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Is withdrawal right for you?

As you get into your last week of studying before the June LSAT, you may be wondering whether you’re ready to take the test. If you decide that you’re not ready, you’re not locked in — you still have the option to withdraw your LSAT registration. Let’s talk about what that means and whether it’s right for you.

You have until 11:59 PM Eastern time Sunday night to make up your mind, but please don’t wait until the last five minutes. At least on the LSAT, the withdrawal method is safe, clean, and effective. If you withdraw, there’s no notation on your score report, so law schools won’t see that you even registered for the June LSAT. The June LSAT won’t count toward the limit of three tests in two years. Unfortunately, you don’t get any money back, and you’ll have to pay the full fee to register for any future LSAT administrations.

Failure to withdraw on time usually carries consequences, and the LSAT is no exception. If you don’t withdraw by the deadline, you’ll be marked absent on your score report. There’s no reason you should let that happen unless there’s a legit test day emergency. And if you take the LSAT, you can cancel your score but cancellations go on your record and count toward the three-in-two-years limit.

It’s normal to feel uneasy about the LSAT this close to test day. But that uneasiness doesn’t mean you should withdraw. Law schools almost always consider your highest LSAT score, so if you go in and don’t do your best, it’s not the end of the world. On the other hand, you’re limited to three LSAT administrations in two years, and it doesn’t make sense to waste one of those takes if you’re just not ready.

So as this weekend rolls around, take a look at your most recent practice test scores. Do they put you within a couple of a score you’d be willing to apply to law schools with? If so, take the LSAT. If your score as it stands now wouldn’t get you in to law schools you’d be willing to go to, then it might make sense to withdraw. Test day miracles are rare and not worth counting on.

Maybe you’re in a bit of a gray area. You have a goal score. You’re not there yet. You feel like you could get there with a bit more time. But if you ended up stuck with something like your current practice tests, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. You’d get in, but maybe not to your first or second choice school. If this is you, the upside of taking the June LSAT anyway is that if it goes as expected, it takes some pressure off for September. You already have a good-enough score in the bank. You’re just trying to do better. Unless you just thrive on pressure, that’s probably helpful.

If you have a history of severe anxiety on standardized tests, then it can sometimes make sense to take the LSAT even if you’re not ready. This is really only if you feel like going through with the experience of test day with no pressure, knowing you’re not ready, would help you prepare for a future test day when you take the LSAT for real.

In sum, if you’re just not scoring where you need to be, it makes sense to withdraw. But if you’re close and having some last minute doubts, it probably makes sense to stay registered. There are valid reasons to withdraw, but last-minute nerves or a single disappointing practice test shouldn’t sway you from your goal of taking the LSAT next Monday and being done with it forever.