In any given year, a solid portion of October LSAT test-takers are comprised of people who took the June test, weren’t quite satisfied with their score, and want to give it another shot. If this describes you — or if you’re planning to just self-study and retake — here’s how to optimize your application timeline.
1) Start today
First and foremost, I should say that the LSAT should become high-priority as soon as you decide to retake. Because so many admissions officers have cited the LSAT as the single most important factor in evaluating an applicant, it is important that you resume your studies more or less immediately after you know you’re going for the October test. Don’t put it off.
2) Identify what needs work
It’s also important to evaluate your June LSAT Score Report. Did you score significantly below your practice test range? (Were you honest with yourself on practice tests? Did you practice in realistic testing conditions? Were you as merciless with timing as your proctors were on test day?) Or, have your goals risen? Do you now insist upon a 170+?
Most importantly: evaluate your fundamentals. If you’re deciding now (in July) to retake the test, then you have ample time to master the basic skills by October, even if you’re starting at essentially Square 1. Thus, it’s critical that you scrutinize your performance and determine if you might need to go back and get some practice on diagramming questions, or buckle down and suffer through some Reading Comprehension passages.
3) Balance studying with preparing your application
With studying underway, it’s worth considering how your focus should be dispersed between LSAT studying and the other elements of a quality application. After all, if you’re taking the October test it’s important that you get your apps in soon after your scores are released, so as to get ahead of the curve of rolling admissions. I strongly encourage all my students in this position to consider the fact that there’ll be a few long weeks between the time of the test and the time that scores are released. That’s days on days to devote to fine-tuning your personal statement or filling out Character and Fitness assessments — days that were fully occupied by Must Be Trues and mauve dinosaurs not so long ago. This is certainly not to say that you shouldn’t get a jump on your applications, but don’t end up in a position where you’ve sacrificed significant study hours just so you can sit on your hands while you wait for your score.
We hope this helps you get a sense of how to study for a retake, and the best use of your time before the test. Any suggestions? Feel free to comment below!