LSAT Tea-Leaf Reading: June 2019 Edition

Ahoy, readers! I bring good news: Now that we’ve endured a full year under the LSAC’s new regime of six LSAT administrations per year, I can now return to regular LSAT-tea-leaf-reading reporting! Woohoo!

But wait, there’s more! Because the LSAC now regularly reports first-time test takers (and it graciously furnished me with data from previous years) I can now provide even more detailed tea-leaf reading! I’m especially pleased because for the first time in a while, a law-school data-collection organization has changed its methods in a way that I approve of with no drawbacks. Think about that when you see The Matrix: Defragmented when it comes to theaters.

Enough talk. Behold, the new and exciting annual LSAT moving-sum chart:

(Source: LSAC Web site and its reports)

The June LSAT administration signals a significant decline in interest in law school. 16,441 (-26.9%) people sat for the test, of whom 10,279 (-33.9%) were first-time takers. The moving sum of LSATs was 132,549 (-4.4%), which is similar to December 2011 or February 2002. Meanwhile, the same measure of first-time takers is 73,408 (-6.7%), resembling December 2017 Sept./Oct. 2012 or even December 1996.

As you may suspect, the ratio of first-time takers to total tests administered has fallen since our last trough period of December 2014. Back then—and this analysis applies to the moving sum, not the actual administration—it was 62 percent, but in June it was 55 percent.

Editorial: The Trump bump appears to be fading fast, but more surprisingly, the number of first-time test takers has fallen quite a bit since last year. It be because counselors are still adjusting to the new six-administration structure, i.e. college students didn’t know about the July option, which is a lot easier to study for than the June one. Overall, this trend is moving at a rate similar to the law-school crash years, e.g. Sept./Oct. 2012. Moreover, test takers are much more tenacious about retaking the exam than they were even five years ago. It’s a new breed of prospective law-school applicant. I don’t care to read through the report on repeat test takers to see if their performance is improving, but it’s something that may interest scambloggers or academics.

That’s all from me. Enjoy your summers, readers!

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