Sunday, December 2, 2012

Should I retake the LSAT if I have taken it once already?

If you have taken the LSAT test once already, there is no reason why you should not consider retaking it again.  Now, with the new US News and World Report rankings of law schools, schools only have to report the highest LSAT scores of those who they admit.  That means that many schools will not ding you based on one low and one high LSAT score.

With that being said, you may want to be careful about taking the LSAT again if you did very well and you don't think you can do much better the second time around.  If there is a chance of you doing worse, you may not want to take the LSAT again as well.

The site, Top-Law-Schools recently posted an article about an individual who scored 180 on the LSAT.  In regards to retaking the LSAT, the author mentioned the following points:

"LSAC keeps track of retakers and reports that most people only improve by a few points at best. They also show that the higher your original score, the more likely you become to go down upon a retake. This means you need to be cautious when approaching a retake. If you prepare for 3 months as best you can, take the test, and score at your practice average, you should probably call it quits. Yet, if you score above 175 very consistently, and then are shocked to find a 174 on your results page, then it may actually be wise to retake even with such a high score.

If you don’t improve upon a retake, then you’ve shot yourself in the foot. On the other hand, if you can improve by even one point, then in some cases you may have helped your application considerably. Admissions personnel expect you to improve simply through familiarity with the test, but since your highest score is the one that becomes part of the school’s statistics, the candidate with a 165 and a 166 will probably fare better than the candidate with a 165, all else being equal. I recommend reading TLS’s interviews with admissions deans for more perspective on how they view retaking.

It’s incredibly important that you use your months of practice to establish what your real ability is on the test. If you’re paying attention, you should learn your strengths, weaknesses, and strategies to score higher. You will also learn what score you can expect when you take the real thing. Using this knowledge, you can evaluate why you didn’t score as well as you expected. Was the test center noisy? Did you cut yourself some slack on practice tests without necessarily realizing it? (For instance, some people take long breaks between sections, don’t use a bubble sheet, fudge the section timing, or never practice with an experimental section.) Perhaps most importantly, did you put in as much practice as you should have?

Depending on the answers to questions like these, you can decide if and when you should retake and what you can do to ensure you do better next time. “I was unlucky” is not the right answer, because it excuses you from taking any corrective action."
Many people also recommend reading a good book on the LSAT.  One such book is available here.  One reason why an ebook is great for LSAT study is that it can easily be taken anywhere.  For example, you can read it on the subway, on a trip, or between classes.  If you are an undergraduate student, you may want to get your hands on this kind of book as soon as possible. 

While I did not write the ebook that is linked above, I highly recommend it.  It offers sound advice for vastly improving your LSAT score.  If you have taken the LSAT before and are looking to take it again, consider purchasing this ebook.  Don't settle for a low ranked TTTT or TTT school when you can improve your LSAT score and get into a top-tier, T14, or even a school such as Harvard Law, Stanford Law, or Yale Law School. 


  1. Taking the LSAT twice is a good idea, especially if you score under 160-165. If you do very bad, there is nothing you can lose by taking the LSAT a second time. However, if you get a 170 and up, you may want to ask yourself if you are sure you will do better. Getting a lower score the second time can hurt you a lot more than a higher score the second time can help you.

  2. I've consistently been scoring in the mid 170s on my practice tests from August to September. I ended up getting a 169 on my October test (due to a variety of stupid factors, including 4 instances where I got the right answer and changed it) and want to retake. I haven't looked at any LSAT material since. How would you recommend studying to get ready for February?

    I completely self-prepped the first test and mostly just took a bunch of practice tests (up to PT #61). I was thinking about picking up PTs #62-present and investing in the Manhattan LSAT online self-study course (the one that's ~$400). What's everyone's feedback on that?

  3. Many people do well on the online LSAT courses. It is up to you if you want to spend the money. $400 seems like a lot, especially when I have known of some people who spend way less to study for the LSAT. However, at the same time, getting a high LSAT is worth the cost involved. As long as you spend the time preparing and taking a LOT of practice tests for the LSAT, you should be fine.


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