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How Long Are LSAT Scores Valid?

As students prepare for law school, a question that sometimes arises is “How long are LSAT scores good for?”

You’ve attended your last class as an undergraduate, walked down the graduation aisle, and knocked the LSAT out of the park. Your original plan was to apply to law schools and be enrolled for fall semester, but life is getting in the way. You met a special someone who wants you to backpack through Eastern Europe. You’ve always dreamed about joining the Peace Corp. Perhaps you’d just like to get a job for a year or so to generate some desperately needed cash. And now you’re now thinking – maybe I need a gap year.  After all, who wouldn’t want a year off before law school? But wait, if I delay, how long do LSAT scores last?

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How Long Do LSAT Scores Last?

Well, rest assured. Those LSAT scores that you knocked out of the park will be kept by LSAC for five years after your test date. So, if your test date is June 8, 2020, your score will be removed from LSAC on June 8, 2025. If you take more than one LSAT, each will be deleted from LSAC at the 5-year mark from each test date.

LSAT Scores Valid

That said, some schools will only look at scores from the last three years, or last four years. That still gives you plenty of time to apply to your school(s) of choice and begin your journey towards becoming a lawyer. Some schools also have the added requirement that your LSAT score still be valid at the beginning of the semester for which you are applying (within 5 years of your expected date of entry to their program). St. John’s and The University of Texas at Austin are two institutions that include this information right on their website. Still though, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. Unless you plan on extending that gap year to a very long break before applying, it provides you sufficient time to take care of business. So, if you ever find yourself wondering “how long is an LSAT score good for?”, know that you’re probably just fine.

Do Law Schools Discount Old Scores?

For the most part, law schools are more interested in your actual scores than the age of the scores unless, of course, they are older than their acceptance windows of 3-5 years (depending on each school’s policy). The factors that could have more of a negative influence than the age of your score are a lack of score improvement over multiple attempts or extreme disparities in scores.

In cases with high inconsistencies in reported scores, some schools will accept (or require) a statement from the applicant, detailing specific reasons or special circumstances that affected their performance on an exam. Generally speaking, the highest score will be considered by most schools, while others consider your entire testing history or averaging of scores, regardless of how old the scores are.

Reasons To Possibly Delay Law School

You’ve completed your degree and have every intention of heading off to law school soon. Unfortunately, even the best laid plans can be dismantled when life altering circumstances get in the way. You will need to pave your own path for the future, and you might be questioning if you should postpone or not.

The decision to delay law school shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are certainly some instances where delaying law school would be an acceptable option. Perhaps you are the primary caregiver for a sick or aging parent or you are dealing with a medical condition of your own. Maybe you are struggling with the death of a loved one, or your marriage is in shambles and an impending divorce is inevitable.

On a more positive note, you might have just learned that you are going to be a new parent. You might decide to serve a term for Teach for America, or have the opportunity of a lifetime to travel with and work on the political campaign of your favorite U.S. Senator. Life events circumvent schedules and plans sometimes. If you have a good reason for doing so, you shouldn’t feel bad about delaying law school.

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