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Should I Withdraw?!


Deep breath, all: The November LSAT is on Monday. Here’s where I should include an encouraging message, so here we go: You can do this! You studied up! You’re harder, better, faster, and stronger than this exam.

Okay, so who amongst you read that and still felt hollowed out with dread? Read on, nervous dears.

Let’s assume you make the decision to withdraw from the LSAT right now or on Sunday night. What are your options? Well, the registration deadline for the January LSAT is December 3, 2019, so you have time to retake in January (or February, March, April, etc). You might not benefit from lsat classes if you’re rescheduling for January because it’s too last minute; you’re better off taking an on-demand course that gives you instant access to video lessons and practice sets that you can also extend if you change your LSAT date again. Otherwise, this is the perfect time to start a course for the late winter/early spring LSATs.

While I’d like to tell every one of you that you’re gearing up for a 180 next week, it can’t be avoided that half of the people who sit for this exam will score below average. So what can you do this close to test day? Let’s engage in a little exercise.

Dear Blueprint,
I’m signed up to take the November LSAT, but I haven’t started studying, 30-50 feral hogs ate all of my prep books, I’ve caught the bubonic plague, and they’re going to be jackhammering outside of my test center starting at exactly 12:29pm on Monday. What do I do?

Thanks for writing in, rhetorical device! You seem to have quite a lot going on. But in your case, I might recommend withdrawing from the November exam. Generally speaking, withdrawing from an exam is a bit of a mixed bag — this close to test day you end up eating $200 in exam fees and you don’t even get to see the test as consolation. But there are times when withdrawing is the better part of valor.

Per LSAC’s rules, you can withdraw from an exam up until 11:59pm (that’s in Eastern Time, for all you west coasters out there) the night before the test. Withdrawing from an LSAT doesn’t appear on your score report, and the information won’t be sent to law schools. If you’re in a situation like our rhetorical writer above — if you’re going into test day fairly certain that you’re not set up for success, or if you’re getting close to the limitation on how many exams you can take — withdrawing before the exam might be the way to go.

Dear Blueprint,
I’m not sure what to do. I’ve been consistently practice testing about 7 points below my goal score and I feel like I still don’t understand some of the kinds of questions that I see all the time. I’m supposed to take the LSAT on Monday. Help!!!!

I’m glad you reached out, slightly more believable rhetorical device. You are definitely not alone in this situation. You have a few options in front of you.

Our expert prognosticator has graced us with his statistically-influenced predictions for the November exam, and his spreadsheet crystal ball shows that there are some techniques that are pretty likely to feature heavily. If some of the problems that you’ve been particularly struggling with are …

• When and how to use scenarios in logic games
Conditional reasoning: which words mean “necessary” again…?
Common fallacies — particularly the causation, equivocation, and exclusivity fallacies

… then you might be in for a pretty rough ride come Monday.

Of course, It’s never too late to dig down and really start reviewing difficult concepts. In fact, if you need some free prep, sign-up today to have access to the Self-Paced course for 7 days. Having pin-pointed your weak spots means that you can engage in some really focused cramming, which might bump your score up by those few precious points.

Still, you may want to consider the up- and downsides of withdrawing from the exam. You’re on the cusp of where you want to be scoring, but consistency says a lot. Although it’s not unheard of to score higher on test day than you typically practice test, it’s not the norm, and seven points is a big gap to bridge. That said, you never know what you’ll see on test day. You may walk in and find a Logic Games section that’s exactly tailored to your strengths, or that you’ve written papers on topics covered by two Reading Comp passages. And at worst, you walk away with more first-hand experience of everything that test day actually entails. Plus, score cancellation is always an option if you want to see the exam but you don’t want law schools to see your score.

So what should you do? Well, that’s up to you, non-rhetorical reader. Personally, I’ve always been a bit of a leap first, look later kind of gal. But this question, unlike those on the LSAT, doesn’t have a provable right answer. So weigh your options — perhaps you could write out some sort of … scenario? — and rest up. Either way, we’ll be here on Monday afternoon to commiserate.

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