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Cancel, Postpone, or Absence? | June 2009 LSAT

UPDATE:

The below post is now outdated due to an LSAC policy change - please see New Option to Withdraw Your LSAT Registration From LSAC.

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If you're simply curious about former LSAC policy, see the now-outdated: Cancel LSAT If You Missed The Test Date Change Deadline?

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This post is meant for anyone who registered for a particular LSAT date, then missed the deadline to postpone (and wishes they hadn't).

I initially wrote this post for June 2009 LSAT-takers, who were the first ones to deal with the earlier-than-usual test-date-change deadline. However, this post also applies to all future LSAT-takers.

As I previously mentioned on the blog, this deadline is earlier than ever before - 3 weeks prior to the test date. (See why LSAC decided to make the test-date-change deadline earlier.)

The early postponement deadline causes admissions-related dilemmas for anyone who wishes to postpone but missed the deadline.

This post will help you figure out what to do now that you've missed the deadline, and it will show you how to avoid any negative marks on your LSDAS report.

(Note: LSDAS is LSAC's Credential Assembly Service --- formerly known as the Law School Data Assembly Service. Like Prince, aka O(+> , they've rebranded. Who said LSAC wasn't hip?)

Here are excerpts from a couple of emails I've received in the past week about missing the postponement deadline:
"Although I've been preparing for a while I am not as far along as I need to be..i.e. I'm still working on the fundamentals- not taking timed tests.
Worse still, due to the "economic crisis" I have to take on a second job starting (you guessed it!) this week.
Having to manage these two jobs over the next two weeks will prevent me from gaining any real ground in my studies. In about a month they should level off and I will return to my 40hour work week.
So, given the new LSAC policies...what should I do? Take the test and cancel my score?
Take the absence?
To me an absence reveals that I am at least intelligent enough to assess myself.
How can an absence be seen as flaky when we now have two weeks for legitimate conflicts to arise? Its not as though I'm waking up the morning of with reservations.
To me a score cancellation reads as a bad performance or an expression of self-doubt.
How do you think admissions will read these two different labels in light of LSAC's new policy?"

"I just spoke to the LSAC people and they inform me that I can't cancel my date, just the score."


What you should do if you've missed the LSAT postponement deadline
:
I feel your pain. You've missed the deadline, and LSAC won't let you cancel your "date" beforehand via email or phone.

In the dating world, refusal to take "no" for an answer is considered a sign of an abusive relationship.

However, it's perfectly acceptable in the world of law school admissions. Go figure. (That's just a joke, LSAC. I ♥ you guys.)


You have 4 main options:

Option #1: Just don't show up to the LSAT. Why miss work or school to run a pointless errand when you already told LSAC you weren't going?

Option #2: Show up to the LSAT and cancel without taking the exam.

Option #3: Show up to the LSAT and take the exam to get a sense of what your "real" LSAT test center experience will be like in September (or December). Cancel after the exam.

Option #4: Show up and take the exam even though you don't feel ready. Don't cancel and let the score stay on your record, whatever it may be.


After hearing from a few admission officers, it turns out that Option #1 is fine, despite the fact that you might think it appears irresponsible. When I emailed Dean Edward Tom of UC Berkeley at Boalt Hall about a student who'd been an LSAT absentee, Dean Tom said, "No, it shouldn't prejudice her application. She may wish to provide a short explanation via an addendum."

Option #4 isn't a good idea because you also don't want a low LSAT score on your record. Even if the schools you're considering don't average scores, one high LSAT score still looks better than a low score and a high one. Take it once and get it done right the first time.

Option #2 is fine. You can show up and immediately cancel when the exam starts. Many other students will end up having to do the exact same thing.

However, Option #3 may be even better. You've already paid the full fee. Since you missed the postponement deadline, you won't get any of your money back anyway, and you'll already have a cancellation on your record.

Why not take the opportunity to get used to the test center experience? Just cancel your score at the very end of the exam. Doing this will make September seem much less scary.

However, there's one big reason that you might consider Option #1 over Option #3:

Score cancellations count towards the no-more-than-3-LSATs-per-2-years-rule, while absences don't.

I recently emailed LSAC to double-check this. LSAC replied, "An absentee does not count as one of the three times that you can take the test in the two year period."

If you suspect that you might end up needing all 3 LSATs over a 2-year period, being absent is probably the better choice.

How the earlier LSAT postponement deadline will affect admission officers' views on score cancellations:
As things currently stand, LSAC score reports will not distinguish between:

- Students who show up on test day and cancel their test registration because they couldn't do so after they missed the postponement deadline.
- Students who didn't decide to cancel until during or after the exam.

However, score reports do distinguish between score cancellations and absences.

Due to the earlier LSAT postponement deadline, increasing numbers of applicants will have score cancellations and absences on their records. For this reason, I suspect that score cancellations and absences will have fewer negative connotations than they previously did.

(This creates a silver lining for students who didn't plan to cancel their scores on test day, but then something unexpected occurred. These students will "luck out" due to this ambiguity on the score report.)

I asked Dean Tom to comment on how admissions deans will consider LSAT cancellations in light of the now-earlier postponement deadline:
"Things will become more relaxed. They will at Berkeley. I think it's always a good idea to provide an explanatory addendum, regardless of the reason. "

After I published this blog post on Thursday afternoon, Anna Ivey, former Dean of Admissions at University of Chicago Law School (and independent law school admission consultant) wrote:
I agree 100% with your advice. It may sound counter-intuitive, but a cancellation actually looks better than a no-show. I always tell applicants that one cancellation is not the end of the world -- everyone can have a bad day, and admissions officers know that. I don't think they look askance at one cancellation (or at least I never did when I was an admissions officer). More than one cancellation does start to make you look flaky, though, so if you cancel the June test, you've basically used up your one non-flaky-looking cancellation. Please don't wake up with the flu in September, and if you do, then that's a good reason to write an addendum (canceling more than once).

So if you need to physically show up at the test anyway just to be able to cancel it (and avoid a no-show on your record), why not stick around and get the upside of a practice LSAT in a real testing environment? Don't keep the score though. There's no point in having a score from a day when you aren't feeling in peak form. With the LSAT, it's best to take one bite at the apple. Do it once, and do it right.
Also be sure to see Anna Ivey's more recent thoughts at the end of this blog post.


Dean Sarah Zearfoss of the University of Michigan Law School emailed me on Friday afternoon:
Having a single "absence" show on a report is absolutely nothing from an admissions officer's perspective--unlike a cancellation, an absence means that you were never exposed to the test, and so it doesn't look like you got one free run-through before getting a score. (And to be clear, having a single cancellation doesn't look weird, either--although a pattern may.) Of course, having multiple absences does start looking a little flaky, so it is true that a candidate needs to be very careful to clear his/her calendar for October or December and be sure to show up for the test--or, at least, to postpone the test in accordance with LSAC's timeline.

I note that originally, it seemed a little unfair to me that someone would have an absence b/c it seemed wrong to treat someone who tried to alert LSAC to the forthcoming absence three weeks in advance with a candidate who, say, just didn't show up. But upon further reflection, I changed my mind, concluding that there's just no good way to make a distinction between "people who are behaving as responsibly as possible but who missed the applicable deadline" and "people who simply were blase and didn't show up." At least--I can think of a million hypotheticals where whatever distinction you make ends up being the wrong one (which may simply be the result of my law school training). After all, it is true that however excusably (for example, one candidate we've heard from is a paralegal who now has a trial scheduled for the week of the LSAT), the candidate hasn't satisfied the timeline posted and explained by LSAC. It's not a big deal at all, but a notation of absence seems to me to accurately reflect the situation.



UPDATE (December 4, 2009):

I've left some additional thoughts on the decision of whether to cancel or be absent in the comments on this blog post here.


UPDATE (February 2, 2010):

I received the following email from Anna Ivey (who is also quoted above):
I've been fielding some questions about what I said in this blog post. On reflection I'm thinking that applicants SHOULD go with a no-show rather than a cancellation after all if it's too late to reschedule the test. I talked to a number of admissions officers about this, and while there is some split in opinion, the no-show camp ended up persuading me.



72 comments:

  1. Mr. Schwartz,

    I have been preparing for the June exam for about 6 months now and only a few points went up. The problem for me is inconsistency. I would do really well on one PT and really bad on the other. There have been no steady increasing curve whatsoever. One day I would break 163+ and one day I'll be down around 154. Should I just take the LSAT on the registered date? I'm really frustrated.

    Thanks,
    Bill

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sorry to hear about your score fluctuations and lack of consistent improvement.

    I know you've been studying for a long time. However, if you've only gone up a few points since you started studying, it sounds like you may not have been studying effectively.

    I would not recommend taking it on June 8th. You need time to figure out what's holding you back.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Are law school's able to tell if you postponed a test date if you did it by the LSAC test date?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Steve,

    You mentioned that LSAC won't differentiate between those who wanted to change their test date (before the test, but after the May 17 deadline) and those who wait to cancel their score until after taking the exam. I think, however, that absences and cancellations will appear differently and given the new system, won't this not help those people who might cancel because of a bad day since the change will really lead to more people not going rather than taking it and canceling?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, absences and cancellations appear differently on score reports.

    The policy change will certainly lead to more absences and score cancellations overall.

    However, it's difficult to say whether the policy change will lead to a greater number of absences or to a greater number of cancellations.

    As the various opinions from admission deans above indicate, there's no clear way to decide which way to handle missing the postponement deadline.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Steve,

    Can schools tell if you postponed a test date? That is, can they tell if you were signed up to take in in February, but before the deadline, postponed it until June?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Schools can't tell if you postpone a test date.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Steve,

    Aside from the knowledge gained of taking it and cancelling right after, it doesn't seem like there is any other benefit...is there? My circumstance for the June 8th test is that I missed the deadline to cancel it. I understand that, it is in fact was my fault. But there is absolutely no way I can show up on the 8th due to certain circumstances. Do you suggest I write something regarding my absence like Dean Tom suggested when I apply out or not worry about it like Dean Zarfoss mentioned? I understand that more than one absence/and or cancellation does look bad, but does having one of either effect my status to a degree worth worrying about?

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's right - there's no benefit to taking it and canceling other than exposure to real testing conditions.

    If you can't show up, just be absent and don't worry about it.

    As far as the addendum's concerned, I can't tell you what to do. That's why I reached out to the deans for their input.

    If you apply to UC Berkeley, do what Dean Tom says on your UC Berkeley application.

    If you apply to UMichigan, do what Dean Zearfoss says on your UMichigan application.

    I suspect that a 2-3 sentence addendum won't bother any deans who don't "require" it, so I'd probably include it just to be safe.

    As the deans said, having one of either an absence and/or cancellation doesn't negatively affect you in the admission process.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for this great site.

    I took the LSAT for the 2nd time yesterday after a pretty successful prep, but a terrible last couple weeks of life. I know I blew a section. At worst I matched my first score (which was actually pretty good, but not my target for the school I want). At best, I scored a couple points higher. Either way, I think I've got to take it again in September--would I be better off nixing this score (in case it ends up matching the original) or letting it ride and working toward a much more successful test in September?

    Your insight is very much appreciated. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Joe,

    Glad you're enjoying the blog.

    I'd probably recommend canceling, given the "terrible last couple weeks of life."

    Good luck preparing for September!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks Steve. That's what I was leaning toward. Another question (which didn't really impact me, but I think is interesting)--why can't LSAC figure out a way to let people know after the fact which section was experimental. Wouldn't that help a lot of people make a more informed decision about dropping their score?

    Also, do you think (or know) if LSAC still scores the dropped answer sheets? I figure they would to help them compile data.

    Thanks again. I hope to be writing back with much happier news this fall.

    ReplyDelete
  13. And one more question/comment, having read the comments from the deans. Why does it matter if an applicant has been "exposed" to questions in an actual LSAT? Anyone can buy copies of past LSATs to study from. Do you think this is just posturing to create the appearance that LSATs aren't as important as everyone thinks?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Steve,

    First, thanks for the blog. I just had a quick question.

    I'm in a similar boat to Joe, and I'm planning to cancel June 09 (after taking in Oct. 08 once). In Oct, I did about 10 pts lower than my practice tests, and I was hoping to do better this time, but there were a couple of testing irregularities (a person passed out in the testing room, and I misbubbled a section, and did not do well on the RC). The question is, do you think I should take again? I will probably cancel this score, but also should I file a testing irregularity report with LSAC? Thanks, Steve.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Joe's first comment

    Figuring out the experimental is part of the "fun" of it.

    Just kidding.

    LSAC has no incentive to care about whether or not you know which section was experimental.

    I don't know whether or not LSAC scores dropped answer sheets. You should email LSAC and ask.


    @Joe's second comment

    The deans aren't referring to seeing the actual questions. They're referring to the benefit of experiencing an actual test center environment prior to the "real thing."


    @Anonymous

    If you misbubbled a section - you should definitely cancel and retake.

    With regard to a testing irregularity report, you should call or email LSAC to ask.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I postponed my June test to September (I didn't have to cancel the score, I had postponed it on time) and now I'm considering cancelling my September test and going for December. Is it possible for this to reflect poorly on me when colleges review my LSAT history? Will they know about the original postponement in June since it wasn't a cancelled score? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  17. As the deans indicated above, one cancellation is no big deal.

    They will not know about the original postponement.

    You should be fine.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have registered for the LSAT a total of three times (feb, june, and now september) due to a hecic work schedule I haven't been able to fully prepare. I just wanted to confirm that because I was an "absentee" for my Februray lsat, if I totally blow this upcoming test, I can still take it again in December, despite the 3 Lsats in 2 years rule.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Not sure where to post this --

    I started studying in the end of august with the logic games bible, and then went straight to taking prep tests. I started with the '10 actual' book because I am not taking the test until december. My prep tests scores have been 175,177,172,175, 168, 176, 179, 174, 180, 174, 179, 179, 180.

    I wanted to know your perspective on the difficulty of the earlier tests compared to the later ones, and also what study suggestions you have for someone aiming for a 177-180.

    GS

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi,

    I just read this on the LSAC website.

    "If you do not request a refund or change your test date by the stated deadlines and do not take the test, your LSAC file will note “absent.” The absent notation is not a score of zero, nor will it be factored into any reportable scores on file."

    So is absent really a factor at all? What if you have already taken the June exam and you don't feel like you're ready for the September one? Is it in bad form to not show up to the September one?

    I mean really people don't know what might happen and to me it just seems like LSAC is just trying to make more money by changing the date to when you can change the date to take the test.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I understand all may be bad, but which would be my better option?

    1. three times absent before my first score;

    2. two times absent and a cancellation;

    3. two times absent and going for it not fully confident in my preparation

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  22. To 7:59pm Posting/Stave,

    I'm facing the similar options. Mines are:

    1) Two cancellations before my first score in december

    2) One cancellation and one absent/december

    3) One cacellation, one 'bad' score, and one (hopefully) better core in december.

    One more question: does december test tend to be the most difficult one? not sure whether it's just a rumor or actual tendency..

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have two absences for April 2008 and September 2008 -- for the first I wasn't prepared, and for the second I (unbelievably) forgot my admission ticket and didn't have time to go home and get it. I'm probably going to register for December 2009, but does this history not bode well for my application? I didn't think absences were an issue at all, just cancellations, but this entry concerns me.

    ReplyDelete
  24. My dilema:

    1. Absent--had a work commitement but was past the time to resched exam 2. Bad score--didn't feel good, was going to cancel and then decided maybe I did better then I though 3. Cancellation--today!! I was so prepared..I went to bed early woke up an hour later when the phone rang and couldn't sleep alll night! So I go to the test center early, get some breakfast, etc. Get in the room deciding that today I will be getting 180 then I have an allergy attack, my nose starts running, I'm like whatever I can deal...got a lot of tissues and then when the test finally came, I was so tired and sneezing every 3 secs I couldn't focus, had to re-read, re-read, re-read every question and wasn't getting anywhere w/concentration so realizing my mistake of last time of not canceling, I left after the 2nd section and was like, why torture myself.

    Now what?? Absent, Bad Score, Cancellation. If I even get a phenomenal score in Dec...could I even get in law school? I totally look like a flake and playing the sick card twice. How should I present this? Would you bother even taking it in Dec? Then what if I actually don't do well on the Dec exam?

    4. Hopefuly to incredible score.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi, please advise....

    I canceled my June LSAT Score and just took the September one, I know I did badly on Sept which for me is a 155-160 ( <---pretty sure what I got). So Now I have the dilemma of

    1) should I cancel again and have TWO Cancel and hopefully ONE Decent score in December?

    or

    2) Have one canceled score, keep low September score, and have one more Decent/high score hopefully in December?

    either way, I am very saddened by the fact that I will have taken the LSAT three times and am aiming at a top 20 school. Can you advise which option would be better in terms of admissions? ( I know theres no guarantee I will even get a high score in Dec, but lets just assume for the benefit of comparison)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Steve,

    I am sure this is a question many have asked, and I realize there is no right answer. I wanted to get your thoughts on the dilemma of retaking the LSAT vs. applying earlier.

    I took approx 15 PrepTests before taking the Sept test. I averaged 163-165 pretty consistently on my practice tests. I knew I did not bring my A game on test day. I hoped I did ok but I ended up with a 157. I feel strongly that I could score at least 5 points higher, but I'm weighing the decision if it's worth it to wait until December and thus be submitting my application later. Any thoughts?
    Thanks for your time!
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  27. Steve,

    i cancelled my first exam in Feb 2009, and was ready to take it in Sept 2009. However, i was a few minutes late to the testing venus and was not allowed to take the exam even though students were not taking the exam yet. As upset as I am at this scenario, I feel like I have an even bigger problem- 3 exams per 2 yrs seems to be the rule? Does this mean I can only take the exam one more time??? Please note I work full time and am currently signed up for the Dec 09 exam.

    ReplyDelete
  28. To Anonymous right above, You actually have 2 more chances to take the exam. You can take it 3x in 2 years and your canceled one is one used up. Since you didn't actually sit for the sept exam, it should just show up as a no show for that and that doesn't count as one of your taking it chances. So you have 2 more times good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I took the LSAT in December of 2008 and did mediocre and was planning on taking it again this December 2009. I am not prepared (started a new job recently!! argh)
    How bad do you think it looks have 1 bad score, 1 absentee score and then (hopefully) 1 good/great score.

    I think I would rather take the absentee over ANOTHER sub-par performance.

    What are your thoughts? Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Steve,
    I already have one absence on my record from 2007 and I've missed the deadline to change the date for the December test. I want to write the test at my best but I won't be able to do that next Saturday.
    Based on the responses from the law schools you spoke to, I've decided to write the test and cancel it to at least get a practice run.
    Do you think this is wise? I'm really worried about what an absence and a cancellation will look like, even if I end up with a good score on a future test.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I just wanted to thank you Steve for the information on your blog. As many have stated, my heart is not in it for this Saturday's test (Dec 2009). Lack of prepartion, multitude of different jobs and life happens, bassically it's all lead to a lack of sufficient preparation. In addition, this would be my second attempt. The information has helped me make a decision, and right now I think being an absentee is the preferred option.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Quick question. I have missed the test postponement deadline for the Dec LSAT. I am not sure if I should go, take the test and cancel it or if I should not show and have an absent. Either way, I am unprepared and I do not want the score on my record. I also took the test in Dec of 2006. The score is not very good and it is on my record.
    what do you suggest? Take test and cancel or no show.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I have the same issue as Joseph. Not ready for the Dec 09 test, missed the postponement deadline, and already have two bad scores on my report from 08. Looks liked I have no other choice but to sit out if I don't want it to count towards my 3 exams/2 years limit?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi, I have a low 140s score from sept 09, and missed the cancel/postponement deadline for dec. I know I'm not ready and completely unprepared for tomorrow, so should I show up and cancel? OR should I just be absent? I have decided to apply next year instead of this year's app cycle. I have no idea who to ask about this without feeling totally ashamed of myself. Which option will be better?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Quick question, is it better off to cancel a score or be absent. I'm scoring around 160's and schools I'm looking at or want to get into I need a 165 or better. I think 5 points is a stretch on game day and its also to late to reschedule. Thoughts? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I post this question although I do notice that none of the recent posts have been answered... I took the exam a few years back and scored at the 97th percentile. Unhappy with that score, I signed up for the next administration of the test but was absent. I just recently cancelled my score for the Sept. 09 test. I am signed up for the December administration and now (the day before) am contemplating being absent or cancelling. What would you recommend?

    ReplyDelete
  37. I've postponed it twice but no cancel's or absences. Postponing doesn't show up does it? The thing is I am a paralegal and cases start to heat up and I get stuck at work and can only do so much- trying not to burn out. I don't plan on taking it more then 3 times. 2 times would be ideal. I don't mean to bother you with this, I feel like its something out of my hands and needed a little direction. Thanks and I appreciate you always being helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  38. It looks like some admission dean's say canceling and others saying absent looks better. Consensus is that they understand things come up and people have bad days, its just choosing between one or the other.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi everyone,

    The comment directly above mine is correct.

    Deciding whether to be absent or to cancel is a difficult decision, and there's no easy answer to it.

    There's no need to worry about postponements. For any LSAT, if you've postponed by the deadline (3 weeks before the test date), it won't show up on your record at all. Admissions officers won't know that you postponed.

    When deciding whether to cancel or to be absent, there is the 3 LSATs in 2 years rule to consider. A cancellation counts as one of the 3, an absence doesn't. If you showed up late to the exam in the past and were not allowed in, that would count as an absence, not as a cancellation. If you've gotten an LSAC fee waiver, then also consider that a cancellation will count towards one of the 2 free LSATs you can take, but an absence will not.

    For further strategy and factors to consider, please read the blog post above carefully - I asked admissions officers directly how they'll view cancels and absences. It's really not a big deal, and there's no right answer about what to do. I can't really offer any new information on this topic beyond what's included in the blog post.

    The other, related, question commonly asked is about retaking vs. applying earlier with a lower score. There's also no easy answer to this - it basically comes down to where you're applying and how much higher the score would be if you retook the exam. A high enough score would counteract the disadvantage of applying later in the cycle.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  40. My name is Helen I just subscribed to your website. I was supposed to be taking the LSAT this Sat, but I really prefer to wait and have one score on my record rather then two. Everyone suggest that I should take it, since admissions will just look at the higher score. I would like to begin attending law school next year, so I must pass the LSAT in Feb. I will using your techniques and definitely will pass it on to other students in my class. I have taken several prep test and have had a score of 140, but I am shooting for a 160. The law school I am applying for is FIU and the median score is 154.

    If you have any information besides your two month plan that I will be working on, that would be great. I have an advantage since I am currently not working, I can dedicate alot of time to studying.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I am writing because I read your blog and would like your opinion, or any suggestions you have to offer about my current situation…

    I took the LSAT last February and did not score well. I am registered to re-take it this Saturday, I have been taking practice tests and my score is lower than what it was a few weeks ago. I have not studied much and so even though my score has improved from my original score in February, it has not improved much. I have been scoring around 148-150.

    I am not sure if I should take it tomorrow. I know that I will be able to apply myself to studying more from now until February, and I am confident that my score would be higher, however, I would like to apply for this coming fall and I know that applying so late can be a hindrance.

    I am also concerned that if I re-take the test on Saturday, do not do well, and take it again in February, that I will have 3 scores and I am not sure how schools view that. Most of the schools that I am applying to accept the highest score, but will it look bad if I have 3 different scores?

    I know that you can not tell me what to do, but I really have no idea what schools tend to think about 3 scores, applications in February, etc., so your opinions on any of it would be greatly appreciated if you can get back to me tonight. If not I understand though. Thank you for your time.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I decided not to take the December 09 LSAT but will register for the June 2010 test. What's the best game plan? More area of weakness is Logic Games. Should I spend the first 3 months practicing the over all test and then the last 3 taking practice tests?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great job Steve, coordinating, reasoning, and walking us through this complex balancing test.

    I took the LSAT twice, Sept. and Dec. My LSAT scores are 159 and 164, respectively. I sent in applications at Christmas time, and registered for February's test because while I know a 164 can get me into some good schools (v. good GPA too), I still felt the need to have the option to boost that score, and perhaps get me off waitlists and/or bump up some scholarship offers come March/April.
    I do know that that "boost" is helpful only insofar as schools will even LOOK at that score (Boalt Hall, eg, will not). And I have been considering the third option of moving the test date to June/September, and applying anew next cycle with what I hope will be more optimal LSAT results.
    Ideally, I should know by now (the date-change deadline is tonight) whether I will be ready enough by Feb. 6th to improve my score above 164.

    But actually, I don't know. I want to defer that decision to coming right up on test day, b/c over the last couple weeks I have been fine-tuning my test-prep, and only coming up on test day do I feel I will know for certain whether I am ready to improve substantially.
    I have decided to allow myself to miss tonight's test-date change deadline, hunker down over the next two weeks, and if I don't feel I'm ready (or if school/other things interrupt my studying more than expected), I will do an "absent." This strategy will allow me to (1) fall back on the fact that I will still be able to see what my 164 LSAT yields with applications, and (2) if those acceptances are not very good, or I still have that LSAT itch to scratch, I will take the LSAT in September, and reapply next cycle, knowing that an absence will not have counted as either one of the 3-LSAts-in-2-years, or as one of my 2 free LSATs (I am a LSAC fee waiver applicant).
    Any advice, from you or anyone else reading?
    thanks!

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  44. Hi Steve,

    Is there a recommended course of action (if any) in the case of test center reassignment?

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  45. I'm registered for the Feb 10' exam and I realized a few weeks back that I am just not ready for the test. I went online to cancel or move the date and I missed the deadline. What would you suggest I do? Also is there anyway to notify the LSAC and explain myself? and if so, should I?

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  46. I don't feel I'm prepared for the LSAT in a few days. Would you recommend a no show (absence on your record) or a cancel of the score after the test (take a practice run). Also what are the steps to cancelling a score after you take it

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  47. @Anonymous 1/17 - Sounds like you have a solid plan.

    @Anonymous 1/19 - If you've been reassigned, you've been reassigned. Not sure what kind of advice I can offer about that. They don't take kindly to bribery - I learned that the hard way (just kidding).

    @MikeyLang2212 - LSAC doesn't want to hear that you're not showing up beforehand. There's no way to note this on your file. You can cancel or pull a no-show. I've described above in the blog post the pros and cons of each option.

    @Anonymous 1/28 directly above - See my comments to MikeyLang2212. See How to Cancel Your LSAT Score.

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  48. Steve, thanks for your advice. I am also scheduled for the 2/6 exam and feeling unprepared. After speaking with a LSAC rep. and reading your blog about cancellations/no-shows, I am confident in my decision to wait, take the no-show, and do more intensive preparation for the June exam. Thanks for all of your great information.

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  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  50. You said that the best idea would be to show up, take the exam, then cancel.

    I was talking to a family friend (who is a popular law school consultant) who told me that I should just opt for the no show. She said that it would look better than taking the exam and canceling, because it would make it look like I had an unfair advantage - a test run.

    Would you still recommend your option #3 over option #1?

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  51. @Cleo Tung

    Glad to help! I believe it looks better to have a no-show and a cancellation rather than two no-shows or two cancellations. I suspect you'd be fine.


    @Anonymous

    I wasn't firm on choosing #3 over #1. It's not really clear which is better. Basically, it's not a big deal.

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  52. I read all the information on your blog about cancellation vs. no show. However, what I'm still trying to decide on is how a cancellation or no show works if I've already taken the test once and plan on taking it again in June. Or is it the same as not having taken a test at all? what I mean is does having taken the LSATs previously and wanting to take them again have any effect on whether its better to cancel or just not show up.

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  53. I have been studying every day for the lsat full-time for the past month. I thought the test was saturday the 8th. My parents corrected me letting me know the 8th was actually a monday. I need a hug or a gun to off myself with. At least I packed myself a nice lunch.

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  54. Hi Steve,
    I just took the test this past Saturday. I felt pretty good about things, except for the fact that I had a few curve balls thrown at me. The reading comprehension section is typically my strongest, but the watch I was using to time myself stopped, and before I knew it, I had the 5 minute warning and a completely unread passage and set of questions, so I guessed blindly. Also two of the logic games were in a less familiar format from most of those I practiced with, and that threw me for a loop, hence more completle blind guessing. I know I can do better than that, definitely with the reading and I think with more logic game practice I could do better there as well. So...do I: a) cancel my score and retest, b)keep my score and retest, or c)put my faith in the answers I do feel good about and not retest?

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  55. I wanted to thank you so much for your site!! And I also wanted to your advice about something, since you seem to have such good ideas.

    Last June I took the LSAT and scored 156. During a break in Thanksgiving, I found your site, and I decided to give it another crack in February before applying. Things were going pretty well, not great, but better (average 161). Unfortunately, this past weekend I feel I performed poorly. Lot of things went wrong...some me, some external factors. I have no way of really gauging my performance but if I had to wager, I did 156 or maybe worse.

    So my inclination is to cancel my score instead of take the chance that my score will end up being lower...and explain my situation (I'd rather cancel the score than have something that didn't reflect the progress I've been making in getting ready for law school). Would you agree? Or would you think that schools might find it odd that I didn't see it through & get the score?

    If it helps, I'm also an older student - 38 years - I'm hopeful to get into a decent school this fall, if I can.

    Thank you for any advice you may have. I wish I'd learned of your site sooner and tried your 4 month plan! I will most heartily recommend you and your site to future LSAT candidates. Thank you!

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  56. @P
    That's terrible. Hope you enjoyed your lunch, though.


    @Anonymous 2/8 2:22PM
    That's really bad luck. I'd cancel and retest.


    @Anonymous 2/8 10:31PM
    Glad you've enjoyed the blog!

    Sorry to hear things went wrong, though. If you feel you performed 156 or lower, then it's best to cancel.

    A cancel is better than a low score.

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  57. Thank you so much for getting back to me, and confirming my thoughts. And thanks again for your commitment to sharing knowledge and helping people get through the LSAT experience. You rock.

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  58. i studied my butt off for the feb lsat and somehow ended up with a 151, what should i do? should i cancel the score? should i retake it? should i take my chances?
    i am so lost =/

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  59. Sorry to hear about your 151.

    Hard to say what you should do without knowing more.

    Check out my retaking the LSAT advice.

    Take care!

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  60. I was in a situation where I was either going to show up, experience the test and then cancel... OR just not show. I chose to not show.

    I called the two schools I want to locally apply to about if they distinguish any difference between either of those. One counselor actually laughed and said not to worry about it because they do not factor in those things. She said they want to see your actual score + your overall package and they will not hold it against an applicant if they cancel or no show.

    The other school said the same thing.

    For reference, these schools are STCL and UH in Texas.

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  61. I am scheduled to take the LSAT on Monday June 7th, 2010. I have had little time to study because I just moved to a new State and had to transfer everything to a facility in this state. I am going CRAZY trying to prepare but...who am I kidding, I am just not prepared. I am a little older and I feel I should do much more studying since I have been out of school since 2002. I am going on a fee waiver and want to do a no show. what will happen. Also do you know of any law schools that accept lowers scores just just in case! Please help Virginia

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  62. Take the test and then cancel your score if you dont want a no show

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  63. I just called the lovely people at LSAC about whether to cancel, no show or kiss my ass goodbye. I have an economic deferment on my account and didn't want to lose a free test. They said an absence or cancellation would take away one of the test but that I could write a letter with my reason(s) for missing the upcoming test and request that they let me have another free one. I asked what the chances were of the letter actually working and they said it happens all the time and that I would more than likely get another chance. Hopefully this works out and they weren't just blowing smoke up my a**.

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  64. thank you for the post. i freaked out when i found out i couldn't cancel my october test date a week in advance. it's nice to have a place to go for this type of information, since LSAC does a terrible job of explaining these things when you register. i decided it was better to wait till the december test and get have a single, higher score.

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  65. I'm scheduled for the October 9th LSAT this Saturday and I've been studying for about 1 month vigorously. I've definitely improved since i first began looking at LSAT material back in May during my prep course, but after my prep course I had an internship for the summer and didn't really have anytime to prep, BUT I thought the 1 month of September would be enough. Although I felt pretty confident after going through all 3 of the PowerScore bibles (mistake i made was not taking a preptest each week while going through the bibles) I recently just took a few preptests and found that under timed constrictions i didn't do as well as when i didn't time myself. I thus realized that i need more time to do more Preptests (around 10) possibly go through the PS Bibles again, prepare mentally, and get time management down and speed up without losing accuracy. I'm choosing to "no show" after spending an hour going through this blog, and take the December test which will allow me ample time to do MANY more practice tests then this 1 week leading up to the LSAT. THANK YOU STEVE FOR THIS GREAT SITE WITH ALL THE AMAZING INFORMATION!!! I definitely feel better knowing that i'm not the only one with these issues :thumbsup:

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  66. Steve,
    I have an absence on my record as of last year and rescheduled for the October 2010 LSAT date. After careful thought, I'd like to take the December LSAT 2010 test; should I show up and cancel my test or should I take another absence? Which would look better, 2 absences or 1 absence/1cancelltion?
    Winnie

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  67. I'm scheduled to take it tomorrow, however after much thoughtful consideration I've decided not to show up (rather than take and cancel).

    Do I have to show up to the test center to formally cancel, or can I just not show up at all? It's a 1.5 hour drive to the test center, so I'd rather not do it if it's not necessary.

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  68. Due to illness in June I couldn't take the June Lsat, marked as absent. I just took the October Lsat. I am not too confident about my score. I am considering canceling the score.

    I believe I can do much better than I did today. I am worried that if I keep the extremely low score, it will affect a higher score in the future.


    What are your thoughts on this?

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  69. Hi Steve,

    I saw your comment earlier to Cleo Tung that said 'it looks better to have a no-show and a cancellation rather than two no-shows or two cancellations'.

    My situation is that I took the October test but cancelled because I know I didn't do well. Now, I'm registered for the December test but I feel I haven't improved much from the last time. Would it be wise to just take an absentee for December's test and take the test again in June or take the December LSAT and get a rather low score (around average)?

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  70. Hi Steve,
    This is a very informative blog. I'm glad I found it.
    I just took the Dec 2011 LSAT test today. This was my first LSAT. I took it with only 3 to 4 hours of sleep the previous night and not feeling very well. Needless to say I don't think I did the best I can do.
    I gathered from your posts that in general it is better to cancel than to have a low score, so I'm leaning towards the cancellation option.
    My question is the following: Would it be worth it to get my score just to get an idea of where I'm at? (I know it's not representative of my best since I felt exhausted and sick, but it would give me a starting point of more or less how much better I could do).
    Also, how big a deal is it what school you graduate from and the rank it has? I've read that since all ABA accredited law schools have high standards and must teach the Socratic method, law education doesn't actually differ that much from school to school. I don't think I will score horrendously, just not my best, so I am wondering whether it might be worth it to apply with a lower score to a school that will accept me and that way not have to wait a whole other year to start school.
    I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

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  71. What if I Cross My deadline date for Postponing the Exam?

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