Deciding Whether to Cancel Your LSAT Score

Law School Expert Blog

Ok, it’s over. It’s done. Today was LSAT day. What do you do next?

1. Decide how you feel about keeping your LSAT score.

“Canceling an LSAT Score: Will this hurt you?  No. It just puts that much pressure on you for next time. So, when should you cancel?  If you completely screw up by leaving an entire section blank, misbubble the last ten questions, or become violently ill in the middle of the exam, you should probably cancel. This is especially true if the score would be so demoralizing to you that you would be unable to live with yourself. Another reason to cancel is if you already have one LSAT score that you’re content with and you’re pretty sure you don’t want to have to explain to law schools why the second score is lower.”

-Page 41 of “The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert“(with FREE shipping within 2-3 days through this link!)

Also see my previous post on this subject:
Should You Cancel Your LSAT Score?

2. Stay away from discussion boards. It doesn’t matter what some anonymous person says about what answer was right to which question. This will only make you crazy. The only person you should be speaking to about your LSAT test is your tutor. Stay away from anyone else who took the test and start to think about the next 3 weeks and what you can accomplish to be productive (work on LORs, personal statements, resumes, etc.

Good luck – and feel free to ask questions!

49 Responses

  1. Unfortunately for those of us taking the LSAT in Asia, we still have 3 weeks to go. June 28 is our big day.

    One question has really been plaguing me, and that’s whether the LSAT we’ll take later this month is the SAME as the one US testers just took? If so, how does LSAC mitigate the risk of leaked content online? And if not, then why is there only one version of each LSAT PrepTest (and not PrepTest 57 US, PrepTest 57 Asia, PrepTest 57 Europe, etc.)?

    Curious. Thank you!

  2. Hi Ann,

    I took the LSAT for the first time today, and I’m trying to decide whether to cancel my score. I’ve taken approximately 15 practice tests and my average score is 172. During the test I was extremely nervous, most of it went by in a blur, and I felt more pressed for time than usual. I guessed on 7-8 reading comprehension questions (it may have been the experimental section, but I read on PowerScore that the experimental section is always 1, 2, or 3, and the section I did poorly on was #4). I am shooting for a top 10 law school and scholarships. I want an excellent score, but on the other hand I’ve been studying since February and am bummed out by the prospect of studying until September. Do you have any advice?


    1. See what your score is. If it’s within 2-3 points of that 172 then you may not retake in September. If it’s much lower than that range, you know you need to take it in September. However, if you cancel, there’s no choice about September….. Let me know if I can help in any way. Thanks for reading the blog.

  3. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for the site and blog. I have a couple questions.
    I just took the June test and comtemplating if I want to cancel my test. I took a Kaplan Prep Course for about a month and did some studying on my own. During the practice test, I average from 140-150. However, I also took the LSAT twice in 2006, and scored low on both test. My questions are:
    1) Should I cancel this past test?
    2) How does it look that I have more than 3 test on my record. Two from 2006, and June (if I decide not to cancel)
    3) I plan on taking the Sept test either way. Is it too excessive that I could have 4 LSAT scores?

    In addition, I’m not too worried about my personal statements or LORS. I feel I have a good personal statement, and have good LOR already lined up, that will work to my advantage. A little bit about my background is, I’m 24 and my family of 9 came to the United States when I was about two. I lived in a refugee camp before coming here and was raised in a low income family. I graduted with a 3.5 gpa in History and was very active in college and participated in numerous extra c’s.

    Any advice would be helpful.

    1. Lucy,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I can’t answer whether you should cancel – I don’t have any facts that would lead me to decide either way.
      Your cancel counts as one of your three tests, so you might not have a decision to make. IF your 2006 tests fall w/in 3 years, then you can’t cancel June.
      4 LSAT scores is ok if one falls away from the 3-year period. If you have questions about how this is counted, call LSAC. There is a way to get permission to take the test a 4th time in 2 years but it’s sort of strange….
      Good luck!

  4. Ann,
    Thank you so much for your comments. I have a slightly different question. Will it hurt me to file a complaint? Or is it worth while to file a complaint? My complaint would be that the desk provided for taking the test was not large enough (12″ x 12″) to fit the test book on the desk, much less the test book and the answer sheet. Everyone in the room had to fumble around shifting between the test book and the answer sheet. This really slowed us down. On several occasions, people even dropped the test book on the floor. I would guess we each wasted at least 1.5 minutes per section. In addition, there is a significantly higher chance that we may have made a mistake when transfering answers from the book to the answer sheet.

    1. Great question, Don. You can complain but they will tell you (probably) you can cancel your exam or have them send a letter with your score saying there were complaints about the testing center. If a lot of people complain, at least it’s likely others won’t have to suffer through this in the future…..

  5. Ann,
    Thank you for your thoughts. Just to let you know, I did complain and I thought I would let you know the response I recieved. The first thing they did was put my score on temporary hold. They then sent me a letter informing me that they would give me three weeks to decide if I want cancel my score. I don’t know if I want to cancel my score, therefore I will have my test scored and deal with the results. They also stated, basically, that many people take the LSAT on desks which are not large engough to accomodate the test. Sounds like they need to do a better job on to accomodate those who have paid to take the test.

  6. Hi Ann,
    I first wanted to say that I love your book!
    But, I do have one big question. Well I took the LSAT for the first time in Feb. 2009 and I scored a 138. I was extremely disappointed. So, I took a course with testmasters, but I didn’t dedicate all of my time to studying for the test as I should have. I took the LSAT for a second time today and I feel like I didn’t do any better than the first time. So my question is, does it make a difference if law schools see two bad scores? or they only see one bad score and my canceled score? I’m thinking about re-taking the test in December. So I’m hoping to do better in the Dec. LSAT. But I am not sure if I should just wait and see what my second score is or if I should cancel.


    1. Diana! I’m so happy you loved the book! If you’re so inclined, I would truly appreciate an review.

      If you think you only got in the high 130s, then definitely cancel yesterday’s exam. Retake the test in December and really dedicate yourself to it. It sounds like you were not ready for the test, and it’s highly unlikely you did well enough to get into law school.
      Good luck!

  7. Thank you Ann,
    I really appreciate your rapid response. I will make sure to post a great review for you soon.
    Thanks again!

  8. Hi Ann.
    I have been studying for the LSAT since June all day every day. I have 3.9 GPA and excellent extra-curriculars. I am also a minority. However, I never have time to finish the test. I scored 160 on average on practice tests. I am freaking out about Saturday because it was all a blur and I feel that I did not do very well. Do you think I still have a chance to get into a good law school, or law school at all?

    1. Nick,
      I understand your anxiety but you need to wait for the score. Then we can decide your chances for admission at various schools. Please let me know if I can help!

  9. Hi Ann,

    Is it normal to feel great about one’s performance after the LSAT then progressively feel worse as the days wear on?

    I took the LSAT one year ago and underperformed due to test anxiety.

    I decided to wait until this year’s admission cycle and I felt much better after having finished September 2009’s administration. Moreover, I was able to finish most sections early (5-6 minutes). I felt great, but now, im not so sure.

    What do you think? Is this typical? I just feel like my estimate of my performance decreases for every day that I wait for the score.

    1. Hi Stefan,
      I think doubting yourself as the waiting time intensifies is pretty normal, especially if you make the mistake of listening to chatter on discussion forums or talking to people about the test. Hang in there! Use this time for activities that are productive, like your application materials!

  10. Hi Ann, I took the LSAT for the first time today and I dont feel too good about it. I got to the end of all sections except the games, I only got one full set of games completely finished and checked for correct answers, the other one I went through really quick, and the last two I didnt get to at all. Im registered for the testmasters course for the October exam, but since I studied on my own for this first exam im seriously considering canceling my score. i read the entire princeton review and took practice exams on my own, and my first time taking a diagnostic test i got a 141. what should i do ?? i appreciate all your help.

    1. Hi Andrea – Since you studied on your own, you may want to try this again in October with a different preparation method. Your first diagnostic score doesn’t tell me anything unless you’re saying your timed practice exam scores weren’t much higher than that. Since this was your first time taking the LSAT, I’m leaning on the side of having you cancel.

  11. Hi Ann,
    I just took the LSAT today and ordered your book, so I think I’m on my way to applying to law school! I feel good about my LSAT test today and see no need to cancel my score even thought my testing environment wasn’t the best it could have been. Although minimal and I’m sure it could have been a lot worse, the proctors were poorly organized and all of them were giving us different instructions in addition to cutting our time short on a couple sections by a few minutes. However, I’m thinking ahead and if for some reason I need to take the LSAT again in September I was wondering if I should go ahead and file a complaint with LSAC to cover my bases when I have to explain why I decided to take another test. Does that make sense? I guess I’m wondering if it hurts me to file a complaint because I know that they put a hold on your score. Let me know what you think. Thanks, Bianca

    1. Bianca,
      Welcome to the world of LSAT proctors! They suck : ) (mostly)….
      Don’t complain because all it will get you is a postponed score result and the option to cancel your score, which it sounds like you don’t want to do….. Or at least, don’t file a formal complaint. Feel free to informally complain, but unfortunately it probably won’t change anything. I hope you love the book – I look forward to your thoughts on it.

  12. Dear Ann,

    I am debating sending a formal letter of complaint to LSAC. I am wondering if it is even worth it making this a formal complaint? What is the best case sinario?Long story short; I took the exam and had the unfortunate luck of being assigned a seat in front of the proctors table and they were whispering to each other through out the first three sections of the test. I found it extremely distracting and honestly could not concentrate. During the break I requested that I be relocated for sections 4, 5 and the writing sample. Assuming that my compliant is validated, what options are typically offered in a situation such as this? What is the best case sinario? Taking the test for free in October is not what I am looking for, I just do not want to wait that long. Also what is the average amount of time it takes for an investigation to be concluded, from the time the complaint is received to the time the file is closed and the complainant is notified?

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      You will be offered the opportunity to cancel your score or send a letter with your score report, but no law school will add 5 points to your score because a letter from LSAC says there were distractions at the test center. I know this sucks (notice how I only use that word in relation to LSAT proctors?) but it’s important to get the right score for you and I think you’ll choose your seat more wisely next time. October is still a fine time to take the LSAT, I promise.

  13. Hi Ann,

    It sounds like great advice you’ve given so far. I’m in a difficult situation and wanted to know what your thoughts were:

    I took the exam in Feb 2010 but misbubbled the RC section so I canceled. Since then I was PT’ing around 170-172. I was confident going into the June exam until I hit the LG section. Usually I do very well on it but 2 games screwed me up (had to guess on last 4 questions of the section). The last RC passage was difficult for me too. Should I cancel (which would be 2 cancels already), or wait for the score? Either way, I think I would have to retake in Oct since I’m pretty sure I didn’t do well, at least not up to my potential. For admission: would cancel-cancel-hopefully high score be better than cancel-low score-hopefully high score?


    1. Hi Aaron,
      This is a popular question. As I told a client yesterday, the key isn’t what will look worse (two cancels then a 171 – for example- or one cancel, one mid-160s score, and then a 171). The key is, how sure are you that you can pull off the 171 on your last shot. One of the schools on your list (I assume) is Columbia, and they average multiple LSAT scores. That’s something to keep in mind. Also, since you’ve been a bit rattled on the last two tests you’ve taken, I’d wonder what you’re going to do to eliminate the chances of being rattled the third time. An LSAT rarely goes flawlessly – that’s part of the combination of new questions, unpredictability, testing environment, anxiety, etc.
      I had a client a couple of years ago with a 155, 164, 173 and he is now a 2L at a top 10 school. I think the most important thing is whether you would feel better at least having a backup score knowing all you have to do in October is beat that score – that might remove some of the pressure that obviously impacts your performance on the test.
      I hope this is helpful to you.

  14. Hi Ann,
    I have been taking the Kaplan course for the LSAT in Oct. 2010.
    I am doing very poorly, my highest score being a 141. I wanted to get into one of the top 10 schools. My GPA is 3.7, good LOR, PS. I feel that I didn’t had enough time to prepare. I do not feel ready for October but I do not want to put it off till Dec because many seats will be filled by then. I am debating between taking the LSAT in Oct and Dec and can’t decide.
    thank you.

    1. Maria, I’m going to make this really easy for you. You MUST postpone the LSAT. And you must stop taking Kaplan and get more intensive, one-on-one help with the LSAT.

  15. Hi Ann,
    I took LSAT last September and I got 144. Obviously I wasn’t happy, so I studied on my own and today I took another LSAT. Unfortunately I don’t think that I did much better.
    I have a decent Undergrad GPA 3.5 and a good Master’s GPA 3.9. I’m not looking to get into top 10. The only way I can go to law school is if I can work and study at the same time, so I’m looking to get into a part-time law school. Namely I’m interested in University of Houston. UH requires 156-161 for the 25th-75th percentile LSAT scores for part-time students. Should I even try to apply this year with my current LSAT scores, hoping that my B.A., M.A. GPAs and work experience might pull my standing up? Or should I cancel this last LSAT score, improve my LSAT and apply next year? I really don’t want to wait another year if I don’t have to. On the other hand I also don’t want to ruin my chances of having my next year’s application tarnished by this year’s rejection.
    I know I’m asking you a lot of questions here. In fact this is starting to look more and more like an LSAT writing sample question and I am genuinely sorry about that, but if you can give me a brief advise about this issue, I would greatly appreciate it.

    1. Hi Michael, Getting rejected this year has absolutely nothing to do with whether you’ll be admitted next year so long as your materials are strong both years and your LSAT score greatly increases. That’s the first myth I wanted to correct from your message. If it’s possible you raised your score 5 points, then keep your score this time. Every little bit helps.
      I don’t know what you did to prepare for the LSAT this time, and I don’t know whether you have potential to get to the mid 150s – not everyone does. These are the questions you need to honestly answer before deciding what to do next.

  16. I’m trying to decide what I should do and could really use your advise. I’m look at going to a top 3 law school. I score well on practice tests, but am trying to prepare for the June LSAT while finishing my PhD. I just started a week ago, so I’ll only have 5 weeks to study but intensively. My problem is, I just found out I am pregnant with our third child and will be 8 weeks the day I sit the exam. Based on my previous experience, I am usually very very tired in the afternoons and I need to eat frequently due to nauseous. Its pretty much the worst point in my pregnancy. I have until May 15th to decide whether to switch to October, when I will be 6 months pregnant so have to use the restroom, but can probably sit through the sections and will not be anywhere near as tired!

    One part of me is inclined to just take it, to familiarize myself with the process and cancel if I am not able to get over the pregnancy fog to work through the sections as I know I can. For comparison, I took a yesterday morning and scored a 178. Took a test this morning and scored a 162! So I am really worried about the 12:30 time. I can’t seem to even get through sections fully in the afternoons. Will it hurt me at Yale, Harvard or Stanford that I have a cancelled score even if I let them know I was 8 weeks pregnant and unable to sit through the sections due to morning sickness? Should I just re-schedule or go ahead and keep prepping, and take a dry run before re-taking again in October?

    Thank you so much for your advice!

    1. Hi Natalie, with 2 kids of my own I definitely know where you’re coming from here.
      Wait until October. 6 months preg is much better than going through the LSAT with morning sickness. Don’t take the score and cancel because it will count as one of the 3 times you’re allowed to take the test in 2 years. Also, second trimester is pretty comfortable and the brain still functions at 100% so that sounds like the better plan.

  17. Thanks so much Anne for your advice! But it absolutely doesn’t hurt my application if I do decide to go ahead and take the test, but am forced to cancel it? If I attach an addendum explaining the circumstances resulting in the request to cancel the score – even at Yale or Stanford – I shouldn’t be penalized? Part of me really wants that dry-run and would love to not have to study again in the fall since I really need to finish up my dissertation before baby #3 comes along!

  18. I recently took the LSAT Oct 1st and do not know whether I should cancel or not. I had a hard game section, which is usually my best area, and that put me in a mood for the rest of the test thinking about that one section (it was not experimental). I also did not finish 2 of the 4 reading passages. I feel I didnt do my full potential. I already have one lsat score of 144 but was aiming for a 151. I wanted to apply early to some schools but now if I wait until december all they have is my 144 score. Is it possible to submit all materials and then send the score? or will they just look at the 144 and make their decision based on that score.

  19. Hi Ann,
    I just took the Feb LSAT this past Saturday.
    I don’t believe I did very well. I am usually slow on logic games so I guessed on half the section and also guessed on one passage in reading comprehension. I was pressed for time and lost accuracy on one of the logical reasoning sections but did fairly well on the other 2. Since one of them is experimental I could in theory have two good logical reasoning sections but it all depends on which one was experimental.
    I have a previous cancelation in Dec.
    I didn’t have time to do enough practice tests and I am pretty sure that this is the reason for my possible subpar score.
    So my question is the following, what looks worse? Two cancellations or one cancellation and a bad score (when I say bad I mean above 150’s, I’d be very surprised if I went lower than that).
    If I hadn’t cancelled before I’d be canceling this one.
    I would very much appreciate your input as a law school expert 🙂

    1. Samantha, sorry for the delay – I’ve been traveling this week. I think it puts a lot of pressure on you to have two cancelled scores. That means you’re stuck with whatever happens on your third try.

  20. If I was looking to apply to a top 10 school , what looks better or worse? A cancelled with a high (over 170) score or a mediocre (160+) score and 170+ score?

    I know a lot of people have a similar question but no one seems to have an answer.

  21. Hey Ann, I did remarkable on the SAT without studying at all, so I tried to do the same for the LSAT. The second I got the test today, I spent a good amount of time trying not to be sick. I did take a few practice tests and scored a 153 but I know if I study for the next month and take it again in Feb, I will most likely score above a 160. Should I cancel this score or wait to see how I did and just explain to UNC that I got sick in the middle of the exam?

    1. Hi Rebecca – You need to take the LSAT again, no question. This isn’t like the SAT where you’ve been learning vocabulary in high school. This is a different kind of test and it doesn’t sound like you prepared enough or took enough practice tests.

  22. Hi Ann,

    I took the LSAT two years ago and scored a 158. I just took the test again in September and am feeling very uneasy about it. I’m quite sure my score will be lower than 158. Do schools really only consider the highest score or does having a higher score followed by a lower score raise eyebrows? Thanks!

  23. Hi Ann! I am trying to decide whether I should cancel my LSAT score. I took the LSAT this morning and this was my second time taking it. On my preptests I usually score a 167-172, but the first time I took the LSAT (last September)I got a 163, which I was disappointed in. I prepared for this test, but probably not as much as I should have. Based on how I was scoring on preptests this past week, I didn’t think I would be able to get a 170, but also didn’t think there was a chance of my score going down, so I didn’t withdraw. However, I did not do as well as I had hoped today and didn’t complete either the RC or LG sections (I had LR experimental, so those were both definitely scored sections). I won’t be applying to law schools until the fall, so I’m not in any rush, especially since I have a score already on file. I think that this score would be around the same as my last score, and possibly lower. Should I cancel? Which would look worse, a 163 and a cancellation or a 163 and a lower score? I am really scared that I went down, but I know there’s a chance I didn’t. I also am considering taking the test in June, what would you recommend? I score well on prep tests and know I am capable of scoring higher, but anxiety on test day has slowed me down and hurt me both times now.

  24. Hi Ann!

    Thanks for the post. I took the June LSAT yesterday and am debating whether or not to cancel my score. I was rattled by the first section (RC), and ended up guessing on the entire last passage. This shook me up for the next two sections and had a negative effect on my performance. I also spent too long outlining my essay and only completed about half of it. This was my first time taking the LSAT. I’ve only taken three practice tests, and I’ve been testing in the low to mid 160s range. Do you think I should cancel? I’m really worried about my essay and feel that it doesn’t well represent my writing abilities. Thanks!

  25. Hello, Ann,

    This post is very informative. My question is regarding the section of a law school application in which they ask for lsat scores. Do you think for a cancelled LSAT score I should still list the date on which I took the test, or leave that date off? Also, if one has multiple lsat scores and one is cancelled should the addendum if required only mention the score difference or should it mention the cancelled score as well?

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