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The LSAT’s New, Simple (Hopefully Fool-Proof) Score-Cancellation Policy

It happens to us all …

You have just finished a grueling, four-hour LSAT. After of months of study, you have finally reached the finish line. The proctor reads, with all the pomp and ceremony of a TSA agent beckoning the next in line, perfunctory congratulations. She then reads one final direction: you have the option to cancel your score, sight unseen, either by checking a small box on your answer sheet right now or by filing out a form through your online LSAC account.

This announcement sends you into a spiral. Two alternate timelines emerge. One in which your next few months are full of celebration, revelry, and merry making. And one in which you’ll be consigned to your study den for months as you wait for the next LSAT. One timeline in which you rejoin your friends and family in polite society. And one timeline in which you must constantly explain to exasperated friends and relatives that, no, you are not finished studying for the LSAT yet, but, yes, the initial plan was to be done by now.

You hem and haw over whether to cancel. Do you open the sliding doors of alternate dimensions and step into a new phase of your life, or do you stubbornly close that door, electing to stay in the current phase of studying for this increasingly frustrating exam? Did that last logic game really go so poorly as to necessitate a score cancelation? Was that comparative passage really so confusing that you now must throw it, along with any chance that you did better than expected, away? You are paralyzed with indecision. This is the first choice of your post-LSAT life, and it is going poorly.

Never does it occur to you that there is no pressing need to make this decision. That LSAC gives you six days to make the decision to cancel. That you can sleep on it.

But then your hand, guided by some external force — a spectral manifestation of your doubt and insecurity, perhaps — moves toward your answer sheet. Your hand — heretofore entirely within your control and dominion, now being moved by forces unknown — fills out the section of your answer sheet that will cancel your score. You observe your hand marking the box that affirms that you wish to cancel your score. Your hand then signs your name — as if speaking for you, its master! — verifying your decision to cancel.

And in that moment, all the world’s erasers vanish. Their existence aptly erased from this mortal coil. You cannot undo this decision to cancel. It is now final.

Your gaze cast down in shame, you turn in your answer sheet to your proctor. She notices that you requested to cancel your score and, benevolently, asks you if you are sure that you want to do that. You are given one final opportunity to postpone your decision to cancel. You do not take her up on this offer because … reasons. You slink out of the testing center, away from the disaster you left there and toward a hopefully better future.

Wait … does that actually happen?

Apparently it happens enough for LSAC to make a change to its score cancellation policy. Or, in LSAC’s parlance, a simplification of its policy. According to an email sent to us by LSAC Communications Director Wendy Margolis, LSAC will remove, starting in June 2018, the option to cancel your score on your answer sheet. So now, the only way to cancel your score is through your online LSAC account, which is good news for those of you who make catastrophically bad decisions when you’re under no pressure to make a decision at all.

According to Ms. Margolis, LSAC has crunched the numbers, and the data shows that almost everyone cancels through their online account and some people who use their answer sheet to cancel on the day of the test do so by mistake. Some may find that latter claim a little hard to believe … a more cynical reading of that data might be that some nefarious test takers make the decision to cancel and then try to take back that decision by insisting it was all a mistake. At any rate, LSAC has a no take backsies policy. Now you have to really prove you want to cancel your score by logging onto your LSAC account and filling out the online form.

LSAC hasn’t made any changes to the deadline to cancel, it should be noted. You still have six days, from the day of the exam, to cancel your score. After six days, you’re getting a score, whether you want it or not.

This is all part of a larger trend for the LSAT. It’s becoming friendlier to students. It’s being offered more often. They’re adding LSATs left and right, in fact. You can take it as many times as you want. It’s going digital, which may eventually increase the frequency it is given and reduce the time you have to wait to get your score. Now, with this change to its score-cancellation policy, it’s friendlier to the dum dums who accidentally cancel their score.