When Should I Take the LSAT?

Here’s a question you may be asking yourself: which administration of the LSAT you should take? It’s a common question, but the answer depends a lot on you, your goals, and what’s going on in your life right now.

An early administration of the LSAT, September/October or December, is usually preferable because many schools do rolling admissions. That means that the sooner you have a score, the more quickly you can complete your application, placing you closer to the front of the line in that rolling decision process. As schools send out more decisions, the competition for the remaining spots becomes more fierce.

However, that general answer may not apply to you. If you are not going to have time to prepare well for the LSAT, it may not be worth taking an early administration. After all, who wants to take it more than once if they can avoid it? If you are balancing a heavy course load in your undergraduate program, a job, and/or demanding family responsibilities, you may not have time to prepare for an early LSAT. Similarly, if you just decided to apply to law school, unless you’re a standardized test genius, taking the LSAT cold probably won’t benefit you.

Taking time to study for the LSAT is worth it. Your score is going to impact not only your ability to get into the law school of your choice but also your eligibility for a number of scholarships. The benefit of studying is that the LSAT is not an IQ test—if you study, you really can increase your score.

I recommend taking a practice LSAT under timed conditions to get a “baseline score.” If your baseline is strong for your target schools (remember, some people ARE standardized-testing geniuses), you may be in that small group of people who can get away with taking the test without much preparation. And, if you take the LSAT and do poorly, you can take it again. The majority of law schools (including BYU) take your high score. That being said, they will see the low score as well, which could impact the qualitative perception of your application. You should call the admissions offices or check the online information for the schools you are interested in to find out how they handle multiple scores.


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