Six days, people. That’s how long you get to decide whether or not you should cancel your LSAT score. Six days full of sleepless nights, self-doubt, and—in particularly egregious cases—more boxed wine than a human should probably imbibe. If you took the LSAT on October 9th, you need to decide by October 15th.
Let’s first all share a moment of silence for everyone who is contemplating canceling their score. It’s not the outcome anyone wants after 2-3 months of studying, and we should respect that. One. Two. Three. Moving on.
The first thing I’m going to tell you is that you must choose whether to keep or cancel your LSAT score BEFORE YOU SEE IT.
This may come as a surprise to some of you. But if you think about it for a minute, it makes perfect sense. If you saw your score and then could cancel afterward, test takers would just take the LSAT repeatedly, canceling en masse, until obtaining the score they desire. It would be a disaster of biblical proportions.
Now that you know you’re going to have to decide blindfolded, as it were, let’s proceed to the factors you should consider when contemplating canceling your LSAT score:
What is the range of the LSAT score you’re likely to get?
This is, by far, the most important thing you can do. You MUST attempt to predict the range of your LSAT score. I realize this is a tall order, given that you’re attempting to reconstruct whether or not you missed questions days after the most stressful three-hour exam in your life. Things might be hazy, to say the least. Fortunately, our very own Matt Riley has a video guide to assist you in doing exactly that:
Once you’ve found the possible range of your score, there are three options.
1. Your score range begins at the minimum score you need for the law schools you want to attend. If this is you, congratulations. Keep your score. (If you need to know how to calculate whether your LSAT score range will get you into your desired law schools, here’s another handy-dandy video that can help).
2. Your score range is definitely out of the range you need for the law schools you want to attend. If this is you, it sucks, but at least you know the face of your enemy. Cancel your score.
3. Your score range might get you into the schools you want, but it’s not definitive either way. If this is you, welcome to limbo (say hello to all the un-baptized babies). But there are still factors to consider.
A. Rolling admissions
As you perhaps already know, when it comes to law schools, applying earlier is better. However, you can apply as early as you want to Harvard with a 122 LSAT score and odds are you still aren’t going. In other words, your LSAT score is such an important factor in law school admissions that it’s probably worth it to apply later with a higher LSAT score. So if you feel confident that by taking the next LSAT administration your score will improve, you should wait. But if you’re not going to change anything, (refer to C, below), it’s better to keep your score and apply earlier.
B. Have you taken the LSAT before?
Cancellations are like divorces: one is fine, two can be explained, but three or more start to be reaaaaally sketchy. Trent Teti talks about what it means to have multiple LSAT scores on your LSAC file on his blog.
C. Will you be able to get a higher LSAT score?
If you’re going to increase your LSAT score, something has to change from the last time you took the test. Will you have more time to devote to studying? Will you undergo hypnosis and perform better on test day? Did you take the LSAT without a preparation course and now realize what a bitter, bitter mistake that was? Whatever happened to hamper your studies, you must isolate it and have a realistic plan for overcoming it in time to score better on the next LSAT.
If you have any questions about the above whether or not you should cancel your score, write it in the comment section under the heading of “my friend took the LSAT this Saturday…” In the meantime, step away from the Franzia.