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Does Taking The LSAT Twice Hurt You?
Taking a standardized assessment of this magnitude is a lot of work, requiring hours of study and preparation. Fortunately, the assessment can be taken multiple times, which provides students with some sense of relief. When considering taking the LSAT multiple times, an important thing to know is that the assessment can only be taken three times within a year and seven times total over a lifetime (Law School Admission Council, 2020). Something that is important to know is that scores over five years old cannot be used on an application, and cannot be seen by law schools when submitting new scores and applications.
According to Stetson Law, ideally, candidates will receive their desired score on the first attempt of the LSAT. Realistically, many law schools understand that this will not be the case. Law schools can see an applicant’s history of scores, cancelled or withdrawn scores, and even any no-show’s to testing appointments. As a rule, schools do not average your scores together, but instead, look for a pattern of increase in scores over multiple tests. Weighing the pros and cons of retaking the test if you’ve already done so multiple times is incredibly important. The LSAT has a hefty price tag attached, at $200 per test session. Therefore, thinking about whether taking the test again will be worth spending the money multiple times is essential.
Overall, law schools understand that the LSAT is a difficult and lengthy assessment that can be overwhelming due to its uniqueness. As a rule, law schools are accepting applicants that take the assessment more than once, and look for an improvement of scores after each session. An applicant with extreme fluctuation of scores may be harder to read than one with consistently increasing scores. Another aspect to consider is that the writing section of the LSAT almost carries the most weight, despite the fact that it isn’t scored at all. Law schools will see the Persuasive Writing along with a student’s score report, and utilize the writing as a determining factor when comparing two students, when looking at multiple scores over time, and when trying to get the full picture of the applicant.
Cancelling LSAT Scores
Ok, now suppose that you had a total meltdown during your exam. You froze. You weren’t adequately prepared. You might have even had pre-celebratory indulgences the night before and you had a screaming headache during the exam. Heck, maybe you were just overwhelmed from the excitement of it all and you didn’t finish. Can you take steps to cancel your LSAT score? Quite simply, Yes. Cancelling LSAT scores is possible.
You can cancel your LSAT score up until 11:59 pm on the sixth day after the date of your LSAT test. Take this deadline seriously – once your score is released, it is permanent and you cannot cancel it for any reason. Logging into your LSAC.org account will provide you with the guidelines for cancelling your LSAT score.
That sounds easy enough, but take time to do the research and make an educated decision before cancelling your LSAT score. LSAC is very clear that there will be no refunds for score cancellations, and that requests are irrevocable and cannot be retracted. If you cancel your score, you will not receive your score, so you will forever be guessing about your performance.
This actually brings up another question that you may have…
Is It Bad To Cancel Your LSAT Score?
Do law schools care if you cancel your LSAT score? Is it a bad thing? Well, the answer to these questions is the classic “it depends.” Law schools will see cancellations on your report. One cancelled score is not a big deal. Schools will probably assume that you had a good reason for cancelling, and realize that circumstances sometimes get in the way of your performance on the test – illnesses, emergencies, or simply a very bad day. They won’t necessarily penalize you for cancelling your score, unless it happens more than once. More than one cancellation might result in their perception that you are not able to handle pressure or that you lack confidence in your abilities. Another way to look at it though, is that a cancelled score might be an indicator to the school that you have an advantage over other students, as you have had the benefit of taking the test before.
You should really give cancelling your LSAT score some serious thought before moving forward with it. You know that the LSAT is tough. It’s long. It is grueling. It is demanding. It drains you of every last bit of your energy. And after it’s over your mind is mush. You are going to ask yourself why in the world you would ever put yourself through such an unnerving experience. Why would anyone? You will be haunted by it for days. You are going to question and second guess yourself over and over and over again, but guess what? Don’t beat yourself up. Relax. Stop overthinking it. Breathe. Chances are, that if you did all the work to properly prepare, your scores will be reflective as such. You probably did far better than you initially thought. Think back to times when you thought you bombed a test, only to be pleasantly surprised that you actually did quite well. This is no different.
Still on the fence about cancelling your LSAT score or not? Unfortunately, if you cancel your score, you will never know your results. It might drive you crazy to cancel a score, never knowing if you surprisingly nailed it or not. Sleep on it for a couple of days; mull it over. If you are 100% positive, without any doubts, that you miserably failed your LSAT, then cancelling your score may be the best option for you.
If not, what’s the worst that can happen? Let’s say your score doesn’t end up where you want it to be. Put a positive spin on it. You get to do it again. You already have the experience of taking the test, so for the most part you know what to expect. Plus, you have the added benefit of your first score report (which you would not have with a score cancellation), allowing you the opportunity to review and address areas where you might need to spend a little more effort improving. While there is no guarantee that your score will go up, if you are well prepared, you can feel quite confident that your score will increase. One final tidbit of information – a cancelled LSAT test counts as one of your three tests in one-year limit established by LSAC. So, you should ask yourself if you really want to burn one of your three tests by cancelling your score without the benefit of receiving results.
At the end of the day, only you know what is best for you. Take the time to think about your circumstances and learn about all of your options, and then move forward with a plan that makes you feel the most comfortable.