Just like other standardized tests, the LSAT is also not the perfect way to measure scores. To account for the errors, a standard error of measurement is factored in the LSAT scores. This number is used to create LSAT score band which is used to account for the uncertainties present in individual test scores.
For instance, someone scoring a 160 on the test would get a LSAT score band of 157 to 163. Typically, the standard error of measurement is 2.6 scaled score points at a 68% level confidence level. That means a test taker’s score is expected to fall in the score band in atleast 68% of the cases (or two out of three times).
A score band with a 68% confidence level is calculated by adding the standard error of measurement to the scaled score to obtain the upper value and subtracting the standard error of measurement from the scaled score to obtain the lower value. The width of the score board tends to be approximately 7 scaled-score points.
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Some students may wonder about the objective behind the 68% level of confidence representation. The LSAC explains on its website:
“The 68 percent level of confidence used for reporting purposes is a commonly used standard. To obtain a 95 percent level of confidence, the standard error of measurement can be doubled before constructing the score band. Therefore, a 95 percent confidence band would be approximately twice as wide as a 68 percent confidence band. Likewise, a 99 percent confidence band would be approximately three times as wide as a 68 percent confidence band.”
Also, if you have taken the test multiple times, the LSAC will have more information about you minimizing measurement errors. So, multiple scores will produce smaller score bands. Also, your test date will have little to no effect on the score band.
Read Next: Understanding LSAT Scores