September LSAT scores are due back at the end of the end of the month, and if you were among the many who capped off your summer by taking that test, you may now be facing the quintessential existential conundrum of whether to retake the test in November. If so, here are some things to ponder while you twiddle your thumbs awaiting your score:
1. It’s always better to apply later in the cycle with a higher score than earlier with a lower score
If you think you’re capable of a higher score than your September results might suggest, but you’re stressed about getting your applications completed as early as possible — don’t be.
It’s true that law schools review applications on a rolling basis and that it’s typically somewhat easier to get admitted near the beginning of the cycle, when there are still tons of seats in the upcoming class left. BUT that marginal benefit is almost certainly smaller than the benefit of applying later with a higher LSAT score.
In other words — LSAT scores make a bigger difference than submitting your application early, so if it comes down to that choice, you’d be better off taking the higher LSAT score.
However, that said…
2. Retaking the LSAT is — or should be — a lot of work
A lot of people end up not doing much better on their second try because they lose momentum in their studies. If you sign up to retake the LSAT, but then don’t do much studying, it should come as no surprise that your score probably won’t change much. So in order to make your retake worth it, you need to be willing to commit to devoting a lot of time and effort into your studies, or it’s probably not gonna be worth it.
3. When planning how to study for a retake, think about your problem areas
If you took the LSAT in September and want to take it again in November, your September LSAT results will provide you with some helpful data points about the areas in which you could improve. When you get your score report, analyze what question types you were most likely to flub, where you missed points that you probably shouldn’t have missed, and any other whiffs.
Then, formulate a study plan designed to address those problems. You might need to go back and do some untimed practice if you’re still struggling with a particular question type, or you might need to do some timed sections if you’re getting things right but running out of runway by the end of a section. This is your chance to go back and address those issues so that you won’t encounter them again on your next go-around.
Retaking the LSAT isn’t for the faint of heart, but it can result in big benefits if you’re willing to do a little legwork. Just make sure you’re being realistic about the time and energy levels you’d be willing to invest.