Weighing Your December LSAT Score: Is a Retake in Order?

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In the wake of last week’s release of 2013 December LSAT scores, I’ve been seeing one question over and over: Should I retake the LSAT in February?

You’ll need to decide quickly, because tomorrow is the early registration deadline for the February LSAT; you can also register late by mail by Jan. 14, but you’ll still need to make up your mind ASAP, because LSAC has to receive your registration by the 14th (and you’ll have to pay an additional fee to register).

So let’s say that your December LSAT score fell short of your hopes and expectations, and you’re unsure whether you should try again on the February LSAT. Here are a couple questions to ask yourself:

1) Will you have enough time to devote to LSAT prep before the February LSAT?
There’s only a month until the February LSAT, so if you decide to retake in February and you haven’t started studying yet, you’re going to need to do some serious work over the next few weeks. Think realistically about how much time you have and how much effort you’d be willing to devote to studying. If your schedule is already jam-packed or if you don’t think you’ll be motivated to study enough over the next month, you probably aren’t going to benefit from taking the February LSAT.

2) Do you actually need a higher LSAT score?
It goes without saying that having a higher LSAT score is always preferable. It makes it more likely that you’ll be accepted and that you’ll receive scholarships. That said, it doesn’t always make sense to retake for a higher LSAT score. Even if your 2013 December LSAT score didn’t quite meet your expectations, you might still be in good shape to be admitted to your top-choice schools. You can use websites like Law School Numbers to get a rough idea of your likelihood of acceptance (although of course nothing is guaranteed); if you still have a decent shot of getting into a law school you’d actually be interested in attending, you may decide that it’s not worth retaking the February LSAT.

3) Will your school(s) of choice accept the February LSAT?
Because the February LSAT is late in the cycle for Fall 2014 admissions, not all law schools accept February LSAT scores. If you’re contemplating taking the LSAT next month, you’ll definitely want to check whether your top schools will accept a February LSAT score. If you really can’t live with your December LSAT score and your schools of choice don’t accept the February LSAT, you may need to retake in June or September and apply for Fall 2015 instead.

For those unfortunate souls whose test administration was postponed until mid-December, LSAC hasn’t released any official word on when you’ll receive your LSAT scores. However, there are rumblings that LSAC is telling test-takers that those scores will be released today or tomorrow. If you have any further questions (or just want to hear for yourself when scores will be released), your best bet is to contact LSAC directly.

Best of luck with whatever decision you make – and if you’re still unsure about what to do, feel free to leave a comment.

4 Responses

  1. Brittany says:

    If you have been waitlisted at your first choice would it be beneficial to retake the LSAT in February if you are pretty certain that your score would improve?

    • Laura Santoski says:

      It would almost definitely be beneficial, although I can’t tell you *how* beneficial it would be. You may also want to contact the school to let them know that you’re retaking and that they should consider your February score.

  2. Sarah says:

    If you received a low lsat score in December, should you still apply and get your apps in now and just indicate that you will take it again in February? By low score I mean at least 6 points below the schools medians.

    • Laura Santoski says:

      If you’re definitely applying this cycle, there’s no harm in submitting your app with a note that says not to consider the application complete until they receive your February score – that way, everything will be ready to go as soon as they receive your score, and they’ll know not to make a final decision until then.

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