As previously announced, LSAC is finally falling more in line with other graduate school exams and is adding additional test dates — instead of only being given four opportunities per year to take the LSAT, future test-takers will have up to six chances per year. This year, test-takers in North America have the option to take the test on June 11 — as was the case in previous years — or on July 23, which will be the first time the test has been offered in July.
Having more choices is great, but — as anyone who’s stared at a wall of identical-looking, say, laundry detergent brands knows — it can also make your decision just a little bit harder. Here’s some of the chatter we’ve heard, along with our two cents:
Is there a difference between the two tests?
Both the June and July tests will be on a Monday, and both will be held at 12:30 pm. Therefore, people with particular concerns about the time of day won’t need to take that into account when deciding between June and July.
Furthermore, both June and July scores will be released well in advance of when students are likely trying to submit their full applications, so it’s not as though either date will make or break your application cycle.
Instead, the biggest deciding factor between the two will likely be convenience. The June test is (groundbreaking analysis ahead) earlier in the summer, so you could conceivably take the test and still spend the rest of your summer lounging on the beach, grilling and drinking beer, or whatever carefree summer activities you choose. The July test still allows for some of those things, but you’ll spend a greater proportion of your summer hunched over your LSAT books.
On the flip side, the June test will overlap more with students’ semesters. One of the tricky things about taking the test in June is that, if you’re currently in school, the test is probably close to the same time as your finals, and cramming for the LSAT while also cramming for finals is no one’s idea of a good time. If you take the test in July, you’ll be able to get finals out of your way and then devote your undivided attention to the LSAT for longer.
So, as is so often the case, the answer to the question “when should I take the LSAT?” boils down to “whenever you’ll have the most time to study.”
Should students take the June test and potentially try to retake in July?
In the past, people who took the June test had to wait until late September or early October in order to take another swing at the test. The good news was that even if they had to wait to submit October scores, that timing is still early enough in the application cycle that it shouldn’t affect anyone’s chances, even in light of the fact that law school admissions are done on a rolling basis.
Now, impatient test-takers will likely have the option to try again about six weeks after their original attempt. The July test might be a great option for someone whose June score was impacted by circumstances outside of their control, like some of the horror stories we’ve heard in the past about construction noise outside test centers or proctors making mistakes when calling time.
However, someone who didn’t score well on the June test because they need more time to prepare should probably still plan on retaking in October, because they’ll have much more time to work on perfecting their scores.