I am often asked if a student should re-take the LSAT.
What’s the value in re-taking it?
How do schools look at your second or third score?
The answer really depends upon your circumstances, but most often if you think you can do ,much better than your previous LSAT score, go ahead and re-write the LSAT. If you didn’t study enough, got too stressed out during the exam or were sick, it is likely a good idea to give it another try.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to re-take the LSAT:
- You can only write the LSAT twice in any three year period. This policy applies even if you cancel your score or it is not otherwise reported. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but they aren’t easy to get. You need your law school to request another LSAT score for you. This usually only happens if they want a more recent LSAT score.
- If there were extenuating circumstances during your first LSAT writing such as you being sick, extreme anxiety or other issues, you many want to notify your law schools of this fact so that they are more likely to weight your second (and hopefully better) LSAT score more heavily, or ignore your first LSAT altogether.
- If you feel that you did not prepare for the LSAT properly the first time, then before you take the LSAT again, make sure you take the time to do proper LSAT prep and get your score up on practice tests. If you see a significant increase in your LSAT score after additionaly study time then take the test again.
- There is substantial data on how people typically do on the LSAT if they re-take it. Most of this data tells you that you are about a 50-50 shot to improve your score and if you do improve it, it won’t be by much. What you should take from this is, make sure you can do much better on your practice tests at home than your past LSAT score before you repeat the test.
- After you re-take the tests, any reports that go out to Law Schools will include all the tests you have taken. Check with your schools (usually on their websites) to see if they average your scores or take the highest one. Even schools that average scores can occaisionally be persuaded to take your highest if there were special circumstances at the time of your lower scored LSAT. Law schools are increasingly taking the highest reported LSAT score for applicants as it helps their law school rankings when they report the average LSAT of their admitted students.
- You should also consider the delay of re-taking the LSAT on your applications to law school. Many schools admit students on a rolling basis so it is actually easier to get in if you apply earlier. What you can do is apply with your lower score to take advantage of the rolling admissions and then if you get a higher score alert the school and have another shot at admission. Some people will get accepted to a school that is not their first choice based on their initial LSAT score. At this point you can take the LSAT again, stress free because you know you are already accepted to one school. Then, if you second score is higher, you might get into the school of your choice. Stress is a very significant factor in how students perform on the actual LSAT so whatever you can do to reduce or eliminate stress is a good thing!
If you do decide to re-take the LSAT, make sure to let your school know about your new score. Law Services does not automatically update the schools, you need to make sure your new score gets to them.