The LSAT is required for any student considering studying at one of the over 200 ABA-accredited law schools in the United States, but other standardized tests are now under consideration, too. The LSAT, an acronym for the Law School Admission Test, is currently offered four times per year, but starting June 2018 the schedule will increase to six times per year. The change will allow students to prepare and take the LSAT at a time most convenient for their schedule.
In addition, starting fall 2017, the LSAT can be taken unlimited times, a big change from the previous restriction of three times in a two-year period.
Why might you take the LSAT multiple times?
But, who wants to take the LSAT multiple times anyway? Taking the LSAT is fun for some and not so fun for others. However, for most applicants, the greatest ability to bolster an application is through a competitive score on the LSAT, which is just one factor used in assessing admission. Traditionally, most LSAT scores improve from the first to the second attempt.
Every year I meet with students who use their first official attempt at the LSAT as a practice test. That would not be my recommendation. Taking the LSAT is expensive and a means to an end: a score that could aid you in securing both admission and scholarship to law schools of interest to you.
Should you take the LSAT multiple times?
However, is it bad to take the LSAT more than once? Taking the LSAT for the first time typically requires 2-4 months preparing, sometimes longer. Most students, on average, improve two to three points statistically from one test to the next. Personally, I am in favor of an LSAT retake that could really help boost a score and improve your application. Students who believe they can increase beyond an otherwise good first score find retaking the LSAT a good and solid strategy. I do, too.
I’ve known many students who’ve secured admissions to our law school, with scholarship, who’ve retaken the LSAT and increased their scholarship with an improved score. With such students, I urge retaking the test. In fact, it is possible for students to earn more money in scholarship with a strong LSAT score than they could by taking a year off to work between undergrad and law school. The LSAT can really make a huge difference for many in making law school affordable.
What do law schools think about multiple LSAT scores?
Law schools will see every time an applicant takes the LSAT. Ideally, it would be best if every applicant could secure their ideal LSAT score on the first attempt, but that is often not the case. Law schools will report the highest LSAT score. Unless there are glaring disparities between LSAT scores, most law schools will not balk at multiple LSAT scores, especially when the score increases. Applicants with multiple LSAT scores with huge score disparities can be harder to review. Once applicants have taken the LSAT two or three times they often see scores start to cluster and plateau.
All law schools are eager to admit applicants to their schools who possess solid aptitude scores on the LSAT. Taking the LSAT multiple times is often less of a problem for law schools if each score shows improved results; otherwise, it is spending money trying to yield different results. If you plan to retake the test, strategize and prepare adequately. Every applicant needs to decide when retaking the LSAT is no longer going to achieve greater results—at some point it won’t make a difference. But some law schools see things differently, so I recommend applicants check with individual law schools regarding multiple LSAT scores.