Is the December LSAT too late for Fall Admission?

Law School Expert Blog

A common question over the weekend was, “If I take the LSAT again in December, is it too late to be competitive for Fall 2010 admission?”

No. It’s not too late. I had clients last year who were admitted to Harvard and Columbia with December LSAT scores. It’s not too late. The key is deciding whether you are set up to be successful with an LSAT that is only 6 weeks away. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Was the problem with your LSAT score in October a lack of sufficient preparation? If so, do you have time to dedicate in order to make a dramatic improvement in your score?

2. If the problem with your October LSAT result was a strange testing circumstance (illness, medication side-effects, noise, terrible proctors, missing an uncharacteristic amount of questions on a particular section, etc.) then it is feasible to raise your score significantly.

The next thing you’re going to ask is: Do I submit applications BEFORE I take the December LSAT?  Here are the factors to consider:

1. You only have 6 weeks to maximize your December LSAT score? Why would you cut into such a short time frame by spending time on applications? Especially when those schools aren’t going to review your application without your score. And especially if you have other obligations (school, work, family) that are going to demand your time in the next 6 weeks.

2. You can work on applications starting December 2nd and still get things submitted sooner than most December LSAT takers.

3. Applications are down overall (2012) so there isn’t as much emphasis on the traditional “apply before Thanksgiving” rolling admissions schedule.

4. I’d always rather have someone with a higher LSAT score (at least 2 points higher to be worthwhile) in December than an application admitted in October with a lower score.

5. And, no, having a cancellation on your record won’t hurt you. Really. You can cancel an LSAT score; that’s why they let you.

For more about your decision regarding retaking the LSAT, see “Re-taking the LSAT

118 Responses

  1. Hi Ann, thanks for the advice. I unfortunately did not do as well as I’d hoped on the LSAT. I was planning on applying to the University of Chicago but I got a 157. My gpa is a 3.8 and I’ve won a national scholarship. I’ve been involved in extracurriculars, have worked full time after school about a year and am a URM. Do you think I’d still have a shot? Also, would applying Early Decision help me any? Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Hi Ann-

    I just discovered your blog this morning — thank you for sharing your insights. Here’s my situation:

    After 2+ months of preparation, I took the LSAT in September with the flu. My practice test scores ranged from 162-171 and I ended up with a 163. I feel like I have a solid application in other areas (3.98 undergrad GPA, Master’s in Public Administration done in May ’10, five years full-time work experience including three at management level for a national sports organization) but my LSAT score is below the range of the school I’d like to attend (University of Virginia). I know the my illness had a role in my LSAT performance, but I also know that I’ve never been a stellar standardized test taker. Any advice about re-taking vs. taking my chances?

    Thank you in advance for your thoughts!

    1. Hi Laura,
      I’m so happy you discovered the blog and that it’s already so helpful to you.
      If you feel strongly that in 5 weeks you could get the score up 3-6 points, it’s probably worth the wait to retake it, especially given your goals. You have a good excuse for lackluster performance in September so the addendum will be credible. I say “go for it!”
      Let me know if I can help you in any way.

  3. I am taking the LSAT in December, but will be applying to schools as soon as I receive my score. The question I have is regarding CLEO Scholars. Would it be a good idea to go ahead and send in my application for their Six Week Summer Institute program early (without having my LSAT score)? The deadline is in February.

  4. Hi Ann –

    Thanks for the blog and the book!

    I took a February LSAT unprepared and I cancelled it. I took the September LSAT and I did not score as highly as I am able to because of some outside issues taking place around the time of the test. (It is not a bad score by any means.) I am planning on taking it again in December to get a score that shows my true abilities better.

    I am also planning to submit my applications before I take the December test. Should I write and submit an addendum with my applications? Should I let the December score speak for itself? My concern with including an addendum is that I might be “counting the chickens before they hatch.” I may receive a score that does not reflect the contents of my addendum or I may need to cancel my December score. Can I send in a letter or addendum after I take the December test when I have a sense of how I did on the test? Or…would you advise for me to send the applications after the December test instead?

    Thanks! Lara

  5. Lara,
    I’m concerned about you spending time now applying when you only have 3 weeks left to maximize your chances of increasing your LSAT score. Applications can wait until after the LSAT. IF you apply before your score, you can submit an addendum directly to the school after you received your score. Including an addendum now that says your December score will be a better indicator of your abilities is DEFINITELY counting your chickens before they hatch.
    Please let me know if I can help you in any way – and good luck!

  6. Hi, I don’t know if it’s too late to post a comment on this, but I have a dilemma to run by you. I started studying for the June LSAT two weeks ago, am currently taking a Kaplan course, and at this time my score is nowhere near where I want it to be on the two practice tests I’ve taken (both 150). I am registered for June but I’m thinking that with 3.5 weeks left, I should prob. reschedule for a later date since I don’t see how I can bring it up to at least a 160 in that timeframe. I work full-time and am studying/going to class around 30hrs/wk, but I’ve given myself a nasty cold, am sleep-deprived and extremely stressed out. The only problem with taking it later is that I am the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding in London on October 9. I’ve looked into taking it in London, but the test isn’t until 2pm, and I don’t know if I can live with myself (or bring myself to tell my friend) that I can’t be MOH and would show up late. So that leaves me with the December test, and I hate that I have to put myself at a disadvantage by taking it then. Please advise!

    1. C- you are not ready for June. You need to move it. The timing in October is unfortunate. I’d rather see you with a score that demonstrates your aptitude in December (applying ASAP upon receipt of the score) than rushing to take it in June. Then you can use the summer and fall to prepare your materials.

  7. I just received my June 2010 LSAT score: 163. I have to say that I’m a little disappointed – I was really hoping for a 167-169. My GPA is 4.13, I’m on the varsity rowing team, and I have lots of volunteer work and extra curriculars. My dream school is Stanford, and I know the rest of my application is strong. Do you think I should retake in October?

  8. No, I actually was scoring 160-161 on the practice tests, with a high of 168. However, I ran out of time on the reading comprehension section on the actual test and had to guess on the last 7 questions. All my other sections were good, so I thought that I could improve my RC?

  9. I think taking the December 2009 LSAT is too late if you want to go to law school in Fall 2010. In fact, any December LSAT is too late if you intend on applying for the following fall. I’m not saying you can’t get admitted to a Harvard or Yale if you take that December LSAT, but the odds are stacked against you, and you would have to get a top LSAT score. Due to rolling admissions, it’s best to take the LSAT in June of the year before you intend on starting law school. Thus, if you want to go to law school beginning in Fall 2011, you should take the LSAT in June 2010.

  10. Hi Ann,

    I had a question about applying this year for fall 2011 entrance as opposed to entering law school in 2012. I am currently scheduled to take the LSAT in October but feel I could be get a better score by taking the December LSAT. Obviously the problem with the December LSAT is rolling admissions. Should I chance the October LSAT and risk a lower score to submit my application sooner or should I aim for a higher score on the December LSAT when a majority of the applications will be rolling in to their respective admissions offices? I have earned 5 ( 3 A.A.’s with honors, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, Master of Arts in Leadership) college degrees over the last 9 years while working 40 hours a week the entire time.I was also the President of an Honor Society for a full year. LSAC undergraduate G.P.A. is a 3.04 with 163 units completed. I think LSAC might have included 5 classes for which I received low grades for at the community college level( all of which I repeated as a more focused student for A’s) I am also a URM applying to T-14. Any advice is much appreciated.

    1. Bryan,
      I think you should wait until December. That doesn’t mean you need to wait to apply for Fall 2012. If you work on your materials now, you can still apply in early January. My clients who worked on this schedule last year were admitted to T14s, including Harvard, Columbia and NYU. So that shows that December isn’t the kiss of death. However, I believe applying at the end of January is too late, so get started on everything now.
      Please let me know if I can help in any way.

  11. Hi Ann,

    All of the materials necessary to complete my applications( with the exception of my personal statement and LSAT score) have been forwarded to LSAC so i’m good to go in that regard.

    Thanks for all your help.


  12. Hi Ann,

    I’m late getting into the application process. My GPA was 2.66 and I’m studying to take the LSAT in December. My aim is a Tier 3 or 4 school. I plan to send out applications the very day that I recieve my LSAT score in late December. What kind of odds are stacked against me with rolling admissions at the lower tier schools?

    1. Hi Jordan
      As long as you apply in early January you will be fine. It’s smart to be getting all of your materials ready now and while you’re waiting for your LSAT score. No odds will be stacked against you if your LSAT is where it needs to be and your application materials are strong.

  13. Hi, Ann.

    I’m supposed to take the LSAT this Saturday, but I only recently realized that the December test is still an option. On my practice tests, I’ve been scoring in the 160s, but I am positive with the two extra months that I could get my score in the 170s. I am desperate to get into Columbia and, with an extremely unfortunate GPA of 2.59, I don’t see that happening unless my test score is near perfect. On the other hand, I am extremely concerned that if I opt to take the later test, rolling admissions will have effectively shut me out. What is the better option at this point? And if I do decide to wait until December, will the cancellation or absence at this Saturday’s test count against me?

    1. Christina,
      You raised a lot of issues. Here are my thoughts:
      1. Getting into Columbia with a 2.59 is almost impossible, even with a 180 on the LSAT. You should be focusing on getting into a nearby school, kicking butt there, then transferring to Columbia like one of my clients last year who had a similar GPA and high 160s LSAT score.
      2. December LSAT is fine so long as you submit applications within the first 2 weeks of January. It’s worth waiting for if you can increase your score by 4 or more points.
      3. Cancel/absence is not a big deal when you end up doing well in December. But if you have to cancel December, you’re going to find yourself in a difficult position.
      Good luck!

  14. Ann,
    This morning I realized that my wallet had been stolen last night while I was out at dinner and could not take the LSAT because I had no other government ID and will have to take it in December. I have taken the LSAT twice before increasing it 8 points to a 158. Even if I can increase my score significantly again would the lower score AND an absence affect my chances of admission? My gpa is a 3.93.

    1. Laurel,
      Not a great way to start your LSAT day! Wow!
      December is fine. Just spend the next few months getting everything ready so you can apply as soon as you have your score.
      P.S. Great GPA! And the absence doesn’t concern me at all! Especially if you have another big jump. I just want to make sure you’re eligible to take the LSAT again since you didn’t provide dates of your previous test administrations.

  15. Hi Ann,

    I just took the October LSAT and I really messed up in a section I normally do well on. I think that the best score I could have gotten this time around is about the same as my June LSAT score of 159. I was hoping to get into a tier 1 school but my GPA is only 3.42. My practice LSAT scores are in the range of 166-170. Do you recommend I cancel my score and just take the December test? Or should I just hope I did okay in October and start applying with the mindset of a school that is within reach for the score I already have from June?


    1. Qiva,
      If you really have potential of hitting 166-170 and you’re sure you didn’t improve upon your 159, then you should retake in December. It will be worth waiting until December if you raise your score by 5 or more points as you expect to be able to do. Only you can really gauge how you did on the October LSAT and I really can’t give advice about whether to cancel through the blog format. The good news on that the highest score is the most important so the decision is not as burdensome today as it was a few years ago.

  16. Hi Ann,

    I took the LSAT today for the second time and am wondering if I should cancel, retake in December, and apply later. My first score was 152 and during practice tests I have scored in the range of 150-156. I would like to break 160. My question to you is;

    1) Should I cancel today’s score and apply now with my current score, retake in December and submit the December score as a follow up to schools?

    2) Should I just cancel, retake in December, and wait to apply right after I get my December score?

    I have never been a strong standardized test taker. What I lack in the numbers, I feel I make up in other areas. Here’s my background: 3.3 GPA from a top 25 undergraduate school (self-supported with extracurriculars including a study abroad), Masters in International Affairs from an Ivy League, 10 years of work experience in business (including running my own online retail business) and in government (national security), and I’m trilingual in Chinese, French, and English.

    I am concerned about waiting until December/January to apply given the rolling admissions process. Do you think my “soft” qualifications are strong enough to make me competitive for Tier 1 and 2 schools? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Lily,
      I can’t give advice on the blog format about whether to cancel your score (this is something I do with my admission consulting clients and requires me to know more than I can learn from you in the blog format). I can say this, however: Just wanting to break 160 isn’t very persuasive to me. IF you really prepared and consistently scored 150-156 then a score in this range is probably one you should stick with and strategize around. I don’t hear any particular reasons why you would cancel this score other than you aren’t yet at 160. Not everyone can get to 160. Also, 160 is hardly a magic number in the admission game – it just sounds good. I have a lot of info on the blog regarding whether or not to cancel and tomorrow’s Get in Law School blog post will have more on how to know whether to cancel your score so you might find those resources helpful.
      I can’t give schools advice on the blog format, but if you’d like my help with that, you can read more about this at

  17. Hi Ann,

    I had to leave the testing center yesterday morning before the test got underway. I’ve had the flu for the past few days (terrible timing) but I thought I could make it through. I was wrong. Before we got started I filled in the cancel bubbles, signed my name and raised my hands. My plan now is to take the December test. looking at the posts above it seems that your opinion is that the December test is okay as long as I apply as soon as I get the scores in. I already took one test in June, my score wasn’t great and my practice tests leading up to this weekend were very positive. December seems to be the right choice right?

  18. Hi Ann,

    I knew walking out of the test center that I didn’t do my best on the Oct LSAT; I panicked and didnt get thru 7 questions which were scored. On my PTs, I was averaging around 158-166. On the real test I scored a 153, and after analyzing my performance – my biggest outlier was 15 wrong on RC (!!); I was averaging getting no more than 3-6 wrong. I know what affected my performance too – I was burnt out and prepping for an immigration interview 2 days before the test (my interview had me talking about some pretty traumatic personal experiences), that really threw me off mentally. Through the year, I have been planning to apply for early admission, all my application materials are almost done/ready, to be submitted in Nov. But with this disastrous score, I have to re take in Dec. A big hole on my app is stemming from my UGPA, from 10 years ago. So my LSAT is going to have to be in the mid 160s atleast to offset the UGPA. My question is: what should be my strategy for application timeline (submit in Dec w/out score? submit now in Nov w/out score? or submit in early jan?).
    Other than the UGPA from 10 years ago (below 3.0), the rest of my app is strong – in the last 6-7 years, have worked at companies like Facebook etc and advanced into managerial position leading teams; elected to leadership roles in extracurricular groups, plenty of volunteer experience, speak 5 languages and grew up across the globe. Am also a published writer and have overcome traumatic adversities, and had exposure to intellectual property, immigration law and family law. Have strong LORs and personal statement. But with the low UGPA from 10 years ago, which got me on academic probation (have an addendum) and now Dec retake LSAT, am I in bad shape for the 2011 admission cycle? Hoping to get into UCLA or BC or Notre Dame (any top 30) and Berkeley/NYU is a far shot with my numbers, but would be dream schools; back up schools – SCU. Thanks for your blog, its immensely helpful 🙂

    1. Hi Rose, your experiences sound really wonderful and a 10-year old GPA doesn’t horrify me. Since you didn’t complete the test, I do suggest you take December. Even a 3-5 point increase will help you at your “back up” school, and if you want a shot at the others you really need to get a score more in line with your practice tests. Please let us know if we can help in any way.

  19. I took the LSAT in October and got a 168, but I made a dumb bubbling error (bubbled the last two answers in one section in the same line) which cost me two points. (Adding two points to my raw score and looking at the scale, and I would have gotten a 170 if I hadn’t done that).

    On practice tests I usually get in the range of 170-175. And I really would like to go to a top school but my undergrad GPA is only 3.5 (though I have other things going for me, MA degree with 4.0 GPA, stellar recs, etc.)

    So I’m debating whether I should retake the LSAT in December. However, my applications are almost all ready to go. So first of all, SHOULD I retake the LSAT? And second of all, if I DO retake it, should I hold off on sending the applications until December, or should I send them all in November and mention in the addendum that I’m taking the LSAT again?

    I’m really torn! Thanks for your advice.

    1. Hi Robert, I know you’re kicking yourself for those two points. There’s no guarantee that you’d gain two points upon a retake, but if you could hit 170 it would change your chances at some of the Top 10 schools. It all comes down to how confident you are that you could break 170 in December. If you think you can, I’d spend my time on LSAT now and then submit applications in mid-late December. No reason to rush and divert your attention from the tasks at hand since you wouldn’t want schools reviewing your application based on the 168 if you really think you’ll break 170.
      Hope that helps.

  20. Hi Ann,
    I recently got my lsat score back from LSAC. I got a 160 on my October lsat, that was my first time taking it but i did study all summer for it. I felt that i could have scored higher on the test giving that i was averaging a 165-170 on practice tests. I think that my nerves on test day got the best of me. However, i do have a GPA of 3.8 from the University of Arizona was planning to apply to tier one schools like Stanford and Boston University. My question is should i take the December LSAT and then apply to these schools, or should i apply now? Will rolling admissions hurt me if i wait to apply?

    1. Hi Alexander, There’s a big difference in admission standards between Stanford and BU…. but if you really feel you can get above a 165, then I do recommend taking the LSAT in December. You can submit applications after the LSAT.


  21. Ann,
    What about for the other schools on my list such as Colorado, San Diego, Hastings, Boston College, William and Mary, and Texas Austin?

  22. Hi Ann,

    I have a similar but different question. I took the lsat in October and got a 164 but my GPA is only a 3.2. However, I am doing extremely well in all my classes now and could boost my GPA up to a 3.3. Should I apply now to schools with the 3.2 or wait until January for the 3.3? Would the change in GPA make a difference or would waiting hurt my chances?

  23. Hi Ann,

    I took the June LSAT and scored a dreadful 155 on a day that I experienced two flat tires. (But only one occurred prior to the test, and I got there on time.) I tried to keep calm the whole time and later in the summer realized I was crazy to not cancel it. So, I decided to take it again in October and have yet to see the results. In October I had a major case of the nerves, whether I like it or not. Despite having studied/practiced for both, I think my nerves had an impact. The highest I scored on practice exams leading into October was a 161.

    I don’t know whether to take the darned thing again in December. Before you ask the question, I don’t know if I’ll pull the score up significantly. As much as I want to, numbers do not indicate it. But taking it in Feb is entirely too late for applying this fall — I do realize that.

    I have an undergrad GPA of 3.7 (from South Carolina) and a masters GPA of 4.0 (from UNC-Chapel Hill and Sciences-Po Paris). This, plus professional experience and fluency in a foreign language.

    I was hoping for BU and their program that coordinates with the Sorbonne (given my French background) or Georgetown part-time that would allow me to keep working. Other options I’m considering are BC, UNC, Fordham, and Wake Forest. The more I think about and look at the situation, it seems like wasting my last shot at the LSAT until 2012 if I take it in December. Would you concur given what little bit of a snapshot you have here? I balance this with the fact that it makes me sick to not try again.

    Also, is it crazy to think I could transfer from a law school with a 155-161 range to a top 20 (given necessary academic performance in L1)? My performance in grad school was at the top of my class. I have a history of not performing strongly on standardized tests, but I fight like heck to get in — like my grad program.

    I am currently working on my applications. Waiting for transcripts to post from abroad and tweaking the personal statements. Is time better spent perfecting that as opposed to LSAT prep for Dec? Any other words of advice or points to consider given the above information?

    Apologies for the lengthy posting. Many thanks in advance.


    1. HI Gray,
      A few things:
      1. Why don’t you have your October score yet?
      2. Without that information, I can’t tell you whether to retake.
      3. It’s not crazy to think you could transfer – especially for someone with very strong grades like yours.

  24. Ann,

    I recently abandoned a PhD track to go to law school (as recently as this summer). In brief, my family and friends have some networking opportunities in the legal field and I feel confident that I could get decent employment with a degree from an OK school.

    Beyond that, I have a 3.0 GPA from Tufts, although I recently took a year of full-time, post-bac courses (at Tufts) in Linguistics and got a 3.8 average for that year.

    I took the October LSAT and got a 162.

    I’m reaching for Northeastern and BC, while also looking at Suffolk. I am also looking at Loyola Chicago and DePaul.

    My question is that I am late on admissions. I have my recommendations set up, am finishing my essay, and getting everything all set on LSAC, but I didn’t realize that for some schools admissions started as early as September!

    How late am I since my application is not particularly strong? If I get everything in by the end of November will I have missed some spots that I could have gotten anyway?

    Thank you,

  25. Hi Ann,

    I currently have two letters of recommendation filed with the LSAC, but one of them is from a visual art professor (I was a double major in Economics and Visual Art). This professor was my adviser, taught me multiple courses, and knew me since my freshman year. The thing is, I have another letter of recommendation on the way (about 1.5 weeks away) from a sociology professor, in whose class I excelled. With the rolling admissions I’m concerned that I should just jump the gun and turn in my application now with the art professor’s letter (and my other) and not wait on the sociologist, even though it might be more topical to my pursuit of law. Should I be more concerned about getting my applications in as soon as possible or the specific relevance of the letter of recommendation?

    Thank you, you advice has been super helpful.

    1. Hi Thomas,
      The good news is that the LORs are the least important part of the process. The importance of the sociology professor’s letter really depends on your grades. If your grades in econ were great, then the school will know your academics aren’t an issue. But if the school might be worried about your academic abilities, and worried that you are only going to law school because you couldn’t make a living as an artist, then I would wait for the letter.
      Hope this helps!

  26. Hi Ann,

    Thanks for the advice, very helpful. I got 168 on my LSATs and have a cumulative GPA of 3.68 across both majors. Plenty of A’s in the economics degree. So I guess, based on your advice, and given the above I should just go ahead and apply asap with the letters that I already have?

    Thanks so much for the prompt response.


  27. Hi Anne,

    I just received my December LSAT scores I did not do as well as I thought. I scored in the high 140’s and have an undergrad GPA of 3.56 and a graduate GPA of 3.4 from George Washington and my goal is to apply to Syracuse University. Should I apply for fall 2011 since I have a low LSAT or should I take it again in June. I have to admit this is my second LSAT and I had a 10 point increase from the first one. Should I bother applying?

  28. Ann

    I have decided to go to law school, but i am worried that my immaturity in college at times will cost me. I have a low gpa, 2.8, due to my terrible freshmen and sophomore years, although my major gpa is 3.4. Then in junior year i bucked down and did well, joined the marines, and gained discipline. I scored 164 on LSAT. is that score with the 2.9 even worth applying?

    1. Justin – YES~!!!!!!! IT IS!! You have a fabulous upward trend story, Marines and a 164. You should absolutely apply to law school! Just pick your schools wisely!

  29. Hello Ann, I scored 147 on June LSAT test. My practice scores were in the range of 153-154. I have a 3.55GPA in #23 ranked undergrad school. I am planning on taking October test but I am not sure if waiting for December test is a better idea. Do I have a chance of getting in to a tier two school with these scores if I don’t do better on my next test? Should I take the extra time and take the test in December instead of October?

    1. Why on earth would you wait until December, Anne? You don’t need 5 months to prepare fr the LSAT if you’ve already been studying for most of this year. Take October and apply early. December is a back up or last resort plan if something happens in October.

  30. Hi Ann,

    I recently decided to leave a masters program and pursue law school instead. I would like to focus on studying for the lsat, but I still have two papers hanging over my head. Do you think it’s worth writing those papers for the sake of my law school application? My undergraduate gpa was a 3.89 in political science from a top institution.

  31. Sorry, I feel like I didn’t explain properly. It was a two-year masters and I decided to leave after the first year, but I have two papers from that first year that I still haven’t written.

  32. Hi Ann,

    I am looking to apply for this cycle with October LSAT score in mind (all registered for), yet very tempted to go to the december exam after cancelling the october exam. As I do not have satisfactory socres for the preps. Further, as I am looking to defer the entry – due to national service one has to do for two years from next year onwards – would it be wise to apply with stronger LSAT results after the december exam? Is it more favourable?

    One more, would it be wise to include that one is looking to defer the entry for two years to the addendum which I hope can substantiate acceptance chance? or would it only cause adverse effect.

    Finally, Sorry for this array of questions. One has not followed the GPA system, rather English Class system. Would the law schools understand the precise grades I have got during my undergrad years?

    Hope you can answer these questions.

    Thank you ever so much,

    Richard Lee

  33. Hi Ann,

    Sorry, I feel like I haven’t elaborated my story here, once one serves the national service there is absolutely no way of studying of LSAT until the term finishes. In other words, as one desperately, so desperately wishes to enter the law school as soon as the national service terminates immediately, one has no option but apply this year.

    As you said, would it be wise to apply with good LSAT score in december and add addendum saying one is looking to defer the entry due to national service (to increase acceptance chances despite it’s late in the cycle) to apply this year’s cycle?

    Thank you so much.

  34. Hi Ann,

    Thanks for a great blog. Can one mitigate the disadvantage of testing in December, by submitting a completed application early in the cycle, and indicating in the application/addendum that one plans to test in December?

    Also, on their websites, schools such as Yale and Harvard indicate that December is certainly one of the dates that one can test. Is there really a tremendous disadvantage to testing in December?

    Thank you.

    1. Al, December is a fine time to take the LSAT. Just make sure to submit all applications over winter break so they are in when schools open up again – submitting by January 6th or so is absolutely fine. Just don’t wait much longer than that. The post you’re commenting on is 2 years old and schools have been using their waiting lists a lot more since then so December has become a fine way to get into law school. I think June or October is better, but December is not setting you up for a huge disadvantage. There is no benefit to getting applications in before you take the LSAT because schools won’t even look at them until your file is complete, and you’ll be wasting time on applications that you could be spending on your LSAT. Also, you won’t know where to apply or whether you need an LSAT addendum.

  35. Hi Ann,
    I just graduated cum laude from undergrad (BU) 3.55 GPA. I postponed my June exam to October because I was incredibly burnt out from finishing a thesis and looking for a job. I started studying for the LSAT on Aug. 1 and plan to take the Oct. 1 test. I have been putting in between 20 and 30 hours per week in August but I have taken 3 practice tests and keep getting 147!!!! The schools I am looking at are:

    BU Law
    BC Law
    Suffolk Law
    New England school of law
    Seattle U
    U of Washington
    Harvard (total reach school)

    I am fluent in several languages, a minority and locked down a job at Harvard Business School as a research assistant. Should I just take the October test and submit whatever score I get for the sake of submitting early? Or should I take the December test and submit my applications later? Will my chances to get into those schools I mentioned above be hurt if I submit later? Is it better to submit early with a weaker score or submit later with a potentially better score even thought it’s coming in later than what is best? I get the feeling I will be in way better shape by December than I am now. I plan to continue to study all October and see what my score is and compare to my practice test scores at the end of October.

    1. Ruthie, I ALWAYS prefer a December exam with a higher score over an earlier lower score. Always. Wait, get a tutor for the LSAT and bring the score up as much as you can.

  36. Hi Ann,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to ease my worries. I plan to get a tutor for the December exam. If I submit my October score and submit all my materials by early November and tell them in an addendum that I’m going to take the December scores will they review my exam and wait to see my December scores or do they just wait until the December score is out to begin reviewing? Is that even possible or do I just have to wait until the December score is out to submit it?

    Thanks so much!

  37. ruthie, there is no reason to submit applications before your december exam. You don’t want to be rejected based on your first score if a school makes a decision before the December score by accident. Also, spend this time on LSAT prep and work on applications after you. Take the December test.. Plus, you won’t be able to write s coherent LSAT addendum until you know your new score, or even what schools will be good fits based on your performance.

  38. Thank you so much for the advice, Ann. You are a life saver! This is a very stressful time and it helps to have someone answer my questions and concerns.

  39. Ann,

    I am a recent graduate from James Madison University where I studied Cultural Anthropology. My Undergrad GPA was a 3.1 however I was a member of two honor societies and a professional fraternity.

    I have worked since the age of 15 for a publishing company (1 year), a top 10 Immigration Law Firm (5 years- I still work on a contractual basis), was signed to the Renee Godin Agency as a spokesmodel for the past 3 years, and am currently working as a Contracts Paralegal for a defense contractor outside of DC.

    Since I was about 11 years old, I have spent any free time I’ve had working with Intellectually Different Adults at a group home type facility in Northern Viriginia, teaching them life skills.

    I typically hold down two jobs at the same time and at one point three jobs during the course of my undergraduate career.

    I am looking to apply to UCLA, Pepperdine U, USC, Southwestern, and Loyola- in downtown Los Angeles.

    I am currently taking a kaplan course and intend on taking the December LSAT. I work about 40 hours a week but still manage to study 3 hours a night and 12 hours a weekend. I scored a 150 on my diagnostic. What should I aim to score on the LSAT in order to get into these schools? Is my GPA going to be a factor that will work agaisnt me?

    Thank you so much for your help,


    1. Hi Ari. Thanks for writing. You sound like a really hardworker. The diagnostic isn’t enough for me to go on to predict how you will do on the actual test. I hope you are taking lots of timed practice exams.
      Your GPA is low for these schools but not prohibitive depending on your LSAT score, so concentrate on that. The fact that you worked through undergrad (assuming that’s the case) should be something that the schools understand about you. We can’t talk about what schools are good for you until I know a lot more about you – too much in unknown, but the GPA won’t be a deal-killer at any of those schools, but will be low for UCLA and USC in particular.

  40. Ann,

    Thank you so much for your insight. I held two jobs during my undergraduate career and at one point three, I hope the law schools I apply to see this in a positive light.

    What type of LSAT score should I be aiming for in order to offset the relatively low GPA? I was also wondering when your second book will be coming out, please let me know when you have the time! Thank you again!

  41. Hi Ari,
    There is no magic number for the LSAT – it’s about getting the best score you are capable of getting and then strategizing around that when you ar picking schools.
    The next book is coming out in 2 weeks! I promise to have a big announcement on the blog!

  42. Hi Ann,

    I’m getting serious doubts about whether I should be taking the October LSAT this Saturday. I work full time as a paralegal and have a 2.7 GPA from undergrad where I majored in Biomedical Engineering at a top school. I took the LSAT in June and got a 150. This summer I spent most of my time studying for the patent bar exam which I took and passed, and only the past couple weeks have been studying for the October lsat, so my question is should I delay until December or is it worth taking it Saturday?

    My target schools right now are to go part time to either New York Law School, Suffolk, or possibly SCU. Would it be even possible to get into one of these schools with my current stats?

    1. Dan, you left out the key piece of information: whether there are any indications you would improve your LSAT score by taking it on Saturday. If not, then don’t take it. Set aside the time to study and take it in December instead.

  43. Hi Ann,

    I’m so thankful for your blog! I’m indecisive about a few things and I was hoping you could help.

    I just took the October 2011 test today and I’m not feeling so good about my score. In total, I didn’t get to 15 questions, though of course I bubbled something in! I’m guessing at best, I got a 165, at worst, a 158-160. Nerves played a huge role!

    I took a Kaplan course and had about 4 months to study, after withdrawing from the June 2011 LSAT. My PT’s ranged from 158-167, though usually around the 162 mark.

    So now I’m definitely considering retaking the test. I’d really like to boost my score up into the 170’s. Is 2 more months enough time for me to hone my skills for the test?

    I have a 3.42 GPA, graduated from UC Berkeley, but I’m not sure of my application strength. My LORs may not be as strong as I like (I was kind of timid and quiet in college), but I’ve recently started volunteering at a legal aid clinic and rape crisis center, which has consequently fueled my interest in going to law school. I have yet to truly start my application, such as the personal statement(s), and I need to send my recommenders a packet of information before they start writing.

    So I’m not sure if I should take the December test and apply without the advantage of being early in the cycle, or if I should wait until next year and have all of my application ready to go to apply in September 2012?

    I know my GPA is on the rather low side for the T-14s, but I really want to go to law school in NYC. My top choice is NYU, then Columbia, and Fordham. Obviously these law schools are no joke to get into, so I’m wondering if waiting a year, building on my resume, possibly taking the test in February 2012 to solidify a high score, would be a better option? Or is my GPA too low to have a good shot at these schools?

    Also, I’m still debating whether or not I should cancel my October test. I know that most schools don’t average scores anymore, but I feel like if it’s on the lower spectrum, it could still be a disability to my application.

    And lastly, I’ve used up a lot of the prep material from Kaplan, which included a wealth of books on LR, RC, and LG, have taken PT’s 47-63, and am running low on new material. Do you have any suggestions on which books to use for more independent study? I definitely need something for LR and I’ve heard good stuff about the logic bibles. To check out or to not check out?

    Thanks so much for any help, Ann! I really appreciate it 🙂

    1. Jing,
      First of all, I’m so happy the blog is helpful.
      Second, yes, if you are hitting mid-160s on practice tests and you feel you have room to improve, going up 4-6 points isn’t unreasonable. If you’re not being honest with yourself and you’ve really plateau-ed with your score then it’s probably not possible no matter how much time you give yourself.
      No reason to wait until next year even if you end up taking the December test. People get into top law schools with December scores all the time, really.
      Your GPA alone won’t preclude you from the schools because you went to a good undergrad school. But Columbia is especially picky about GPAs… we can’t evaluate your chances of admission without your LSAT score (and other important information too, of course).
      I don’t see a reason for you to cancel unless even a 165 is the worst you’ve done on practice exams. I don’t really have enough information to give you the opinion of whether you should cancel (something I try to avoid doing on the blog anyway because I just don’t know enough – it’s something I help my clients with because I know the entirety of the situation with them and not just a few facts).
      People do love the powerscore bibles…….

  44. Hi Ann,

    Thanks so much for the feedback! I’m a little confused by a comment you made, “I don’t see a reason for you to cancel unless even a 165 is the worst you’ve done on the practice exams.” I was averaging around 162 on the practice exams, so 165 was definitely not my worst, haha. Do you mean, if 165 was my worst on the practice exams, I still shouldn’t cancel?

    Also, is there any way to judge if I’ve plateau-ed? I don’t yet feel completely burnt-out by the test, but it’s definitely frustrating.

  45. Hey,

    I just took the October LSAT for the first time and performed much worse than my practice tests. I misread one of the rules in the logic section and surely missed all six of those questions. I scored a 156 but on practice tests I had scored between a 160-169. Towards the upper 160s in weeks immediately before the test. I am going to take the December test, but I am wondering whether or not I should apply to law schools right now? Is it bad to apply with a much lower score than you think you can get the second time? Will I still have a shot at scholarships if I wait until January to apply?

    1. Hi Erin,
      Don’t apply. Put all your energy into retaking the LSAT and apply with your higher score. There will still be scholarships left, especially this year because application #s are down.

  46. Hi Erin,

    First I would just like to say your blog has been extremely helpful!

    I am a recent college grad and I just took the oct’ lsat and scored a 153. i was shocked since I was scoring 160 -162 on at least 15 practice l-sats before the actual one. im not a strong test taker but i felt real calm and focused when i was actually taking it.

    With a g.p.a of 3.3 I was really focusing on getting a high lsat score to make me competitive to go to a top 25-50 law school but now with my lsat score I see that as highly unlikely. I also felt like I hit a plateau at the 160 mark because I couldn’t pass it for a month (I’ve been studying 4-8 hrs a day since august) I studied on my own taking plenty of practice tests and using the power score bibles.

    my question to you is do you think i should postpone until June so i have sufficient time to raise my practice lsat hopefully past my plateau to high 160’s and take a course. That way i would be sure to score in the mid to low 160s and apply to law school for fall of 2013 early admissions.

    or retake the december lsat, most likely raise my score to the 160 mark (nerves allowing) and apply then.

    * all my LOR are strong and personal and diversity statements are done.

    Im torn in the sense that i was expecting to do great and the idea of actually working an actual job until fall of 2013 sends chills up my spine lol Im a philosophy major and practicing law was my goal ever since sophomore year.

  47. Hi Ann,

    Well I was pretty much devastated when I got my 162 LSAT score yesterday. I had been practicing with TestMasters, with my highest PT being a 171 and my last 5 PT’s were 5 straight 166’s so I thought I would at least stay near that range. It was the Reading Comp that did me in, I missed 12 whole questions when I usually miss at most 6-8. I do have a 3.9 GPA and an impressive legislative internship but I just don’t know if that’s good enough to get me into some of the schools I’m applying to:
    William and Mary
    Lewis and Clark
    UC Davis
    UC Hastings

    I do feel like my score is good enough to get me into my home school Boyd so I’m wondering if I should go ahead and apply there and hold off on some of the higher ranked schools until I do the Dec test or if I should just forget about that and settle with the 162 and get all my apps in by mid Nov. I still want scholarship money and don’t want to risk that, although I know I could get more money with even just 2 to 3 more points which I’m capable of getting.

    I also feel like if I take the Dec test I would be able to tell if I did better than a 162 or not and I could just immediately cancel it and then submit everything by early December anyway. So I’m thinking I should at least take the Dec test and wait for it if I’m confident I did well, and then send in the apps for the higher-tiered schools like OSU and William and Mary. Although then again it’s a risk and some people say 162 might be good enough to get in those schools already.

    Any advice would GREATLY help me, I think thinking about this has only gotten me more confused. 🙁

  48. Hi Ann,

    I think your blog is great!
    I just took the October LSAT and got a 165 🙁
    I have been getting 168-172 on my practice tests, but I missed quite a few on the last two sections. I have signed up for December but do you think I should submit my apps as soon as I finish the Dec LSAT or wait until my score gets back?
    Thanks for your help!