One of the most common questions we are asked regarding law school admissions is, "Should I take the LSAT again, and if I do, how will law schools interpret my scores?" In order to help you better understand your options, we have researched LSAC policy, as well as that of top law schools, and spoken with many admissions counselors regarding these issues.
How many times are you allowed to take the LSAT?
Starting with the September 2019 LSAT, students can only take the test three times per testing cycle. (Traditionally a testing cycle begins in June and lasts through the following May, however the 2021-2022 testing cycle runs from August 2021 through June 2022.) There is a limit of five attempts every five years, and a lifetime limit of seven attempts.
How are LSAT scores are reported?
LSAC policy is as follows: “LSAC will automatically report the results of all LSATs in your file, including cancellations and absences, [for the preceding five years]. The scores are averaged and are also listed separately.” (Note: LSAC rounds up when calculating the average score).
Should you take the LSAT more than once?
One of the most persistent law school admissions myths is the notion that schools consider every LSAT score—or the average score—for individual applicants when assessing their admissions profile. This is a particularly tough myth to counter because it often originates from the carefully crafted semantics law schools themselves use in describing how they view multiple tests.
Law schools do read files holistically and they do see every LSAT score/cancellation/absence of each applicant. However, no matter what anyone says, the reality is that only the high score is submitted by law schools to the ABA and it is therefore the only score US News & World Report will ever see when computing their schools rankings. Thus, the high score means everything and all other results are essentially meaningless for reporting purposes. In practical terms then it behooves an applicant to retake the LSAT if they feel like they haven’t reached their potential. This is not a green light to take the test 6 or more times without regard to its effect on your application; an extreme amount of takes may indicate larger issues to an admissions office, but that’s an exceptionally rare case. Instead it simply suggests that for the vast majority of scenarios, retaking for a higher score presents all opportunity with no downside.
Is a significant score increase possible?
It is important to understand that the LSAT is not an I.Q. test! Dramatic score increases are possible—routine, in fact—with proper preparation and the right approach. We regularly see students achieve double-digit score increases after studying the groundbreaking techniques taught in our courses, where we use real LSAT questions presented by an instructor who has scored 170 or higher on an actual LSAT (this is the minimum requirement for all of our LSAT instructors). With the proper approach to this test significant score improvement isn’t just possible, it’s inevitable.