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Before you retake the LSAT, you have some serious thinking to do. Retaking the LSAT takes 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 will be a different decision depending on your score, the time of year, and many 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. This means that if you improve on a retake, you’ll be judged by a 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 of 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 relative to applicants who only take the LSAT once.

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.

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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 the average improvement in LSAT score for those who retake the LSAT?

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

The following table summarizes the average increase or decrease in performance on the LSAT for test-takers who retook the LSAT in 2012-2013. The “Initial LSAT Score” listed is the test taker’s score on a previously administered LSAT exam.

Initial LSAT ScoreAverage Improvement On Retake
120+10.00
121+9.70
122+6.80
123+7.50
124+6.30
125+6.00
126+5.10
127+4.80
128+4.10
129+3.50
130+3.90
131+4.00
132+3.40
133+3.70
134+3.10
135+3.10
136+3.10
137+2.90
138+2.60
139+2.60
140+2.50
141+2.50
142+2.40
143+2.10
144+2.60
145+2.40
146+2.50
147+2.10
148+2.20
149+2.30
150+2.30
151+2.20
152+2.30
153+2.20
154+2.00
155+2.10
156+2.10
157+2.30
158+1.90
159+2.10
160+2.30
161+2.00
162+1.80
163+1.40
164+2.20
165+1.90
166+1.80
167+1.40
168+.90
169+1.80
170+1.10
171+1.40
172+1.30
173-.10
174+1.80
175+.30
176-.70
177-5.50
178-1.00
179-1.30
180

As you can see, the average jump, where there is one, isn’t very substantial. Except for 170 and 171 scorers, the 170+ crowd can’t really count on things going better on a retake. Almost everyone else can expect somewhere between a 2 and 3 point jump. Source: http://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/data-%28lsac-resources%29-docs/repeaterdata.pdf

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

Initial LSAT Score% higher score% same score% lower score
12088.9%11.1%0.0%
121100.0%0.0%0.0%
12291.3%4.3%4.3%
12386.7%0.0%13.3%
12488.5%5.8%5.8%
12593.5%0.0%6.5%
12680.0%7.1%12.9%
12780.9%3.6%15.5%
12873.6%10.0%16.4%
12970.9%9.4%19.7%
13070.3%5.1%24.6%
13175.1%3.8%21.1%
13275.7%5.9%18.4%
13372.7%7.4%19.9%
13471.9%5.0%23.0%
13572.2%5.8%22.0%
13668.5%8.1%23.4%
13770.5%4.8%24.7%
13869.1%6.8%24.1%
13966.8%7.3%25.9%
14066.1%7.3%26.6%
14168.2%7.1%24.7%
14266.1%8.7%25.2%
14361.8%12.0%26.2%
14467.9%6.3%25.8%
14567.8%7.4%24.8%
14666.0%8.0%26.0%
14766.6%7.4%26.0%
14866.0%9.0%25.0%
14965.2%9.7%25.1%
15067.0%7.1%25.9%
15167.2%9.4%23.4%
15267.0%8.3%24.7%
15364.3%8.7%27.0%
15465.4%7.0%27.6%
15566.2%8.7%25.0%
15667.6%7.8%24.6%
15768.1%8.2%23.7%
15863.3%10.9%25.8%
15963.1%9.4%27.6%
16067.6%7.9%24.5%
16166.9%8.3%24.8%
16261.8%12.4%25.9%
16359.8%8.2%31.9%
16467.0%11.5%21.4%
16562.6%12.6%24.8%
16663.4%8.5%28.1%
16761.9%4.5%33.6%
16852.6%13.9%33.6%
16964.3%7.8%27.9%
17063.9%1.6%34.4%
17161.8%2.9%35.3%
17264.0%4.0%32.0%
17347.1%5.9%47.1%
17470.0%10.0%20.0%
17566.7%0.0%33.3%
17666.7%0.0%33.3%
1770.0%0.0%100.0%
1780.0%0.0%100.0%
17933.3%33.3%33.3%
180

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 under-prepare, but trust me, that’s what people do. That’s good news for you: if you prep smart and really focus, you’ve got much better odds of seeing significant improvement than these charts would indicate. 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 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 jump 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.

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

When You Should Always Retake The LSAT

There are some times where there is just no doubt you should retake. Nearly every LSAT 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 every time. Well-known admissions counselor Ann Levine posted on our site recently that you should ALWAYs retake if your score were 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 you will hit around your practice average next time. Just trust me. That’s how it works. You have nothing much to worry about. For tips on maintaining 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 other extenuating circumstances that are unlikely to reoccur, that means you should retake. Lightning 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 might 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 by studying intensely with a rigorous prep schedule. If you can’t prep properly in time for the LSAT, it’s best not to take the test and wait until you have done prep right, rather than get a bad score and 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 are 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 might 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 it 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 retake the test. If you look at the charts, it’s just not likely you will 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 a 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 the 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 tough 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 150s or lower going into the exam. Is it worth the effort to study for a retake and try to boost your score?

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 into 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 many people don’t see much improvement the second time they take 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 it.

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 excellent 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. It’s worth seeing that last card. In fact, it would be worth it if the pot was only $101.

Retaking the LSAT is like being in this $500 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 it’s generally what you should do if you scored in the 150s the first time. If you are going to get in this game, play it to win.

If you scored in the 150s, it’s tough 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 February, June, or July LSAT, the decision to retake the exam is a little easier. Most top law schools begin accepting applications on or about mid-to-late September, but they don’t really begin reviewing applications until October/November. As such, you are generally no worse off applying when you get your retake score instead of at the very beginning of the application period.

If, however, you take your first LSAT in September, then the decision to retake later in the cycle 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 put you in a significantly weaker position. However, with fewer people applying to law school in recent years, it doesn’t seem to prejudice you to very much to apply in December. There should be plenty of seats available in December, so it might be worth a shot retaking the LSAT in November/December. Make sure, however, that your applications are ready to go as soon as you get your LSAT score back. That way, your applications can go out as soon as scores are released, and you can avoid getting stuck under a pile of other December LSAT takers.

Retaking in January/February/March, on the other hand, is more likely to put you at a bit of 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 climate, when 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 at the beginning of the year hinges on whether or not you will be able to earn a high enough increase in your LSAT score to justify delaying your application submissions. You should have solid reasons to believe you can improve by at least 3 points.

Bear in mind that you are free to submit your application so long as you have an LSAT score, 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 their decision until 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 from school to school, so it would be good to consult the admissions office when you are considering retaking.

For a significant portion of those who take the LSAT in November/December and are considering a retake in January/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 will 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 often get 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 167, and suddenly, 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 a 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 usually going to 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 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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99 Comments

  1. I took the LSAT flex in July of 2020 and scored a 154. I prepared myself with the help of the “bible” books. I kept a study schedule of approx 2 hours 4-5 days per week. I am considering taking the test again in August of 2021. What are your thoughts on my ability to improve and should I hire an online tutor?

  2. Hi,

    I have taken the LSAT twice now (September and November 2018). My scores have been 165 and 166. I was really disappointed, especially for my November one, because I really thought I had improved enough to hit 170, which is my goal. I know I can reach 170, because I was consistently hitting 170+ scores during my practice tests when I was studying for my retake.

    My question is whether I should retake the LSAT in January and work to hit that 170. I attend a small regional university, but have a 4.0 in Biomedical Sciences-Biology degree. I have okay enough extra-curriculars – internship at local civil rights non-profit, president and member of student leadership organizations, research assistant in cancer-research lab on campus, and a few other involvements.

    Ideally, I would love to go to UChicago Law, but I know that if I apply after a January LSAT, I will be pretty late in the cycle and wouldn’t have much of a chance. My other top picks are Columbia, Duke, UT Austin, Virginia, and Cornell, but I don’t think Cornell accepts January LSATs.

    I would have my winter break to dedicate solely to studying. I know what kind of study plan I would follow and what areas to focus on. Do you think it is worth it to retake and apply later in the cycle? I am worried that my chances and scholarship opportunities will be much lower in February as opposed to now in December. I know that score is more important than when you apply, but I am still feeling relatively conflicted.

    Any thoughts and input would help and be greatly appreciated!

  3. Hi, I have a 3.3 GPA in biology with a specialization in neuroscience. I have a few years of work experience in various research labs and now in a clinical trial. I want to go into healthcare law / IP but I also really want to go to a top school like NYU. I just took the LSAT and got a 170 but I was PTing up to a 173. Should I retake it in June and try to get a few extra points to push me more over the median to make up for my lower GPA?

  4. Hi,

    I got a 152 on my December LSAT. I got a 149 the first time in September. Is it worth taking a gap year to study up and try to break through to the 160+ range apply for Fall 2019 or should I just take the 152 and run with it?
    I’m applying to Rutgers, Seton Hall, Villanova, and Temple
    Any insight you could provide would be most helpful.

  5. Hi! Currently in a really stressful position and ANY/all advice would really help me out….

    Took the Feb 2016 exam and got a 158. I decided to use the nearly all summer to prep, as well as enlist a tutor to help me identify my weaknesses and really drill those down. I was testing between 163-169, mostly getting 165/166 in the last few couple weeks leading up to the September 2017 exam. However, I did not perform as well as I would have liked and ended up with a 163. The reading comp definitely did me in and I was also very amped up/anxious the week leading up to it. Now I’m trying to make the decision of whether or not to take it a third time? Does the potential gain in points worth delaying sending out my applications?

    My UGPA is a 3.69 and I have degree in architecture from top 15 undergrad school. I have 3 strong rec’s and am currently working full time, which is actually my biggest concern in taking the Dec. LSAT because I know I would not be able to study nearly as much as I was over the summer. I do have all the tests, but the other potential issue I guess is that I’ve taken them all at some point and don’t want to get false hope off of inflated scores. I have registered for the December test to keep my options open so I can take a couple practice exams and see where I’m testing right now…

    Ultimately, is it worth trying again for that +2/3 points? I know right now it’s a reach for t14 schools, but do I need to score higher than my current score to have reasonable shots at some other schools like Wash U, Notre Dame, BU, & GW. I think I could get into some in the latter pack maybe, but definitely wouldn’t be expecting $ from them with a 163.

    Does having 3 scores put me at a disadvantage compared to someone who has taken the test fewer times? What if I ended up doing worse the 3rd time–would they just ignore that and focus on the highest score?

    Thanks!

  6. Hi!
    URM applicant with a GPA of 3.93 and LSAT score of 156. I took the LSAT twice and received 156 both times. Disappointing the second time around considering I was scoring 159 and maxed at 161 on my practice tests. Debating whether a re-take makes sense. I also had average SAT scores going into undergrad so wondering if supplying those scores would help my application?

    I would ideally like to go to a T-14 school preferably Berkeley. Thoughts?

    Thanks!!

  7. Hello! Last night, I received my score. I got a 167, which puts me in the 94th percentile. This is a good score for me according to my overall PT average, but I did score a 173 on a practice test a few weeks before the test, during a time when my scores before and after had leveled out at 166-167. My undergrad GPA is 3.8, and my dream schools are Michigan and Penn., though I do have other T14 schools on my list which I’d be thrilled to attend, as well as schools whose median LSAT scores are more in the mid-to-low 160 range (such as Boston University). I’m happy to have achieved a score that aligns with most of my highest PT scores, but frustrated because I know I’ve done even better in the past and because the section that caused me the most trouble was not LG, which has classically been the case yet which I nearly aced, but instead RC. For many reasons, I would very much like to apply during this cycle. Should I retake the test and hope to gain a point or two, or should I stick with my 167 and put together as strong an application as possible with my current stats?

  8. I just received my lsat score of a 155. I was averaging around a 162 with my highest being a 164. Honestly did not think the test went this bad, and now I’m just confused on what to do. I’m a biology major so my gpa is only a 3.4. As far as prep goes, I went through cover to cover all three powerscore bibles as well as numerous practice tests.

  9. I just received my LSAT score and got a 154. My best practice before test day was a 159, and I feel like I could do better. I have a really high GPA from undergrad (3.96). Is it worth a retake in December?

  10. Hi Josh and Evan,

    I am in a little bit of an odd situation. I initially prepped for the LSAT in June of this year. I took a prep course which helped me gain the gist of the strategies; however, in the spring I was really busy with working 30 hours a week and graduating in June. I ended up taking the test for the practice because it was too late to withdraw by the time I realized I hadn’t reached my potential but I actually cancelled my score because I was only scoring in PT’s at around 145-150 range (this was something my councilor recommended to me). I realized I had not committed enough time to prep and taking PTs. I also have a 3.69 GPA from the University of Washington in Seattle. After the June test, I stopped working and fully devoted my summer to studying for the September LSAT.

    I prepped a ton and in total have been able to get in about 40 practice tests since the beginning of my prep in April. My goal score is a 160. I had been scoring in my recent timed PT’s anywhere from a 158-162, averaging about a 159 on the majority.

    When I took the September test on the 16th, I had a bad experience. LG, which is usually my best section where I get about 18-19/23, I completely messed up. On the second game I messed up my scenarios and had to go back and fix them which took up time. I also wrote down a rule wrong on the third one and had to go back and redo all the questions, which completely messed up my timing and only ended up completing 16 questions before guessing on the test. I understand it could have worse and I do feel as though the rest of the test went well but I am very nervous. I would like to hope that I did very well on the other three sections but I can’t get my mistake out of my head.

    I know it is too early to say without my score but I would like some advice on potentially taking the December LSAT. One of my major concerns is that I will be starting work full time so I will not have as much time to prep. Also, I have already taken a little over 40 PTs so I am running out of material. I guess I am just very concerned and frustrated because I know I have the potential to do very well on that section and it threw me for one and caused me lots of anxiety on the exam. My reach schools, which I know my odds aren’t great, are USC and UCLA. However, other schools I am applying to such as University of Washington, USD, Pepperdine, Fordham, LMU, I may have chances of getting into if I get my goal score, and at some even potentially receiving money.

    Also, however, I already took the exam twice even though one of the scores was cancelled and my only other option would be the December exam. I was planning on turning in my apps early November after I attend one of the forums and retaking the December LSAT would set me back in my timeline. I have really been stressed about what happened on the exam and I am just really frustrated with the situation. I also do suffer from some bad test anxiety and I worry that even if I take it again a similar situation will occur.

  11. Wish I had found this website earlier, as I just finished my law school orientation today to start Monday. However I have some questions that with guidance and personal reflection could alter my course…. is it possible to email directly? Would so appreciate some words of advice!

  12. I just got my June LSAT score back – a 168 – and am debating on whether or not to retake the exam. I really just wanted to at least get a 170. I have a 3.93 GPA, and my goal is to get into the T-14, especially Columbia and NYU. Upon reflection, 168 is close to my PT average, but I did score a 171, 172, and 178 before. However, I do feel like I performed my best and under optimal conditions the day of the test. I’m worried that I don’t have any new material to study with and would recognize the questions. I’ve taken an in-person course and done PTs back to 2005. I don’t know how significantly I could change my study habits, besides investing in tutoring. Do you have any advice? Thanks.

  13. Hi,

    I’ve been agonizing over the retake decision myself for a couple of weeks now. I got a 171 on my December test, after about 3 months of fairly rigorous study. In the three weeks prior to the test, my practice scores ranged from 168-175 (placing my actual score smack in the middle of my average range), with the exception of the final three practice tests I took, in which my scores nudged up to 176, 177, and 177 respectively.

    I expect plenty of people will say “you did just fine, 171 is a perfectly good score, and I’m not sure why you’re even debating the retake”. Here’s the kicker: I’m less-than-confident about my GPA; a 3.19, resulting from a very poor Sophomore year. Freshman year was okay, Junior/Senior year I did quite well,
    but Sophomore year saw bad study habits carried over from high school, living off-campus, and a disastrous run-in with a complex differential equations class. I’m concerned that the 3.19 GPA will hurt my prospects, unless I have an exceptionally strong score on the LSAT to counterbalance it.

    I’ve also been out of school for 7 years as well, employed as an engineer, and am looking at making the jump to law school. As a result, I’ve largely been self-guided through the application process, so thought it would be good to check in and get some extra opinion:

    Should I retake this February, or is it a stronger choice to see where my applications get accepted based on the December score?

  14. Hi I just took the LSAT for a second time in December and got my score back. The first time I got a 157 and the second I got a 156 (I believe this was a fluke- that there were extenuating circumstances). My GPA is 3.66. However I’m trying to decide if I should take the February LSAT and risk applying later? I really think I could get a 160- That’s what my PTs were scoring at.
    Also- should I apply to my safety schools in the meantime while I wait?
    Thanks- Amy

  15. I got a 167 on the 2016 Fall LSAT without practicing for more than a week. I am graduating in December and will have the entire time until February to study for the LSAT. My apps are all ready to send right now, and I am open to taking a year off. What are your overall thoughts on what I should do?Btw, ~3.9 GPA

  16. Hi,

    Firstly, thanks so much for these amazing articles – they’re really helpful!

    I got a 167 on the September LSAT after averaging anywhere between a 167-171 on practice tests, with 169 being my most common score. I thought I did pretty well on the test and thought I got a 170, and was disappointed with my score. NYU is my dream school and I want to know what you guys recommend would be my best course of action: applying ED NYU and applying to Penn as my backup with my current score, or retaking it in December. I have a 3.93 GPA (4.01 with LSAC calculations) and pretty good letters of recommendation/resume’. I honestly think the highest I can score on the December test would be a 170 but I’ve heard that the top schools average your scores. I’m really torn and the deadline to apply for December is in 3 days- do the benefits of applying ED/early in the admissions cycle outweigh the potential of gaining a few points?. What would you recommend I do?

    Thank you so much!

  17. Hello,

    I scored a 161 on the October 2016 LSAT…My average after taking about 15 PTs prior to this exam was around 167; and according to several advisors, friends, and forums, this test was exceptionally difficult.
    I studied mechanical engineering and applied mathematics, my Gpa is 3.74. I’ve also got a pretty decent resume with a plethora of soft factors from various school leadership positions and jobs to honors societies. My goal is t25 schools + Berkeley, Georgetown, or USC.
    I received my score after the deadline so I have several days to register for the December 2016 LSAT – with additional late fee and wait lists around my area – do I retake or are my chances okay with a 161/ and explanation? Thanks so much in advance for any advice.

  18. matthewjsavage on

    Hello,

    Thanks for all the advice you guys have here, it helped me a lot in preping for the LSAT and I was glad to do it without spending too much money. I got a 171 (-6 RC) on Sept which I am pretty happy about, although at the same time I am mad that I made some stupid mistakes and missed more than normal in LR. I am not super sure about retaking because my pt average was 173, and most of my problems are in RC which I honestly have had no luck improving in (I was good at it in the early pts, then when it got hard in the 50’s I could never figure it out, frustrating!) However, I feel like the difference between 171 and 173+ is huge and I am ideally trying to attend a top 14 law school on a full ride(GPA is above 4). Time is not an issue as I am not applying right now, so I would retake next June. The good news is I could maybe reuse pts without memorizing them…bad news is I don’t know how my skills would hold up. I may be able to use the time between now and June to read more, if that helps at all.

    I guess it’s pretty hard to predict scholarships, but do you have any thoughts on whether retaking would be worth a shot?

    • I think that with a solid personal statement and recommendations you can definitely get a full ride to top 10 schools with that score. You should check out lawschoolnumbers.com but I found that on that site people got substantial scholarships at top 10 schools with that score and GPA — you can even reach out to them to ask if they did anything special with the application. Once you start getting acceptances you can also negotiate scholarship offers based on other offers and acceptances. I am friends with an individual who had a 3.8, got a 164 and negotiated herself into a half ride at Michigan. I think that the energy it takes to prepare for the LSATand take it again is not worth the few points you will gain, particularly considering you already have a 171 logged. A school that sees a 171 followed by a 173 or 174 (remember all scores get released), won’t think very much of the difference considering they are in the same LSAT band. I also know an individual who got a 173 and got a full ride to Columbia and NYU. Harvard/Stanford/Yale are needs-based aid so you can typically use these acceptances to negotiate higher scholarships at lower ranked schools.

  19. I took the September LSAT with the hopes of getting a 157. This is a score that is acceptable to all the schools I am applying to. I ended up scoring a 155 which is better than the 153 that I was getting on my PTs. I am not sure if I should retake it just to get two more points. It only makes a difference on my chances of getting into my top school. I am afraid that if I take the December LSAT the results would come late January which is past the early deadline at my top school. Would it be best to take this lower score and apply with a beefed up application, or have a higher score and a late application? Right now with my score i have a 43-60% chance of acceptance, with the score of 157 I have a 71-82% chance of acceptance (huge jump).

    • Gabrielle,

      I’m assuming that the deadline you are talking about is for early decision. As an initial matter, I’d encourage you to take a look at this article on applying early decision.

      Without knowing more about your situation, my recommendation would be to try and keep as many options available to you as possible. Start studying now for a December retake. If things go well and you are confident that you’ll hit 157+, then it may be worth delaying your apps. On the other hand, if you don’t feel like you’re making progress you can always apply with your current score.

      Keep both options open by getting your apps ready to go & studying harder than ever for the LSAT. Last year one of our LSAT Mastermind Group members got a 160 in September and was able to bump that up to a 170 on the December test. He worked really hard, but it paid off big time. He earned a scholarship to Northwestern, where he is now a student.

      If you’re willing to put in the effort and work hard to improve your score, then I think it’s worth going for it!

  20. HI! I just got my September LSAT back. I got a 168, which I’m decently happy with, but my PTs were around 170-171, and I know I can do better. The only section I messed up is the one where the proctor stood behind me and whispered the entire 35 minutes. So, I know I could have done better that day had the circumstances been different, but I’m not sure if it’s worth a retake.
    I’m really trying to get into top 10 and top 5 schools. I have a 3.9 from undergrad and really good softs.
    I’m just really up in the air if I should put another month of my life into this test only to apply later and potentially not go up at all. But I know for certain that I’m capable of breaking that 170 barrier, so I hate to leave it at this and not get into my dream schools.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • There are people who get into Harvard and Stanford with a 168. Unless you are capable of raising your score more than 3 points, I don’t think it is worth the retake. Instead, focus on a killer personal statement and recommendations. Remember, if you are applying this cycle, it is a rolling admission so the earlier you get your application in the better. If you only raise your score to a 170 on the December LSAT I’m not sure how much this would help you since you would be in the same LSAT score band and would be getting your application in significantly later.

  21. Sonia Conce