LSAT Test Center Restrictions are Tighter Than TSA Passenger Requirements

If you're taking the LSAT, you better familiarize yourself with the Law School Admission Council's day-of the test requirements as soon as possible to avoid having any last-minute surprises on test day. I was having a laugh with my LSAT class recently about the LSAC's long, crazy list of things you can and can't bring to the test. "It's almost like you're getting on an airplane or something," I told them. Well, then I looked at the TSA passenger requirements and realized that taking the LSAT is actually a whole lot harder than getting on a plane.

Valid Photo Identification Let's start with a small thing. Both the LSAT and the TSA require a valid photo ID. But the LSAC is now requiring you also bring a printout of your admission ticket that includes the photo that you uploaded through your account.The photo that you upload must meet the following requirements, or you will be denied entry to the test center.

  • - The photo must have been taken within the last six months.
  • - The photo must be clear, so that there can be no doubt about your identity.
  • - Only your face and shoulders should be included in the photo (like a passport photo).
  • - The uploaded photo must be a different photo than the photo that appears on the government-issued ID that you must take with you to the test center (do not scan or photograph your ID photo for uploading).
  • - The uploaded photo must match your appearance on the day of the test (e.g., with or without beard).

The photograph will be retained by LSAC only as long as needed to assure the authenticity of test scores and to protect the integrity of the testing process.

I do recommend a professional photo, by the way... because the list of ways you can fuck up your photo is legendary. The page gives some examples of what not to use as a photo, but I'll share a few here:

LSAC examples
LSAC examples

What You Can't Bring With You on Test Day Both the TSA and the LSAT prohibit weapons and firearms. That's good to know, I guess. The LSAT also expressly prohibits you from bringing, among other things,

  • - "electronic timers of any kind" (Why?  Who knows!)
  • - "digital watches, alarm watches, beeping watches, calculator watches" (The beeping thing I can understand. Otherwise, silly.  A calculator is of no use on the test.)
  • - "cell phones, pay phones, beepers, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs)" (I'm not sure how someone would bring a "pay phone" to the test, but I'd like to see it.)
  • - "personal computers" (Bummer, I was going to bring my Commodore 64 from 1985 and play Larry Bird vs. Dr. J)
  • - "headsets, iPods, or other media players" (Sorry, no listening to music or playing Angry Birds while you wait for the test to start.)
  • - "books, dictionaries, papers of any kind" (Along with the restriction against iPods, this sucks. The registration process can take upward of an hour if you arrive early, and you're stuck sitting there with absolutely zero entertainment, not even a magazine.)
  • - "rulers" (Bizarre.)
  • - "mechanical pencils" (I suppose the clicking could annoy a fellow test-taker. But why can't they outlaw annoying clicking, instead of outlawing mechanical pencils entirely?)
  • - "ink pens" (If pens don't work on the Scantron sheets, then I understand this... your answer won't count if you fill in the bubbles with a pen. But why are students prohibited from even bringing them to the test center?!)
  • - "briefcases, handbags, backpacks of any kind" (Which means that 100% of your shit has to be in a clear plastic bag... I'll get to that in a minute.)
  • - "earplugs" (I suppose this is because somebody one time tried to cheat by doing a lame "Oh, sorry, I didn't hear you call time because I was wearing earplugs...")
  • - "hats/hoods" (except religious apparel) may not be worn on the head (Stupid. Just stupid.)

After expressly prohibiting all those things, all of which you'd be allowed to bring on a plane, the LSAT then gives you a specific list of the "only" things that you are allowed to bring, which the TSA definitely does not do. Anyway, here's the list of the only things that you're supposed to be able to bring. I love this part:

"Test takers may bring into the test room only a clear plastic ziplock bag, maximum size one gallon (3.79 liter), which must be stored under the chair and may be accessed only during the break. The sealed ziplock bag may contain only the following items: valid ID; wallet; keys; analog (nondigital) wristwatch; medical or feminine hygiene products; #2 or HB wooden pencils, a highlighter, erasers (no erasers with sleeves), pencil sharpener (no mechanical pencils); tissues; and beverage in plastic container or juice box (20 oz./591 ml maximum size) and snack for break only. No aluminum cans permitted. All items must fit in the ziplock bag such that the bag can be sealed."

That's right ladies ... you get to display your tampons to the world in your clear plastic bag! (I'm surprised nobody has sued them on this... then again, they're an organization made up of every law school in the country so they might be able to scrape up a defense.) Does anybody know what the hell an "eraser with sleeve" might be? I hope nobody's too thirsty, because we're keeping you to a 20 oz liquid limit. I guess you could refill it during the break, but then again you're not allowed to drink it during the test. Furthermore, you can't have aluminum cans (note the bold font) and you must be able to seal your bag. This reminds me of the hot buffet at the Ranch 99 Market in Daly City, where it's all the wings and noodles you can stuff inside your styrofoam container, but you must be able to close the lid.

What You Can Bring With You on Test Day And then, there's a specific list of the items you're allowed to have on your desk during the test:

"Test takers may only have tissues, their ID, wooden pencils, erasers, a pencil sharpener, a highlighter, and an analog (nondigital) wristwatch. No electronic devices are permitted. Neither are timers of any kind except analog wristwatches."

I suppose the tissues are for your tears, as you contemplate the absurdity of the world you are hoping to join?

Good luck!

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Image credit: CraHeX via freeimages