As we’ve mentioned a time or two on this blog, LSAC has added a July LSAT administration this year. This is great news for people who want a little more flexibility if, for instance, they don’t think they’ll be quite ready by June but they also want to get the test out of the way before September.
However, there is a slight catch: The June LSAT is on June 11, and the deadline to register for the July LSAT is June 13. That means that anyone who takes the June test and might want to retake in July doesn’t have much time to make their decision.
The problem with having to make such a decision on an expedited timeline is that typically, most people don’t leave the LSAT feeling great — you’re focused on all of those questions you weren’t sure about, or that one Logic Game where you didn’t find a key deduction until the final few questions of the game. But often, once you take a few nights to sleep on it, you realize that you probably didn’t do any worse on this test than on any other (and maybe you even crushed it, who knows?!). Incidentally, that’s the same reason we advise holding off on deciding whether to cancel your LSAT score for a few days.
That’s all well and good, but not a ton of help for June test-takers, who have a measly two days to decide whether to retake in July. Here’s what we advise for them:
Think back through each section and make a rough estimate of how many questions you guessed on or weren’t sure about. For instance, let’s say your first section was Reading Comprehension, on which you didn’t have time for the fourth passage (so you guessed on those five questions), and there were five-ish questions on the other passages where you really weren’t sure. You’d write down 10 for the first section, and then do the same for the other sections. It’s fine if you really have no idea how many questions you guessed on — this is all for a very rough approximation anyway, so there’s no need to be exact. Just make your best guess.
So now you have the approximate number of questions you weren’t sure about. We’re going to use that number to create a couple of the scenarios. The first scenario, which is the conservative/worst-case one, is one where you only got a quarter of those questions right. (If you were straight-up guessing on every question, your odds would of course be worse than that, but I’m assuming that you were able to eliminate some obviously-wrong answer choices for some of those questions.) The second scenario, which is a more moderate one, is one where you got about half of those questions right.
Now take a look at a few recent test curves to get a sense of what score range you’d be looking at in each of your scenarios. (You can just google the test date followed by “LSAT curve” to find this pretty easily — for instance, you can find the December 2017 curve here.) It’ll vary from test to test, since the curve changes pretty significantly, but you should be able to get a pretty good sense of your rough “score band.”
Now it’s decision time. Could you live with the score for your moderate scenario? What about the score for your worst-case scenario? If you’re not comfortable with those scores, then it’s probably a good idea to register for the July LSAT.
Of course, all of this assumes that you’re hell-bent on retaking the LSAT in July instead of waiting until September — if you’re cool with taking the LSAT a little later, you can simply wait for your June score to be released. Either way, though, this way of estimating your score can be a good process for forcing yourself to think about your testing experience in a logical manner (rather than thinking only about those few questions you really think you bombed).