Q. I'm thinking about taking the LSAT in June because then if I get a bad score I can retake it in October. Is that a good idea?

A. No. If that is the only reason you are taking it in June, you are not thinking clearly about the LSAT. Why is this bad logic? Let me make a list for you:
  1. You should plan on taking the LSAT only once. You don't take the real thing for practice, people. Practice at your kitchen table. When you prepare for and take an important test thinking the whole time, "I can always retake it if I bomb it," you are setting yourself up psychologically to do just that: bomb it and retake it. And that won't pay off (see #2 below).
  2. The only good reason for taking the LSAT a second time is that you know something specific went wrong the first time. Examples: you didn't prepare; you were sick the day of the test; you freaked out; you managed your time badly and couldn't give any thought to a lot of the questions; or you couldn't find anyplace to park your car, so you had to sprint ten blocks to the test, arriving barely in time, and then you proceeded to sweat buckets and pant like a dog for the first half hour.
  3. Taking it more than once rarely pays off. People who take the LSAT more than once almost always end up within 2 points of their original score. All the scores are reported, but typically law schools just average them together. In other words, if you take it more than once you are unlikely to improve your score. And guess what? You might do worse the second time.
  4. You should take the LSAT on the date that will allow you to be as prepared as possible. If that is June for you, then fine--go right ahead. But for most college juniors, studying for a high-stakes exam right after school ends is seriously bad timing. They are exhausted and they want to party and relax. But if they allow themselves a few weeks to recover and then study over the summer, they are ready to go in October.
  5. If you take it in October and don't like your score, you can still retake it in December and apply with no problem.
  6. The "rolling admissions" myth probably won't work to your advantage. Schools that have rolling admissions are trolling for students with high LSATs, who they want to cherry-pick with an early acceptance before they apply everywhere. If you get a high score, you should probably not allow yourself to get into an early acceptance scenario. Why not see how well you can do by applying all over the country?
  7. You need to go into the LSAT taking it for what it is: a high stakes test that you say you want to take. Take it as a challenge, prepare for it, do it once, and do your best, because you are going to be stuck with the consequences. If you are intensely uncomfortable with that kind of pressure, you should ask yourself if you really want to be a lawyer. The pressure of the LSAT is nothing compared to the pressure of law school, and law school is low-key compared with many of the situations lawyers find themselves in.


Q. But...but...but...a test preparation service told me I should take it in June.

A. Yes. They do that so people will take their courses in May. They also tell people to take it in February, which is really too late in the law school application cycle. That's because the test prep services want people to take their courses in January.

Q. Are you saying that test preparation services and law schools are really out for themselves, and aren't looking out for my interests first and foremost?

A. Yes. And if you don't understand that at some gut level, I suggest that you work on acquiring some life experience in the real world before going to law school.