The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) understands and sympathizes with the anxiety that the LSAT causes test takers and their strong desire to discuss with their peers the questions that they have just taken on the LSAT. However, LSAC prohibits such discussion, including the so-called “postmortem” discussion of test questions immediately after a particular test administration, because it has the potential to affect the fairness of the LSAT and the law school admission process. Certain LSATs are non-disclosed and their questions may be used again at a later administration of the test. And even in the case of disclosed tests there may be circumstances in which LSAC may need to administer a test form to some test takers somewhat later than to others. Discussion of test questions in a public forum like a website before the test is disclosed, even though its usefulness is limited by the memory and ability of the participants, makes information about that test widely available to anyone who has access to the web and may unfairly advantage test takers who see the discussion before they take the test. Since the number of admission slots in law schools is limited, such an unfair advantage could penalize those who took the test at an earlier time, including those very people engaging in the post-mortem discussion.
In an effort to ensure the fairness of the LSAT, LSAC requires test takers to sign a statement on the LSAT answer sheet saying that they agree not to “copy or retain examination questions or to transmit them to or discuss them with any other person in any form.” In addition, test takers sign a certification statement on the LSAT admission ticket agreeing that they have “no right to reproduce, recreate, distribute, or sell any of that test.” In this statement they also certify that they “understand that the Law School Admission Council reserves the right to pursue all suitable courses of action to prevent fraudulent or unauthorized use of its property and to prevent the compromise of secure test material.” Thus, test takers enter into a contract with LSAC that they will not discuss with others the test questions they have taken. In addition, LSAC’s “Instructions for the Day of the Test” state: “Legal action may be taken against anyone who removes test materials and/or reproduces test material in any way, or shares LSAT test content prior to LSAC’s disclosure of that test.”
If inappropriate public discussion of test questions on public websites reaches a point at which it threatens to undermine the fairness of the LSAT, injuring LSAT test takers, or at which it damages the value of non-disclosed LSAT test forms, LSAC would be compelled to take appropriate action to prevent such injury or damage. These actions could include reporting violators to the LSAC Misconduct Committee. Admission to the bar and the practice of law impose high standards of conduct and LSAC member law schools take very seriously the integrity of the candidates they admit.
LSAC does not seek to take special steps to enforce its prohibition on the inappropriate discussion of test questions. We would prefer that test takers recognize that compromising test questions before they have been disclosed by LSAC runs counter to the general interest of test takers in a fair testing process, as well as to the personal interest of those discussing the questions, and voluntarily refrain from discussing LSAT questions until after they have been disclosed to test takers by LSAC. However, we believe that we have an obligation to both our law school members and our test takers to protect the fairness and integrity of the LSAT and the law school admission process, and we take that obligation very seriously.
Executive Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel, LSAC