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You Didn’t Get The Score You Wanted. Now What?

January LSAT scores were released today, which means that after weeks of impatient waiting and hours of frantic email-refreshing, January test-takers have finally met their fates. Every time LSAC releases LSAT scores, recipients fall roughly into one of three camps:

          1. Lucky folks who scored better than they expected/hoped
          2. People who scored about what they expected/hoped
          3. Unfortunate souls who scored lower than they expected/hoped

If you’re in group #1 or #2, congratulations! You can breathe a sigh of relief, pat yourself on the back, maybe even fist-pump if you’re really feeling yourself. Your LSAT journey has reached its conclusion.

If you fall into the third group, this post is for you. Don’t despair — we have some tips to turn this into an LSAT success story (and turn that frown upside-down).

First of all, we offer our sincere sympathies. The LSAT is a tricky beast, and there’s a lot of unlucky things that can affect your score — maybe the January test was heavy on a certain question type that you’ve always struggled with, or maybe you got a killer flu right before the test, or maybe life got in the way and you weren’t able to prepare as much as you’d hoped. Regardless of the reason, we know how much it sucks to see a lower LSAT score than you wanted. However, it’s also not the end of the world.

Now let’s talk about the question that’s probably at the top of your mind: whether you should retake the LSAT in order to improve your score. There are tons of people who took the LSAT more than once and improved their score quite a bit from its lowest point, and you can certainly fall into that group. However, retaking the LSAT is also a time-consuming (and sometimes expensive) endeavor, so it’s not a decision you should make likely.

If any of the following describes you, you may be a good candidate to retake the LSAT:

• Your average practice test scores (done in test-like conditions, meaning you were strict with timing) were higher than the score you ended up with on the January LSAT

• Something specific went wrong on the January LSAT that doesn’t typically happen to you — for instance, you ran out of time and had to guess on the final Reading Comp passage, when typically you can get through all four passages

• You didn’t prepare for the January LSAT as much as you should, and have enough time (and motivation) to prepare more thoroughly for another go-around

• After reflecting on your prep for the January test, you’ve realized that there’s a key concept or concepts that you didn’t understand as well as you should, and you think you can improve your understanding of those concepts by continuing to study

• The LSAT score(s) that are on your record so far are likely too low to allow you to get into a law school that you’d be happy attending

If you do decide to retake the LSAT, you’ll need to consider which administration to take. The next upcoming LSAT date is at the end of March; if your plan is to apply to law school this spring to start school in fall 2019, you’ll need to check with your intended schools about whether they take March LSAT scores. Some do, and some don’t.

You should also think about when you’ll have time to study. If you know that the next couple months will be extremely busy for you, taking the LSAT in March probably isn’t a great plan.
Once you know which administration of the LSAT you’re aiming for, you’re ready to start studying. Here’s a post on how to study for the LSAT a second time to help you get started.

Scoring lower on the LSAT than you’d hoped is a big bummer, but it is at most a temporary setback, so keep your chin up and formulate a plan for moving forward. As long as you’re realistic and honest with yourself, you can turn your LSAT mess into an LSAT success – and the next time you see a post like this, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for having moved into groups 1 or 2.