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When Should You Postpone Your LSAT Test Date?

  • by Aaron Cohn
  • Sep 10, 2014
  • General LSAT Advice, LSAT

Breaking news.

Today, at 11:59PM EDT, is the official deadline to change your LSAT test date for anyone registered for the September LSAT.

The music might have been a little dramatic, though, as it’s not as much of a deadline as it might seem. Here’s why: after today, you can still withdraw your LSAT registration. The deadline for that is September 26th, and the withdrawal method is perfectly safe and effective (at least on the LSAT…). If you withdraw your LSAT registration, law schools will never know you were registered.

So then what’s the difference between changing your LSAT test date and withdrawing your LSAT registration? Money. Changing your test date costs $85. Withdrawing costs nothing, but you’ll have to pay the full $170 to register for a subsequent LSAT. That’s a difference of $85.

Therefore, the decision you have to make today isn’t “will I definitely be ready for the September LSAT?” It’s more like “am I willing to bet $85 on the September LSAT?” If you’re on the fence about whether to stay registered, the upside is that if things go right, in three weeks you’ll be done with the LSAT forever. The downside is that if you end up deciding you’re not ready, you’ll be out $85 more dollars – or worse, have a bad test score on your transcript.

My advice: don’t change test dates today just because you’re not yet scoring where you’d like to be. If you’ve been putting in the necessary time and effort, there’s a good chance you can still put it all together in the next few weeks. I’ve seen lots of students manage big score increases towards the end of their prep. Bet on yourself, unless it would still take a gigantic numerical increase for you to be happy.

On the other hand, if you haven’t really been studying hard and now you’re feeling the pressure, it might be worth cutting your losses and going for December. The LSAT is not a test you can cram for. Especially if your time is going to be limited between now and the September LSAT, consider changing your LSAT test date today and saving your money.

If you really haven’t done any work yet for the September LSAT, but you’re still hell-bent on taking it in a few weeks so you can get your applications in early, consider this: yes, all things being equal, it’s better to take the September LSAT than the December LSAT. But if you’ve been identifying strongly with Bruno Mars, then all things are not equal. A better score in December would more than make up for the delay in your applications.

If you’ve stayed on track for the September LSAT, and now you’re getting cold feet, take a chance on yourself and stay registered. No one likes to lose $85, but it’s not very much compared to what you’re going to spend on law school over the next few years. The potential payoff is too good to pass up: you’ll be done with the LSAT and you’ll be able to get your applications in early.

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