Imagine yourself a month after your LSAT — you’re refreshing your email for the 50th time that day, anxiously awaiting your score, and when you finally get it, those three digits don’t add up to the LSAT score you hoped for.
For some of you who recently took the February LSAT, you don’t have to imagine. Maybe you recognized going into the exam that you were underprepared. Maybe you were shocked that the score wasn’t nearly as high as your practice scores. Either way, what are you going to do about it?
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your law school aspirations aren’t over. If you want to get back in the game and study for the LSAT a second time, you can increase your score and ensure that your second score is the one that law skills will care about on your application. After all, as difficult a moment as this is for you, no one is going to care that you retook the LSAT down the line in your legal career. “Sure she’s a great lawyer from a top law school, but her first LSAT score was disappointing,” said no one ever.
But now that you’ve mentally prepared yourself to go into round 2 of studying, you want to beware that you don’t fall into the same traps you did on your first try. What is it people say about trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Don’t do it.
In order to determine how you can improve on your first try with the LSAT, the perfect place to start is your last scored exams. For February LSAT takers with no info on your exam details, you can should look at your more recent practice exams. Where were you challenged? Did you run out of time? Did you panic? Were there gaps in your Logic Games prep? Maybe your notation of the Reading Comp passages wasn’t helpful to you. Identifying whatever held you back on the first exam will help you get on track toward improving the next time.
Your second step, after a complete review of your scored exam, is to put together a new and effective study plan. Whether you work with a tutor or on your own, you need to collect new material and new exams for your LSAT prep moving forward. You’ll also need to scrutinize the strategies you’ve used on the LSAT so far — everything from analyzing Weaken questions on Logical Reasoning to diagramming unstable grouping games. If your current method for tackling any of these test elements isn’t working for you, it needs to be retooled or changed completely.
And once you’ve made the big decision to retake the LSAT, your upcoming LSAT prep needs to be planned out and harmonized with the other parts of your life. You may not have been planning to carve out large chunks of time to study for these next few months, and it’s something to get prepared for. Even with the optimal study plan in place, your second try will be all for nothing if you don’t put the time in, or you don’t take care of yourself during this process. That means organizing your schedule to include studying, but taking care not to push yourself to complete impossible amounts of work in order to improve your score.
And finally, one of the more overlooked elements of a retake: you need to register for the LSAT again — and fast. Once you receive your first LSAT score, there may already be some test centers which are full for the next testing cycle. Getting signed up early will give you more options and allow you to avoid a far flung trip for your LSAT retake.
So if you just received your LSAT score, it’s in your power to succeed on a retake. All of the resources you need are out there waiting for you.