Should You Retake the LSAT? 7 Ways to Decide

Maybe you took the LSAT already and didn't get the score you wanted. Here are some thoughts on deciding whether to retake it. (Also see How to Study for a Retake.)

1. Does your dream law school average multiple LSAT scores?

Most law schools don't average them anymore. Instead, they'll only count your highest LSAT score when they create your "admissions index," which is a formula combining your LSAT and GPA - each law school does it differently.

2. If you retake it, will you have to apply later?

Law schools review applications in the order they receive them (it's called rolling admissions). It's better to apply early in the cycle (usually September or October). Make sure that you'll get at least a few points higher on your retake to outweigh the downside of applying slightly later in the cycle. Consider retaking it and waiting a year, if necessary.

3. Did anything unusual happen the previous time?

If you had were sick, had a personal crisis, the test center was too noisy, or something else happened, you might do better the next time around.

4. Was your LSAT score similar to your scores on practice tests?

If it was significantly below your practice scores, you can probably score better on a future exam and demonstrate your ability.

5. Will you have the time and determination to adequately prepare?

You'll need to salvage your books from the trash and get your brain in gear. This takes effort. Create a plan that allows you a comfortable amount of time to study during both the week and weekend between now and your future test date.

6. What did you do to study the previous time?

It's best to complete several PrepTests (past LSAT exams) before taking the exam for real. If you didn't do this, a retake may be in your best interest. However, doing the PrepTests is necessary, but it's not sufficient. It's also important to analyze your incorrect answers in order to understand why you answered those questions incorrectly.

7. Do you think you can improve your LSAT score?

The LSAT has a great deal of weight in the admissions process. If you think it's within your ability to improve your score, the time you invest in preparing for the LSAT and taking it again will pay for itself when you get into a better school, get merit aid, and, eventually, get a better job after you graduate.


I hope you don't need to retake and that you're done with the LSAT for good. If you decide to retake, see some LSAT study schedules for retakers (scroll down). Even if you've used up every single LSAT PrepTest, there's still plenty to learn from them, so don't worry. You'll still be able to study just fine.


I also hope my thoughts in the above post are sufficient to help you make your decision.

Unfortunately, I can't give everyone personalized advice about whether to retake, but if you leave a comment, maybe others who read this will give you some thoughts on what to do.

Wish you all the best.


  1. This is a great article. Steve, I'm taking the LSAT in October and was considering applying to law school a month ahead, in Sept. Will the law schools hold on to my application until they get the LSAT score results? What should I do?

  2. Glad it helped!

    Yes, if you submit the rest of your application in advance, they will hold onto it.

    However, if you already have an LSAT score on your record, don't submit your application in advance. You wouldn't want them to accidentally make a decision on your application before your October score is in.

    Even if you tell them to wait for your October score, they might forget or simply be disorganized.

    Good luck as you prep for October!

  3. Steve, I want to go to a school where I am one point above the 75% LSAT (@ 165) and far below their GPA. Would applying early (end of September) outweigh retaking and perhaps getting better on the LSAT and applying at the end of October? I averaged 169 on practice tests and uncharacteristically missed 8 on the logic games from June.

  4. Hi Matt,

    I recommend that you retake in October and apply at the end of October.

  5. Steve,

    I just took the june 2010 lsat and got a 157- 6 points off from my ideal score, 163. I have decided to retake the exam in October, but am not sure if self-studying, private tutoring, or an Advanced Course (like one Kaplan offers) would be the best route.

    I took one month long lsat course a year ago, studied on and off, and then studied hard the 2 months prior to the june LSAT.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!


  6. Hi Pardeis,

    Sorry to hear that you scored lower than desired.

    I have some thoughts on prep courses vs. private tutoring. Private tutoring can easily accompany self-study.

  7. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for all your advice-- I really appreciate your blog!

    I took the June LSAT this year and received a 163. Test day conditions weren't so great-- I was incredibly tired and had to use the restroom for the first half of the test. On my practice tests I was scoring a 162, but feel that if test day had gone more smoothly I could have scored a few points higher. I am really confused as to whether or not it is worth it for me to retake. My top reach school is Georgetown and I know my score right now is not high enough. However, it is tough for me to think about studying for the LSAT right now as I studied excruciatingly hard for the exam and just finished a grueling summer program last week. I think if I give myself a week's mental break I should be able to begin studying. Like I said though, I'm pretty conflicted as to what I should do. Any advice?


  8. Hey steve! So i didn't do too good on my October LSAT...5 points below my practice test average. I dont know what to do....i know i want to retake...but should I hold off on applications?

  9. hi Steve,
    So, I did significantly lower on my October LSAT than my practice tests...I'm even considering retaking and waiting for the next cycle to apply, so I can have a stronger application and apply early in the cycle.
    Do you recommend I take the test in December or in June?

  10. Hi Steve,
    So I've been following your blog for a while and its really helpful!

    I had a couple of questions based on my very unique situation: I'm a recent grad from Upenn and I was diagnosed with Adult ADD after graduation. I prepared for the december LSAT for 3 months and the week before the exam my test scores were in the 169-175 range depending on how distracting my surroundings were, and my anxiety levels. The day of the test, I had a spot of very bad luck: I asked to go to the bathroom before the test began, and the proctor allowed it. When I came back- she had already started the timer and it was already 4.5 minutes down..and the first section was critical reading- which takes me the most time to complete. Following that- my anxiety levels shot through the roof and I managed through the rest of the test the best I could.

  11. I decided not to cancel my score because I wanted to get an idea of what went wrong under those conditions and what sections suffered the most. My score came out a couple of days ago- 146. Which I know is nowhere near my capabilities. I am definitely taking the lsat again- I have registered for the feb 2011 test because I need to compensate for my 3.1 gpa and most of the law schools I intend to apply to require a score above 165.

    Now based on this I have the following questions:
    1. Should I ask for an accomodated test for my ADD ? I have never done that before..will it affect my application in any way?
    2. What would be an effective preparation strategy given that I'm pretty familiar with the material and my only source of worry was the time?

  12. Hi Steve,

    I'm stuck in a dilemma and need some advice. I scored a 165. This is the 165-170 range in which I usually score. I did excellent on all my sections except the first (RC), in which I completely blanked out when the test began. I literally had trouble breathing while I was reading the first passage and couldn't make sense of the words. I psyched myself stupid :/ As an example, I got almost all the questions in that passage wrong, and it wasn't even a hard passage. Also, the new format of LG threw me off. I got a 1-2 more wrong than I usually do. But I got practically nothing wrong on LR. From practice, I definitely perform better when I'm relaxed. I know I can't get into my dream school with that score.

    Do you think I can achieve a dramatic score improve (My goal is 173) based on what I've told you? Is there a point in retaking the LSAT at all if I don't score 170+?

  13. Hi Steve,

    I took the June 2012 test and scored a 151. I am very disappointed as I expected high 150's to low 160's. I was scoring a 160 on the last few practice exams I took before the test. I believe my anxiety really took its toll on me on exam day and I was not able to concentrate as deeply as I wanted to. I didn't even make it to the last set of questions on each section, which is what threw off my score I believe.

    Anyway, I would like to apply this fall so I think I want to retake the test in October. Would you recommend this? It terrifies me that sometimes people receive a lower score when they retake or receive the same exact score as the first time. What a waste of time and money! I already took a 6 week weekend prep course and cannot afford another one.

    I am looking to attend the state law school in my home state. The 25th-75th percentile for the LSAT is 157-163 and GPA is 3.21-3.64. My current GPA is 3.59. As you can see, I am on the higher end of GPA, but very low on LSAT. Do I have a shot with the 151? Probably not, I assume. I was considering the part-time evening division for the 1st year of study, but the LSAT for that is still a few points higher than the score I received.


  14. Hi Steve,

    I took the October LSAT last year and scored 162. This was within the range of previous practice tests all in the low 160's. However, this was based on scoring basically flawlessly in the reading and logic reasoning sections, but barely scraping by with some points on logic games. I completed a summer prep course, but it only served to improve my decent innate skills at LR and RC.

    I was not spectacularly anxious or anything, it's just the logic games never made much sense to me.

    Based on this, do I have a chance of dramatic score increase?

  15. Steve,

    I am applying to schools right now and have a question. I was terribly stressed about a personal problem during the LSAT and got almost no sleep the night before. I took 7 practice tests and averaged 160. On test day I got a 151. I retook the test in December and feel that I did better. On my better practice tests I get 2-3 questions per section wrong. Then comes the logic games and I get 8-10 wrong, due to time. Between my first and second test I bought a Logic Games book and practiced with it, which was helpful. Basically, I am very slow at learning the technique for games and I usually kill it on logical reasoning.

    I have never understood why people are in such a rush to go to law school straight out of undergrad. I taught English in Austria for a year after college, tended bar, and worked temp jobs at law firms to get a feel for the atmosphere and how the attorneys liked their jobs.

    I know that I am capable of getting a 170, with enough practice. Is it in my best interest to study my a** off for six months and take the test again in June? I have a 3.37 from a respectable Northwest college.


  16. Hi Steve,

    I hope you can help me--I just received my June 2014 LSAT score of 157 (this is my third attempt at the LSAT) and I am trying to decide whether I should retake the LSAT for a 4th time this September. My prior two LSATs were back in October 2010 and December 2010 and I received a 150 and 149 respectively. My dream schools are top 10 and top 20 schools and I know my 157 LSAT is nowhere near what I need to be considered for those schools. I have a respectable GPA of 3.64. I am not sure how schools will receive my taking the LSAT for a 4th time, however my situation is slightly unique because of the large time gap in between my first and second attempts and my most recent third attempt. Any advise you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  17. Hi Steve, I know this is an old post but I just had a quick question. I have a 3.85 GPA and scored a 169 on the LSAT, but would love to get into Columbia. This puts me in about the 25% there in terms of their applicant pool. I am currently on a Fulbright and have pretty good work experience/volunteer experience. Do you think it would be worth a retake? My practice tests were always in the 170-176 range...

  18. Hi Steve, I know this is an old post but I just had a quick question. I have a 3.85 GPA and scored a 169 on the LSAT, but would love to get into Columbia. This puts me in about the 25% there in terms of their applicant pool. I am currently on a Fulbright and have pretty good work experience/volunteer experience. Do you think it would be worth a retake? My practice tests were always in the 170-176 range...

  19. Hi Steve!
    Just wondering what my chances are in terms of law school entrance when I'll be writing an LSAT in late November in order to apply for this coming year?