Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Rushing to Re-Take the LSAT in February?

Today I received an e-mail with a relevant question about re-taking the February LSAT. When I tried to respond to the question, the person's e-mail server kicked it back to me. Therefore, I'm taking this opportunity to respond to the question here, hoping that (1) the reader will return and have her question answered, and (2) the response will benefit many of you.

Hi Ann,
I am so pleased I found a blog that included your link. Here is my question:
I am a 46 year old student. I have registered for the Kaplan study course, which is held during the month of January; and, have registered for the February LSAT . I do not believe this is enough of time to prepare, although, I do not know how much I can learn in the Kaplan class. Perhaps I can master this LSAT and achieve an acceptable score. I seem rather rushed. Or, should I take the LSAT, gamble that I will most likely perform weakly; but, just take it to get the feel of it. Contrarily, do you suppose it would be most positive if I take the course, study on my own for a few months, and take the next LSAT when I am feeling more secure about my performance (June).
What would you advise?

My response:

If you are applying for Fall 2009, then postpone and take the June LSAT. You have plenty of time. The only reason to rush is if you absolutely must go to law school in Fall 2008. But it's very late in this application cycle, and I'd rather you apply early for next year than late for this year. Do not take the LSAT to "get a feel for it". That only means you'll have something to explain as a weakness in your application when you apply.
Happy new year, and please let me know how I can be of service to you.


  1. Is 160 a "magic number"? People seem to think I should retake my 159 in February. Many schools I'm applying to have medians of 161 or 162. Would one or two points make a big difference (even late in the cycle in February)?

    Also, if I signed up for the Feb. LSAT but I'm not sure I'm going to take it, should I not say I'm going to retake in my current applications? Seems I should let LSAC notify them when I retake because if I put I will retake,and then back out, it will delay me and I might not get in places I otherwise would. It seems it would be better to not put a retake date and notify the schools when I retake than put one and have to notify them I canceled. Great new years resolutions by the way.

  2. Hi Jeff-
    I don't believe for a minute that one point will make a difference. If everything in your application is fantastic and working to your advantage, a school that takes people with 160s takes people with 159s. But if your score stays the same or goes down in February, you've wasted a lot of time.
    If you're signed up for February, cancel the registration and email all schools where you've applied to let them know they should not hold your application. (Assuming you decide not to re-take)
    If you take February, but don't tell the schools, be aware that it's possible they'll see it on your LSAC report and hold your application....
    Don't look at medians - look at 25th percentiles. That should make you feel better. Good luck!

  3. Hi Ann,

    Thanks for such a helpful blog! I am taking the LSAT in February (2nd time, I canceled my December score). Is it to my detriment to apply so late in the game for Fall 2008? I really want to start this Fall, but if I don't get into any schools for some reason will law schools still consider me for 2009? Also, I'm not sure that my application is "perfect" either...I think I have a great personal statement, however, I didn't do any extracurricular activities while in school, nor do I have a stellar resume and I'm wondering if this alone will knock me off the maybe pile at most schools without further consideration. I know this is a broad question, but any info you might have will be of great help. Thanks,

  4. Should I just give up? I don't want to but the more I read about how it isn't a good idea to take the LSAT for the third time I am feeling a little discouraged.

    I took the exam for the first time in 2006 and ranked in the 2nd percentile and I took it again this June '08 and did worse! 1st percentile :(
    I have taken a Kaplan course and have studied on my own over and over again.
    Should I give it my all again? I'm also wondering if I should give it more time between the exams before I attempt to take the LSAT again. I'm going to attend the NY law school forum this month, hopefully this will provide me with some more insight. I want to stay positive and perhaps the third time may be the charm that I actually do well enough to get accepted into a program.
    WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?? Any advice would be great! :)

  5. I always believe that if your system isn't getting results, change the system. IF Kaplan and self-study aren't working, and you're determined to continue trying, then try another way - perhaps a company that specializes in private tutoring.

  6. Hi Ann,

    Do to complications with my atm/debit card as well as with my bank I missed the registration deadline to take the December 2008 LSAT. I'm pretty sure there isn't much that can be done at this point in terms of any kind of override or being allowed to take that particular LSAT. I was originally scheduled to take it in October, but I didn't feel as though I was ready to take it, considering the scores I was receiving on my practice exams. February is the next LSAT that is offered, and I know that a lot of law schools either don't accept that date or it's harder to gain admission if one takes it on that date. What I am wondering is if I begin to send out my applications ASAP to schools that I am interested in attending fall 2009, and have everything else in order such as my personal statements, letters of recommendation etc. and tell them that I plan on taking the February 09 LSAT will that help mitigate the negatives taking it at such a late date since my application will be on file? This upcoming fall it will be 2 years since I completed my undergrad and would like to begin school in the fall if at all possible instead of having to wait yet another year. Any advice or input that you have concerning my situation is greatly appreciated, thank you

  7. Bluesoldier,
    You could certainly try this since you're insistent on starting in Fall 09; worst case scenario is that you reapply early for Fall 2010. It'll be important to load up on safety schools that will want your numbers badly enough to supersede the people they've already placed on waitlists by the time your application is reviewed.
    Good luck, and please let me know if I can help you in any way.

  8. Hi Ann, I'm scheduled to take the Dec. LSAT and applying for Fall 09', however I am currently under evaluation so that I will be able to receive extended time for the Feb. 09' LSAT. Is it worth sitting down and taking the Dec. test just in case I don't receive the extended time accommodation. On a separate note I know legally schools cannot discriminate based on learning disabilities however Ive heard from a few people that they do, my chances of breaking 160 significantly diminish if I do not receive proper accommodations.
    What are your thoughts ?

  9. Hi Ann,
    I have outstanding credentials -- GPA, LORs, résumé, personal statement -- coming from the top liberal arts school in the nation. What I do not have, however, is an LSAT score that shines anywhere but in the bottommost percentiles. And for the life of me I cannot raise this number. I took the December 2008 administration, but now I'm writing the schools, wondering whether they'd accept a February score. Am I doing the right thing?