Should You Re-Take the LSAT

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

Ok, LSAT scores are out.

So, you’re either ready to go ahead and put together your schools list and apply to law schools or else you’re agonizing about the pros and cons of re-taking the exam in December. (or both!)  I’m happy to field your questions over the phone.

I know what you’re worried about:

1. You’re concerned about rolling admissions and taking advantage of applying early.

2. You’re concerned about the likelihood of actually improving your score enough to make it worthwhile.

3. You don’t know which schools will average multiple scores and which rely on the higher score.

4. You don’t know how to explain away this score in an addendum.

5. You’re freaked out about spending more time and money on this #@@!*&$^@ing test.

So, what advice is the wise “LawSchoolExpert” lady going to give you tonight?
First, relax. You’re exhausted from the anticipation and anxiety. Your score might look better to you in the morning.

Some peppy news:

1. I had an a client who re-took the LSAT in December when his original score was a 167, got a 171 and is now at NYU Law School.
2. I had a client last year who jumped from a 157 to a 164 to a 173, and also plenty of happy clients with even lower LSAT scores.

Some realistic news:
I had a client last year whom I thought should not retake the LSAT but she insisted and got the exact same score as her original. She is at a Top 20 law school, by the way, despite her LSAT being way below its 25th percentile.

What does this tell you? It means you have to know yourself. You have to analyze the likelihood of having a different (and better) result. And you are way too exhausted to make that call tonight, so get some rest and call me in the morning. I’ll be here.

 

166 thoughts on “Should You Re-Take the LSAT

  1. Anonymous on said:

    Ann,
    I’m crushed! I took the LSAT in June and October and my score actually decreased from a 154 to a 151. Any advice? Should I prepare like crazy for the December test, or write an addendum (my apps are all ready to go besides that)?

  2. Anonymous on said:

    Ann,

    first of all, love your blog — seriously has gotten me through some rough times when I felt all hope was lost.

    ON a positive, I improved my score from a 148 (June ’08) to a 160 (Oct ’08) …. I honestly cannot be more elated!!! This puts me in the category of how do I explain myself in an addendum but I hope that the results will speak for themselves.

    Anyways, Thanks so much for producing this blog … it does keep me sane through the cold winter that is the law school admissions process.

    Cheers,

    A-tony in Bloomington, IN

  3. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Hi. I definitely understand your frustration. The answer depends on where you’re planning to apply – do those schools say they factor the higher score into your index or the average, and what are your chances given each calculation according to the school’s 25th percentile and median LSAT numbers?
    About December, it depends how likely it is for you to raise your score. (how you were doing on practice exams, how you do generally on standardized tests, if anything crazy happened during the October test, etc.)
    About the addendum, it depends on whether you have a real reason or something concrete to explain but I absolutely hate an addendum that basically says, “I wish I’d done better on the LSAT.”

  4. Anonymous on said:

    Re: An Addendum. I took the LSAT in October 2006 and got a 149 (while a senior in college). I recently took the October 2008 LSAT and scored a 165. Should I bring attention to the two scores, or do I let the 2 year period and the significant improvement speak for itself? Thanks!

  5. Anonymous on said:

    Ann,
    I came acoss your blog and it has mad me feel marginally better. My score was a 146, GPA 3.63. I took the LSAT 3 years ago with no prep and got a 142. This time I took a prep course and scored below my diagnostic. I am a non-traditional student and am looking at schools with a median score of 154. Should I re-take the LSAT? Is there any hope that I can get in with this score? Thanks for your advice.

  6. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    For the person with a jump to the 165, you should probably have a very brief explanation for those schools that average multiple scores.

    For the person applying to schools with medians of 154, it’s just not enough information to decide. How many people does the school take each year with your current score?

    It’s really hard when everyone puts anonymous as their names… I may have to put up some “Commenting Rules” on the site : )

  7. Hi Ann,

    I was really quite dumbfounded when I received my LSAT score of 151 this past weekend. I had been, up until that point, quite hopeful of my admissions chances for several key schools – I graduated magna cum laude with a 3.8 and I have been working for the past year and a half as legislative aide to a State Senator in the State Legislature. What surprised me even more is that Reading Comprehension was, by far, my poorest section. I was a dual History/Women Studies’ major, and all I’ve done for the past year is read, analyze, summarize, write – I certainly never struggled with RC in the past! That being said, I never performed well in standardized tests, and while I did study for the LSAT every day with prep books, the demands and stresses of my job prevented me from taking a prep course. Yet I am aware that the ‘poor standardized test taker’ explanation puts me in the same boat with several other people. Thus, at this point, I am debating between retaking the LSAT in December or adding an explanation of my score. I thought I would be in a better position to defend the section I did the most poorly on, but I am torn because I feel the current score severely limits me. My top choice in the state of Ohio is Ohio State, and I am waiting to speak with an admissions officer there. However, I was hoping to receive your input, it would be much appreciated!

    JG

  8. kimiedre on said:

    Ann,

    Thanks for the helpful post! I got a 167 on the Oct LSAT, after scoring in the low to mid 170s on practice exams. I have a 3.59 (not so great), but from a top school. I would love to get into Berkeley. Should I retake?

  9. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Hi JG – you didn’t tell me how you were doing on practice tests, but if you have the potential to raise your score 5 or so points, it might be worthwhile. I have a feeling the person at Ohio State will tell you the same…. Good luck!

  10. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Kimiedre – I think you have a shot – absolutely! With a strong application and all of your ducks in a row…..

  11. lancelot on said:

    Hi Ann,

    After drowning my sorrows on Saturday, I'm now making plans for future and ready to give LSAT another shot. I've been scoring in the low 160s before the real on on October. But with a 151 and a 3.04 from Berkeley, I think my chances at say Hasting/Davis/UCLA are slim to none. I think I can pull a 5 point increase if I take the December test, or wait till next Feb/June to score around 165 which I think will be capable of. I would greatly appreciate your wise input for my scenario.
    -Should I gamble with what I have now & apply early to as many schools (I have I have Cali, Texas and NY schools in mind)?
    -Superprep for the December, expecting to get 3-9point increase
    -or delay my application until next year, giving me more time to prepare, gain more work experience and enjoy life a little such as international travel/road trip (I am leaning more favorably to this option day by day).

    Hope this helps others like me. wow I am starting to like bloggin.

    p.s. currently with 1+ yr experience at a small law firm, strong letter of rec from profs and boss

  12. Barack Obama on said:

    I took my first LSAT in February 2007 and received a 165. I retook this October, and got a 174. A 9-pt jump is significantly higher, and I believe I can attribute my first score to illness (the flu, specifically). Do you suggest writing an addendum, or should I let the numbers speak for themselves?

  13. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Future President: Submit a BRIEF addendum.

    (My previous comment posting was obviously for Lancelot. LOVE these names… I wish I could choose a fake blogging name, but that would defeat the purpose of me blogging I suppose…)

  14. jessica on said:

    Hi Ann!
    I took the LSAT in October and got a 165…lower than any of my practice tests (I had been testing in the 167-170 range). I had my sights set on a top 14 school, but with this score am wondering what my chances are.
    I have 4 years work experience at a big 4 accounting firm, a masters in accounting from UVA, and a CPA. I’m really hoping that this will help me since my LSAT was lower than I hoped. Do you suggest that I apply early decision to one of the top 14 schools, or wait and re-take the LSAT in December? I really want to start the application process ASAP!
    Any advice you can offer would be very helpful! Thank you so much!

  15. I got a 157 on my October test, and was quite dismayed considering I was typically scoring between a 162 and a 167 on about a dozen timed practice tests. I retook the test by myself 2 days ago and got a 165 (granted I worked a little more quickly having seen the q’s 3 1/2 weeks earlier). I think the factors for the difference were 1)about 3 q’s wrong due on actual test due only to mis-bubbling 2)extremely high test-time anxiety (I was up until 2 am because I was unable to sleep despite taking a sleeping pill at 11:00) 3)overkill in studying during the few days before the exam coupled with a stressful period at work.
    I registered for the December test, but the q is if I should submit the rest of my applications now or just have them ready and submit them all in late December with the new score. Someone I trust told me that if I submit earlier there is the risk of being perceived early as a “157” test-taker when I could potentially score significantly higher in December.

  16. Tripline on said:

    Ann,

    I took the test in June, off a whim (just a few practice tests) and got what I deserved, a 147. October (20 practice test later), I got a 150. I’ve consistently scored high 150’s and low 160’s.

    What should I do?

    A 160 score in December would put me in the hunt for my dream school. I know I can better my study habits for the next month but I’m freaked out that you can only take the test 3 times in 2 years. That means, December would be it. I can go for the gold, and try for the 160, or I can wait, take a year off, and be miserable.

    What to do?

  17. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Tripline,
    You might find the decision is made for you if you haven’t already registered for the December LSAT….
    Ann

  18. Tripline on said:

    Ann,

    Luckily for me, there are 4 testing sites open in the Philadelphia area, including one walking distance from my home. Do you have any advice?

    I appreciate it,
    Tripline

  19. Anonymous on said:

    I just got my lsat score should i take it a third time in feburary? i know i can get in the 160 ‘s if i take it again. My gpa is 3.0,the first time i took the lsat i got 142 second time 154 should i take it over?

  20. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    The answer depends on where you’re applying, and the impact of waiting until February for your score to be released….at least if you’re applying for Fall 2009, I worry about applications being held up. But, if you are only competitive at the schools you’ve selected with a higher score then that answers that question….

  21. Nadejda on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I feel horrible about my October 08 LSAT score – 152. I was scoring around 157 on the practice tests. I don’t give rolling admissions much weight and am thinking of taking the December LSAT. Having said that, I already took a Kaplan prep course. What do you consider the best strategy to doing better to be? Do you think there’s hope?

  22. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Thanks for writing, Nadejda.
    You haven’t told me enough information for me to know if there was a problem with the way you were studying for the LSAT, or what you should do differently. It’s fine to take the December test if you think it’s likely you’ll raise your score. Perhaps just keep doing what you were doing and spend a little time with a tutor on the places where you are getting stuck.
    Good luck!

  23. Anonymous on said:

    Ann,
    I have until tomorrow to register to retake the LSAT in December. After about 15 practice tests, scoring an average of 167, I took the test for the first time in October 2008 and made a 157. I want to get into UGA, Mercer, and/or Emory. Please help! Should I retake the exam in December, or with this score and a 3.4 GPA from William and Mary, are my chances pretty good for getting into these schools?

    Thank you!!
    JLE

  24. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    JLE,
    I can’t comment about chances at individual schools in the blog format, but if you were doing so much better on practice exams and could still pull that off, I do think you’re a great candidate to retake the test. Good luck!

  25. Ann,

    I don’t know what to do! Here are my stats, tell me what you think

    -Neither parents nor any siblings went to college
    -My father didn’t graduate high school
    -I am co-coordinator of a Homeless Legal Clinic @ the RI Coalition for the Homeless
    -I do lots of volunteer work for the poor
    -Strong interest in pursuing Public Interest Law
    -I have 2 recomenndations from Suffolk law alums in my favor…

    -149 Oct. 2008 LSAT (UGH)
    -3.3 GPA

    I’m looking to go to Suffolk – that’s my main goal. I don’t want to look at Top 20s or anything. Suffolk is my match.

    SHOULD I RETAKE THE LSAT??? I don’t do well on standardized tests, and I don’t have the time to prepare for it again to my fullest.

    HELP!

  26. Sophia on said:

    Hi Ann,
    I scored 169 in February then plunged to 162 in October. I aced every section except for reading comprehension which I missed 11/27 on. I have never had more than 4 reading comprehension errors on a practice test, of which I have done 10 under timed conditions. I was extremely surprised at this and do not know how to explain it. I want to go to NYU or Columbia, should I write an addendum or retake? Thanks

  27. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Sophia,
    Only you know your potential to perform on the LSAT; I don’t know how your practice scores were going, etc. You may want to submit an addendum about the 2nd score, and if you’re signed up for December and think you can beat the 169 then go for it.
    Ann

  28. Dear Advisor,

    I am a 2005 Tulane University alum applying to law school for Fall 2009. I am disappointed with my October LSAT score of 151 and trying to decide if I should take the exam again. I took a prep class prior to the Oct. LSAT and throughout the class my highest practice test score was 158 so I know I am capable of scoring better. However, I am wondering if my time would be better spent working on my applications rather than studying for the December test.

    I double majored in Political Science and History at Tulane with a cummulative GPA of 3.3. Since graduating I worked for the Department of State for two years and most recently I have been working for the Department of Defense in the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy as the Director of the office’s International Personnel Program. This current job has kept me quite busy with international travel which is one of the reasons I think my LSAT score was lower than it could have been. The problem with taking the December test is that I am most likely going to be in Poland the first week of December to continue negotiations on a status of forces agreement with the Polish Government. If this is indeed the case I probably would not get back to the US until Friday afternoon so may not be at my best Saturday morning for the test.

    So, rather than taking the test again I am thinking of employing the strategy of applying to part time programs at some schools where 151 is at the low end of the LSAT range. In particular, I am looking at applying to the part time programs at the University of Maryland, Loyola-Chicago, Depaul, Denver, American University, and Catholic University. Do you think applying to these part time programs is a good strategy and do I have a chance to get in to any of them with my current LSAT score? I have some good work experience that I think might make up for the low score. My goal is to specialize in international law and my current job has given me experience in that field. Also, I have secured a letter of recommendation from my supervisor from when I worked with the State Department and from my current boss the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. So, I am trying to decide if I should spend the next month studying to take the LSAT again or crafting a stellar personal statement and application for these part time programs. Again, I think I can do better on the LSAT but don’t know if my circumstances are conducive to retesting. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

  29. Dear Advisor,

    I am a 2005 Tulane University alum applying to law school for Fall 2009. I am disappointed with my October LSAT score of 151 and trying to decide if I should take the exam again. I took a prep class prior to the Oct. LSAT and throughout the class my highest practice test score was 158 so I know I am capable of scoring better. However, I am wondering if my time would be better spent working on my applications rather than studying for the December test.

    Let me give you some background on myself. I double majored in Political Science and History at Tulane with a cummulative GPA of 3.3. Since graduating I worked for the Department of State for two years and most recently I have been working for the Department of Defense in the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy as the Director of the office’s International Personnel Program. This current job has kept me quite busy with international travel which is one of the reasons I think my LSAT score was lower than it could have been. The problem with taking the December test is that I am most likely going to be in Poland the first week of December to continue negotiations on a status of forces agreement with the Polish Government. If this is indeed the case I probably would not get back to the US until Friday afternoon so may not be at my best Saturday morning for the test.

    So, rather than taking the test again I am thinking of employing the strategy of applying to part time programs at some schools where 151 is at the low end of the LSAT range. In particular, I am looking at applying to the part time programs at the University of Maryland, Loyola-Chicago, Depaul, Denver, American University, and Catholic University. Do you think applying to these part time programs is a good strategy and do I have a chance to get in to any of them with my current LSAT score? I have some good work experience that I think might make up for the low score. My goal is to specialize in international law and my current job has given me experience in that field. Also, I have secured a letter of recommendation from my supervisor from when I worked with the State Department and from my current boss the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. So, I am trying to decide if I should spend the next couple of months studying to take the LSAT again or crafting a stellar personal statement and application for these part time programs. Again, I think I can do better on the LSAT but don’t know if my circumstances are conducive to retesting. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

  30. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Ryan,
    I would be happy to speak with you. I always offer initial consultations and you raise a lot of issues that cannot be addressed easily in a blog format. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Ann

  31. Ann,

    So here’s my info:

    -I’ve been working at Washington Mutual Bank for roughly five years. I started off as a high school intern and am now a senior financial rep–and obviously I am now an employee for JP Morgan Chase

    -I’ve done so much community service within the past five years because WaMu was all about helping the community.

    -I have a letter of recommendation from my manager who I was with for about four years, as well as three from UCLA professors. I also have one more from a vice president/manager at washington mutual bank–but I figured five is just overdoing it.

    -And now for the not so great news: My GPA is at a 3.3, and I received a 156 on my LSAT test in October this year.

    That is basically a summary of what my applications are going to say. I honestly do feel very strong about my applcation–particularly my personal statement–because i talk about how i worked with a multi-billion corporation when it was at its peak performance, all the way until it went bankrupt so I have a lot of real life experience..and blah blah blah-

    But…I’m worried about how my LSAT score is going to affect me actually getting into law schools. My number one choice right now for law school is BU because of their dual degree in banking and financial law, and I am on fairly good terms with the dean there–but I’m still concerned about my lsat score. Im schedule to retake the test in december and I am pretty sure that I can increase it a little bit–but should I wait on sending in my applications, or do you think I have a decent chance of getting into some schools?

  32. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Sadia,
    Of course you can get into law school with your current stats; it’s all about managing your expectations. Creating a balanced school list is important if you want to be successful the first admission cycle you’re applying.
    Ann

  33. Anonymous on said:

    Ann,

    My scores are the following:

    6/06 – 157
    10/08 – 159

    I am considering taking the LSAT in December (late deadline is 11/14). Before the first test, I took the Kaplan Prep Course. Before the second test, I took fifteen+ practices tests and studied on my own. Most of the practice test scores were in the 162-168 range. I really do believe I can score higher than a 159. On the night before the October test, I didn’t get good rest. My current scores and GPA are in the ranges of the schools to which I will be applying. All but one of these schools are schools which take the highest score, and the one which doesn’t averages and requires an explantion for the higher score. I would like to bring the score up for scholarships and such. Should I retake? If so, is there a new strategy I should take?

    Keith

  34. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Keith, you seem to be pretty intent on retaking so as long as you continue studying I don’t see a downside. The likelihood is that the score will come back in the same scoreband, but 2-3 points might help you – I don’t know enough about your overall record to know how much you need the help of 2-3 points, but I don’t see any reason to discourage you from retaking at this point.
    Good luck!

  35. Ann,
    I am deeply disappointed with my LSAT score. I took the OCTOBER LSAT and I got a 140. I graduated a year early from College with a G.P.A of 3.74. I am unsure if I should retake the december LSAT or keep studying for the Febuary Exam. I really would like to apply to St.Johns School of Law in Queens, NY for the FALL 2009 semester.

  36. Hey Ann,

    I absolutely LOVE your work! I was on amazon looking for books on advice for law school admissions, this past summer,and came across your book. I bought it right away, and its been a great asset!Im hoping you can help me out on your blog, as much as you have with your book.

    I am taking a year off before (hopefully!) going to law school in fall 2009. I graduated from Rutgers, NJ, this past may with a 3.0, as a double major in poli-sci and psych. My low GPA wasnt because i didnt apply myself hard enough, but because i struggled the first 3 semesters as a pre-med student, thinking that was what i wanted, and spent my sophomore year in therapy treating my eventual depression springing from years of repressed memories of sexual abuse as a child.. In 2006, the summer b4 my jr. year I initiated my double majors and later decided to go to law school. I took the lsat in dec 07 and did horrible, scoring a 146, when i was scoring between a 152-156. Re-evaluating myself, it dawned on me how no matter how hard i tried, my concentration and retention rarely improved (ive struggled with this my whole life). I went to get checked out for the sake of putting my worries to rest, but instead was diagnosed with mild ADD in January 08.

    i re-took the lsat in June, thinking i would do much better because of the different way i was handling the situation. I was scoring consistently between 156-161 and thought i had a much better chance of getting between my 158-160 goal. Unfortunately, the day of the exam, and this is going to sound UTTERLY RIDICULOUS, i forgot my medication for my ADD, and my concentration and retention levels were shot, resulting in a score of 150.

    I am now taking the lsat in december and wanted to know what you thought. I really want to go to new york law school, but am worried EXCESSIVELY of my low lsat score history, and that i will be taking it 3 times. More importantly, i just spoke with the LSDAS and was told the schools wont receive our LSDAS reports till jan 5th the earliest. Do you think i have a shot, or am i just fooling myself? How should i address the multiple lsat issue with my schools? in fact here’s a question that keeps stirring in my head, am i even a likely candidate given its already november? Im planning to send out my applications by next week the latest, BUT what do i do abt my horrible lsat scores??? what should i be aiming for this time? i was thinking a 160 minimum. I keep scoring between my usual 155-160 range (depending on the day ive had before i start studying)

    sorry for the mouth-full. Your opinion would mean a lot.

    thanks so much!

  37. Robintob on said:

    Hi Ann,
    Thanks for all your work. I’ve been removed from Law School scene, and have been working as a pastor for the past few years, and decided to give Law School another shot. I graduated from college with a 3.59 gpa, and got a Masters with a 3.29 gpa (4 year program in 3 years). I’ve been averaging 162-165 on the LSAT practice tests thus far, but was wondering if you’d advise just to keep studying for the Feb. one, or take it in December. I want to go to Fordham.

  38. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Robintob,
    Thanks for your post. You’re doing pretty well on practice tests and studying appropriately – take December and apply. February really puts you way too late in the admission process; by the time your app is read in March, people are already on a waitlist….

  39. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Dear Puja,
    First, I have to clear the air. I believe you read a book by Anna Ivey. You may have found me on amazon, because I reviewed her book on that site, but I cannot take credit for her book.
    About your LSAT, take it the 3rd time in December, take your medication, do your very best. Apply to your schools while you’re waiting for the score. Send an addendum to explain the multiple LSAT history.
    Do your personal best on the LSAT – that’s all you need to do.
    Good luck with it, and please let me know if I can help you in any way.
    Thanks for reading the blog.

  40. Patagonian on said:

    Ann,
    I took the Oct. LSAT and got a 175, having gotten in the 176-180 range consistently on practice tests. I am applying to schools this cycle with my 175, and am wondering, if it turns out I don’t get into the schools I’m interested in, is it worth it to take a June test and reapply the next go-around? I’m seriously considering deferring for another year anyway, even if I get in where I want to go (and if the school will let me). GPA is 3.73 from a top Ivy, if that matters.
    Thanks.

  41. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Pantagonian – your plan sounds like a good one and may even help you on waitlists…. I had a client one year who raised his LSAT 5 points in June and was immediately admitted off the WL…. But it’s risky!

  42. Ann,

    My LSAT score jumped from 164 to 170. I am mostly applying top 20 schools, and I don’t know if I should add an addendum to explain the score discrepancy. Is a 6 point jump significant enough that I ought to add a brief addendum? I don’t want to make any excuses, but it was just a bad test day!

    p.s. LOVE your blog.

  43. Anonymous on said:

    Hi,
    I am currently a 1L and thinking of transferring. I scored in the 80th percentile on the LSAT with almost no prep. I am wondering how transferring works with LSAT scores – can/should I retake even though I have already started school?

    LB.

  44. lsathelp3 on said:

    Hi Ann. I recently scored a 157 on the LSAT and I have a 3.17 cum GPA and 3.03 degree GPA from NYU Stern. I know 157 isn’t a good score to get me into top 40 law school, but am not sure if waiting to take February lsat and then apply is worth it. On my practice tests, I scored above a 157 two times (159 and 163), of the 10 tests. I have also not been studying the past month, but I signed up for the test at the same test site just in case. I desperately need advice of how to continue with this process be it to just apply or retake the exam. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  45. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Hi Lsathelp3,
    My advice is not to concentrate so much on the “top 40” and to find a school where you will be competitive because it’s great that you got a 157 when you only scored above that twice in practice. Work hard in law school, do well, and you’ll be pleased with your opportunities.
    Happy New Year.

  46. patrina on said:

    Ann,

    I got a 148 LSAT and 3.1 GPA from an ivy. I am applying to the evening division of only two schools ranked around 66 and 68 (I think). I had no prep and studied for the LSAT around 10 hours before taking it. I have ~3 years work experience (top bulge bracket investment bank and consulting work) and have won numerous awards. My scores, as indicated, are low. I am not sure if the scores will be good enough for a 66/68 ranked school or if I should save my money and take a different course of action.

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

    ConfusedLSAT

  47. Hi Ann,

    I really, really wish I’d read your post about LSAT prep before I took the LSAT, especially the line “Remember – setting a goal score NEVER works; it only sets you up for disappointment”.

    I went the self-study route–I had always done decently well on standardized tests (1500 SAT, 760 and 790 GRE) with virtually no prep, and I figured the LSAT would be the same.

    I only started “studying” about a month before the exam, and this consisted of reading some of the books, but mostly just taking practice tests–I took a total of 5 actual old exams, and a few from books. I consistently scored low to high 170’s. The difference is that I skipped the step of adding in an additional experimental section because I felt there was no way to authentically duplicate the uncertainty. In retrospect it may have been lack of endurance that resulted in my actual score. I was both crushed and shocked by my score of 165.

    My gpa is fairly low–3.15–but it’s from one of the top three liberal arts colleges notorious for not giving many good grades. I completed a Fulbright scholarship after college, which I know carries some weight in academia, but I don’t know if the same is true for law.

    My plan is to apply to a few top 30 law schools for this year, and if necessary, retake the LSAT and reapply next year. What I’m wondering if applying with these numbers, being rejected, and then reapplying with better LSAT scores would hurt me more than simply retaking the test (with a prep course this time) and waiting a year.

  48. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Sveta,
    I think your plan sounds like a good one. Reapplying next year with better scores and also updated personal statement and resume (and perhaps LORs) would be fine, really. Or, you may be happy with your results this year and consider transferring.
    Good luck, and thanks for reading the blog.
    Ann

  49. Hi Ann,

    The LSAT scores for February were recently published, and I was absolutely crushed by my score of a 164. I took around 40 practice tests for 3 months before the test and consistently scored in the low 170’s.

    My GPA from a state school is around 3.7 and I was hoping to attend a top 10 school like UC-Berkley specifically. Looking at the scores alone I see my chances as being slim to none, if they do not consider other activities such as 2 internships, with one being a political researcher in the UK during a study abroad, and one at a law firm, along with countless other extracurricular activities related to law that I do at school, and fluency in multiple languages.

    Given that other than the LSAT score my application would be extremely strong, I was wondering if I should risk retaking the LSAT or submit my application as it is to these selective schools, and hope that they do not only consider my LSAT scores, but rather the strength of the overall application?

    • Jane,
      I worry about the fact that I assume you’re applying for Fall 2009 admission, and this is not the time in the rolling admission process to get into a reach school. I’d much rather see you apply early for next year’s cycle and consider retaking the LSAT in June.
      Please let me know if I can help in any way.

  50. Warren posed this question on my old blog:
    Hello Ann,

    Hoping for Sep 2009 admission, I wrote the LSAT in Feb 2009 and scored a 151. With my GPA of 3.2, I am almost certain that I would not be accepted to any schools I applied to without a 160. Now that I will likely not be attending Law School in the fall of 2009, when Should I re-write the LSAT for 2010 admission?

    Warren – it might be you’re applying to the wrong schools. The question of whether you should retake the LSAT stems upon whether you have a likelihood of increasing your score. If you feel that you do, then you should take the test in June and apply for Fall 2010. Of course, since you already applied, you can wait and see what happens for this cycle.
    Good luck!

  51. LaLoi left this comment on my old blog:

    The LSATs for the Feb 2009 test were just published, and needless to say I am somewhat disappointed by my score. I really wanted to get into a Top 10 school, but with my current GPA of 3.75, and LSAT of 164 I think my chances are slim.

    I scored significantly higher in all of the 40 practice tests that I have taken, and am wondering if I should risk taking it again or just accept my slim chances of getting into a Top 10 school. I have lots of great extracurriculars, including two study abroad experiences, with one as an political researcher in the UK.

    I have lots of extracurricular activities that relate to law, and am looking at graduating from my undergrad in 3 years with a double major in Philosophy and political science.

    I would be really happy to get into UC Berkley with my current scores, but the chances don’t look good. I was wondering if it was worth the risk of retaking the LSAT or not?

    LaLoi – you didn’t mention whether you’ve already submitted applications. If so, then obviously the decision is made for you and if you’re not happy w/your results you can try again next year with a June LSAT score. However, if you haven’t yet applied for Fall 2009, I urge you to wait for Fall 2010 and to retake the LSAT in June because you probably have potential to improve and Berkeley has been turning down applicants in the 168-174 range this year – really! Please let me know if you’d like help through this process.

  52. marina on said:

    Dear Ann,
    I’m unsure whether I should retake the LSAT for the 3rd time(!) in June 2009. Here are my numbers:
    The first LSAT, February 2006, 147 (6-10 points below my practice tests)
    Second in December 2008, 156 (practice tests between 156-163).
    I do have a medical explaination for the first poor score. The second time around I had a huge anxiety problem during the exam (which I do not feel I can put on an addendum) and was sure I would cancel my score because of how bad I felt, but on a whim decided not to cancel.
    Between the exams I got a MA degree and graduated first in my class. My undergrad GPA is a 3.2 from a state school. I have work/academic/volunteer experience that I think can help, but am still upset about my LSAT performance. My dream/reach school is University of Washington, but I will be applying to a number of other schools with lower admissions statistics too.
    I will be applying for 2010 admission. I work full-time and am taking university courses so my time is constrained. Should I devote my time to retaking the exam or should I focus on other application aspects?
    Any advice is much appreciated!

  53. Syreeta on said:

    Dear Ann,
    I am unsure if I should retake the LSAT in September due to the fact that I received a 142 on the February 2009 exam. I have a 3.1 GPA and I’m currently in the process of applying to schools. So far I have not been accepted to any of the schools in which I have applied.
    The school that I really want to go to is New York Law School, but I know my LSAT is too low and my GPA is not even touching the surface. Should I continue my efforts to attend law school and retake the exam in September?
    I am desperately seeking advice.

  54. India on said:

    Hey Ann, I need some desperate help because i about to start applying for law schools but both my GPA and LSAT scores are not too good. I moved alot during my undergrad because alot of family problems because my mom was critically ill. My GPA is 2.6 but I desperately trying to improve it. I have taken the LSAT twice and both the time received a score under 150(first i was really ill and had to take the test out of state which just made me more sick and second time I took it i got a call that morning that my mom had been admitted to the hospital). I have been having really bad luck for the past three years or so and it has affected my school life alot. I want to retake the LSAT in sept. I have started studying for it but would taking it the third time affect my application even more? I planning on devoting atleast 30 hrs per week to it but is it worth it? Do i have a shot at getting into any law schools?

    • India,
      You must retake the test a third time; it’s not a question for you of whether the third time would look “bad.” It’s about having a score that really demonstrates your aptitude.
      Good luck!
      Ann

  55. Ann,
    The blog is fantastic; a real source of knowledge. I have taken the lsat twice (154, 160) and I am planning on taking it again in Sept, shooting for a 165 or higher. My question is: even with a higher score, will taking the test 3 times adversely affect my chances for a good school?

  56. Dear Ann,

    Thank you always for your great advices! I can’t wait till I sign up and work with you when the next season comes and it’s my turn to apply. I apologize for leaving a comment unrelated to LSAT, but please bear with me.

    I am a thrid year at a school with quarter system — I’m in the beginning of my fall quarter. I heard third year is supposed to be one of the most important yrs since I need to keep up my GPA while studying effectively for the LSAT.

    Here’s my question: Many law schools during their info session say they look at how much you challenged yourself by taking hard courses – I basically have a choice to take only three easy courses throughout my third year or, pack just winter quarter with four courses (that are moderately hard).

    If I choose to take three courses throughout, it will mean a lot more time for LSAT, stable GPA, but the flip side is that I’ll have to postpone my plan to graduate in fall quarter of my senior year to instead graduating in winter to fulfill my requirements.

    If I choose to pack my winter quarter with four courses, it will mean less time for LSAT, probably ok GPA, but of course, I could graduate in the fall quarter of my senior year as I planned before.

    Graduating in winter is still earlier than normal four years, but I have some financial issues and I’d like to save some tuition if I can . I go to college with tuition well over $17000 a quarter with no financial aid.

    But then again, you know, from the stand point of LSAT and all, $17000 more might not be a big of a deal, given I’ll have more time to study for the LSAT, thus better chances of getting in. But if law schools sort of “finds out” I deliberately took only three courses throughout the year, then that might put me in a disadvantageous situation..

    Waiting for your great reply, Ann
    BTW, when are you starting to accepting juniors for your service ? I’m itching to work with you soon!

    • Hi Jane!
      For me, the most important thing is that you maximize your LSAT and GPA since you’re still a junior. If taking more classes means less chance of doing well on the LSAT, then you take only 3 classes. Of course, only you know what you can financially manage and also what you can handle in terms of stress. If stress is not an issue, get out of school faster while studying for the LSAT. Only you know how capable you are of handling these things. But the law schools won’t judge you by whether you took 3 classes or 4.
      You will probably be ready to sign up with me in January-April 2010, and I look forward to working with you.
      Ann

  57. Joanne on said:

    I recently received my Sept 2009 score. I received a 157 and was consistently scoring between 160 and 162 on all of my practice tests. I don’t really know what happened because I felt like I did well on the test (I even thought I might have gotten a little bit higher than 162, silly me). I’m wondering if I should retake the test or not. I already took a prep course and have not studied at all since the day of the exam. I’m not sure if my efforts would be better met studying or applying. I have a 3.6 GPA, excellent recommendations, work at a legal aid organization and want to go into public interest law, and had my undergraduate thesis published. I’m hoping to get into University of Illinois and this LSAT score is the only thing hurting me at the moment.

  58. Mike B on said:

    Hi Ann,
    Im sure I am not alone in saying that your blog has been extremely helpful during this arduous process. Thank you so much for creating this outlet for confused and frustrated applicants.

    I recently took the LSAT for the second time (165) this past Sept. after canceling my score in Feb and am wondering if I should take the test again in Dec. UVA is my dream school and I would accept an offer in an instant. Though I know that my 3.44 gpa and 165 LSAT are both rather low compared to the medians, I am Hispanic and have heard that these numbers are actually in the range of UVA for an URM. I know it is a bit controversial but from what I hear it does help your chances a bit.

    Right now I am weighing whether applying Early Decision as soon as possible will significantly help my chances, or if I should wait and retake the test.

    I am also applying to USC, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and Texas. The same issue arises with these schools: should I apply as soon as possible with my 165 or wait and retake the test? I have scored around 170, but have also scored in the low 160s. Im guessing I could raise my score to a 167-170.

    • Hi Mike,
      First, thanks for your nice comments. Reader feedback is so important to me so thank you for taking the time to provide it.
      You need to be really sure you can raise your score. If you were consistently hitting in this range on practice tests (as opposed to 170+) then I am leaning toward you keeping the score and applying early to the schools you’re considering because your numbers are close and if your application materials are really strong, I think you have real potential. It’s only worth retaking December if the 165 was an aberration – if you normally do much better than that. You have to consider how much you can really change about your performance in (basically) a month. I wish you the best of luck – please let me know if I can help you in this process in any way.
      Ann
      PS It does help!

  59. Amanda on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I have found many useful answers to my law school admissions questions through your blog. Thank you for providing so much helpful information.

    I have another “should I retake?” question. I first took the LSAT in June ’09 after several months of what I thought was good studying, though perhaps not as rigorous as others who have taken courses or studied 7 days a week. In any case, my PT average going in was around 168 and I was disappointed when I only scored 163 on the real thing.

    I re-took in September, this time averaging 173 on the ten most recent LSAT exams; I felt good on test day, left the exam feeling like I had performed well, but only scored 163… EXACTLY the same as my first sitting.

    Now I’m in a dilemma. I went ahead and applied to many “reach” schools because my GPA is near or above 75th percentile at most of them and I have good work experience. But I’m worried that my two low LSAT scores will either land me on many waitlists, or get me outright rejected from reaches like Berkeley, Duke, and UVA. Is it worth re-taking in February? What are the odds of it hurting my admissions chances if I don’t improve my score on the 3rd try? I know I am capable of scoring in the mid-170s, I’m just a little nervous now because I don’t know exactly what happened in September – I missed a few questions in pretty much every section, even in my strong suit (logical reasoning). Not sure how I would change my prep this time around, but more repetition probably wouldn’t hurt.

    Would love to hear your opinion.

    Thanks,
    Amanda

    • Hi Amanda,
      I think you have 3 things to consider:
      1. Add some schools where your 163 will be competitive. Hopefully you’ll get into law schools you’d be very happy to attend and do very well once you’re there.
      2. See what happens with waitlists and perhaps retake the test in June while you’re on WLs to try to get picked up from the WLs.
      3. Taking the Feb. LSAT will only postpone decisions and make you less competitive if schools are holding on to your applications and unable to review them. Plus, if you come back with another 163 or thereabouts you’d have really set yourself up for failure by holding your applications until so late in the cycle with no benefit resulting from the wait.

      If you were my client, I wouldn’t want you to waste your third LSAT try in February. I’d rather see where you get in and then if you aren’t happy with those choices, take the exam in June/Sept. next year and apply early in the Fall 2011 cycle with more competitive numbers (hopefully). Of course this only works if you’re not under pressure to start law school in Fall 2010.
      Good luck with everything.
      Ann

  60. Hello Anne,
    I just found your blog and it has been very helpful. I wish I had read it before I took the LSAT today. Anyway my problem is that I just took the December LSAT today, and I know I scored low. One section I just finished 10 questions because I got stuck on a question and lost track of time after becoming frustrated. Anyway I was hoping for Fall 2010 admission. But, now my plan is to cancel my score and re take the exam in February. I want to know how much would this affect my chances for fall 2010 admission? Should I go ahead and send my applications and then take the Feb. Lsat? I know I can do better, because I have been working the over night shift and I was studying while at work. Then at home there was just too many distractions around me, so I didn’t get in as many practice test as I would have liked. I feel frustrated with the whole sitation since, it disrupts all of my plans. please advise.

    • Hi Mary,
      I talk a lot about LSAT date timing in my book, so that might be a helpful resource for you. I generally think the February LSAT is too late for fall admission, but if you’re applying part time or to your local law school, there can be exceptions to this rule. A lot depends on how competitive you end up being once you have an LSAT score. No one can review your applications without an LSAT score so there is no huge rush to get applications submitted in December, but to have them in before your LSAT score (and complete before) your score is released is fine. If you’re not happy with your results from this time table you can always try again for Fall 2011 admission. Just be sure to submit quality applications – don’t rush things because previous year’s applications remain in your file if you reapply the following year.
      Good luck, and please let me know if I can be of any help to you.
      Ann

  61. Jenna Rogers on said:

    Hi Ann:
    Here’s a unique one for you. I am a VERY non-traditional applicant at 55 years young, a PhD neuroscientist with 10 years in a mid-size pharmaceutical firm, previously a nurse practitioner with a Masters Degree, published several articles in peer-reviewed journals, taught undergraduate and graduate college, and previous directed a 15 person team in a clinical research lab. My UGPA is 3.3 and my LSAT is 148. I am applying to the part-time program of a Tier 4 school in my state. One of my LORs is from a past President of the New York State Bar. What do you think my chances are?
    Thanks much!
    Jenna

  62. Jenna Rogers on said:

    Hi Ann:
    Thanks so much for the enthusiastic response! I value your “take” on this process very much.

    I was looking to get your comments on how the admissions committee will most likely view my application due to my mediocre LSAT score, given the context I described.

    Jenna

    • Hi Jenna,
      It’s difficult to give personalized advice in the blog format. I do offer law school admission consulting that allows me to offer more in-depth information and really get to know you and your situation. You can check this out at

  63. Melinda on said:

    Hi Ann:

    Just received my December LSAT and it’s pretty low. I know that even with this low score I can be accepted into a tier 4 law school. My plan was to attend this lower tier school for the first year and then transfer. Should I retake the LSAT in June in order to obtain a higher score and attempt to apply to a better school for my second year? Or when you are applying as a transfer student do they base acceptance solely on 1L grades? Thanks for your time!

  64. Hi Ann,

    I am a non-traditional candidate, I have a Civil Engineering degree from India and 8 years work ex in U.S. and after that I started my own engineering consulting firm. When I first took LSAT in June my score was 149, at that time I was working full-time and had my company and being out of school for 10 years did not help. I took it again in Sept (again with 3 wks preparation the most I could afford) and got 157. I am thinking of taking it again in Feb and think can get 162-163. My undergrad GPA is 3.84 and this LSAT score would put me in 25 percentile LSAT range for my choice of schools U of Illinois / U of Wisconsin. What do you think is it worth it? Thanks.

    Ashwini

  65. Hi Ann,

    I am a non-traditional candidate, I have a Civil Engineering degree from India and 8 years work ex in U.S. and after that I started my own engineering consulting firm. When I first took LSAT in June my score was 149, at that time I was working full-time and had my company and being out of school for 10 years did not help much either. I took it again in Sept (again with 3 wks preparation the most I could afford) and got 157. I am thinking of taking it again in Feb and think can get 162-163. My undergrad GPA is 3.84 and this LSAT score would put me in 25 percentile LSAT range for my choice of schools U of Illinois / U of Wisconsin. What do you think is it worth it? Thanks.

    Ashwini

    • Ashwini, I am a big believer in taking advantage of the rolling admission process (so much so that I dedicate an entire chapter to the subject in my book). I do not think waiting for a February LSAT score is a smart strategy. By the time schools would have your new score and be able to review their applications, they’d already be collecting seat deposits for admitted applicants! I think, given your new LSAT score and your experience, that you should put your best application materials together and apply now. If you are not apply with your results, or if you are waitlisted, you could take the June LSAT (to try again next year or get pulled from a waitlist). If amount of prep time was an issue for you on your last LSAT, having only 4 weeks to prep for February isn’t going to make a big difference for you and you’d be using your last chance to take the test in a 2 year period. I hope this is helpful!

  66. Thanks a lot Ann for your response. I have by the way applied to all my schools and am waitlisted in the first one, Depaul. So, now my only concern is could it negatively impact my application which is quite strong other than the LSAT, if I take the test third time and score higher by 3-5 points (with a slight risk of same/lower score). I don’t know if taking the test in February be better or should I wait till June. If I don’t get in this year I will not apply again next year. Thanks for your help.

  67. Ashwini,
    Sit back and wait and see what happens this year. Fight your way in off the WL at DeP and anywhere else where you are WL. If you’re not happy with your results, take the LSAT in June. You can use a raised score in June to get off a WL and/or for applying early for the Fall 2011 cycle. Good luck, and happy new year!

  68. Hey,
    I just got my scores for the feb 20,2010 LSAT and I did worse than I thought. I only got a 151. I am currently a junior at George mason and have a GPA of 3.9. Do you think I should retake the LSAT or take my chances?

    • Komal,
      It of course depends on where you hope to attend law school and how much better you were doing on practice tests. If the 151 was significantly lower than your practice exam scores, then you should probably retake the exam in June and apply for Fall 2011. Well it’s never ideal to be applying to law school in March (especially during such a competitive admission cycle) you probably have a shot at some schools now but I do think you’d be better off getting all your ducks in a row for next year.
      Ann

  69. Alexandra on said:

    Hi Ann,
    Thanks for the great website! I have taken the LSAT twice now, one Dec. 2009 in London and the other February 2010 in Boston. I scored 160 and then 162. On the practice tests I had been scoring 168-170s. I am American, but have been living in Copenhagen, Denmark for the past 3 years. I thought my low score in December was due to the fact that I flew to London the evening before the test and it started at 3 in the afternoon (I am a morning person), and therefore decided to re-take in Feb. However, 6 days before the February LSAT I moved from Denmark to Boston. I think perhaps the stress of moving/planning and being jet-legged made me completely exhausted. I want to go to a top 25 school, and have a very strong resume
    (Bachelor’s GPA 3.5, Master’s degree in EU law from a university in Denmark, and 2 years working for DANIDA– the Danish equivalent of USAID) . I have read about the pros and cons for taking the LSAT 3 times. In your opinion, should I re-take the LSAT for a third time in June 2010?

    Thanks for your help.

  70. sarab on said:

    I have just taken my first ever practice lsat and my score was less than desirable (149). I am enrolled in a summer long LSAT course (Powescore) and am devoting a lot of time to studying (my internship at human rights watch is 3 days a week – the rest is prep time). I had a GPA of 3.55 before I transfered, and now I have a 3.78 at GWU with a double major. I have a great resume and great letters of recommendation. My absolute dream would be a dual degree at Northwestern – masters in international economics and JD in international law. This seems like a stretch now with my first lsat score. What are my chances of improving and where else should I be looking?

    (I will be a senior in the fall, planning on enrolling in law school in 2011)

    • Sarab!! That was your first test before you even started studying!!!!! It means nothing! You take that so the prep course people can scare you but you don’t know enough yet to take a practice test. In fact, most people get in the low 140s their first time! Don’t let it psyche you out! Just let it motivate you!
      Ann

  71. I have just taken my first LSAT in June and scored a 146. I did take a prep course and studyied for the LSAT while I am working full-time as a Legal Secretary and a part-time student. I know this score isnt that great and have signed up for the October LSAT but I am unsure of what to actually do, if I should take the October LSAT or not and just write an Addendum. If I was to take the October test the conditions would be the same, working and at school but could make the sacrafice of not taking classes in the Fall to just focus on LSAT, since I already completed my undergrad (with a 3.2 GPA), I am just taking classes to keep my study habits and in all honesty defer loan payment (Currently have a 3.35 GPA)

    What should I do??

  72. Hi Ann,
    I just took my LSAT in June and received a 163. Test day was not ideal; I was tired, I had to use the bathroom for the first half, and I was nervous. I was scoring a high of 162 on my practice tests, and I feel that had test day been more ideal I could have scored a few points higher. My gpa is a 3.8 and I am about to be a senior at my university with majors in International Affairs and Political Science. My dream school is Georgetown Law School, and I want to go into international law. However, I am fairly certain that my LSAT score is not competitive enough. WIth the economy the way it is, I’ve heard that even graduates of Georgetown are not finding jobs nowadays and that going to a lower ranked university if I have the capability to score higher on the LSAT is not a smart move. Not saying that I want to take the LSAT again–certainly, the idea of intense studying does not appeal to me at all, but I am caught between deciding to retake or just applying with my score as is. Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • MHA,
      If you were scoring a high of 162 on practice tests after intense study, and came out with a 163 on test day, that’s amazing! Most people score LOWER on test day than their highest practice test.
      However, if you felt nervous and did this, you may have potential to increase your score a little bit. The thing is that you’ll probably be nervous again next time, and there’s always a chance your score will actually decrease on the re-take. This is especially true because you already scored higher than you did during practice tests.
      I know your dream school is Georgetown, and yes- that is a reach school for you. You may have to readjust your dreams, or go to another school and transfer after. I have clients who transfer to GT all the time. You have great undergraduate grades so you have great potential in the law school classroom which is the key to transferring.
      Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

  73. Terrence on said:

    Hello Ann,
    I took the LSAT in October and received a 143. This is substantially lower than any of my practice test scores. I graduated with a 3.97 GPA and my school of choice is Buffalo (SUNY). I should also mention that I’m terrible with standardized tests. Should I try it again in December and chance getting the same score, or should I cross my fingers and rely on my GPA and Personal Statement?
    Thank you,
    Terrence

    • Hi Terrance. If the 143 is substantially lower than any of your practice test scores, you absolutely must retake it in December. There’s no question in my mind. I hope that helps!

  74. Ann,

    My son took the LSAT and scored a 156. Of course the question is should he retake in Dec. or just apply to the schools he would like to attend? His undergrad is in Legal Studies and he has done quite well making the dean list on several occassions, does this play any role in a school’s decision with his LSAT being a 156? The legal classes in this program are pretty significant law classes, of course in an undergraduate program. I just really am not sure how to advise him and will appreciate any guidance on this matter. Thank you.

  75. Hi Ann,

    I took the Oct 2010 LSAT and scored a 157 – a little lower than I was expecting after taking a few practice exams. I did do better on the logical reasoning sections than expected, but did much worse than I was anticipating (I think “bombed” is the appropriate word) on the logic games section. The 157 still allows me to have a good shot at getting into most of the schools I would like to apply to, but do you know how much the LSAT score is factored into financial aid? If it is a lot, should I retake the LSAT in December and hope I do about the same on the logical reasoning sections and much better on the games section? I’m sure it depends on each individual school, but thought I’d ask! Thanks.

    Shaun

    • Hi Shawn, getting an LSAT score above a school’s 75th percentile is a great way to get a scholarship. Your score doesn’t impact financial aid, but does influence recruiting scholarships.

  76. Ann,

    Thank you so much for responding to my post. At this point, my son took the Dec. Lsat, he has not received the score, as of yet. However, he is applying to Florida public law schools and the way I understand it, Florida schools, look first at GPA then LSAT scores. I have ordered your book to assist him during the application process. I wished I would have ordered it way before now, it sounds like a great tool to reference. Also, if you don’t mind, what do you think about getting into law schools where they put more importance on GPA verses LSAT? Also, are letters of recommendations a huge help in this situation? ONce again, thank you for responding.

  77. Rebecca on said:

    Ann,
    Most schools I’m applying to want an addendum if there’s a large discrepancy between multiple LSAT scores. I took the test in Oct. and then again in Dec. but am wondering when to send the addendum. I’m going to send the rest of my materials ahead of the score release date and while I’m hoping for a decidedly better score the second time, I won’t know till January. Should I wait on the addendum in case I don’t get the score I’m shooting for? I’m worried about delaying my application further, in that case. Please help! Thanks!!

  78. Rebecca,
    You can’t make a good argument until you know all your facts. Submit your applications, and send LSAT addendum once you know your facts and the best way to argue for your highest LSAT score. Good luck, and happy holidays!

  79. Brian Dwyer on said:

    I got my results back January 6th and the next LSAT test in February 12th of 2011. I am not satisfied with my result of a 141, should i take the LSAT again in February or wait until June and perfect my skills?

  80. Hey there,

    Just took the LSAT in December and got a 165, I have a 3.93 GPA and would like to get into Georgetown’s part-time program. I called and they said I could still apply early decision with a February school. My average of most of my practice tests were 167 and my worst subject was the games which I think I can improve. Do you think I should retake it? Or just shoot for a different school and keep my 165?

    Thanks!!

    • CJ, since you were within 2 points of your average practice scores, I think it’s unlikely you’ll be able to raise the score in February – you have to give yourself some discount for test day unpredictability. You should absolutely apply to GT’s PT program ED. I wish you the best of luck with it.

  81. Tmann3319 on said:

    Hey Ann,

    I took the October 2010 LSAT and had food poisoning, I scored a 146 and wrote and addendum about it. I then took the December 2010 LSAT and scored a 157 which was more expected. I currently have a 2.9ish UGPA but I have a 2.54 LSDAS GPA and I feel like this is really holding me back. I have already applied for fall of 2011 and I am wondering if it would be too late to take the June test and submit the scores, or should I apply again next cycle. I really don’t want to take a year off but I feel that I might have to because of my GPA. I am applying to mostly tier 3 schools like Texas Tech, do you have any suggestions for a target score that could possible help balance out my GPA. I would love a 167 but 160-164 is more realistic.

    • Tmann3319, I think – since you’ve applied for this cycle – you need to sit back and wait and see where you are admitted. If you don’t get in anywhere, then apply early in the Fall 2012 cycle. I don’t know if retaking the LSAT will be beneficial in your case because you got the score you expected in December. Let’s see how you do this cycle, and then get back in touch with me in May/June if you’re thinking about re-applying for next year. Good luck!

  82. Hem Rathore on said:

    Hi,
    I already took LSAT 3 times between 2010 – 2011, not satisfied with my score, when next I can re-take the test?
    How many attempts are allowed?
    Plz help me.
    Thank you.

    • Hem, This is from LSAC.org:

      Limitations on Test Taking
      Normally, you may not take the LSAT more than three times in any two-year period. This policy applies even if you cancel your score or it is not otherwise reported. .. However, you may retake the LSAT if a law school to which you are applying requires a more recent score than any you have on record or approves your retaking the test, and the school provides LSAC with written proof of its requirements or approval no later than the last day of registration for the test.

  83. Kimberly on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I took the LSAT in June 2010 and scored a 151. I was only half studying until 3 weeks before the test and know I deserved that score. But I studied for 2 solid months before the Feb 2011 test and was shocked to get the same exact score especially because I was consistently scoring in the 159-168 range on my practice tests. On test day though, I woke up with a headache AND there was a class going on next door to our test class that was playing a movie all throughout our test!!

    I’m so upset about my situation now because I was sure that I would be scoring higher on this test and I had planned on applying last minute to schools this week. I don’t want to wait another year for school but was really counting on a high score to aid in scholarships. I’m considering applying to a part time program but how does that affect me in receiving scholarships when transferring from a part time program?

    • Hi Kimberly,
      I think this may be the world’s way of telling you to wait for the next admission cycle and retake in June or October. If you’re really hoping for scholarships, you need that higher LSAT score.
      If you go part time, you are still eligible from scholarships but you would be transferring to another part time program (in most cases).

  84. Kimberly on said:

    Also, 3 weeks before the test I wrote to a former professor about a letter of recommendation who told me that he was uneasy about me retaking the test because people don’t usually score better when they retake it. This greatly impacted me as my test scores dropped by 7-8 points for the following 2 weeks.

    • Alberto, this works two ways because non-native English speakers may (in some instances) face an uphill battle in the law school classroom and on exams and on the bar, so if that’s your reason for not performing well in college or on the LSAT then it won’t make admission more lenient.

  85. Jessica on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I took the LSAT in December 2010 and got a 160. I decided to take the Kaplan class for higher scorers, and my practice tests were in the 162-165 range. However, when I took the test in February 2011 upon finishing the class, I scored a 158! I had no test-day issues, it was just a fluke. I’m considering re-taking it (in October) to try to get my score into my practice test range. Would taking it a third time for 2-5 more points be worth it?

    I want to apply for Fall 2012. My undergrad GPA was a 3.6, my top choice schools currently are Temple, Maryland, and American, if that helps you answer my question.

    My concerns are primarily that studying for the LSATs again in October would limit the amount of time I’d have available to put together my applications and get them in as early as possible. I’m also worried that if I don’t improve significantly admissions staff will not like that I’ve taken it three times….

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Jessica,
      I probably would’ve told you not to retake the LSAT the first time because your score was pretty close to your practice exam scores. However, if you really were able to score in the mid-160s, it would be worth retaking a third time. If your score comes back 158-160 a third time, you’re no worse off than you already are but you will have a hard time making an argument that it’s not the right score for you.

  86. selia on said:

    Anne,

    I took the LSAT june 2011 and i scored a 156. i’m pretty disappointed because on the practice exams i was scoring between 163-166 consistently and I don’t know whether i should retake it in october or not. i’m a 3.78 honor student at the university of michigan and i’ve been involved in activist organizations abroad in places like beirut, Lebanon. I also have been involved in an inside-out prison exchange program where i actually had a class WITH prisoners.. my dream school is loyola.. but with such a low lsat, i’m worried i won’t get in. what’s your opinion on whether or not i should retake in october? will it affect early admission decisions if i wait that long?

    thanks so much for your help and sorry for the rant! 🙂

    • Selia,
      Since you have so much potential to improve based on your practice scores, you should retake. Taking the test in October is absolutely fine for rolling admissions. You can still have your applications complete before Thanksgiving. Good luck!

  87. Sandra Rain on said:

    Anne,

    I took my first LSAT in October of 2010, But I cancelled my score. Then I just took it in June 2011, and I got a 160. I was getting 164/165 on the practice tests. My main problem was timing on reading comprehension. I also have a note from LSAT because I did a test center complaint about noise and the proctor’s failure to call time at 5 minutes. Will it look really bad if I take it a 3rd time in October even if I improve my score? My GPA is a 3.55 and I want to get into UCLA, which I know is close to impossible for me. SO then loyola law school. Please help me.

  88. Nikki on said:

    Ann,

    I have been debating whether or not to retake my LSAT. I took the June LSAT and received a 154. I am disappointed but not overly surprised. I have a 3.9 at Purdue University, but I am not the best standardized test taker. When practicing I consistently got a 153-155. If I were to retake it, I would have to put even more hours of studying into it, and even still may not score much higher. I am looking to apply to SMU and Baylor. I am fine on my gpa but I am afraid that my LSAT score will keep me out. What do you recommend?

  89. Hi Ann, first thanks for your great blog! Here’s my info.. I’m 26, hispanic, I graduated from Louisiana State Dec 2008 with 2 degrees, economics and poli sci, cum laude 3.7 gpa. For the last 8 yrs I’ve been working for a major energy services firm, climbing up the ladder, from a helper in a refinery to HR manager, now responsible for all hiring activity for our firm in Louisana (3000 people hired annually).
    So I took the lsat 2 times already, last Dec and June. I had high expectations and came out with a disappointing 149 both times (UGH). As far as preparation I took the Kaplan prep course for the first one and some self-prep for the second. I had been scoring in the mid 140’s to low 150’s but I still think I could’ve study harder or try a different approach to studying (working less and studying more).
    I am looking at Tulane/Loyola New Orleans/NYU (yeah right). I am interested in corporate finance law. I have LOR’s from an Econ professor, my company’s HR director and a community leader.
    So I am tore between really hitting the books hard for the next 10 weeks and retake in October or apply with my current numbers. Do you think I am bound to get around the same score (I got the same one twice already)? Do you think I even have a shot at any of these schools?
    I’d appreciate any advise!

    • CC, your score is right where it should be based on your practice tests. I could even argue you did well considering your practice tests. 149 is the right score for you…… But if you take practice tests (timed) over the next month and see an improvement (start hitting mid-150s, etc.) then give the Oct. LSAT a shot. A tutor would be a good idea – doing the same thing you did last time won’t yield different results.

  90. Anxiety on said:

    Greetings Ann,

    You’ve answered many questions here already involving many different scenarios. I appreciate your willingness to address individual cases here on our blog. After reading your book, and your guidelines here on the blog, I feel as though I’m on the borderline.

    I took the June 2011 LSAT with plans of applying in fall 2012. I scored a 162 with an ample study program, however my practice scores were 163-166 consistently.

    My undergraduate record is horrid. 2.6 GPA, it took me 10 years to finish. I was going part time, started a business etc. (I plan on hiring you very soon to review my personal statement and addendum) The reach schools for me would be Hastings or Davis. I’m hoping having my applications in very early and my great resume will tip the scale.

    I have 2 questions: Would it be worth retaking the LSAT in october for a possible 2-3 point gain.

    How soon do I need to have my rough drafts sent to you in order to have them ready for Applying in september?

    -A

    • Anxiety,
      I’m glad you’ve found the blog and book helpful. I think a 162 is right in range for a real score based on your practice tests. There’s no guarantee you would improve the score.
      I turn things around in 1-2 business days, so I’d say 2 weeks to allow for a few drafts.

  91. Hanna Hong on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I really appreciate your time and willingness to assist me and those that are in need of your advice!

    I’m in a HUGE dilemma whether I should a take another year to raise my GPA and better prep for LSAT or take the LSAT this year. My GPA is 3.3, and fair very low practice LSAT exam scores. I will be working at Department of Justice (35 hours a week) and taking 3 classes at Georgetown University this fall, which I don’t think would give me adequate amount of time to prepare, nor be able to study the LSAT efficiently. One of my options will be give up the internship and the studies at Georgetown and focus only on the LSAT but I have worked very hard to get accepted to the program for Georgetown + DoJ internship. It’ll be a great experience and will look good on applications/resumes. On the other hand I do have some professional experience, I was in the military for 5 years, in which probably is good enough on the resume for a work experience and maybe the internship won’t be quite necessary.

    So I have 3 options.

    I can push through, do the internship + school + LSAT this fall.
    OR
    Just do the internship + school, take another year to prepare for the LSAT while raising my GPA.
    OR
    my least favorite option, giving up the internship and focus only on LSAT and take the exam this year.

    What is your recommendation?

    From your experience, do you think it is possible to do well/ prepare for LSAT effectively under such circumstances (35 hours of work + full time student)?

    Is a higher LSAT score without law related work experience more looked upon than a low score with an experience at DoJ?

    Thank you so much in advance!

    • Hanna, Great question!!!!I don’t like option #1 at all. You won’t do well at school or on the LSAT with that schedule.
      I don’t want you to give up the great opportunity of the internship, or the opportunity to improve your GPA, so I’m going with Option #2. I feel good about that decision!

  92. Hi Ann!

    My story is similar to Hanna’s first option. The first time I took the LSAT, in the fall of 2008, I was in school, interning 20 hours a week, and taking an LSAT prep course on the weekends. Mistake, I scored a 148. Worst of all, I did not learn my lesson. A year later I decided to retake the test while enrolled full time in grad school and working full time. Big mistake, I did worse and scored a 146.

    I am planning on applying to a few schools this fall, I am now trying to figure out my options. Although my GPA and LSAT scores are less then mediocre, is it possible for me, with an MPA and work experience, to still get into a 2nd or 3rd tier school or should I focus on 4th tier schools? In addition, should I consider waiting to apply for 2013 enrollment and retake the LSAT again?

    Lastly, as far as writing an addendum, how does the old “I bit off way more than I could chew” excuse for the lousy scores sit with an admissions committee?

    Thank you!!
    Laura

  93. Hi Ann

    I was wandering if i am in deep trouble. I want to get some scholarship to a T100 school, preferably Villanova.

    I have a 3.34 GPA. I first took LSAT in June 2010, got a 149. I admit, i made very little effort to prepare even though i was in a PR course (the prof wasn’t very good). I signed up for Dec 09, but had to be absent because i didn’t feel ready. I then signed up for Feb 2011, but also had to be absent because i was taking some prescription pills for breathing problem and they caused me blurry vision on the morning of the test. June 2011 but was marked absent because i the i had name change but forgot to print the new admissions ticket with the new name even though i told LSAC to change it. So that’s 3 absences. I just took Oct 2011 and i messed up on LG section, prolly getting atleast 6 wrong when in preptests i got 2 wrongs. That sorta ruined my mood and i think might’ve affected my performance in other sections. I was hoping to get 160-165 but probably ending up with 156-158. I intend to take the Dec LSAT if such score or lower occurs. That would make it third time i am taking LSAT.

    I scored 162 avg on my PTs with strong possibility to get to 165 since carelessness, not lack of knowledge on what to do, caused me around 6 questions on avg.
    Giving my history, with three absences and three LSAT takings, did i ruin my chance of a scholarship even if i do get over 160, or even a 165? Or even admission?

  94. Hi Ann,

    So I am in a tough boat. I just took the October LSAT and got a 166. I had been getting 173-178 on all of my practice tests. In the first test I ever took, I got a 168. Needless to say, I’m devastated and going to be retaking the LSAT in December. I know what went wrong. I ended up literally having a panic attack at the end of the first section and beginning of the second section and I’m guessing that panic bled into everything. Well, at least I’m hoping that’s what happened. I think it may have been that I overdid it. I had been taking LSAT constantly for 3 months, including the day before the LSAT. In fact, I’ve taken every practice test there is.

    So here is my problem. I had been planning on going to a T14, but with my GPA of 3.63, I need a high LSAT. However, I would love to go to UCLA. I was wondering, do you think I should apply to UCLA before the December test? I want to go in to the test knowing that I had gotten in somewhere. I feel like that may lower my stress levels to the point where panic attacks are unlikely. Do you think it’s a good idea, or should I wait?

  95. Hello Ann,
    I am an “adult learner” student who returned to finish my degree and I am now looking at part-time JD programs. I didn’t study much and took the LSATs scoring a 164. My GPA is around a 3.75. I am looking at Temple and Widener (because they are the only pt programs in my area). Furthermore, I would like to take advantage of scholarship opportunities. Do you think I should retake?

  96. Hi Ann,

    I just took the October LSAT (my first time) and recieved a score of 157. I was hoping to score between 163 to 165 so I am contemplating whether or not to retake the test in December. I live in Georgia and was hoping to stay local so I would be applying to Emory, UGA and Georgia State, Emory being my top choice. I graduated May 2010 from NYU and my GPA was 3.41. I have a major in Romance Languages (French & Italian) and minor in Economics. I also speak fluent Spanish and I am the first in my family obtain a degree from a univeristy. I currently work as a paralegal at an Immigration law firm. I was hoping you could give give me some advice as to whether you think I would benefit from retaking the LSAT, I have been told that my score is good enough, but I want it to be great! I took a prep course for 2 months prior to taking the exam this past October,but I am not sure if I would be able to take another one, so I have been told that without it my chances of increasing my score wouldn’t be very high. I hope to hear from you soon since registration for the December test will be closing soon. Thank you in advance!

  97. Nick M. on said:

    Hello Ann,
    I recently took the LSAT for the first time in October and scored a 164. I have a 3.3 GPA and am looking at the University of Missouri and Nebraska mostly. I am content with my score but I know have the potential to do better considering I was scoring in the 170’s on practice tests. Do you think my score paired with my lower GPA would be sufficient for those schools or should I consider a retake? Thanks!

    • Hi READERS: You’ve all been so active on the blog since October LSAT scores came out! I can’t comment on chances at particular schools without knowing a lot more about you…that’s a service I provide as a law school admission consultant. I have responded to hundreds of people on this thread about whether to retake the LSAT and unfortunately I can’t respond to everyone personally so please read through and find situations like yours and apply what I’ve said to your situation, or contact us for help on a consulting basis. Thank you!

  98. Kristopher on said:

    Ann,

    I am scoring in the low 160s right now on practice tests, but I hope to soon raise that to the high 160s. My undergrad GPA is a 2.8 from a state school. I am also a Marine Corps Officer Candidate, and hope to serve in the Reserves as an Infantry Officer while going to law school. I am interested in your services and would like to be contacted about help putting together an application package. How do you think I look for Hastings? I want to go to law school in the bay area and Hastings would be ideal…

    • Kristopher,
      I’d be happy to talk with you. Please contact me through the website – my phone number is there and I also have a contact form you can complete. I’ll get in touch with you very quickly.

  99. i got a 136 and had a 3.88 gpa in undergrad….i have a masters degree and 7 1/2 years professional work experience but very worried my score is so low that i feel i shouldn’t bother applying to law school? i was extremely sick the day of the test….

    • I am so inundated with comments on variations of this question that it’s becoming very difficult to answer them all – I can’t keep up with all of you fabulous readers. I know this is a very stressful topic for a lot of you, and it often means adjusting your dreams and expectations for the future. I’m sorry I can’t answer every post on this thread. I hope you will take time to read through these comments (after all, there are about 150 of them!) to find someone whose situation is like yours and see what I have responded. Thanks so much for reading the blog.

  100. Hey ann,

    Wanted to know your opinion. I have a 3.9 gpa from an ivy league school. I also won a Fulbright Scholaship to study public health policy in India and am a professional dancer.

    I took the LSATs and got a 157. I would like to get a JD/MPH. Given all of the other credentials what are my chances of getting into a school like UC Davis? Let me know,
    Priya

  101. sabrina on said:

    Hi Ann,

    In need of some advice about retaking. I scored a 165 this June. I got almost all my questions wrong from RC. It was my first section, and I completely blanked out for a whole passage when the test started. I read the words but had no idea what I was reading. I built up so much anxiety during the instructions. I definitely do better when I’m more relaxed.

    I usually only get 3-5 wrong on practice RC. I got 9 wrong on test day. Would you recommend a retake? The thought of applying for 2013 while waiting for my second LSAT score makes me anxious…I’d much rather wait another year to apply while working full-time (I just graduated from university). If so, do you recommend taking the Feb. 2013 LSAT?

    • Sabrina, I think you are making this much harder on yourself than it is.
      1. You take the October LSAT. Absolutely! Without question.
      2. You get your score the last week of October.
      3. You submit applications in early November (still VERY early for Fall 2013 admission cycle), with an addendum about the score increase.

      There is no reason to wait, and no reason to panic. This is absolutely a perfectly effective timeline.

  102. Sydney on said:

    Hi Ann,

    The issue at hand is if I should retake the LSAT in October. I scored, sadly, a 150 on my June exam. On practice test this score has usually been my average, ranging from 150-155. I studied for a couple of months, but could probably commit more time to studying.

    My current GPA is 3.5 and I am set to graduate college in December. So though I could take a year off and dedicate more time to studying I really do not want to, but for entrance into the schools I was looking at I would really need a minimum of a score in the high 150’s low 160’s.

    Thank you in advance,

    Sydney

    • Sydney,
      I believe that you should apply to law school once and do it right the first time so that you have no regrets later. If you think that a year from now, when looking at the schools where you’ve been admitted, that you will regret not giving the LSAT a second try, then that’s your answer. Especially if you don’t want to take a year off. Sign up for October (or even December). We are doing a Blog Talk Radio Show next week on “Strategies for Taking the LSAT…Again” so tune in!

  103. Hi Ann,

    I just got my June LSAT back, and I got a 151. I am a disappointed. I practiced for two months with all kinds of LSAT books, and met with a prep class once a week for this test. On my practice tests I usually score in the range of 154 to 163. I think on the June LSAT, I didn’t do so good on my RC my first section, and it followed with a really tough experimental section that just really made me nervous. I have a 3.48 GPA, with the JUNE LSAT score, I think I can still try for Gonzaga, PACE, Hamline, and Duquesne. However, I am not sure if I should retake the October LSAT, and hope that I get at least a 154+, I think it would give me more choices, if not more confidence in apply to Gonzaga, Pace… and most importantly scholarships or grants. What do you recommend Ann?

    –Oni

  104. Hi Ann,

    I am having trouble deciding if I should take the October LSAT for my second time. I took the June test and got a 156, my LR and LG sections were great and I tanked on the RC. My GPA is a 3.4 and my dream schools are university of Florida or FSU. I think I could get my score up a couple of points if I focus on my RC section. Do you think I should retake or just apply now and wish for the best?

    Thanks,
    Sydney

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Sydney,
      Have you been preparing for the October LSAT and getting an increase in your practice exam scores, or are you hoping to wing it in October?

  105. Josh F. on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I took the LSAT in 2009 and scored a 157 which for that test, I was ranked in the 70th percentile. For a number of reasons, I did not apply to law school, and instead did some other things. At this point, I am seriously considering law school again. Therefore, I have 2 questions. Should I apply with my score the way it is, or should I retake the test in February, so that I can get some more studying time in?

    Thanks in advance,

    Josh

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Josh,
      If you are planning to start law school in Fall 2013, the February LSAT is really not a good strategy – it’s too late in the cycle.

  106. Stefan Friend on said:

    Ann,

    Firstly, let me say thank you for your blog and your book!! They have been incredibly helpful so far in my journey to begin law school next fall. However I do have a more personal question, or rather dilemma, I’m hoping you can help me with.

    I just got my Oct. scores and I made a 161. I had mad a 159 in June with very little preparation. Knowing I wanted a much higher score I bought Manhattan LSAT prep materials and crushed it for a few months. My last 10 practice tests before the Oct. exam were averaging 169 with a high score of 172 on the last practice two days before the big exam.

    On exam day, I felt more anxiety than I ever have on any test. I’m usually a strong test taker, but I panicked on one of the LG sections and then was frantic in the 2nd LR as a result. I went from only 8 wrong in the first two sections to bombing my last two.

    I am heavily leaning towards retaking it in December, but I can’t decide how it will look. If I can pull off the high 160s I think I’m capable of it seems worth it, but if I only hit 161-163 again, is it really?

    What are your thoughts on taking the LSAT a third time??

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Stefan,
      You are welcome. I am so happy to be of help.
      If you can pull off the high 160s, it will be worth retaking. If you only improve by a point or two, it’s probably not worth it.
      Why don’t you take some practice tests and see where you hit. Even just improving 3-5 points would be helpful to you, and worth waiting to apply with a December LSAT score.
      If you get a score between 158-162, it will just make it very clear that this is the right score range for you, and you won’t be able to make a claim that it isn’t. If you score considerably higher, you have a better argument to make.

  107. Sarah on said:

    Hi Ann,

    Last year I took the December LSAT. After two weeks of studying I improved from a 145 to a 158. After then, I consistently scored between 160-164 (usually 162). I ended up scoring a 159 and was VERY dissapointed I didn’t hit that 160 mark. I applied to schools later (in January) and got waitlisted at my top 2, Maryland and UNC. I ended up not getting in and decided to take a job at a top firm to gain work experience instead and re-apply. I wish I had immediately re-taken but I had no intention of putting off law school to work after undergrad at the time. I graduated with a 3.5 from George Washington.

    I can not seem to find the motivation to study while working 40+ hours a week but I truly do not want to regret it and think if only. When I looked at my bubble sheet from the actual test I had even left one blank. My goal is not a top 10 law school but somewhere between #20-50. Do you think work experience and applying early is enough of an advantage or do you think re-taking it for a couple extra points would be worthwhile? I’d appreciate any advice!

    Thanks,
    Sarah

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Sarah,
      I think you can get into good schools with a 159, but you would get more scholarship money if you could increase your LSAT score. Is that something you’ve thought about?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *