By Alexis Marcus
One of the most frequent questions I get from prospective students is whether they should retake the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The answer is different for everyone, but there are some factors to consider when you are deciding whether to take the LSAT again.
- Did you prepare for the LSAT?
You should not take the LSAT without properly studying and preparing first. But if you did not prepare the first time, you might get a better result if you prepare before taking the test again. Some prospective law students utilize self-study (check out LSAC.org for free test prep materials) while others take a commercial class. Whatever route you decide works best for you, it’s important that you commit and are diligent about studying. You should not take the exam until you feel prepared.
- Does your score truly reflect your abilities?
Regardless of whether you took the LSAT cold-turkey or you studied leading up to the exam, you need to consider whether your score truly reflects your logic reasoning, analytical reasoning and reading comprehension abilities. Was your studying and preparation effective? Did you feel prepared? Did you perform as well as you did on practice tests? These could be good reasons to consider taking the test again. However, the real question is whether you really think a different study method and practice would help you improve your score. If you think that your score is an accurate reflection of how you would test after additional preparation, you likely don’t need to retake the exam.
- Does the law school you are applying consider only the highest LSAT, or the average LSAT?
Be sure to check with the schools you are applying to determine which LSAT scores will be considered by the admission committee. While many schools only consider the highest score, LSAC sends all of your scores (including cancelled or no show exams) to the schools you are applying. At Suffolk Law, the Admission Committee considers the highest score for admissions purposes. However, you may want to explain large score discrepancies should be explained in a very brief addendum to your application.
- Were there extenuating circumstances that caused you to score lower on the test?
If there was an extenuating circumstance (i.e. illness, construction noise at the testing site, etc.) during the LSAT that distracted you during the exam, then you should reconsider taking the test. It is imperative, however, that you utilize professional judgment when determining whether there was an extenuating circumstance and whether it hindered your testing.
Whatever you decide, be sure to let the schools you have applied to know if you intend to retake the exam.
Alexis Marcus is the Associate Director of Law Admission at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. She also is a double Suffolk University alumna, earning her BS in 2007 and JD in 2012. Before joining Suffolk Law Admission, she worked in private practice in Boston. To meet Alexis on the road this fall, see Suffolk Law’s fall recruitment map.