If you’re planning to apply to law school in the near future, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) plans to go fully digital next year using Microsoft’s Surface Go tablets (via The Verge). the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the organisation which manages the LSAT in the US and other countries expects the transition to be effective in July 2019, which should give enough to train LSAT administrators and do some extensive testing.
For those unfamiliar with the LSAT, this is a half-day comprising six total sections. Starting July 2019, the five multiple-choice sections will be done on Surface Go tablets, leaving the unscored writing section free to be done on any device.
Speaking with The Verge, Troy Lowry, LSAC’s senior vice president of technology products and chief information officer said that the Surface Go beat hundreds of other devices during the evaluation period, including iPads and Chromebooks. But at the end of the day, the Surface Go won because of its superior versatility, reliability, and compatibility. “You just can’t have a test that is this important and end up with something that isn’t really reliable. If somebody takes the test, and the device fails on them, that’s additional stress coupled with the stress of test day,” explained Lowry.
Microsoft and the LSAC didn’t reveal any financial or operational details about the contract, and it’s still not clear if the LSAT going digital will impact the cost of the exam. “We evaluate the fees annually, because we’re working to help candidates be able to apply and not be pushed out due to raised fees,” says Kellye Testy, the president and CEO of LSAC. “The cost is still in flux because we’re reevaluating the number of students applying to law school every year.”
Overall, this is a pretty big win for the Surface Go, which is Microsoft’s first 10-inch tablet since the 2015 Surface 3. The Surface Go starts at $449 for businesses, which is more expensive than most Chromebooks and even some iPad models, but the lightweight 2-in-1 device has a lot of things going for it. “I get made fun of for it, but I love the kickstand that lets you put it in all different positions,” said Lowry.