How Many Times Can You Take the LSAT?
- May 01, 2023
- LSAT, LSAT Advice
- Reviewed by: Matt Riley
If you’re familiar with the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), you know the exam can be daunting. It requires hours of LSAT prep, and, more than likely, induces some anxiety. When I first took the LSAT, I was plagued with questions like: What if I don’t get the score I want? Can I take the LSAT again? When should I retake and when should I stick with the score(s) I have? How many LSAT retakes are too many? Are my LSAT scores still valid?
If any of these questions are on your mind, fear not. We’ll provide some guidance. When deciding to retake the LSAT, or how many times you should retake, there are many factors to consider:
How many times are you allowed to take the LSAT?
According to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), you were previously only allowed to take the LSAT up to three times in a given testing year, five times within the current and five past testing years (the period in which LSAC reports scores to law schools) and up to seven times over your lifetime. A new LSAT testing year begins each August.
However, beginning with the August 2023 test, you can now take the LSAT five times within the current reportable score period (which is five testing years) and up to seven times over your lifetime. LSAC removed the limit of taking three tests per testing year and you can, in theory, take all five allotted LSATs in one testing year—but why would you?
Tests taken between September 2019 and June 2023 will be counted against these new limits, except for the May-August 2020 LSAT-Flex tests. Canceled LSAT scores from the applicable time window will also count toward your limit, but absences and withdrawals will not.
Will law schools see all your LSAT scores, and does having multiple LSAT scores “look bad”?
Yes, when you apply to law school, all schools you apply to will be able to see every LSAT you’ve taken. This means they can see if you’ve canceled your scores as well as all existing scores that you’ve kept.
But no, reporting multiple scores will not “look bad” to schools to which you’ve applied. If your score report reflects that you’ve improved between exams, that will bode well for you. It shows that you worked hard and are committed to improving. However, if you have a large discrepancy between reported LSAT scores (e.g., 10 points or more), you may choose to write an addendum for your law school applications explaining the jump.
What is Score Preview, and should you get it?
Starting in 2020, LSAC started making Score Preview available to LSAT test-takers, but you can only do it once. Score Preview allows you to view your LSAT score before deciding to keep or cancel it. You’ll receive your LSAT score with everyone else, and then you will have a window of time to choose to keep or cancel that score.
You have up until the day before your LSAT to purchase Score Preview for $45. If you wait until after you’ve taken the test, you’ll have to pay $75. If you have an LSAT Fee Waiver through LSAC, you can get Score Preview for free.
If you’re in a financial situation where you can afford the $45 fee or if you qualify for a fee waiver, I highly recommend getting Score Preview. You can think of it like an insurance policy: you might not want to cancel your score, but you can have some peace of mind on test day knowing that you at least have the option.
If you’re not happy with your score and you opted into Score Preview, should you cancel that score?
I hate to be annoying here, but the only answer to this question is it depends. If you know for a fact that you can improve your score and there is no way you will want your first score to remain on your record for law schools to see, you should cancel. However, if you are somewhat happy with your score, but it’s just not quite what you wanted, you may decide to keep it. If there is any chance that you will want the schools you apply to see that score, canceling might not be for you. Just because you paid for Score Preview doesn’t mean you have to use it.
How do canceled scores show up on my record for law schools?
While all law schools you apply to will be able to see that you took the LSAT exam and that you canceled your score, they will not see when or why you canceled. They will not know if you canceled using Score Preview or if you canceled before getting your score. People cancel all the time due to technical difficulties, shaky nerves, or other test-day concerns. Schools will not know when or why you canceled, and you will not owe them a reason.
Should I take the LSAT again, and when?
Again, the answer to the question is unique to you. However, a lot of this decision boils down to some simple math: Effort ≤ Outcome. For those of you who shiver at equations (myself included), this really means that the time and energy you put into retaking the LSAT exam should be outweighed by the increase you expect to see in your average LSAT score. So, if you think you only need a little more studying to see your test score increase a few points, then it might be worth it. Alternatively, if you think it would take a lot of time and work to study again, but you think you could see a big improvement in your test score, that might work too. It all comes down to how you feel and what you think you can do with your extra studying. (Side note: our live online students see an average score increase of 15 points.)
If you decide to retake the LSAT, when to do it depends on your schedule. As you already know, studying for the LSAT is demanding, and you need to have time to dedicate to your studies, especially if you have a full-time job. Choose to retake at a time that works best for your work and/or school schedule to help improve your LSAT score. Also bear in mind that the longer you wait between exams, the more review you likely will need when you get back to studying. This is not a bad thing, but it is something to factor into your schedule.
Whether you’re taking the LSAT for your first time or your seventh, Blueprint has you covered with the resources to help you get your dream score. Get our free LSAT resources, including a practice test that shows your strengths and weaknesses and a study planner you can customize to your schedule!
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