Sunday, September 30, 2007

Should You Cancel Your LSAT Score?

My phone has been ringing off the hook this weekend. Everyone wants to know - Should I cancel my LSAT score?

The good news is that in today's law school admission landscape, the highest of mulitiple LSAT scores is the one that matters. As a result, there is very little reason to ever cancel a score.

The Answer is YES if:
1. You completely screwed up. Did you mis-bubble? Leave a whole section blank? Get violently ill in the middle of the exam? Fail to finish a significant portion of a section?
2. Getting the score would be so demoralizing to you that you would be unable to live with yourself.
3. You already have one LSAT score that you're happy with and you're pretty sure you did worse this time and you don't want to have to explain it in your application.

The Answer is NO if:
1. You are absolutely sure you want to go to law school in Fall 2008. Pinning all of your hopes on the December LSAT is dangerous. What if it goes even worse?
2. You want to apply early decision and/or early notification.
3. You're hoping to take advantage of the rolling admissions process and get things underway early.
4. You're not sure how you did but you didn't absolutely panic or anything.
5. You made a slight error, were unable to finish a question or two, but nothing out of the ordinary happened.

Coming this week: What to do while you're waiting for your LSAT score.

Also: A Reminder: Saturday, October 6th 9 am PST/Noon EST Free Webinar -
"I've Taken the LSAT; Now What?"
Sign up today - as of right now only 6 places are left so email me today:


  1. I hesitated to rush home and email you because I was stressing over my score.

    I'm a great student, with great recommendations, grades, activities, and a great story (my life circumstances).

    I have NO DOUBT I will perform well in any school I attend but my score isn't a 170 or something like that I'm sure.

    Are there certain schools I just shouldn't bother with if I get under a certain "magic" number?

  2. Hi Mat,
    I help people in your situation all time. I can relate - I often tell people that even if I studied for a year I wouldn't get a 170 because it's not the right score for me. But it shouldn't prohibit you from attending a fine law school and coming up with the schools list is something I can help with (if you've seen my web site there is more info at
    I have a posting about how to choose where to apply; if a school does not take people with your LSAT then don't apply. But with a strong application, why can't you be one of the 10% admitted with your numbers?
    I hope this helps.

  3. Dear Ann,
    I took the LSAT this past Saturday and felt like I did worse than my last diagnostic. I normally don't get to finish the sections but I at least get to the very last set of questions. This time I only got through half of each section and then had to just bubble in the rest. I'm thinking about cancelling my score, I don't think this test really showed my best abilities. I slept 4 hours the night before because I couldnt sleep, and I took the test in a different state than my own and had complications the night before with hotel reservations. It was, in short, a terrible experience. I am not able to take it in December either, so I would take it in February again. I know that some schools still take a February score. Is this a good option, or should I just wait and apply next year instead? Or should I not cancel my score and see how I did, maybe I didn't do as bad as I thought, and take it again for a higher score, since schools will take my highest score anyway? Thanks, looking foward to your response.
    Ingrid H.

  4. Ingrid,
    Thanks for writing. I can't give specific "yes cancel" or "no, don't" advice in this format, but I can tell that generally February LSAT for that fall's entry is not advantageous.

  5. Dear Ann,

    I mis-bubbled my second logic games section because I was going to skip the second game and go back to it and then didn't skip the bubbles on the scantron. The testing conditions were really poor because the lecture hall we were in had desks that didn't even fit one piece of paper, much less the whole booklet, scantron, and my watch and extra pencils. The shuffling of materials that was necessary really interfered with my ability to focus and efficiently transfer my answers. I think I did fine on the rest of the test though, and have never taken it before, and I also don't want to go to law school until fall of 2010. I had two logic games sections so I'm hoping this one was the experimental, but it doesn't sound like it. Should I just see what I get or cancel? I feel like if I do terribly I can write a letter of explanation about the testing conditions, but then would they just wonder why I hadn't canceled? Thank you very much!

  6. There is recourse for complaining about testing conditions, but you have limited time to speak up. Since you have plenty of time (as a Fall 2010 applicant) why don't you cancel and retake in February or June and chalk this up to a learning experience?

  7. Dear Ann,

    I just took the lsat this Saturday but I canceled my score after much debate because I wasn't able to finish a section and had to bubble in 10 guesses. I am thinking about taking the December exam but am not sure if schools even accept the scores. I really want to go to law school in the coming fall. Could you tell me if schools do accept the December score and how the lateness of the application would affect my chances of getting in? Thanks so very much.


  8. Dana, Please be assured that December is a fine time to take the exam for Fall 2009 admission. you can either submit applications now and have them waiting for the LSAT score (this works best if you know the geographic area where you plan to apply and you're not narrowing down from 200 law schools) or you can apply the last week of December. In either event, now is the time to work on the other pieces of your application.

  9. Ann,

    Like a couple others on this site, I am debating canceling my LSAT score from this past Saturday. I know I need above a 170 for admission into my top choices/best fits because my GPA is much weaker, as a result of my double major (electrical engineering and biomedical engineering). As it currently stands, I feel like I missed an average of maybe 4 questions per section, for a total of 16-18 wrong. As such, this would put me in the 163 range, which in itself is decent, but I'm not sure how that will affect my chances of acceptance. I basically have less than 24 hours to fax the score cancellation sheet to LSAC and I'm totally clueless!


  10. If that's where it comes back and you're capable of doing better, then you can retake in December.... Might be better than canceling and completely relying on December.....

  11. If you only finished half of one section, but felt like you did well on and finished the rest, will that significantly decrease your score enough to the point where you should consider canceling?

  12. Probably not, but please keep in mind that my experience is not in LSAT tutoring but in making law school admission decisions. Therefore, questions about how the test is scored and the impact of missing certain sections is bordering outside of my area of expertise.

  13. Dear Ann,

    As it seems the topic of the day, I am also a last Saturday LSAT taker who is still on the fence of canceling my score. I took the LSAT back in June, and earned a score that I wasnt excited about, but was acceptable to me. Of course, I felt like I could do better, and gave the test another shot this past Saturday. Walking out of the test, I was unsure. I know I didnt do wonderful or horrible. I attempted to use your cancel YES or NO if advice, but found myself answering a few YES and NOs. At most I could have picked up a few more points, but there is also the chance that I lost a few points from my last score. Given your law school admissions expertise, is it frowned upon to recieve an application with a lower LSAT score the second time around?

    Thank you, and very much looking forward to your advice.

  14. Most schools emphasize the higher score, and if the scores are within 3 points of each other then schools will find both scores are equal indicators of your abilities - those scores are probably both correct indicators of your aptitude.