What To Do If I Decide Not to Take The LSAT at The Last Minute?

Can I withdraw my LSAT registration the weekend before I am registered to take the LSAT exam? What if I don’t show up on test day?

If you make a late decision not to take the LSAT, you do need to withdraw your registration. If you fail to withdraw by the deadline, then you will be marked “absent,” and this absence will show up on your record. If you properly withdraw in time, then the exam does not show up on your record at all. The current deadline is the pegged to the deadline for refunds, which happened back on May 17th for this June administration.

LSAC says: “You may withdraw your registration up until 11:59 pm (ET) the night before the test. There will be no refund for this option. Please note that if you miss the Withdraw LSAT Registration – No Refund deadline, your LSAC file will note “absent.” This is NOT a score of zero, nor will it be factored into any reportable scores on file. If you register for another test date, you will be required to pay the full registration fee.”

See: https://www.lsac.org/lsat/lsat-dates-deadlines-score-release-dates/registering-lsat/withdrawing-your-lsat-registration to withdraw.

So What Does it Mean to Get an ‘Absent’ on My LSAC File?

There is some debate on the internet about what if any detriment comes from having an an ‘absent’ on your file, but I’m here to tell you that it really shouldn’t worry you much to get an ‘absent’. Admissions deans are people too, and they know that life intervenes. There are a million reasons why one may wish to miss the LSAT. Realizing that you are unprepared is a legitimate reason to withdraw, even if it is after the refund deadline has passed and you will get an ‘absent’ marking.

Don’t waste your time going in and taking the LSAT if you really know you aren’t prepared for it. If you wish, you may explain the absence in a brief addendum. If I had only one ‘absent’ marking I probably would not bother. Two might justify an explanation in an addendum. I would try to avoid have three late withdrawals, as that might rise to the level of looking a bit flaky. I guarantee it wouldn’t be a big deal, but would certainly warrant an explanation.

Deciding whether to cancel or not is often a much more difficult decision. We have treated that topic here.

If you are really hung up on what to do regarding this or cancellation, describe your situation in the comments and I will give advice quickly. Also, you can ask me on twitter @onlawschool.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Josh,

    I am registered to take the LSAT this Saturday, October 5th. I am unsure of whether or not I should take the test. I have been studying for 3 months intensely, through self study and the Power Score Bibles/ LSAT trainer. My highest score on a recent PT has been a 158, but I am averaging at a 154. I would really like to shoot for a 158-160. I’m thinking my two options are either take it and pretty much know that I will need to re-take it, or don’t take it and continue studying. I plan on using a course if I do decide to take it in December, as I feel my self-study hasn’t been either enough, or I haven’t been studying the “right” way. The big problem is I won’t even find out my score before I have to register for December or start a class. I am currently leaning towards taking it. Please let me know your thoughts.

    Thanks!

  2. I am registered to take the February LSAT in the morning but decided today I no longer needed to take it. I took the December LSAT, did not think my score was good enough and then registered for the Feb test. However, the day after I paid for the Feb test, I heard from my #1 and #3 law school choices that I had been accepted (with my December LSAT score of course). I had been going back and forth about whether or not to retake until finally I decided not to. However, it is now 12:20 am and I missed the Midnight deadline to withdraw. Should I just not show up and let it count as an absence, should I show up and cancel before taking the test or should I just take the test and get a score? Also of important note, I stopped studying once I found out I had gotten into two programs.

    Thank you!

    Tamar

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