Should you retake the LSAT? Advice from a Retaker

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If you took the June 2012 LSAT, you’ve received your score.

Yay?

All kidding aside, regardless of the quality of your score, you may have the impulse to retake the LSAT. Perhaps you’re the overachiever who got a 170, but you think the 178s you consistently received in practice are more indicative of your skill level. Perhaps you scored in the 160s in practice but got a 152 and wonder what happened.

Perhaps you completely tanked.

Whatever the situation, retaking the exam is often the wrong choice. While schools are only required to report your highest score, it doesn’t mean that schools don’t see your lower score. If you retake the exam and score within 3 points of your original score, chances are that it won’t make much of a difference. Does a 163 sound better than a 160? Sure. But that 163 means a lot less when it’s standing right next to a 160, especially since they’re in the same score band.

Let’s say you make a 10-point jump in the right direction. As my man Desi Arnaz might say, “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.” (The episode where Lucy took the LSAT went, sadly, unproduced) You have to answer the unspoken questions that law schools will have: What went wrong the first time? What went right the second time? Which of your two scores is the aberration?

There’s also the cost to consider.

You have to pay for prep materials or a course. Again. You have to pay LSAC. Again.

The time will also cost you. It’s another couple months of intense study, preparation, and stress. You have to decide whether the likelihood of a meaningful score increase is worth the trouble. You have to really analyze whether or not you think you’ll actually stick to a schedule and prep more than the first time. If you think you can significantly increase your score, then retaking the LSAT is worth considering*. If you scored significantly lower than your PT average, think about a retake. However, if you’re just getting greedy, you’re better off working on your essays and getting some awesome letters of recommendation.

*Author’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I did, in fact, take the LSAT twice, achieving a 10-point increase the second time. I had a good reason for the increase and I managed to convince the admissions committee of a top tier law school that I was worth accepting. As is often said, do as I say, not as I do (wink).

One Response

  1. stephanie says:

    I took the lsat in October, scored a 152 and was accepted to Penn State and Michigan State. Should I take a year off and try for a better lsat score? I was scoring around 160 on my practice tests.

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