The short answer:
If this LSAT saw you at or below the low end of your PT range then you know you're capable of more, and another attempt is your chance to prove it. Similarly, if you know you could have done more to prep—which is the case for just about everyone—then you know you left some points on the table. Go get 'em!
To help unpack that a little, ask yourself the following:
Does your score reflect your ability?
How you perform as you practice is likely to reflect how you'll perform on the real thing.
If your score is far below your results on practice tests, or if you performed significantly worse in a particular area than is typical, you have a good reason for thinking you could improve your LSAT score on a retest. On the other hand, if your real score was within a few points of your last several practice tests, the chances of it miraculously improving on test day are minimal unless you plan to do something differently (for more on this keep reading).
How did you feel the day of the test?
Was there an issue that caused problems or affected you?
Were you sick or upset about something? Was there an issue at the test center that caused problems or affected you? How much did test anxiety play a role in your performance? If a distraction made you feel that you were performing worse than you usually do on a test, it would probably be worth taking the LSAT again when you’re feeling well enough to do your best, and when disruptions are less likely to hurt your final score.
How does your score measure up?
If you're well below your schools' averages, the need to retake the LSAT becomes clear.
Compare your score to those of students recently admitted to the schools in which you’re interested. If you’re already above (or towards the 75th percentile of) the qualifications your schools look for, there’s probably no need to bother with a retest. Similarly, if you’re near or just below the average acceptance score, spending your time and effort improving other parts of your application—personal statement, supplementary essays, letters of recommendation—may prove more valuable than another point or two on the test. If you’re well below your schools’ averages, the need to retake the LSAT becomes clear.
How will the next time be different?
Be honest with yourself about how you intend to prepare for the next attempt.
Let’s face it: you’re considering a retake because, so far, you haven’t gotten to where you want to be. For that to change on your next attempt, you need to change the way that you approach the exam. Whether that means you invest in a course or private tutor, or simply dedicate more time to your studies and diligently work to analyze and correct your shortcomings, without a different understanding of the LSAT, there’s no reason to expect a different score. So be honest with yourself about how you intend to prepare for the next attempt.
Are significant score improvements possible?
Dramatic score increases are possible!
The LSAT is not an I.Q. test! That is, it tests only how well you understand the LSAT, not how innately intelligent you are, or your vocabulary, or your knowledge of particular subjects like Science or the Law. Conquering the LSAT is solely dependent on you recognizing the common elements used by the test makers—from reasoning types, to Logic Games setups and scenarios, to answer choice traps—and then having powerful strategies with which to respond to those elements. That’s it.
What that means then is that dramatic score increases are possible, often in a fairly short period of time, provided you receive proper training and you practice with the right approach. We routinely see students achieve 15-20+ point score increases after studying the proven techniques taught in our courses, where the use of real LSAT questions, examined and deconstructed by world-class instructors with top percentile scores, allows people of all abilities to break down the LSAT and unlock their true potential.