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How to Retake the LSAT in December 2012

December LSAT Retake This is not a post anyone wants to read. Ideally, everyone who took the LSAT would earn a score they were happy with, and they could get on with their lives. However, for tends of thousands of students getting their scores back in the next week, that won’t be the case.

Should You Re-take the LSAT?

The first question is whether you should re-take the exam. For some people this will be obvious — if you had the flu that day and scored 10 points off your average practice scores, you should definitely re-take the LSAT. However, there’s another  group of students who either set an arbitrary goal for themselves or just feel like they should get a certain elite score, but who don’t have good evidence that they can or will make it to that score. So, here are the reasons you might want to re-take:

  • There was a surprise extraneous circumstance, like you were ill, there was a serious proctoring error, or you miss-bubbled a section
  • Your actual LSAT score was >3 points lower than the AVERAGE of your last 3 practice exams (not your highest practice score ever)
  • You didn’t put in the effort and time needed to get fully prepared. This means that you spent less than 2 months prepping the first time, took fewer than 10 timed full practice exams, or only worked out of a second-hand, 2002 version of LSAT For Dummies.
Here’s the other side of that coin. If you put in 4 months of study and got professional assistance, scored an average of 157 on practice exams then got a 156 on the exam, you probably shouldn’t retake — even if your goal was to go to Harvard. And if this was already your second time with the same results, it’s probably time to move on to your applications.

What will You Do Differently to Prepare?

You know the cliche about doing the same thing and expecting different results. It’s the same with LSAT prep. If there was something obviously wrong with your prep, like you didn’t take any timed practice tests (or only took 1), there you go. For most students, it’s a little more complicated. Some quick tips:

  • If you took a group lecture-style prep course, re-taking the same course is not going to help. Yes, I know you can sometimes do it for free. Don’t expect that the same approach that failed you before will this time be magically successful.
  • If you studied on your own, you might consider a private LSAT tutor. In particular, one tell-tale sign that a tutor can help is that you found that when reviewing your practice tests, you weren’t really able to distinguish the right answer from the best wrong answer even with unlimited time. That means there are fundamental knowledge gaps that can be fixed.
  • If you didn’t have a rigid study schedule, it’s time to get one. Especially for you college students out there — realize that your performance on the LSAT in December will be roughly 100x more important than any given paper or exam you might need to work on over the next month. If you’re serious about improving, you need to ruthlessly cut other school, work, and social obligations over the next 5 weeks. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, top LSAT performers really do spend 15-25 hours per week studying.
If you have questions about a re-take, leave them in the comments!

Next Step Test Preparation provides complete courses of one-on-one LSAT tutoring for about the price of a crowded lecture-style prep course. Email us or call 888-530-NEXT (6398) for a complimentary consultation.