Timeline for December LSAT Takers

Law School Expert Blog

We’re two weeks away from the December LSAT. This is make it or break it time. If you aren’t hitting in the range where you need to be hitting, you might want to consider waiting and taking the February or June LSAT and applying early in the next admission cycle rather than late in this one with a score you’re unhappy with. As I write more extensively about in The Law School Admission Game, February is a less than ideal time to take the LSAT for admission the same year. Of course, applications are down overall this year so it is less lethal this year than in others, but only for those who have scores that schools will find competitive. It’s not the way to get into a reach school.

For those of you who take the December LSAT, here’s how you should plan out your time in the next 6 weeks:

In late November: make sure transcripts and letters of rec are on their way (hopefully received) by LSAC/CAS.

December 3: LSAT

December 4-25: work on and finalize your personal statement, resume, optional essays and addenda (just not an LSAT addendum because you can’t explain your LSAT history without knowing your most recent score).

Late December: once you have your score, finalize your schools list and start filling out applications. There is no rush over winter break: law schools are closed and no one is moving your file around to review it.

Early January: submit applications. Aim to be done in the first two weeks of January.

This is absolutely a strategy for success – people get into amazing law schools on this timeline, so don’t panic. This post should put you at ease about your decision to take the December LSAT if you are confident you can raise your score (or if you need a score on the board, of course). Let me know if you have any questions.


19 Responses

  1. Hi Ann,

    I just found your site today and I am planning to take the Dec 2011 LSAT exam, but I feel extremely under prepared despite of studying PowerScore prep course and practicing past LSAT exam.

    This will be my first time taking the LSAt exam and I am thinking to may just skip out getting scored, but go to get a feel for what the actual exma day is like.

    Every time I take old LSAT exams all ranging from the 2000s, I’ve been scoring around the mid 130s to low 140s. I don’t feel that is a drastic difference and I don’t want my first score to reflect it either. Should I take the risk of getting a low score and having it published or should I postpone my test?

    Thanks for all your useful information and advice!

  2. Hi Ann,

    Thanks for all the great information. I retook my LSAT and want to turn in my applications (I have my letters in, and personal statement is essentially done). There are just some optional essay’s I’d like to complete.

    You mentioned that we shouldn’t send an LSAT addendum since we don’t know our scores, especially if I send my applications sometime this upcoming week. But won’t law schools want an explanation for a 6-10 point increase? Thank you.

  3. Hello,

    I found your website months ago and really enjoy it. My questions is this. I took the Lsat yesterday and, besides it being one of the hardest tests I’ve ever taken, I’m not really sure how I did. I can barely remember what happened because I was pretty anxious. I know I didn’t finish some of the sections completely although, I’ve done this before and I’ve still gotten a decent score. My biggest concern is that I may have mis-bubbled the reading comprehension section. However, the truth is, I don’t clearly recall if I did or not. I woke up early this morning thinking that maybe I did. But, I’m not sure if this is just from the exhaustion of the whole thing or I’m remembering now that I made a mistake.
    So, I’m not sure if I should cancel or not and wait another year to go to law school or just wait and see how it turns out.
    Any advice?

  4. Dear Ann,

    Your website is phenomenal and your book has been incredibly helpful for me. Thank you so much.

    I am seeking advice on whether or not to cancel my LSAT score. While I was hopeful of attending a top law school, I blew my chances this past weekend whiletaking the LSAT. Though confident going into the exam (scoring in the 170s), my weekend brought me a relative in intensive care and learning of the death of a friend.

    I am rather certain I am set to receive an abysmal score, or one in the low 160s at best.

    I am uncertain what to do at this point. I do not want a low score to permanently affect me, but will a cancellation have the same effect? Also, how can I explain this to those writing letters of recommendation for me and to the admissions directors with whom I have been in contact?

    Any guidance you have would be invaluable. Thank you.

    1. #Fail, (hate calling you that!)
      I’m so glad the resources we provide are helpful. It sounds like you took the test in less than ideal circumstances where you could not have performed to the best of your ability. If it’s your first time taking the test, I think you should cancel. For people writing LORs, it has no bearing whatsoever since LSAC will hold letters for 5 years. Also, you can let admission directors know that personal circumstances prevented you from giving this test your full attention and that you plan to retake it and will be in touch then.

  5. Hi Ann,
    I read your book the Law School Admission Game and i found it quite enlightening. I currently have a LSAT score of 156 and gpa of 3.2. My top choice is to attend the University of Miami. I have completed my bachelors at this university and i am pursuing a graduate degree at said university. My issue is this, I am short of one letter of recommendation because I was waiting to see my grade in an Environmental Law course I was taking before asking the professor for a Letter of Recommendation. Unfortunately although he agreed, he cannot get started until the 25th of December as he is travelling. Will this delay negatively affect the timeliness of my application’s review thus thwarting my chances of getting in? Should I wait to reapply for the next yr as my chances will be greater as I will have a thesis and work experience from an internship I am set to commence from January? I am afraid that I if I apply now, missing one letter, and I am rejected, it will affect my chances of getting in the year after. Please please advise!! I will be ever so grateful!!!!
    P.S. Your book rocks.

    1. Anita,
      I love having fans at UM! I’m coming to speak on campus in March, so keep an eye out for that.
      You’ll have to go by the professor’s schedule. It’s not the end of the world. Just let UM know that the letter is on it’s way, and ask the professor if it can be sent in during the first week of January. You can always apply next year if you don’t get in this year -a rejection one year doesn’t mean automatic rejection next year. However, make sure your applications materials are very strong because they will still have access to them next year.

      1. P.S. Anita,
        I’m so happy the book rocks! I always appreciate 5-star reviews on Amazon if you’re so inclined. And I have a new book out too, The Law School Decision Game.

  6. Hi Ann-
    I am the old head, career IT Professional that will be making a career change soon. I intend to begin my research on law schools(for my focus), the LSAT and the likes. Having NOT picked up a book – nor do I have a clue. I’d like to know the following: How long are the scores valid for(I may take the exam in June OR December 2012), do you really suggest that I go back & get a professors recommendation(I am 34), is there any other useful advice for the Older Generation ;)?

      1. Well it’s one year later and I am taking the exam on 12.1. I am certain i’ll be soliciting your services after I see my scores. I have no plans of immediately applying as my job is C-R-A-Z-Y. I read the book(s) and they were great. And yes, I’ll do my Amazon review tonight;)


  7. Hey Ann,
    First off Happy Holidays, just stumbled on to your website, what a great resource. I am a 26 y/o African American male. 3.0 ugpa (1st 2 years we’re rough took classes over and had excellent grades my last 3 years actually graduated wit a 3.5) got my masters at NYU (psychology 3.95). Been working for a non profit mental health court program the last 2 years. I took the october LSAT and felt terrible about it walking out of the test room. I decided not to cancel and I got a 159. Studied more, took practice tests 4-5 days per week (average 164) really worked on time management and retook in December. The december test felt great, games have always been my achille’s heel but december’s went well. Wanted to say thanks for the December timeline. I get nervous about apllying too late but the timeline puts me at ease.

  8. Hi Ann,

    Thank you so much for all this advice! I read your book and am now goig through your blog and have one quick question. You mentioned that LSAT scores are valid for 3 years at most schools. Does this mean that schools won’t see your previous scores if the test was taken more than 3 years ago?

    Thanks so much!

  9. Hey Ann,
    Just following up on my last post. Thanks for the positive wishes for my December results, I received a 165. I have all my paperwork in order, just finishing my personal statement edits. Fordham is my top (realistic) choice but I’ve asked around and was told to cast a wide net when I apply. The only issues I have are where to apply and personal statement edits. After I finalize my personal statment I’ll be in contact about a consultation. Take care, Jean

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