How to Explain an LSAT Score

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When should you explain an LSAT score in your law school application?

There are some situations in which it can help the law schools to have a better understanding of how they should interpret your LSAT score. Here are some examples:

1. If you have a proven history of underperformance on standardized tests. This doesn’t mean that you simply wish¬†you’d done better on the LSAT, but that you can use facts to demonstrate to law schools that the ACT/SAT failed to predict how well you’d do in undergrad and – therefore – the same can be said of your LSAT score failing to predict your law school performance. You should use numbers to make your argument. For example:

– “Although I entered UCLA with an ACT score of 26, when the median score for my class was a 31, I graduated with a 4.0, in the top 2 percent of my class. Likewise, my LSAT score of 149 does not reflect my academic potential in law school.”

2. If you took the LSAT multiple times and one or more of the scores does not reflect your abilities on the test as well as your highest score does. For example, if your first score was taken at a time when you did not have as much time to prepare, and your second (higher) score was taken when you had the summer to focus on the LSAT, that might be something to point out to the schools. If scores are within 3 points of each other, there’s probably not much to explain here.

– “I first took the LSAT in June 2016 when I was a junior in college. I misjudged the amount of preparation required during a busy semester when I was president of my fraternity and also taking 18 credits. When I retook the LSAT in September 2016, after a summer spent focusing on preparing for the test, I improved my score 7 points to a 163.”

3. If you have a score that you feel is not competitive and you are unable to retake the LSAT for this admission cycle due to work/personal circumstances/international travel.

4. If you were not granted accommodations that you’ve always received and been entitled to – and you submitted an application to LSAC for accommodations in a timely manner – and this is the reason you believe your score is not representative of your abilities.

8 thoughts on “How to Explain an LSAT Score

  1. Hello! I have the LSAT blues. I took the September LSAT and scored 146. My GPA is 3.54 and my rank is about 30% as an accounting major. I completed my undergraduate studies while concurrently working full-time (45-50 hrs a week) and studied for and took the LSAT during this time as well. I have letters of recommendations from 2 professors and one character reference that’s alumnus and a big supporter of the university in which I want to apply. My personal statement is professionally coached underscoring my strong points and describing some hardships that adversely affected me. I traveled to the university I want to attend twice, 2014 and 2015 and toured their facility and met with admissions. My question: what are my chances of getting into Michigan state law (has a tax clinic that I like) with an addendum that explicitly states that I have always been employed full-time and law school will be the first time that I won’t work any full-time job concurrently and that I will be a much better student.

  2. AbbyMarie on said:

    Hi Ann,
    Do you ever find it appropriate to explain multiple low LSAT scores by admission of test anxiety, backed with evidence of multiple ACT scores below 25% for my undergraduate institution, despite competing and even excelling academically regardless. I took the LSAT three times and was scoring consistently between 155-158 on PT’s in classes and on my own. However on test day I scored a 147, 148, and am waiting on my third score but semi confident that history could repeat itself. I have no hesitation that these scores are due to the anxiety I experienced on test day and quite frankly I wouldn’t have continued to take the test if I did not feel 100% prepared. I do not want to come off as needy as I’m sure many people have this same experience. I do however feel the scores are significant enough to want to say something short and concise, but do not want to turn a school off further by not accepting my low scores as they are.

    Thanks, Anne

  3. Katherine on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I received two low LSAT scores of 154 and 156, though I know I’m capable of answering almost all of the questions correctly if given more time, which was my experience when preparing for the LSAT. I’ve always struggled with being slower than others when completing assignments, though I do a thorough job and the results turn out just as well. I know many people would be able to answer more questions correctly if they were allowed to ponder them for awhile, but would my slow reading speed be anything to let admissions know about in my application? For example, I was only able to complete a little over half of the Reading Comprehension section during the allotted 35 minutes.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Katherine, I don’t want law schools to wonder about your ability to perform in law school with reading related tasks so you’d need a high GPA to make this claim successfully.

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