Should you cancel your October 2010 LSAT score?

BPPjodi-lsat-blog-application-workshop

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.

12 Responses

  1. Amp says:

    I need advice on whether to cancel my score. My main problem due to unpreparedness was the time pressure, leaving me to cold guessing on avg. of 8 questions per section, meaning overall I had to guess on 32 scored questions. However, I felt very good about the 2/3 of the overall exam thoroughly answered. I know that I will do much better in December however I cannot help to ponder/hope that among the questions I cold guessed on, I got enough of them correct to bring me to a decent score, assuming I got 85-90% of the questions I actually answered correct. What should I do?? I keep going back and forth.

  2. Dave says:

    Hi Amp,

    Have you reviewed the video in this post? It actually gives you an awesome critique of how to make the ultimate decision. If you’re still having issues after that, get back to us. Basically, do you think that legitimately, based off what you did on practice exams, you can expect to have gotten 85 to 90% of the questions you answered correct? Will that put you in the range of scores you want? Keep all that in mind. If you have any questions, let us know. And good luck!

    -Dave

  3. FOAF says:

    This was my second time taking the LSAT, my first time was Dec 09 aka the hardest LSAT of all time. I knew I should have cancelled my scored then, but I just couldn’t deal with never knowing my score. So I kept it, unfortunately. It was quite a low score. I realized on test day that I was not ready. I decided to push applications back and law school back another year and studied for nearly another year. Too Blueprint a second time and it was A LOT better. Things just clicked. I took every LSAT exam since June 2004, I was so much more dedicated to studying this time. And when October 9th rolled around I knew I was ready this time. I was nervous but excited. And then…the test started. I had RC first and I only did 3 out of 4 passages, skipped the comparative one. Games weren’t so bad but I rushed the last one because I was running out of time. On LR my pacing was off and struggled to get to the last spread of questions..LR seemed a little tougher to me this time. I’m considering taking it again, but after nearly a year of studying for this test I really don’t want to. I’m over it. But the past couple days all the fear and self doubt started creeping in. What should I do???????? Cancel? Keep? Take it again? help!

  4. JT says:

    Hi FOAF,
    It sounds like this wasn’t your ideal test and that you didn’t perform as well as you’ve been in practice tests because of test day anxiety. (Don’t worry – it happens to the best of us). The big question is if you think you’ll be calmer for the December test so you’ll be able to get a score in the range of your practice tests. If the answer is yes, you should seriously consider taking it again. If not, then you might want to stick with the October test.

    The big issue is when you honestly think about your probably score range for the October test, is it the score you need for the schools you want to go to?
    Good luck!
    JT

  5. FOAF says:

    JT,

    At this point I can’t remember enough about the test to estimate how well I did. I just hope that it’s better than my first score by 10 points or so. Crossing my fingers! I kind of want to wait and see what I get on this one. And then decide what to do. The only thing I need to work on is pacing; if I can get that squared away and read 4 RC passages in 35 minutes instead of 3 I’ll be golden.

    Would it be a bad idea to take the LSAT a third time and have 3 scores? I can add an addendum for the first score about an incident that happened during the test; some guy brought his cell phone to the test. We all knew because his phone rang for like 30 seconds during section two…breaking everyone’s concentration including mine.

  6. Donna says:

    Hi,

    During a logical games section (I’m almost positive it was the experimental, I made a mistake in that I accidentally set my deductions in the wrong slot. When I realized this mistake, I had minutes left, and it shook my confidence. I was hoping to hit a 168, but I don’t think I did. If I study for December, would it be feasible? Would it be possible to get to 170 even…and what would it take?

    My concern about canceling this score is that this exam was not too horrible…and what if the December one is too difficult? Is there anything we can expect from the December exam? Any advice is appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Donna

  7. JT says:

    FOAF – my initial reaction is that you should REALLY try to gage how you did. You’d be surprised at how much you can hone in on your range if you actually watch Matt’s video and think through it. It’s going to be hard to explain away 2 scores if you end up needing to take the LSAT a third time so don’t succumb to the temptation of just wanting to know without getting as much evidence as you can.

    Donna – if you were scoring in the mid-160’s during your practice exams and this test was just a bad day, then it’s absolutely feasible to get a 168 in December. You’ll need to keep you skills sharp by continuing to do practice problems and take occasional practice exams.

    If you want a 170+ and weren’t getting those during your practice tests, then you’ll need to do more than maintenance for December to do that. Something will have to change – whether it’s taking a prep course when you previously didn’t, having more time to study, etc.

    As far as what to expect for the December test being more or less difficult, you just can’t read the tea leaves. LSAC goes to great lengths to keep the difficulty level the same and your goal should be to have consistent scores across a variety of prep tests so you’ll be ready for anything.

    Good luck to you both!
    JT

  8. Donna says:

    Thanks for the advice. I actually had been taking a Blueprint course for the October exam. With that in mind, what can you suggest to bump myself up to get to those last few points?

    Would taking the video course be beneficial if I’ve already learned the blueprint method?

  9. JT says:

    Hi Donna,
    Since you’re one of ours, we can get into more particulars about how you were scoring, what kinds of question types you missed, etc. I’ve got an instructor – Dave – who’s happy to talk to you. Email him at dave.woods@blueprintprep.com to set up a time and we’ll figure it out!
    Thanks,
    JT

  10. […] Should you cancel your October 2010 LSAT score? , October 12, 2010 Blogroll […]

  11. angelina says:

    I was told that law schools no longer average lsat scores but take the highest one. Is that true?

  12. JT says:

    Hi Angelina,
    My apologies if the response is WAY late. If anyone ever needs a time sensitive response, you can always email us at the emails listed on the “About” page.

    At any rate, I still think it’s a good question to address for our readers in general as it crops up fairly often. The answer is that most schools no longer average LSAT scores for murky reasons mostly due to US News & World report. But keep in mind that all of your scores will show up on your score report. This means schools will see them.

    We actually conducted a survey with law schools on precisely this topic, written up by our very own Trent Teti. Check out his post here:
    http://moststronglysupported.com/loathing/2009/12/03/do-law-schools-average-lsat-scores/

    Thanks and good luck!
    JT

Leave a Reply to Donna

Your email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>