Low LSAT Score? Here’s What to Do
Standardized test scores are one of the most important factors in law school admissions. For context, to get into a top 14 law school, you need to score above 162 on the LSAT.
“Each law school combines your cumulative GPA with your LSAT score to come up with an index score,” Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach and contributor at US News, says. “This index score is the most important admissions factor, and it is used to benchmark you initially against other applicants.”
Kuris recently offered a few tips on how applicants can manage a low LSAT score and create a game plan moving forward.
CONSIDER CANCELING YOUR LOW SCORE
If you purchased the LSAT Score Preview option, you can cancel your low score without any consequence.
The LSAT Score Preview “allows test-takers to see their score before deciding whether to cancel it,” Kuris says. “Without this option, score cancellation is only possible within six days after the test, before the score is released. The current cost is $45 if purchased before the first session of a test administration, or $75 for a limited time after.”
A low score can be draining emotionally. Kuris recommends applicants to take a short break from test prep to reflect and recharge.
“It is understandable to feel angry or disappointed about a lower LSAT score, particularly if you were eager to toss your prep books and move on,” Kuris says. “Give yourself time to work through those emotions so that they don’t worsen any test anxiety.”
REASSESS YOUR NEXT STEPS
You can take the LSAT multiple times throughout the year with little to no penalty. However, Kuris advises applicants to not retake the test if it’s already late in the application cycle as law schools use rolling admissions.
“The December LSAT may still be worth it, but if you are applying to highly selective schools and plan to take the test in January or later, you are likely better off waiting to apply the next cycle,” he says.
Additionally, retaking the LSAT just to improve a few points can be a risky move.
“Admissions officers understand that everyone has off days, but your original score may look shakier if followed by multiple lower or canceled scores,” Kuris says. “Give yourself a gut check after taking the LSAT a couple of times with disappointing results. Have you consistently scored better on practice tests? Were there any extenuating circumstances, like a bad night’s sleep or a section you only finished halfway? Is it time to dig in or to cut your losses?”
PUT TOGETHER A STRATEGY
If you’re intent on retaking the LSAT, it’s essential to utilize a test prep strategy that’s focused and methodical.
“Put your time and energy into reviewing your performance, looking for points of improvement and targeting those weak points until they turn into strengths,” Kuris says.
And rather than aimlessly churning through practice tests, Kuris recommends applicants to review fundamental skills and put new methods to the test.
“Use both timed and untimed practice tests to uncover blind spots and experiment with different approaches,” he adds. “Don’t assume that practicing the same way you did before is going to change your results. Indeed, it may reinforce bad test habits. Consider working with a tutor or new prep book to learn different methods.”
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