Today is the LSAT. Which means that you may be panicking and weighing the pros and cons of canceling your LSAT score.
Should you be ready to apply early in the admission cycle by keeping your September LSAT score, or should you wait until December and apply later with a (hopefully) higher score?
If this was your third time taking the LSAT, the only decision you have to make is whether you improved your score this time or not. If you are fairly certain you did not improve from a previous recorded LSAT score, then cancel. Yes, schools take the highest of multiple scores (either directly in their index calculations or subjectively),but they will see all of the scores and if you are fairly certain you did not improve there isn’t a lot of incentive to keep this last score. The decision is easy for you if this is the case.
If you still have the opportunity to retake the test in December, here are some guidelines for whether to cancel your LSAT score:
1. Did you totally freak out during the test? Did you mis-bubble, miss a section, and/or mess up your timing significantly? If so, cancel.
2. Are you sick or terribly distracted by something in your personal life? If so, cancel.
3. Did you suddenly realize you didn’t study nearly as much as you should have for the test? For example, did you take fewer than 5 timed practice tests to prepare? If so, you may want to cancel. However, if you would be happy with a score in the range of the timed practice tests you took, then you may want to keep this score and see what happens – you can always re-take in December.
Remember that you have 6 days to cancel your LSAT score – I advocate taking at least 2 days to make the decision. When the adrenaline leaves your body, you will feel depleted. That’s not a good environment for making a solid decision about whether to cancel. Stop and think about it. Sleep on it. You don’t get bonus points for canceling immediately. A cancelled score is still a cancelled score, on Day 1 or Day 5.
And, no, I don’t believe you need to write an LSAT addendum to explain one cancelled score. It’s not a big deal. It’s preferable to an addendum showing your poor judgment in keeping a score that wouldn’t be indicative of your potential to succeed in law school.
If you feel confident that you would raise your score meaningfully (more than a point or two) by waiting until December or retaking the test in December, then I’m all for waiting. The rolling admission pressure (I mean “process”) has less emphasis in a year when applications are down significantly (yes, that’s the current admission cycle, absolutely). If you are a stronger candidate with a December LSAT score, then wait until December. Easy decision!