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Should I Cancel the February LSAT?


You have until Friday to decide. No, I am not talking about your destination for Valentine’s Day or your excuse for making this weekend a super-long weekend. Friday is the deadline to cancel your February LSAT score.

For some students, this decision brings sleepless nights and lots of overeating. A bad LSAT score is not a great thing to have on your record. Not as bad as a conviction for international espionage or anything, but not great.

Let me first take a moment to sympathize with the difficult predicament that is the decision about whether to cancel your score.

You have to decide whether you like your score or not before you ever see it.

The analogies abound to illustrate why this is a tough call to make. It would be very dangerous if the coach of a team had to pick his players before he ever sees the tryouts. You could end up drafting a fine physical specimen like this. Can you imagine if you had to make decisions about your dating life before you actually met the suspects in question? You could end up spending your tender years with this guy. Yikes.

And the LSAT tends to be accompanied by slightly more stress than most other decisions that one needs to make.

If you are still trying to make a decision, we do have some resources to help you. First is a video with an exercise designed to help you predict your final score and Trent wrote a post about how schools view multiple scores and cancellations.

I generally tell my students that there are three major factors to weigh:

1. When do you want to go to law school?

As you are probably aware, law schools admit students on a rolling basis. That means that students start to hear back from schools as early as the fall. If you cancel your February score and retake the LSAT in June, you will be delaying entering law school for an academic year.

If you are not planning to apply this year, then you have plenty of time to take the LSAT again.

2. Have you taken it before?

Law schools give everybody a mulligan. But you really only get one. If you have cancelled before, then you should be a little more reticent to cancel again. But it is still probably better than having a low score on your record. If you do have more than one cancellation, a good explanation for them, and a higher LSAT score, then that’s probably not going to hurt you in your applications.

3. What is going to change?

If you want to perform better on a later LSAT, something has to change. Maybe you will have more time to study? That could help. Maybe you think you will be better able to handle the stress of the test? Also a good thing.

But if you don’t have the time or energy to do anything different, then it might be good to just keep your February score.

So I just wanted to give you a reminder that the date is here. Missing the deadline is never a good feeling.

Good luck with the decision. We hope everyone who took the February LSAT is enjoying the return to sanity now that the test is over.

Originally posted December 10th, 2009