Not sure you’ll be ready for the October LSAT? Wondering whether you’re too late to start applying for law school entrance in Fall 2013?
With a month to go until the October LSAT, I’m fielding a lot of calls from people who aren’t sure they will be ready in time to take it. They are feeling the pressure of rolling admissions and asking me whether – if they choose not to take the October LSAT – they need to wait and apply next year instead of this year. If you are feeling this panic, here is my advice:
1. Have you been studying and taking timed practice tests? If not, you won’t be ready for the October LSAT. Wait for the December LSAT and you can still apply for Fall 2013 admission (submitting applications in early January). Yes, you’ll miss most of the early decision and early action deadlines, but with law school application numbers significantly down and dwindling further you won’t be at a significant disadvantage by applying on that timeline.
2. You’ve been studying, and you are seeing some increase in your practice LSAT scores, but you’re not where you’d like to be? You still have 5 weeks. That’s a lot of time to make improvements. Make the most of it. Curtail as many outside activities as possible. Figure out what questions and question types you are struggling with the most. Consider what’s working with your strategy and what isn’t. Is it time to call in a good LSAT tutor? Remember that you don’t have to decide today whether you will take the October LSAT; you can withdraw your LSAT test registration at almost any time.
3. Remember that you can take the October LSAT and, if you don’t feel like it was your best performance, cancel your LSAT score and then take the December LSAT. See how much studying your can fit into the next month, and monitor your progress. Take at least 5 timed practice exams (with 5 sections!) and make sure they are recently administered, actual LSAT exams. Keep track of how you are doing and whether you are seeing a slight increase, or if you are hitting a plateau. If you hit these scores on the real thing, will you feel you’ve done what you needed to do? Have you done your best? Do you feel there is more you could do? Really think about how you are doing – not when you are crouched over your desk, but when you are jogging, relaxing, just thinking. Be honest with yourself and you will make a good decision about whether to proceed.
Here is a post I wrote for U.S. News two years ago, “Are You Really Ready for the October LSAT?” I hope it helps you make this decision. Let me know if you have any questions.
I took the LSAT in June and didn’t prepare as much as I should have and I misbubbled which cost me a few points (I got a 157). I am registered to take it again in October, but I’m thinking of pushing it back until December because some stuff has happened and I still feel unprepared. If I do wait until December should I still send out applications before I retake with my original score? I want to have a leg up on the competition but I also don’t want to get rejected before I would get my December score back because of my lackluster performance in June. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Jenna, if you feel unprepared, do what you need to do to get your best possible LSAT score. The LSAT is on December 1 (early this year!) and I’d rather you take that, get a great score, and apply at the end of December/early January.