The Law School Admission Council recently announced that starting in June, LSAT security measures will be updated, in an effort to prevent cheating.,”
Because of the potential for cheating during the LSAT, just getting into the testing room is going to become a lot more difficult.
The Law School Admission Council recently announced that starting in June, LSAT security measures will be updated, in an effort to prevent cheating. At almost the same time, the Educational Testing Service announced that changes that were supposed to overhaul the entire format of the GRE beginning in September have been canceled.
In addition to the upped security measures, there will only be one type of writing prompt and a new type of reading comprehension will be added to the test.
According to Wendy Margolis, LSAC's director of communication, students will only be allowed to bring a clear plastic bag no larger than a gallon into the testing room to avert cheating. The only items allowed in the bag are the student's admission ticket, ID, wallet, keys, pencils and hygiene products.
"This is totally for security reasons," Margolis said. "Most testing organizations are getting much tighter."
Security measures are mainly for the protection of the test itself. LSAC doesn't want anyone to be able to bring anything into the testing room that could allow them to cheat, Margolis said.
Test-takers are allowed to bring something to drink, but the container cannot exceed 20 ounces, must be kept under their chair and can only be accessed during breaks.
"It's like taking toiletries onto an airplane," said Jeffrey Meanza, national director of graduate programs for the Princeton Review. "It's a little over the top, but I understand why they're doing it."
The test's reading comprehension section now contains a comparative reading component. In this part of the test, students will now have to read two short selections and then answer a set of questions on both of them.
"It's the same skill being tested, just a slightly different variation," Margolis said. "A lot of (comparative reading) is done in law school and it's a good predictor of if people will do well."
No changes for GRE
The GRE was scheduled to become nearly a completely new test this September, but the Educational Testing Service announced on April 2 that it was canceling all changes.
According to Tom Ewing, spokesman for ETS, the new version of the test would have been about and hour and 20 minutes longer, would no longer contain antonym or analogy questions and would have a longer writing test.
"All of the sections were going to change," Ewing said. "It was basically going to measure critical reasoning better."
Ewing also said that the students probably would have found the test more difficult.
"Students interested in graduate school would have had another huge thing to worry about," Meanza said. "Taking tests isn't fun anyway, and this was a beast of a test."
The decision to cancel changes was made because of problems with access to the new test.
Once the new test was introduced, ETS planned to reduce how frequently the test was offered. Currently, the GRE is offered several times a week, but because of security reasons the new test was only going to be offered 35 times a year.
ETS concluded reducing the number of times the test was offered without increasing the number of testing locations would have been a serious problem.
"Students would have found test centers were full and would have missed application deadlines," Ewing said. "We couldn't allow that to happen."
Ewing said that ETS will use the current version of the GRE for the foreseeable future.
"The graduate community is still supportive of improvements, and we will do that, but it will be done very gradually," Ewing said.