Should I Retake the LSAT?


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pie-chartBefore you retake the LSAT, you have some serious thinking to do. Retaking the LSAT is a lot of time and effort to put in for uncertain results. Sometimes, it’s an easy call whether you should retake. Other times, it comes down to judgment. In this post, we give you everything you need to know to decide whether you should retake.

Retaking the LSAT is going to be a different decision depending on your score, the time of year, and a number of other factors. We take that all into account here. One of the most common questions we get is from 150s or lower scorers wondering if they should retake to improve that score. Often, the 150s score is a little below expectations for the applicant and they aren’t sure if they like the school options that come with that score. We have a special section devoted to that question: Click here to jump down the page to “Should I retake the LSAT if I scored in the 150s.”

Does A Retake Hurt You?

If you are deciding whether to retake, the good news is that law schools currently put very little if any weight on any lower LSAT scores you have. What this means for you is that if you improve on a retake you’ll be judged by the higher score. Even if your score gets worse, you still aren’t substantially worse off. Check out our post on how law schools view multiple LSATs for a broader explanation as to how schools factor retakes into their admissions decisions.

There are two notable exceptions to the general rule you should know about. Harvard and Yale still appear to factor in multiple scores. While their policies aren’t exactly clear, retakers are clearly at a disadvantage there relative to single time takers.

Here’s the problem: since retaking isn’t going to hurt you much (all else being equal), how do you decide where to draw the line? When is your score good enough? It’s all about assessing how likely you are to do better on a retake.

How Much Do People Usually Improve on an LSAT Retake?

Overall, the odds of making a significant improvement are always against you. Take a look at average improvement in LSAT score for those who retake the LSAT?

The following table summarizes the average increase or decrease in performance on the LSAT for test-takers who retook the LSAT in 2009-2010. The “Initial LSAT Score” listed is the score that test-takers received on a previously administered LSAT exam.

For each Initial LSAT Score, the “Average Improvement On Retake” is the average score increase (+) or decrease (-) earned on the subsequent administration.

Initial LSAT Score Average Improvement On Retake
120 +8.4
125 +5.4
130 +2.9
135 +2.7
140 +2.3
141 +2.3
142 +2.4
143 +2.2
144 +2.3
145 +2.5
146 +2.4
147 +2.1
148 +2.4
149 +2.3
150 +2.3
151 +2.3
152 +2.2
153 +2.1
154 +2.5
155 +2.2
156 +2.4
157 +2.3
158 +2.3
159 +2.2
160 +2.7
161 +2.5
162 +2.5
163 +2.5
164 +2.5
165 +2.4
166 +2.3
167 +2.3
168 +1.7
169 +2.1
170 +1.8
171 +2.5
172 +0.3
173 -0.5
174 +0.7
175 -3.2
176 -0.3
177 -4.0
178 -0.5
179 -3.0
180 -4.0


As you can see, the average jump, where there is one, isn’t very substantial. With the exception of 170 and 171 scorers, the 170+ crowd can’t really count on things going better on retake. Almost everyone else can expect somewhere between a 2 and 3 point jump.

That said, these are just averages. You can take comfort in the fact that seeing improvement is genearlly much more common than going down. LSAC’s repeater data can tells us in detail how people fare on the retake. I turned some numbers into percentages for you:

Initial LSAT Score % Higher Score On Retake
% Same Score On Retake
% Lower Score On Retake
145 65% 6% 28%
150 67% 8% 24%
155 65% 6% 28%
160 68% 10% 22%
165 66% 9% 25%
170 55% 19% 26%

As you can see, the odds of improving, staying the same, or doing worse are somewhat stable across a wide range of scores. You might be wondering, what are the odds of doing much better, like 10 points or more better. For those scoring a 150, only a mere 5% scored a 160 or better on their next retake. For 160 scorers, only 4% were able to get a 170+ score on the retake. It’s a lot more common to do five points better: for example 29% of 165 takers got a 170 or better on their next LSAT. That’ s huge. 5 points is a big jump that makes a world of difference in your law school options.

That last stat should be encouraging to you. In fact, if any of this data looks discouraging, realize that you shouldn’t get too caught up in these numbers. You may not know this, but the overwhelming majority of LSAT takers don’t adequately prepare for this test. What I’m going to tell you next may shock you: even on a retake, most people still don’t bother to study a whole lot. I have no idea why after getting a score you’re unhappy with you would do the same things over again and underprepare, but trust me, that’s what people do. That’s good news for you: if you prep smart and and really focus, you’ve got much better odds of seeing significant improvement than these charts would indicate.

On that note, let’s talk about when you should definitely retake.

When You Should Always Retake The LSAT

There’s some times where there is just no doubt you should retake. Myself and just about every other expert would agree with me on these points.

You Did Significantly Worse Than Usual

When you do significantly worse than your average on the recent practice tests you’ve taken, that’s a retake everytime. Well-known admissions counselor Ann Levine posted on our site recently that you should ALWAYs retake if your score was more than three points below your practice test average. I accept that as beyond questioning and you should too. You are just leaving points on the table otherwise! Get back in there and get the points you deserve!

The LSAT is designed so that your score should fall within a tight range the majority of the time. As long as you just maintain your skills from now until the next LSAT, chances are very high that next time, you will hit around your practice average. Just trust me. That’s how it works. You have nothing much to worry about. For tips on how to maintain your abilities, see our post on how to improve on a retake.

You Were Sick, Overly Anxious, or Something Else Went Wrong

If you scored significantly below your preptest range perhaps due to illness or another extenuating circumstances that is unlikely to reoccur, that means you should retake. Lightening isn’t likely to strike twice. Again, just keep up your LSAT skills and you’ll be fine come the next test. If anxiety was an issue, you may have to take some steps to make sure it doesn’t pounce on you again. Evan is somewhat of an expert on dealing with test anxiety. Here is his post on managing LSAT stress.

You Grossly Under-Prepared The First Time

Another possible reason to retake is if you did not do as much prep as you should have done the first time around. You likely have the potential to do better. We always advocate preparing for the test correctly the first time around by studying intensely with a rigorous prep schedule. If you can’t prep properly in time for the LSAT, it’s best to not take the test and wait until you have done prep right, rather than get a bad score and try to retake later. However, for various reasons (usually because they are ill-informed) people often take the test without preparing properly. If you only studied a month the first time you took it, chances are you could improve your the second time around.

Now this isn’t quite a reason that always counsels a retake. If you under-prepared, that might be a good indication that your heart just isn’t in with this law school thing. If you realized how important this test was the first time but couldn’t bring yourself to study, you may want to look hard at whether this game is for you. It only gets harder past the LSAT.

That said, when you decide to retake, keep a positive attitude and fully commit yourself. Self doubt has no place in the LSAT exam room.

When You Should Generally Not Retake The LSAT

Here are the situations where is usually best to stick with your score and focus on other aspects of the application process:

You Got A 170 Or Better

With rare exceptions, those who got a 170 on the LSAT shouldn’t take the test again. If you look at the charts, it’s just not likely you are going to do better enough to change your results. With anything over a 172 initial score, more people do worse on a retake than better.

A 170+ LSAT should make you competitive at just about any of the top schools right now, so the returns on a better score may diminish at some point. A retake also typically delays when you hand in your application. At the very top schools, getting your app in early may still give you boost. You are probably better off taking advantage of that rather than retaking. Just focus on making your application tight.

That said, there might be exceptions. If your hit all 178s and 179s on practice test and got a 170 on the actual test, I think you might be justified retaking. Just a funny side-story: the year I went to law school, there was a guy who got a 179 and retook. They managed to get a 180. Some people just have to be perfect I guess.

You Just Sort Of “Feel” Like You Can Do Better

Remember that the odds of improving significantly on a retake are always against you. For a huge chunk of retakers, retaking the exam will either hurt them or leave them no better off. Using 163 as an example, nearly 45% of those who scored a 163 on a previous LSAT in 2009-2010 earned a score equal to or below 163 when they retook the exam.

I wager that most of the group is made of people who just “think” they can do better, but don’t do much to effect a real change. Generally, if you are going to retake, you should have concrete reasons to think you can do better. The exception is for lower 150s and below scorers. We discuss that in the next section.

You Already Put Your All Into This Test And Successfully Hit Your Practice Average The First Time

It’s often the people that really put their all into the test the first time around who feel they want a retake. However, the odds are really against this group and they usually shouldn’t retake. Say you studied your butt off and did every available LSAT practice question. Then your score on test day was exactly what you expected. It can be really hard to improve on a retake from this position, especially because you might not have many fresh LSAT prep tests to practice with remaining. Impossible? Probably not? Unlikely? Yes. Generally, at this point, the better idea is to put more of that same hard work into the application and get it in earlier rather than later.

Again, those who scored in the low 150s and lower might be an exception to this, let’s talk about that:

Should You Retake The LSAT if You Scored In The 150s Or Lower?

This is for those whose LSAT practice test average was in the 150’s or lower going into the exam. Should you put in the large amount of effort required to retake and try for a score boost?

Should You Retake? – Low 150s LSAT Score

For non-URM applicants, low 150s scores represent the bottom end of scores that will get you into a tier 2 school (the bottom half of the top 100 law schools). It’s a middling to low score even in many of the schools ranked below the top 100. While you’ll typically be in the range of scores these lower schools accept, you are in a weak position to draw scholarship money.

Because of that, the overwhelming majority of law school applicants should try at least once to boost a score in the low 150s.

I’m confident that almost anyone capable of a low 150s score, can, with effort, get their score in to the high 150s or higher. LSAT prep courses are excellent for getting people with around average LSAT scores (~150) into a higher range. Tell us what you have tried so far for LSAT prep in the comments below and we are happy to point you in the direction of some great LSAT prep.

The reality of the weak legal economy is that applicants are almost always better off not going to law school than going with a score in the low 150s. While good outcomes do happen, it’s a serious gamble. You are most often taking on big debt for a worse than 50% shot at getting a job that requires a J.D.

We realize that if everyone followed our advice a lot of law schools would have to close. We are okay with that. It’s still sound advice. Now, if you still want to go to law school, get down to business and redouble your LSAT prep efforts. For a shot in the arm, see our post on 5 harsh truths that will make you a better LSAT taker.

Again, I know that the repeater data indicates that a lot of people don’t improve significantly the second time around on the LSAT. That doesn’t matter. You should still try. Focus on doing your best and only apply when you are sure you have got yourself in the best position possible. Remember that the repeater data looks at every LSAT taker. Most people don’t put a lot of effort into LSAT prep. Your odds of improving are good if you put serious work into in.

Should You Retake? – High 150s LSAT score.

For high 150s scorers, the path forward is a little less clear. Say your average practice scores were in the high 150s after you truly applied yourself, used great LSAT teaching materials, and stuck to a rigorous prep schedule for 3 months or more. In this situation, a retake is less likely to improve matters. You might be best off simply applying to a wide range of schools and going with your cheapest good option.

However, we think most high 150 scorers, especially if it was their first time, owe themselves a retake to see if they can improve. This is an opinion but it has a solid basis. Efforts to improve by retaking the LSAT are in most cases overwhelmingly cost-justified. The upshot– way more scholarship money– is so great in proportion to the time and expense of trying once more that you don’t need very good odds of improving to justify trying it.

Think of a poker game where you have only a 1 in 10 shot of hitting a card to win the hand. You have to put in 10 dollars to play on, but the pot is paying out $500 dollars. It’s worth seeing that last card. In fact it would be worth it if the pot was only $101 dollars.

Retaking the LSAT is like being in this $500 dollar pot situation. There might be long odds against you, but it’s worth it to try because the payout is so huge. As people realize this, more and more are retaking the LSAT (considerably more now retake it at least once than not). That’s sensible. Remember, the downside is gone because lower scores hardly count anymore. That’s especially true at tier 2 schools. Yes, retaking is a long and annoying process, but, if you scored in the 150s the first time, it’s what generally what you should do. If you are going to get in this game, play it to win.

If you scored in the 150s it’s very hard to be sure you can’t improve without at least one retake. A 150s score indicates that you still have significant difficulties with speed or accuracy or both. There are just so many things you can try to improve. Again, let us know what you have done and we’ll see if we can point you in a good direction.

Retaking And Applications Timing?

If you take the June LSAT, the decision to retake the exam is a little easier. The next opportunity to take the LSAT after June, 2014 is October, 2014, which means that you will now receive your new LSAT score at the end of October. Most top law schools begin accepting applications on or about mid- to late- September, but do not really begin reviewing applications until November. As such you are no worse off applying when you get your retake score at the end of October instead of at the very beginning of the application period. See our admission timeline for October LSAT takers for more info on this.

If however you take your first LSAT in October, then the decision to retake in December is a little harder because your applications won’t go out until the end of December (30-45 days after schools begin sending out acceptances.) In this situation, then, the important question becomes: Does the potential advantage of a higher LSAT score outweigh the disadvantage of turning in your applications later?

In years past applying later, even just as late as December, put you in a significantly weaker position. Currently however, applications to law school are so far down that it does not prejudice you to very much to apply in December. There should be plenty of spots open in December. Make sure however that your applications are ready to go as soon as you get your LSAT. That will make sure that you aren’t getting evaluated behind a pile of other December LSAT takers.

Retaking in February, on the other hand, is likely to put you at a disadvantage. Most law schools (especially highly-ranked law schools) review applications in the order in which they are received. Further, most of these schools will make admissions offers on a rolling basis. Even in the current cycle, by the time February rolls around applicants are likely to be competing over significantly fewer admission spots, which lowers your chances of a good result. See a longer discussion of applying in spring with a February LSAT here.

Since turning in your law school application in December rather than February should increase your chances of receiving an offer of admission, your decision to retake the LSAT in February hinges on whether or not you will be able to earn a high enough increase in your LSAT score to justify delaying you application submissions. You should have really strong reasons to believe you can do at least 3 points better.

Bear in mind that so long as you have an LSAT score you are free to submit your application even if it is highly likely to be rejected with your current score. However, if you inform the law school to which you are applying that you are retaking, they will probably delay action on your application until after you have done your retake. This is effectively the same as not turning in the application until you got your new score, because they certainly won’t hold a place for you while you retake.

If you don’t tell them you are retaking, you run the risk that they will make a decision on your application before you have received a new score. School’s policy on reconsidering a closed application might vary school to school, so it would be good to consult the office of admissions when you are considering retaking.

For a significant portion of those who take the LSAT in December and are considering a retake in February, the disadvantage associated with delaying the submission of your applications will not be offset by the small expected score increase. Many retakers will score lower on their second attempt and many more will earn the same score or a score only 1-3 points higher. These applicants would likely have been better off had they chosen to apply earlier rather than retaking the LSAT.

Deciding Close Calls

Despite everything we’ve covered here, I know there are going to be times when it’s still very tough to decide whether you should retake. In this case, trust your instincts, but also ask us:

If you are struggling over whether to retake the LSAT, we are here to help. Ask us any retake related questions in the comments to this post and we’ll get back to you quickly.

There’s one last factor at work that I want to talk about. A lot of schools have a pretty tight line as far as LSAT scores that get you in. If you are on the right side of that line, you are often getting in even with a pretty low GPA. On the wrong side of that line, you might need a really high GPA to get in.

Let me take UCLA as an example. Last year, a 168 was like THE magic bullet number that you needed to have almost certain chances of getting into UCLA law. Applicants with a 168 got in nearly all the time, even with GPAs as low as a 3.0.  However, drop to a 167 and all of a sudden no one got a straight up acceptance unless they had a GPA of 3.7 or better. I hate that law schools do this, but, at lot of them, that’s just how it is.

If you are 1 or 2 points off the mark from your dream school, it might be best to just forget about other factors and go for the retake. That’s especially true if the average boost (refer to the chart above) will get you over that line.

If You Do Retake…

When you do decide to retake, start here: How to Improve on A Retake. Remember that the very next LSAT is often too soon to make major improvements. The only people who are always okay signing up for the retake really soon are those just trying to actually hit their practice average this time around. If you want to boost your practice average, that’s going to usually mean a later retake. If that means waiting a year to apply, then so be it. 99 times out of 100 that’s better than going in with a score you know isn’t your best.

The exception is if your first LSAT is in June. With a June LSAT, you have plenty of time to study for a retake before October (this is one of the reasons we HIGHLY recommend taking your first LSAT in June).

Final Thoughts On Retaking:

I know this is a lot to process. Take time with the decision and deliberate carefully.

If you decide you hate the LSAT and never want to think about the LSAT or law school again, that’s fully okay. After getting their LSAT score back, plenty of people decide, sensibly, that law school isn’t the path for them.

Keep in touch as you make these decisions and let us know if you are stuck in your LSAT prep. We are here to help.

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  1. Although I considered attending law school for years, I didn’t decide it was the place for me until rather recently. I graduate this coming May, so I took the December LSAT (the earliest one I was able to sign up for after deciding to pursue law school.) Despite pretest scores in the mid-high 150’s, I made a 148. I am a Political Science and French double degree (151 hours in four years by the time I graduate) and I have a 3.81 GPA. I want to go to KU (median 156) and only KU. I can’t decide if it is worth taking the February LSAT and get a better score, which I do believe I can do, or just sell myself really well to them and hope for the best. I am very involved on campus and in my community. I work two jobs and pay my way with everything so I believe I have a decent chance of being able to convince them they want me, even if it means no scholarships. Any thoughts? Thank you so much!

  2. I just got back my December LSAT score and I scored in the low 150’s, considering I only have 4 weeks to prep for the Feb test, should I retake it? Are there courses or study plans for four weeks? I know I can do better, because I was scoring in the mid to high 150’s with Kaplan. I just am unsure of how to go about making a 4 week study plan that will be effective. Please help!

  3. Hi, I just got my score from the October LSAT and I got a 170. This is a retake after getting a 166 a year ago. I know that I got 2 (!) questions wrong on a careless (and unforgivable) bubbling error. My practice average was about 174/175. I really want to get into Harvard and I’m not sure if I should go for a second retake in December. My GPA will be in the neighborhood of 3.85-3.9. For what it’s worth, I have some great academic recommendation letters. Would you advise a retake?

  4. I am agonizing over the decision to re-take my LSAT or apply early a couple months earlier in order gain an edge in the admissions process.

    I scored a 160 on the Oct. 2015 LSAT. My target school is the University of Washington, which accepts 25/75 percentile scores of 160 and 167, respectively.

    I have great LORs and softs, but am relatively weak in the “volunteering/community service” section.

    Trying to decide whether I should roll the dice and apply or go back to the drawing board, take the Dec. 5th LSAT, and try to better my score by a few points to better my odds.

    Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    -Agonizing over LSAT

  5. My situation meets criteria for both should and shouldn’t retake. I scored 172 on the October, but my PT average for my most recent 10 was 176. I REALLY want to get into Stanford, and 172 puts me right on their 50th percentile score. My UGPA is 4.03. I slept very poorly the night before the test and feel I could test at least 3 points better, but given my score is already good, there’s also the chance of doing worse. Would you retest in this situation?

  6. Hello! I got a 158 on the October LSAT which came as no surprise. That was my score on prep tests, even though I started studying months before and truly gave this test my best. My GPA is a 3.6 and I’m hoping to go to University of Florida or Florida State. Should I retest?

  7. Hi,

    I just took the October 2015 LSAT today. My average test score on practice tests was around 168 and I have a near 4.0 in Mathematics with plenty of writing-heavy elective courses from UCLA. But when I took this test, I knew I didn’t do as well as I usually do.

    On the games I misread a rule and answered all of the questions on that entire game incorrectly. My score break down is usually 100% on logic games, then miss 4-7 on Logical Reasoning, and 4-7 on Reading Comp. so this time when I messed up on the games, I knew I had done worse than usual.

    It’s really unlike me to mess up on games like that and I know it will bring down my score by at least 3-4 points from usual. Should I retake in December and just apply a year from now?

  8. Hi,

    I took the LSAT for the first time in June and got a 140. My biggest issue is that I never timed myself when I studied so on the day of the test, I was only half way through the questions when the proctor made the 5 minute warning. So I guessed on literally half the questions. Ergo, only 8-10 questions right per section. That was my first issue. My second issue was that, plain and simple, I didn’t evaluate the questions I got wrong, so I didn’t learn from my mistakes.
    I’ve been studying heavily for the past month and I have been improving my speed as well as my accuracy. But as it gets closer to October (I signed up to take the October LSAT) I’m feeling less and less confident I can increase my score to my goal of 160.
    My question is, should I retake in October, or wait until December? That being said, I have many things to weigh, do I take it in October to see how I do, AND in December? Do I risk sending my applications in later for a better score? Or do I wait to apply to my preferred school entirely?
    I know I’ve said a lot but I really need the advice of a professional. Thank you!!

    p.s my gpa is a 3.2

  9. I also believe I fall into the underprepared categoryeven though I completed two next ten books (untimed).

    I’d really like to know what you think.

  10. I know this post is old but I am wondering on whether to take the LSAT this year or just wait. I got a 162 and have a 3.1 GPA. I know it’s not great so I’m not looking at HYS or anything, but I would love to get into BU. I know I can improve that LSAT but my GPA not so much as I have few classes left. The next LSAT (October) is on the same day of my sister’s wedding abroad so I would need to take a special LSAT in order to get my results on time to apply this year. Would you recommend I go through all of that, retake, hopefully get a better score, and apply with a 3.2 (summer classes included) or wait a year, take the LSAT with more time and maybe a higher (3.3) GPA. My question comes down to whether you think BU might take 162/3.2 or if my chances are just 0. Also, do you recommend applying and see what happens? Meanwhile I can continue to improve both scores and reapply if not accepted? Is applying this year even worth it with those numbers? Thanks!

  11. I got a 163 on the June LSAT and u have a 4.0 GPA. I was scoring closer to 168 prior to the test tho. Should I retake?? I’m so lost because I thought I was going todo much better. (I also got into a car accident the morning of the test…)

  12. Hey,
    So I’ve taken the LSAT 3 times in the past year…
    June ’14- 152
    October ’14- 147
    February ’15- 152
    Obviously, I am extremely disappointed in all of my scores because my practice tests were in the high 150s, low 160s.
    My GPA is 3.3
    I’m not looking to go to a T14 law school (obviously) But I would like to go to a Top 100 law school with significant scholarship. With my GPA/LSAT I am competitive at some of the schools I am looking at, but I really feel like I can do significantly better on the LSAT…
    As I see it, I have 3 options:
    #1. Attend a Tier 3 school with some scholarship (probably more than 50%)
    #2. Attend a Tier 2 school with little-no scholarship
    #3. Work a job, and retake the LSAT next June/October and shoot for the score I know I can get. And if I don’t do well then I know law school isn’t the thing for me.

    I don’t really have a desire for Big Law, my dream would be to work for the State Department or some other type of related government type work, but I would like the prestige of a good law school to help me pursue my goals.

    Any suggestions as to which path I should take?

  13. Hi! I just joined the Mastermind Group and am planning on retaking as of now, but I’m not absolutely positive that it’s the right decision and would love some guidance. My practice average was high 160’s and I got a flat 160 on the actual February LSAT. I only studied for 2 months while in school, and feel that with proper study I can reach my potential and really raise my score, perhaps even higher than my previous testing average. However, I do have apps out right now, and I’m nervous that I might get acceptances to a few of my non-dream schools and then have to decide whether to accept a lesser package or retake in the fall and put law school off for a year. Any advice? Thanks!

  14. I just took the February LSAT and scored a 170. Prior to my exam, my practice scores were (in chronological order): 169, 171, 172, 173, 170, 170. I felt that I had suddenly started really “getting” the test and felt like I was on this great upwards trajectory that would peak nicely at, or around test day. But just before those two 170s, I started getting extremely anxious and could feel myself struggling emotionally, having difficulty sleeping, etc. The day before my text I actually had a full-on panic attack because a lot of my carefully laid plans were blowing up. My hotel room was right next to a train that was going to run every 20 minutes all night. The temperature control didn’t work – it was either AC or blasting heat, which made it impossible to sleep. The “kitchen” that was supposed to be included in the room turned out to be just a microwave and I wasn’t able to have my normal pre-test breakfast.

    Obviously none of these pre-test problems are that huge on their own, but I wonder if I could do better on another try. My GPA is pretty low – 3.4 – so I really need as awesome an LSAT score as possible to get into the top schools. Does it make sense for me to retake in June?

  15. Hello,

    I was recently placed on the waitlist at UTexas, which is my dream school. How that happened I do not know: LSAT 155 and GPA 3.4, definitely not expecting it. Should I retake the LSAT in June to up my chances? At that point I will have heard from everywhere else and may have even been taken off the waitlist.

    My practice average was 160. While I knew I did not do my best, I was hoping for at least a 158 on the December LSAT.

    I know that it might be better to study harder and apply next year, but I don’t want to waste time. I want to be a lawyer. Taking another year off just feels like a waste of time, even though I know it might be the smarter decision.

    What do you suggest?

  16. So I have a couple of questions, but I’m going to give you a little background first. I graduated from undergrad in 2011 and took the LSATs twice in 2010, which was a huge mistake. Senior year I really didn’t care about anything besides having a good time with my friends. The first time I took it I didn’t study at all and I was drinking margaritas the night before (I was an a-hole), but I scored a 151, which also happened to be the same score that two of my friends received. They convinced me to retake it with them, so while they retook prep courses I took one practice test because I was coerced by my friend to do so and I don’t think I even finished it. The night before the second exam, I begrudgingly stayed in and I ended up scoring a 157. I ended up not applying for law school because everyone was telling me it was a terrible idea and that there are too many lawyers in the world and it’s a waste of money. However, right out of college I began working as an assistant in a law office and quickly became a paralegal and I haven’t stopped thinking about going to law school. The other thing is that my GPA was horrendous (but from a good school) because as I said, I was an a hole.

    So after that long summary my questions are, 1- Should I just apply to “meh” schools just because they’re all sending me e-mails waiving the fee and I’m anxious to do something with my life? 2- My LSAT scores are just about invalid so should I study my ass off and retake the LSATs and apply next year to law school when those scores will be invalid? and 3- Will any of this matter with a GPA below 3.0?

    Thanks for the help! Love the website and the newsletter!

  17. Hi,

    I scored a 170 on the December LSAT after typically scoring between 172-179 on all my practice tests. I failed to pay attention to the time in my best section and lost 3 points I would have gotten, and got 6 points wrong in the reading comp section which had never happened to me before. I’m not planning on applying until fall 2015 so timing isn’t an issue for me. My GPA is 3.82 and I’m really hoping to go to Columbia. I feel like these were avoidable mistakes since I was sick on my test date, but I’m worried about having a second score making my application look weaker if I only go up to a 172 or if I score lower, particularly since Columbia’s retake policy is so vague. What do you think? Thanks!!

  18. Clayton Trice on

    I scored a 154 on my first time taking the LSAT, which was the highest I have ever scored. I feel if I took it again, the best I could do is only improve a point or two. If you were in a law school’s position, do they really put that much weight on a 155 over a 154, or should I just stick with my 154 or should I take it again to try and up it to a 155? Disregard GPA and target schools, I am only curious about schools where you would apply with those types of scores and if they make such a big deal in admissions with a 155 versus a 154. Thanks

  19. Hello,

    I got a 165 on the September 2014 LSAT – the last 10 preptests that I had taken had me averaging a 171, the last 5 of those being a 171 every time. I have a 3.83 LSAC GPA and am interested in Vanderbilt or Georgetown. Should I retake the December LSAT? Will the delay in my applications be hurtful to me?

  20. Hi,

    I was wondering if you could give me so advice regarding retaking the LSAT. I have a gpa of 3.84 and scored a 150 on the Sept. LSAT. Some of the advisors have told to me apply and give it a shot to see what offers I get, but I am wondering if I should start studying to take the LSAT in June. The highest score in my prep tests was a 154, but I believe I can do better since a lot of the stresses that I was going through are no longer present. Do you think it is possible to study my way up to a 155 and even a 160?


  21. Hello,

    I scored a 141 (Yikes!) after scoring in the high 150s low 160s and feel like I grasped every concept and entered the test with confidence, and left feeling confident as well. I was beyond surprised at scoring 16-18 points below my practice scores. I am definitely retaking in December, as I think I may just have had a bad day/test anxiety got the best of me. Is a 16 point jump up likely? I’m still highly confused as to what happened. I have a 3.7 undergrad GPA.

  22. Hi!

    So, I completely bombed the logic games section of the September 2014 LSAT (I only answered 9 right!). I ended up scoring a rather disappointing but not surprising 150. I’ve been out of college for 6 years and working a full-time job in the public interest field. My goal is to be a public interest attorney, and my work experience and volunteer activities are highly relevant to my planned career. My college GPA was a 3.4. Is it a good idea to retake the LSAT in December? Or do you think I have a shot at getting accepted into a second-tier school with a 150 LSAT and 3.4 GPA, given my work experience? I’m a URM Hispanic female (if that counts for anything). I’m fairly confident that I can go up 3-5 points on the LSAT if I retake it, but that still puts me at an average LSAT score. I’m not sure if in this case it’s just better to apply now and be early, rather than take the December LSAT only to go up a few points. Suggestions??

  23. Hello! I’m in that 150 range/on the fence situation. I was averaging 160 on practice tests, but I got a 157 on the actual test(bummer). Before when I was studying I wasn’t working, but I recently got a full time job. My undergrad GPA was 3.87. Also, not sure if it makes a difference, but I’ve spent two years working in non-profits and I want to do public interest law.

    Help!!!! Thanks so much!

  24. Some advice would be great!

    I just graduated with my undergraduate degree in May 2014 with an overall 3.69 GPA. I studied at a community college for 3 semesters where I earned a 3.32 GPA before transferring to a state univeristy where I earned a 3.82. I took the LSAT in December 2013 and scored a 154. I had taken an LSAT prep course months before but did not follow up with studying prior to the exam. I decided to wait and had intended on applying for Fall 2015. I just took the September 2014 LSAT and scored a 156. I am incredibly disappointed with this score. I had practiced extensively before the exam and had hoped to attend a top 25 school. I am now trying to decide if I want to wait another year and take the LSAT for a third time. If I were to wait, I intend on doing something productive with that time such as teaching English abroad. If I were to wait and retest for acceptance in Fall 2016, I intend on hiring a private tutor prior to the exam. I’m incredibly conflicted with this decision. I know I studied extensively on my own but I wonder if I missed something or would substantially benefit from waiting another year and hiring a tutor to help improve my score. I am a 23 year old white female, so I don’t have the URM working in my favor. I do have substantial work experience and a congressional internship working in my favor, but I know that will not get me into a top 25 school with a 3.69/156. Any advice would be appreciated!


  25. I have a 3.84 undergrad GPA (and an MA from Georgetown and work experience) and was practicing at 164 but scored 160 on the Sept. 2014 LSAT. I studied hard, but not has hard as I could have. If I retake in December, that would push back my turn-in date for George Washington where I had planned to apply early decision. The rest of my application is almost done. Would I be in a better position to apply in the next couple of weeks with my current stats, or should I try to gain a few more points while pushing back my application until the deadline?

  26. I scored a 152 but I have a 3.91 GPA; I prepared long and hard and was hoping for at minimum a 160. I am in my senior year and am considering retaking in December. I have a full course load this semester so I am concerned that I might not have a lot of time to dedicate to prepping for December. I believe my biggest mistake was not simulating testing conditions enough but I am worried I might not be able to properly do so enough before December. I also have a wide variety of law-related experiences: interning at a law lobbying company, interning with a county judge’s office; working full/part time at a law firm as a legal assistant.

    What should I do?

    • Yes haha. Unless you plan on founding an LSAT and want the 180 for sales purposes, there is no rational reason to retake a 179. Schools would likely think you need a hobby, badly. Would that prevent them from accepting you? Almost certainly not. But still, they likely would find it strange.

  27. Hi guys,

    I scored a 164 but was PTing in the 169-177 range, hitting everything in between on over 30 PTs. I’ve got a 4.1 LSAC GPA, triple major from a solid state school, and am usually an ace at games but had a panic attack after the experimental (first gen college student and freaked out about letting family down) and then went -7 games and -6 on the last LR after doing -3 each on first two sections. I’m going to retake, but I wondered two things a) how to not panic next time if one section is tough and b) what hard logic games to study to make anything else seem easier. If you have any advice, it would me much appreciated. That score was tough :s

  28. I took the Sept 2014 LSAT and received a 150, my current undergrad GPA is 3.4 and my top choices are Loyola and Southwestern. I was scoring moderately higher on my PT about 153-155. I did self study the first time and Im wondering if it’s worth it to retake the Dec lsat (and maybe pay for some tutoring) and submit after I receive my score or to take a full prep class and do the Feb lsat and apply for the next year. Thank you!

  29. Hi,

    I got a 151 on the June LSAT, I have a 3.785 GPA, and I am a URM applicant. I chose to retake in September, but now I’m starting to get really scared that my score may have wen down. I studied my butt of for June and came up from 139 to 151. Then, three weeks before September I started studying again and hit 153 on a older prep test the Saturday before. I guess my main concern is – what if my test scores went down? Do you still feel that schools will only really look at my higher score? Also, on another note – how do schools view traffic tickets?

    Thank you!

  30. Hello!

    I’m a little worried because I scored 172 on the June 2014 LSAT, and my dream school is Harvard. That was the second time I took it too (I cancelled my first score in Feb 2014 LSAT), but my GPA from an Ivy League school is 3.98. I was scoring 175-176 in most of my practice tests. Do you think I should take the October LSAT? Thanks!

  31. Hi there. Kind of a unique situation and generally bummed about all prospects. Took the LSAT when I graduated in 2010– did horribly, a 152. Four years later, took a new (better prep course) was getting in the low 160s/high 150s which is right where I wanted to be. Sat for the February 2014 exam and pulled a 155 and was devastated. GPA is 3.56 from Holy Cross, looking at schools like Emory and Boston College. I feel genuinely hopeless at this rate and cannot fathom taking the LSAT a THIRD time (understanding that my 2010 is score is going to expire). Thoughts?

  32. Hi there! I took the June LSAT and scored a 169. I’m really torn about whether or not to retake in October. I did nearly every practice test available and scored around my average (I consistently hit between 168 and 170), so I’m not sure I can get much more than a 171 even if I put my all into preparing again. That said, I feel like the remainder of my application materials (4.0 GPA from top public undergrad institution, top of class in oxbridge masters degree, extensive leadership experience, 2 years work experience, highly prestigious national scholarship finalist, strong/vetted rec letters and personal statement) would make me quite competitive at places like HLS and YLS if only my LSAT score were a little higher. A big part of me wants to focus on the personal statement in the hopes that it and other elements of my application will carry me past the finish line despite a below-average LSAT score (particularly because I do not have a clear schedule to devote entirely to test prep in the next two months). Yet I can’t shake the feeling that I would be in an immensely stronger position if only I could achieve a 172 or 173. Very frustrating. Any advice is appreciated!

  33. I just took the June and got a 170. My last PT scores leading up to the exam were 178, 174, 169, 174, and before the last couple weeks I was averaging about 169. I thought I was going to do better – nothing went wrong during the test, I thought I scored around a 175 actually. The general consensus from most forums and such is that I should retake, but I have a hard time with that… I have a strong GPA (at least 3.97, though LSAC may give me a higher conversion since I have a few a+’s), strong work experience, study abroad, and some volunteer work. I will be able to get good letters of recommendation. My dream school is Stanford, just behind that would be Harvard, Columbia, Berkeley, and Georgetown. Thoughts? I just can’t see myself retaking, I don’t feel like I could improve that much. My initial diagnostic was like a 158, and I prepped for 8 months to get a 170, worked with a tutor and did a lot of PTs. Help me out! I don’t know what to do.

  34. Hello! I am not quite sure what to do…I took the June LSAT and scored a 150. I have a 3.9 GPA, worked at a law firm this past year with two amazing letters of recommendations from two lawyers. I work hard, and was scoring in the mid 150′s on my practice tests, but I get a lot of anxiety during the actual test. I started out at a 136, so I know that I can improve. Do I have any chance of getting into a T3 or HIGHER? I applied to about 10 schools and now I am waiting responses. I dont know if I should retake the test, if I am not cut out for law school because of my LSAT score, or if I should just go anywhere that will accept me and try to transfer.

    Would appreciate any feedback you can give me, thanks!

    • If I were you, I would retake. Hopefully anxiety will be lower the second time through, and you will be able to bump up a few percentile ranges. Even if you could get up to a 155, you could likely get into a few of the top 100 ranked programs

  35. Hi, I would love some advice! I took the June ’14 LSAT and got a 168. Towards the end of my studying I was scoring in the 170-173 range (I got a 178 once, which was a VERY happy fluke I’m assuming lol). I have a relatively low GPA, 3.3, although from a very good school (don’t know if that matters AT ALL). I put in a solid two months of studying (I studied longer than 2 months, but it was initially very relaxed) and am wondering if re-taking makes sense. Dream school would be Stanford, but I’d be really happy with UCLA, USC, UC Irvine, Georgetown or George Washington and I just don’t know that any of those would accept me given my GPA and LSAT scores as they stand. I’m also terrified I’d do worse and/or the same and it would look awful! Any advice would be SO helpful!


    • I’m sort of in the same boat. I got a 170 and was practicing at 174-178. Everyone is telling me to retake just for scholarships, but I think with my GPA I still have enough of a shot at Stanford. Your GPA is a bit low for Stanford, but I think you’d have a decent shot at UCLA, USC, and UC Irvine, especially if you have a well-rounded application. I feel like your GPA is going to be more of a sticking point than a 168 LSAT for those schools.

  36. Hi! I have a 3.55 GPA and just got my June LSAT score, a 166. I averaged around a 170 on most of the practice tests that I took and am wondering if I should retake the test this fall. I would love to go to a T14 school and realize that I likely need a high LSAT score to counter my low GPA. I started studying for the test about a month before taking it, so I feel like I could do better (but maybe that’s just wishful thinking). But I have heard that schools prefer for applicants to only take the lsat once. What do you recommend?

    I was also wondering if law schools take into account where you went for undergrad when looking at your GPA.

    Thank you so much!


  37. Hi I just got my June LSAT score of a 159. I averaged a 164 on practice tests and studied pretty extensively 2 months prior using an online Kaplan course. I was confident coming out of the test that I at least got my average.
    I have a 3.98 GPA and very active in leadership positions on campus. I’m looking at schools such as Vanderbilt, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. Do you recommend I retake in the fall?

  38. Hi! I have a 3.97 GPA and I just got my June 2014 LSAT Score, a 163. My top choice is Northwestern but I’m also very interested in Georgetown, UC Berkely, and UCLA. Do I have a chance? A 163 is my average practice score but I have scored up to a 166 in the past. I feel like I’ve hit a plateau with my self-study but am finding it hard to accept that I can’t score higher with some tutoring or a structured program. Do you have any advice? Thanks so much!

  39. Hi! I took lsat in December and have been waitlisted at a lot of schools now. I am taking the June test now. Should I email the schools I am waist listed at an addendum regarding why I am retaking (I have an honestly very good reason why I scored 6-8 points lower on my first test than what I was scoring otherwise, and what I believe I will score on my 2nd test since the chances of the trauma happening again are at a .00001% chance).

    • Mike, I would definitely wait until you get your new score back. You can inform them merely that you are retaking in a LOCI, but I think they’ll look askance at saying you’ll improve before it actually happens. You don’t want to put that kind of extra pressure on yourself either. Just do everything you can to improve in June and let your new score do the talking.

  40. Hi Joshua and Evan,
    I received my score from the February LSAT and got a 157, which was on the low end of what I averaged, but nothing outrageously low. I gave this LSAT everything I got so that I wouldn’t have to retake, but now I am wondering if I should. The five main schools I wanted to attend were in Washington and Oregon. I wanted to stay on the West Coast so that my wife and I could be close to her family. The way I see it, I could get in to four of the five schools I wanted to apply to (Seattle U, Willamette, Lewis and Clark, and Pepperdine) but not University of Washington (I have a low score for their acceptance and I’m a middle-class white guy—not exactly what they want without exceptional scores).
    I think I could get good scholarships to Seattle U and Willamette, but not really anywhere else in the Pacific North West. I will make my question simple: do you think I should try to retake the June LSAT or just try to build my applications and spread out across the country to see what the least expensive route is? I have a 3.8 GPA for my undergrad if that helps shed any light.

    Thanks for all your help!

    • Oh, I should also mention with an amount of bitterness that on the test day I felt GREAT. I finished all the sections on time except for that little bitch of a game that the test makers threw in for the 5th section. That aside, I felt pretty good on test day, thinking I did well, which makes me nervous that the next time around wouldn’t change much. But the last thing I want is to be lazy and miss out on a chance to provide for my family and get good scholarships.

      • My answer to this is almost always the same: if you score in the high 150’s there are just so many things you can try to improve, so a retake if almost always a good idea. I think you should definitely give it another try. You have a great GPA so you don’t want that to go to waste! Try renovating your approach with a new LSAT book, The LSAT Trainer. Keep us updated are what you are doing to prep. I’m happy to provide advice on a retake study regimen.

        • Then it’s settled! Thank you for the great advice. I will keep you updated and let you know how the June test goes. Do you recommend the LSAT Trainer above Fox or Blueprint? (I did Powerscore material the entire way). Also, if you have a retake study schedule available that would be great! Thanks Evan!

  41. Hi there! I’m unsure of whether or not to retake after receiving my Feb 2014 LSAT score and I was wondering if you could help me out. I’m hoping to get into Harvard or Yale or a similar school, and I am an undergrad at one of the two schools I just named. I got a 173 LSAT score and expect my GPA to be 3.6 upon graduation. My practice test scores for the last few tests before I took the LSAT were all between 175 and 177 (maybe even 178).

    I had a really demanding range of extracurriculars that could explain some of the grades on my transcript (my GPA for my first two years of college was 3.3 and my GPA for the last two is about 3.85). Additionally, I know I can get three stellar recommendations and I will be doing something abroad that is fairly unconventional and “interesting” for two years before I apply to law school.

    What do you think?

    • Hi CDS, I feel like I’m in a unique position to comment on this, because that is exactly what happened to me. I was averaging high 170s and got a 173. I put the drop down to test day pressure and convinced myself not to retake. I think that’s the right decision, esp. in your case.

      Harvard and Yale are the only schools that really do seem to consider your lower score, so even an improved score might not put you in a significantly better position. Also, a 173 is really great, and should give you good chances at both schools (and great chances at any other school). I expect applications volume to remain weak for the next few years, so you’ll be in much better shape than I was in 2009. I didn’t actually apply to Harvard or Yale. That might seem a little strange, but I wanted lower debt and wanted to be in a big city (either NYC or Chicago), Still, I’m betting I would have been waitlisted at Harvard. You on the other hand have better softs and come from a better undergrad, so I’m very optimistic about your chances.

      Also, if you look at the repeater data, it doesn’t tend to go to well for 170 retakers. I think it’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself to outdo an already great score. What I would do is apply and only retake if needed to try to get off a waitlist. I might recommend applying next year and deferring your entrance for a year, so you can best ensure you are getting your application in while the pool is very small. Congratulations on a great performance!

  42. My average LSAT was a 161-162 (After about 12 practice Tests) progressing higher even than that, I believe I am capable of having it average even higher. My score ended up at a 156 (emotional trauma due to family death night before LSAT, didn’t sleep etc. and also due to test anxiety I am assuming). My undergrad GPA is 2.9, and I have 5 years work experience in law and international refugee programs. I am worried I will not find acceptance so late in the admissions process with such a low GPA and LSAT, yet also afraid to wait to take test again when I will most likely achieve a 160 based on practices, and thus minimal seats will be available after the February LSAT. I would like (hoping) to be accepted in a top 75 school. Do you have any advice on acceptance and retaking/waiting.

    • Cara,

      If you do give the LSAT another shot, I would do it in June and wait until next year to apply. It sounds like you haven’t reached your potential, and February is likely to soon to get fully prepared.

      You have a very low GPA to overcome, so getting the best score possible on the LSAT is of the uppermost importance if you want to get in to a top 75 program.

      I’m curious, how many fresh LSAT preptests do you have left to practice with?

  43. Here’s my situation: I scored 175 + on some of my practice tests but received a 155 on my LSAT due to stressful life circumstances. I have a low GPA (under 3.0) but a high graduate GPA (3.7). Would you advise that I retake? All my dream schools are in the top 40.

    • Yes that is one of the most clear retake situations I’ve ever seen. That 155 has nothing to do with your potential and you should not pursue law school until you’ve gotten something close to your practice test average. Eliminate whatever caused the stress and get back in there.

  44. I would love some advice on whether I should re-take. Here’s my situation:

    I received a 163 on the December LSAT- this is significantly below my practice average (which I had raised to 169-170 before the test). I have a 3.86 GPA from Princeton and a master’s degree from Stanford. My aim was to go to a top 3 school but I’m really worried now about my LSAT score. Should I retake in February despite the disadvantages with timing? Thanks for your advice; I appreciate it.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Yes, that is a retake every time. Even 3 points below your PT average and we counsel a retake. Don’t worry about the timing much. If there is one year that a seriously late app won’t hurt you too much, it’s this year (so few people are applying at the moment). If you have bad results this cycle, you can always wait and apply early in the next one. Sorry that you had a bad round on the LSAT here. Good luck and let us know if you need any advice at all.

  45. christen bertolotti on

    i have a 3.4 GPA and i got a 151 on the LSAT. My dream schools are Loyola Chicago or Depaul in chicago but basically my goal is any of the middle tier schools….should i retake the LSAT is it worth the trouble to retake it? A lot of the schools that my GPA could get me into i’m missing the LSAT range by 5,6,7 points.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      @Christen While you do have a good shot at getting into at least some of those schools, even 4 or 5 points are going to be a huge help and will make a big difference in the kind of money that you get at these schools. I think if these schools are your dream, then you owe it to yourself to consider retaking if you think you can do better.

      Look closely at whether you think you did your best prepping for the LSAT this time around: Did you do every preptest that was available to you? Did you carefully review questions that you got wrong to identify your weaknesses? If you think there is A LOT more that you could have done, this is a good indicator that you might wish to retake and put your all in to it this time around.

      Retaking in October is not going to require you to put off applying another year, which is also good. My advice is to get your applications out as early as possible even if you are retaking. Schools in that tier will almost certainly reconsider your application if you get a higher score.

      Bear in mind that the odds are against you when it comes to doing significantly better. If you decide to retake, get really serious about giving the test your all. Hope this helps and keep us updated!

  46. Hi, I just got my score and I got a 162. My GPA is a 3.7 and I’m not sure if I should re-take the test in October again because my target schools are USC and UCLA and their LSAT scores are in the range of 164-168. Thoughts?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on


      Evan here: by the time you get in to schools ranking around the T25, they may start to care somewhat if you turn in a worse score on the retake. This makes your decision somewhat harder.

      You are already hovering around the numbers that you need to get in those schools, which also makes the decision harder. There is no question people do get into those schools with those numbers. However, as it stands your odds aren’t stellar going by numbers alone. Early Decision would push those odds up a little, but don’t do it if you plan on retaking.

      I am going to edit the above post a little to reflect that you need not be as concerned with delaying your application on a retake. Applications are down so much that I think more spots will be available later than in previous years. So don’t worry so much about delay in considering retaking so much for that reason (Mid-October is never overly late to begin with).

      That said, you need to do the same calculus everyone has to do when deciding to retake, which is assessing how likely it is that you personally will do better. If you really put your all into it this time around, the realist view is that significant improvements are not the likely outcome (see stats above). If you think you can do more, then be ready to really buckle down and devote your life to nailing this test.

      Should you decide to retake, follow the advice on this blog carefully and do preptests like crazy. Consider a tutor as well. Please keep us updated on your decision.

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