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What is the difference between LSAT India and CLAT?

Last Updated - September 25, 2018

CLAT and LSAT India are the two most sought-after law entrance examinations in India. With the growing demand for legal studies among students, aspirants seeking admission in top law schools are appearing for a variety of tests. If both the entrance tests land you in a law school then what makes them different?

As both of them are the two most popular law exams across the country, students often face a dilemma of choosing between both of the exams. Being a law aspirant, how will you decide whether to go for CLAT or LSAT India in the first place?

Latest Update:
CLAT 2019 will be conducted by NLU Odisha, Cuttack on May 12, 2019 (Tentative) through computer-based mode. Interested and eligible candidates can apply online at in the month of January 2019. The application fee is INR 4000 (for SC/ST candidates INR 3500). Register Here!

Let us first have a quick look at the highlights of both the exams:

Common Law Admission Test (CLAT)

CLAT is a national level entrance test organized by the National Law Universities (NLUs) on a rotational basis. Through CLAT, prospective law students are granted admissions to BA LLB and LLM courses offered at various law schools accepting CLAT Scores in India. Around 50,000 candidates register for CLAT every year. ​ 

Law School Admission Test (India) 

LSAT India is a national level entrance test organized by the Pearson VUE on behalf of LSAC India. Through LSAT India, applicants are granted admissions to BA.LLB and LLM programs offered by over 70 law colleges in India.

Differences between CLAT and LSAT India

There are various parameters that set both the law entrance exams apart. They are as follows:

Scope of Exams

  • CLAT Scores are accepted for admission into over 40 law colleges across India. It is the only portal for getting into the prestigious and world-renowned National Law Universities (NLUs). The scores obtained in this exam are also accepted by 3 PSUs (Public Sector Undertaking). Check CLAT Participating Colleges.
  • LSAT India on the other hand, has a much wider scope. It is the gateway for around 83 law institutes. 

On the basis of Eligibility Criteria

Qualifying 10+2 exam is necessary to meet the minimum eligibility criterion for the UG law programs for both exams.

  • Aspirants who apply for CLAT must have an aggregate of 45% (40% for reserved category) in the 10+2 exam.
  • For LLM program via CLAT, having an LLB degree from a law school recognized by BCI is a must. A minimum of 55% (50% for reserved category) in the qualifying exam of the graduation degree is required.

Check Detailed CLAT Eligibility

  • The minimum marks required for both UG and PG programs through LSAT India will vary as per the desired institute.

On the basis of Exam Pattern 

There are several differences in the exam pattern of both law exams. They are as follows:

  • The Common Law Admission Test is an online test (computer based) whereas Law School Admission Test (India) is held in the offline mode (pen and paper-based) only.
  • CLAT UG comprises 5 sections namely, English, General Knowledge & Current Affairs, Numerical Ability, Legal Aptitude, and Logical Reasoning. The question paper for PG programs has 3 sections- Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence and other law topics. Check CLAT Syllabus
  • The exam pattern for LSAT India is the same for UG and PG courses. The question paper has 4 sections viz. Analytical Reasoning, 1st Logical Reasoning, 2nd Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension.

On the basis of Total Questions and Marking scheme

  • The total number of questions for CLAT UG is 200 and that for CLAT PG is 150. In LSAT India, the total number of questions varies between 92- 100 for both BA.LLB and LLM courses.
  • Each question carries +1 mark in CLAT and 0.25 marks are deducted for every wrong answer. A question in LSAT India carries 1 mark and no marks are deducted for wrong answers i.e. negative marking is not applicable.

Read More CLAT Exam Pattern

On the basis of Exam Duration and Time Management

  • The duration of CLAT is 2 hours and sectional time limit is not applicable. Aspirants can solve the sections in any sequence they prefer and there is no pressure for solving a section within fixed time.
  • The duration of LSAT India is 2 hours and 20 minutes. A sectional time limit is applicable so time pressure is a problem in this exam. Each section has to be solved within 35 minutes. This is why time management is very crucial for this entrance test.

On the basis of Exam fees

The exam fees for CLAT are INR 4000 (INR 3500 for reserved category). The fees for LSAT India are INR 3800 (INR 4250 with LSAT India Handbook).

Which one is tougher to crack?

We will look at 3 aspects- difficulty level, level of competition and skills tested in the exam to see which amongst CLAT and LSAT India is tougher to crack.

Difficulty level of exam LSAT India and CLAT

The difficulty level of questions asked in CLAT is moderate. However, students have to attempt more number of questions in less time. The time constraint and negative marking make the exam more challenging. This is why CLAT is considered more difficult.

The difficulty level of questions in LSAT India is also high. Although negative marking is not applicable, the questions are more complicated and the sectional time limit makes it harder to solve all questions.

Level of Competition

CLAT is the key to NLUs. Around 50,000 students fight for about 2984 seats for the LLB course whereas the seats for the LLM program are even lesser (around 600). So the level of competition is very high. As LSAT India is the gateway for a greater number of law schools, the competitive spirit amongst its applicants is less fierce.

Skills tested in LSAT India and CLAT 

CLAT tests an individual’s analytical and critical skills through logical reasoning as well as his knowledge in the fields of general awareness, mathematics and law. There are a variety of questions which allows students to make up a lower score secured in one section by doing well in the other.

LSAT India assesses different skills like reading and comprehension, organization and management of information, critical analysis and evaluation of reasoning and arguments of others. These skills are considered essential for success in law colleges. LSAT has a lesser variety of questions so the chances of making up for the lost marks are slim.

Also Check CLAT Practice Papers


The decision to take CLAT or LSAT India involves the consideration of a number of factors. Students must choose the exam after analyzing all the alternatives. Both the law entrance tests have its fair share of challenges and obstacles. These tests are important and open the door to many opportunities in the legal field. The differences between the exams will help you in making the final decision.

As per previous years’ trends, the fight for CLAT seats is much more difficult and brutal but the reputation is all worth the effort. This does not mean that LSAT India is not difficult. There are several good law schools that fall under the umbrella of it which make it a good alternative for CLAT.



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