When is a Low LSAT Score Too Low?

My most-read blog topics are those dealing with very low LSAT scores; there are a lot of you out there. The original post is from 2008, and since it’s now June 2019, I think it’s time for an update:

So, what constitutes a “low” LSAT score? The LSAT is scored from 120-180, and an average score is about 150.

LSAT Score Ranges

RangeScorePercentile
Low120-147 Bottom third
Mid-Range148-156 33rd-67th percentile
High157-164 70th-89th percentile
Exceptional165-180 Top 10% of all test takers

People often ask me whether their scores are “too low” to attend law school. If your score is 150 or above, it’s not a particularly low score, depending on which law school you want to attend and how your GPA balances your LSAT for that school. Let’s focus this conversation for those of you below a 147 LSAT. In general, if you are in the mid-140’s or above, I have had success helping applicants fulfill their law school admission goals as long as people are flexible about where to attend and you’re willing to pay full price for law school. But once you get below that number, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

What a Low LSAT Score Means

If your LSAT score is in the 130s or low 140s, it’s very hard to find an ABA law school anywhere in the US that will offer you unrestricted acceptance (especially in the increasingly competitive environment). And you’ll be paying full price if you get lucky enough to get in to one of these questionable schools where the outcomes are far from guaranteed.

Conditional Acceptance Programs

It may be possible to gain acceptance to a conditional program at an ABA law school (especially with scores in the low to mid 140s) but even that has its problems. You may get yourself into Nova Southeastern or somewhere to try the conditional course, and then they may only offer acceptance to 2 of the 100 participants. The problem is that once you are unsuccessful in gaining acceptance through a conditional admission program, other law schools will be hard pressed to find a reason to give you a chance at their own school, even with a slightly improved LSAT score.

Re-Taking the LSAT

If you haven’t exhausted your opportunities to take the LSAT, then take it again. However, you must prepare differently than you did before. And don’t rush the process; give yourself time to prepare and keep in mind that there are once again limits on the number of times you can take the LSAT. Make improving your score your focus; without it, the world’s best personal statement, most impressive resume, and illuminating letters of recommendation won’t make a bit of difference. (This is why I often tell people with low LSAT scores to come back to me when they have a higher score; I don’t want you to waste your money!)

Those of you who know me know that I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I will always give my honest opinion in the hopes that this helps you make good decisions about your future.

If you’re concerned about your Low LSAT or Low GPA, you can contact me to schedule a consultation where we can discuss your options.

1,039 thoughts on “When is a Low LSAT Score Too Low?

  1. Cong Nguyen on said:

    Hi there Ann.
    Just found this blog and it has been a great read. To follow the herd, I would like to see what you think of my situation. My current GPA is 3.9 rounded (3.87 un-rounded). My LSAT, as it currently sits, is a 149. I’m trying to stay in my home state of Hawaii and attend William S. Richardson Law school. Their 25th percentile of 2019 LSAT score is 153. I am above their 75th percentile in GPA by quite a bit. I have rec letters coming from professors of different fields(1 in environmental science, 1 is English and 1 is Theology; still deciding on which one to use for which apps). I don’t plan to only apply there, but would preferably stay home rather than move. Oh, and I am taking the August test that is coming up. Praying for 152+ because I choke on the LSAT. Maybe if it wasn’t such a big deal, I would be more calm haha.

  2. Cong Thanh Nguyen on said:

    Hi there Ann.

    Just following the herd here.

    I’m a recent undergrad graduate with a 3.87 gpa. My diagnostic LSAT is a 149. Hoping for at least a 153 on the rest test, but let’s use hypothetical that I get a 149 on my real LSAT. I’m aiming to apply for Richardson law school which is the law school ih Hawai’i, my home state. Statistically speaking, My gpa is much higher than their usual 75th percentile while my lsat would be in their 25th percentile, barely. If my app is really good with rec letters from prominent professors in the community, do you think my LSAT will be outweighed by everything and my chances of being accepted improve or does it not matter?

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