament to the value of the test in legal education. We look forward to continuing to bring innovation and transformation to legal education, working alongside law schools to enrich and diversify pools of future legal practitioners,” associate vice president of global higher education at ETS Alberto Acereda said, following the decision.

The ETS has been urging the ABA for years now to recognize the GRE as a valid test of admission in law school. Its calls for the recognition of the GRE by ABA became even stronger in 2016 when the University of Arizona started accepting GRE scores after it carried out an evaluation to check if the test was as effective in predicting student success as the LSAT.

The evaluation concluded that GRE was effective, and the university started accepting it.

At the time, the Law School Admission Council had threatened the university with removal from the organization, however, university leaders had not backed off.

Following the steps of the University of Arizona, today, more than 70 schools permit applicants to submit GRE scores, including here Harvard University.

Announcing its decision to accept GRE scores, the ABA has still reminded schools that they should not accept applicants who do not “appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.”

In spite of accepting GRE scores, a spokesman of the Law School Admission Council told Inside Higher Ed that the LSAT was still a more preferred criterion for law school admissions for the Council of the ABA.

We will continue to innovate to ensure that the LSAT remains the gold standard for law school admission, and we will deliver unparalleled programs and services specifically designed to attract and help diverse, talented individuals succeed,” said the spokesman.

The same pointed out that the Council has been permitting law schools to accept the GRE for more than five years now, and yet it still amounts to only one percent of all students using it in order to enter law schools.

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