Don’t Take the LSAT!!!!!!

Law School Expert Blog

The LSAT is Monday. You probably already know this.

You’re probably getting pretty nervous, and planning your last minute cram-sessions.

STOP right now.


If ANYTHING crazy is going on in your life right now, do NOT take the LSAT on Monday.

I guarantee you that a month from now I’ll be fielding dozens of calls and emails from people who are disappointed with their performance on the June LSAT and who will  blame the following:

1. Lack of preparation. If you have not studied for 2-3 months and taken more than 3 full length, timed practice exams, do NOT take the LSAT on Monday.

2. Death in the family or death of your best friend. If anyone in your family or close circle of friends has been injured, traumatized or killed in the last 2 weeks, do NOT take the LSAT on Monday.

3. Illness. You have the flu? Do not take the LSAT on Monday! No one wants to read an addendum mentioning vomit, diarrhea or both.

4. Side effects. Started a new medication? Does it make you drowsy or have the potential to make you drowsy or physically ill? Started a new medication to treat ADD? Don’t take the LSAT on Monday.

I don’t mean to make light of serious problems, but stop and think. Four times a year, whenever the LSAT is given, I hear from people who seek my help writing addenda to explain an LSAT score. These four reasons are among those that come up most often. You can avoid the heartache and stigma of a very low LSAT score that fails to measure your abilities on the test by simply making the adult decision – despite fever, grief, exhaustion, and anxiety – to postpone taking the test until October. Yes, you’ll have a ‘no-show’ but I swear it’s not a big deal. And if you want the experience of sitting through the test, take it and cancel it as you leave the test center. But go in with a clear head and make a good decision. Is this a good time for YOU to take the LSAT?

For those of you who ARE prepared, healthy, and whose life is (thankfully) in a state of relative normalcy, then DO take the LSAT. And spend this weekend getting TONS of sleep, reading the newspaper or other interesting/thought provoking things, maybe dabble in a logic game or two, stay away from other people taking the LSAT, and refrain from talking to anyone about the LSAT. Take care of yourself. Get yourself into a frame of mind that gets you to a place where Monday morning, over a great breakfast with lots of protein, you are saying “Alright! Let’s prove what I can do on this thing!”

Good luck to all June LSAT takers. Oh! And come back to the Blog on Monday to learn how to spend your time while waiting for your LSAT score. Good luck!

12 Responses

  1. Hi, Ann
    Thank you so much for your advice for the last-minute test takers.
    Quick question,though.You said, ” Yes, you’ll have a ‘no-show’ but I swear it’s not a big deal. And if you want the experience of sitting through the test, take it and cancel it as you leave the test center.”

    What’s the difference between no-show and cancel?
    Which one you think is better?

    1. Fred,
      One “no show” or “cancel” is no big deal. It’s much better than a low LSAT score that you would need to explain away. One is not better than the other.

  2. I think I wasn’t clear about my last question.
    By “better” meaning, how much damage it might do on my chances of getting accepted to a law school of my top choice…as everyone might be curious the whole time.

    1. Fred- it’s ok. I understood. Both are less damaging than a low LSAT. Schools have more important things to care about than one no-show or cancel.

  3. I want to take the examination in October, but I have to get a letter from one of the schools that I will be applying to requesting permission to retest. If I wait until Dec, then I will not have to get a letter. I took the once in 08 and twice in 09. Is that a new requirement?

    1. Hi Leslie,
      It’s not a new requirement. To take a fourth time in 2 years, you need a law school to submit a letter on your behalf.
      The good news about waiting until December is that your first score will fall off your score report.

  4. I have taken the LSAT three times, once in Sept. 2009, which I cancelled, Feb. 2010, and recently in June 2010. I want to retake the test again in October, because I only received a 167, and I really would like to get above the 170’s. Is there a convincing way to ask a law school to let me retake again? Would I need permission from all the law schools I want to apply to, or just one? Thank you.

    1. Alice,
      You have a great LSAT score. It’s not about getting a magic number score – if you were consistently hitting in the high 160s/low 170s on practice tests, then embrace your 167 and apply to law school!
      If you can’t do that, then call your local law school and just ask – only one school has to give you permission to take a 4th time. They usually say yes, but it looks strange to schools to have 4 LSAT scores. I don’t know what your February score was, but the pattern might look a bit strange.

  5. Thank you for replying so quickly. Actually, my Feb. 2010 score was a 166, just one point lower than what I have now. And my practice tests ranged from 170 – 177, which is why I’m a little shocked at my score. As for the appeals process. Do I can any law school? Or is it preferable to call one one I’m going to apply to? And what do I say? I’m sorry for asking so many questions, but I really don’t know many people who know much about law schools or law, in general. Thank you again.

  6. Alice,
    Wish a 166 and 167 you are unlikely to raise your score significantly on a third attempt. You have great scores – I have a client who had similar scores (165 and 167, I believe) who petitioned to take the test a 4th time and only got a 168. He delayed his admission process and felt really foolish for making the request and only getting one point higher.
    If you insist on doing this, call a law school near you. They may want the request in writing.
    But consider that you have 2 great LSAT scores and just because they aren’t as high as you would like, doesn’t mean you need to take the test again. Have faith in your other qualifications, spend this time concentrating on presenting yourself well in your application materials, and start working on your schools list.
    Please let me know if I can help you through the process.

  7. Dear Ann,
    must I get permission from all law schools which I plan on applying to with a fourth LSAT score? Or will I only be able to apply to that 1 school which gave me permission to retake the LSAT a fourth time? I would assume you only need 1 school to grant you permission and then once granted you may take the LSAT for a fourth time and be able to apply to all other schools. Please let me know if I am correct in my assumption. Thank you.

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