You should follow me on Twitter. While you're at it, take a moment to subscribe to GMAT Hacks via RSS or Email.


A surprising number of aspiring MBA students are lawyers, and even more GMAT test-takers have taken the LSAT. If you're in one of those categories, it's useful to know how the GMAT relates to the law-school admissions exam.

LSAT vs. GMAT Critical Reasoning

As you might expect, the LSAT is heavy on analytical thinking skills--the sort of thing that GMAT Critical Reasoning is designed to test. The LSAT has a very similar section, called "Logical Reasoning."

LSAT Logical Reasoning is nearly identical, just harder. Many of the question types are the same (assumption, strengthen, weaken, inference) but the passages are longer and, often, more technical.

Also, the LSAT has a few more question types that explicitly test your ability to dissect an argument. You might take the GMAT five times without ever seeing a Parallel Reasoning question, but on the LSAT, those are considerably more common.

LSAT vs. GMAT Reading Comprehension

Different section, same story. The LSAT has a Reading Comprehension section just like the GMAT does, and they even call it the same thing. Again, the difference is in complexity.

LSAT passages are often longer (sometimes considerably so), and the questions can be more complicated as well. If you've taken the LSAT, you will probably find GMAT material to be quite simple. The only potential problem is that you'll read too much into GMAT questions--compared to the LSAT, that level of complexity just isn't there!

Everything Else

The LSAT is perhaps best known for its "Logic Games" section. Those are nowhere to be found on the GMAT. Conversely, there's nothing like GMAT math on the LSAT.

LSAT vs. GMAT Format

The LSAT is still a pencil-and-paper test, while the GMAT is computer-based. Even though the CR/LR and RC content is easier on the GMAT, many lawyers and law-school students find this GMAT content challenging because it's on the screen.

On the GMAT, you can't take notes on the page, you can't highlight, you can't underline, and you have to do all the reading off of the computer screen. You may not need to practice GMAT verbal because of the content itself, but you do need to pratice doing it on a computer.

Studying For Both Tests

I've occasionally worked with students who need to take both the LSAT and GMAT in order to apply for combined MBA/JD programs. If you are in that position, I strongly recommend taking the LSAT first. It will build your analytical skills much better than will the GMAT.

One word of caution, though: Don't, under any circumstances, try to study for both tests simultaneously! It's simply too much. Study for one, take that test, then study for the other. It's still a huge challenge, but it's a bit more manageable that way.



About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

Total GMAT Verbal

The comprehensive guide to the GMAT Verbal section. Recognize, dissect, and master every question type you'll face on the test. Everything you need, all in one place, including 100+ realistic practice questions.
Click to read more.