Deciding whether to take the LSAT again? It’s a decision that will require you to assess the pros and cons of a retake. In this post, we outline some of the advantages and drawbacks that come with taking the LSAT twice.
• Opportunity for score improvement. A study from LSAC tracking the performance of repeat test takers shows that, on average, students improved by 2.8 points on the second take and 2.2 points on the third. By recommitting to study for the test, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to bring your score up.
• More options for law schools + scholarships. Given the importance of the LSAT, a retake that results in a higher score will make you more competitive for higher-ranked law schools and greater scholarship offers. If you can earn a scholarship by putting just a couple of more months into the LSAT, you can consider that as payment for your time!
• Reflection of commitment. If you earn a low score the first time around but decide not to retake the LSAT, law school admissions officers might question why you kept your low score given the options available for retakes. You can show you’re serious about law school by putting in the effort to earn a high score.
• Less stress for round 1. While we don’t necessarily advocate taking test prep lightly in round 1, students who know they have a backup plan to retake the test in a later administration won’t feel as much stress to get the LSAT “right” the first time around.
• Potential score decrease. We know you give yourself the opportunity to improve on the LSAT when you take the test again, but there’s also a chance that your score will go down. A score decrease can raise concern in the eyes of admissions officers. Check out LSAC’s data on repeat test takers – the data shows that in general, the higher your initial score, the more difficult it will be to improve on the second take.
• More expenses. The LSAT costs $175 to sign up for. If you’re retaking the LSAT, you’ll be sending LSAC at least $350 in total LSAT-related expenses. And don’t forget that if you didn’t plan to retake the LSAT far enough in advance, you may also be responsible for covering a $90 late registration fee.
• More study time. Some people find LSAT questions interesting and engaging – but no one really wants to be studying for the LSAT on a weekend when they could be spending that time with friends, checking out a new coffee shop, or reading a great new book. After spending so much time studying for the first LSAT, it can be a major “con” to need to invest that time all over again.
• Added scheduling demands. Many students time the LSAT around other commitments – for example, the June LSAT is a popular administration because it takes place during the summer, and students can study for it without the burden of classes. If you find yourself needing to retake the test in October or December, you’ll need to be prepared to balance your commitment to studying with your commitment to your classes and final exams.
• Delayed application timeline. Retaking the test will set your application timeline back by a month or two. Be sure to measure whether the benefits of a higher score on a retake will be negated by a delayed application timeline.
Everyone’s LSAT circumstances will be different. If you need help deciding whether the cons of a retake will balance out the pros, check out our recommendations for when not to retake the LSAT.