How Much Does the LSAT Cost?
- Jul 01, 2022
- financial aid, LSAT, LSAT Advice
The LSAT costs… A mint? A pretty penny? An arm and a leg? Actually, it costs $200.
If you think that’s not so bad, take note: while $200 is the technical cost of the test, your total LSAT-related costs are much higher. Read on to find out how much test-takers spend and, more importantly, see how you can cut costs where possible and get the most value out of what you do spend.
What the LSAT Costs
Let’s talk cost. Along with the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), you’ll need a writing sample—$15 (each), a score preview—$45-$75, a law school report (to show your score)—$45 (per school), and the Credential Assembly Service (to send your score)—$195. You’ll further incur variable practice, LSAT preparation, and logistical costs. All in all, the LSAT is quite an investment, and like any investment, you should carefully consider how to minimize costs and maximize value.
Waivers and Reimbursement
Hoping for a pocketbook reprieve? That reprieve can come in the form of available waivers and reimbursement opportunities. These are usually based on financial need, so not every cost-conscious LSAT hopeful will qualify. Let’s see how many you may qualify for and how you can apply.
LSAC Fee Waivers
One available waiver comes directly from the test-maker. LSAC, or the Law School Admission Council, renews its commitment to “increasing equity and access to legal education” every year by offering a two-tiered fee waiver program, whereby you can apply to have your LSAT-related costs greatly reduced. To be sure, there are requirements for approval (including citizenship/residency status and financial need), but if you think you might be part of the 10% of students who qualify, it’s definitely worth looking into.
A small warning before you head over to LSAC, though: the fee waiver application process is complicated, requiring careful planning and ample documentation. You must submit your application a minimum of six weeks ahead of your desired LSAT test date, and you’ll also need to submit all supporting documentation within 45 days of application. And there’s no workaround.
LSAC does not offer retroactive waivers, so if you miss the early decision deadline, you’re out of luck. You will either have to change your test date (which may incur costs) or pay full price.
The financial need requirements listed on LSAC’s website can be confusing, but there is a tool that can help you make sense of your situation: an FPL (federal poverty level) calculator. There are many FPL calculators available, and they can be found via a simple internet search. An FPL calculator will help you determine if you meet the financial need requirements, saving you a lot of time and headache when deciding if it’s worthwhile for you to apply.
Law School Waiver Programs
If you are part of the 90% of students who don’t qualify for the LSAC fee waiver program, don’t panic! You may still have other cost-saving options. Some amazing, laudable, and just all-around cool law schools offer one such option in the form of in-house waiver systems. They aren’t handing out free tests, but they do waive their application fees, which will help mitigate part or all of the cost of your LSAT. True, not every law school offers these sweet waivers, but it never hurts to ask!
To find out if your dream schools are really as cool as you hope they are, create a simple form email to ask if they provide waivers—word to the wise, putting all the schools’ email addresses on the same line isn’t a good look. Send a separate email to each school to avoid an embarrassing, group-text kind of faux pas. In your email, ask if the school offers application fee waivers, and if so, if there are criteria to get one. Always be polite and remember that waiver programs are rare, so don’t take it personally if a school says no.
If your schools do offer waivers, move on them quickly! Application fee waivers are doled out on a first-come, first-served basis, and they run out fast. The school year begins in late summer, but you can almost bet that by winter, all those golden tickets will be gone.
LSAT Fee Reimbursement
A final help with the cost of the LSAT and related LSAC fees is for the military community—the GI Bill. The GI Bill covers all LSAT costs and associated fees. There’s just one eensy-weensy catch: this perk is by reimbursement only.
Helpfully though, there is no limit to the number of times the GI Bill will reimburse for LSAT attempts. There are lifetime limits on total GI Bill funds, though, so we still don’t advise a take, re-take, re-re-take kind of attitude.
Minimizing Costs and Maximizing Value
Aside from LSAT and application fee waivers, there are other ways you can easily minimize or even eliminate your costs.
Consider your logistical costs. You’ll need computer equipment, internet access, and a test center that meets LSAC requirements. Don’t worry (or spend!) if you don’t have the perfect LSAT setup—LSAC’s got you. You’re able to submit an “assistance request” via their website (but do it early; like all LSAC assistance, you must start the process well before your test date).
As for maximizing value, the best way to ensure you get the most bang for your LSAT bucks is to invest in an LSAT prep course. If you’re prepared come test day and knock it out of the park with your goal test score, consider these costs you’ll be able to avoid: the cost of LSAT retake fees, the cost of additional writing samples, the cost of needing to use optional services like the score preview, the cost of additional law school reports, and the cost of additional law school application fees. Knowing how many questions are on the LSAT is also helpful for preparation since that can give you a gauge to just how long it will take to complete the exam.
Adding to that, settling for a low LSAT score can be even more costly, affecting which law school you end up attending and often resulting in a significant cost increase due to lost opportunity, including lost scholarships, higher cost of attendance, and lower potential future earnings. Luckily, each of these costs can be avoided by coming in with your strongest possible LSAT score.
Facts: the returns on your preparation investment are much higher than the many costs associated with being unprepared on test day. It is more than safe to say that investing in good LSAT preparation is the best way to avoid unnecessary costs and maximize the value of your total LSAT investment.
Avoiding Costs by Assessing Your LSAT Preparation Needs
Start planning now by accessing a completely free resource—a Blueprint Prep LSAT practice test. This way, you’ll find out your baseline score before you spend anything! This saves you money in three ways.
- 1. Your free Blueprint Prep practice test will tell you whether you’re ready for the LSAT exam. It’s just not worth taking the LSAT if your practice score is lower than the median LSAT of your targeted schools. In fact, it can cost you! One in four test-takers end up taking the test multiple times, and some unfortunate test-takers have even needed to take the LSAT as many as seven times!
There are no Hail Marys on test day. Take your free Blueprint Prep practice test; it’s a no-brainer that can save you from retake fees.
- 2. The second way your free Blueprint Prep practice test is going to save you money: it will tell you how far you are from your goal LSAT score. This information is important because it allows you to predict how much time you need to prepare and, consequently, which test date you should sign up for.
You don’t want to sign up for the wrong test date. The cost of changing dates can be as high as $135, and the cost of skipping a scheduled test altogether is $200 (and a cancellation listed in your permanent LSAT record).
Another important reason for knowing your goal LSAT score is what LSAT score is needed for scholarships from law schools. Make sure you’re able to familiarize yourself with those scores if a scholarship seems like something you need for your continuing education.
- 3. One last point (bear with me here, I’m on a roll!): your free Blueprint Prep practice test will help you gauge how much and what type of test prep resources, like free webinars, you’ll need. This is important because students who prepare for the LSAT often self-report using not one, not two, but three (or more) preparation methods! Can you imagine? Investing in this, investing in that, trying this, trying that, one prep method after the next ’til you find what works for you?
Don’t let this happen to you! Take the test, find out what you need, and invest in the right preparation method—the first time.
Why Prepping with Blueprint Will Be Your Best LSAT Investment
My favorite attorney’s slogan is “Secure da Bag,” and test-takers who prepare with Blueprint Prep are on their way to doing just that. Past LSAT test-takers who self-report using test preparation programs (of which we believe Blueprint Prep is the best) consistently outscore LSAT test-takers who don’t.
Preparing with Blueprint Prep will add points to your score (guaranteed, literally), and every one of those additional LSAT points represents fewer retakes and fewer safety-school applications, more scholarship opportunities, and more potential future earnings.
I’ll say it: Blueprint Prep is smarter, more adaptive, and better taught than any LSAT prep program has a right to be. It’s the single best LSAT investment you’ll make. Start today with making an account to access all of our free LSAT resources before you invest a dime.
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