Congratulations on surviving Test Day! If you’re like most other test takers, you probably left the testing site feeling some mixture of relief and dread. The part of you that’s feeling relief is just glad that’s finally over with and is telling you to go get some ice cream, or watch GOT, or whatever it is that tickles your fancy. But the part of you that’s feeling dread is probably screaming at you to cancel your score.
Let’s be clear: most of you should not cancel your scores.
First of all, everyone experiences some level of self-doubt after walking out of the test. That’s totally normal. But nobody knows for sure how they did until scores are released. It’s very possible you did better than you think, but if you cancel your score you’ll never know. It’s not uncommon for a student to have a vague sense that things went wrong on test day, only to find out once scores are released that it was their highest score ever. (Anecdotally, it happened to your humble author.)
Another downside to cancelling your score is that you won’t have access to your answer sheet from that day. This means you won’t be able to go through that exam and compare your answers under actual test conditions with the correct ones, which can be a very valuable study tool for taking the test again, should you need to. Plus, now more than ever, law schools only consider an applicant’s highest LSAT score. If you improve on your next LSAT, that low score won’t hurt your application much, if at all.
Basically, what I’m saying is this: there’s very little downside to finding out your test score, and a huge downside to cancelling your test score. So you should be reaaally sure you bombed if you’re going to cancel your score. When I say reaaally sure, I don’t mean that vague sense of dread I described above. I don’t mean missing a few questions on any given section. What do I mean?
1) You became physically ill during the test. Under the aegis of “physically ill,” I’m including severe bouts of test anxiety, viruses, nausea, and the like. If any of these caused you to leave the test for extended periods of time or have extreme difficulty focusing on the test, you should seriously consider cancelling your score.
2) You didn’t study at all. If that’s the case, welcome! You probably haven’t been here before. It’s highly likely you can improve your score by putting in a couple months of studying and retaking the test.
3) You had to leave for an extended portion of the test. This one seems fairly obvious, but if you had to leave early due to an emergency, or if you missed entire sections of the test for any reason, your score will not reflect your ability.
4) You are absolutely sure that you misbubbled a section or forgot to bubble a section. I’m not talking about one or two questions here. I’m talking about putting the answer for Question 4 in the Question 5 bubble, and so on down the line. A blank section is even worse, since there’s no chance of picking up points from guessing.
You get the idea. You should only cancel your score if there’s some concrete reason you can point to, and if you’re reasonably sure you can get rid of that variable in the future. Otherwise, stick it out and (as we all do) hope for the best.
If you do ultimately decide to cancel your score, the instructions on how to do so are on LSAC’s website. LSAC must receive your written score cancellation request within six calendar days of the test, so you have a couple more days to think about it if you plan to submit the form by e-mail.