LSAT cancellations, withdrawals, absences: What's the difference?

LSAT Prep

describe the imageWith the LSAT just around the corner, you may be taking a look at how your prep is going and thinking that you are simply not ready for the test. There's no shame in this; in fact, knowing when you are or are not ready for the LSAT shows a great deal of self-awareness and respect for your law school application. 

If you know you're not ready for the test, then there are a number of options available to you. We'll discuss each of them in detail so that you have all the information necessary to make the best decision on or before test day.

You can withdraw.

A while back, LSAC announced an additional "withdrawal" option for LSAT test-takers. Prior to the introduction of the withdrawal, the only option available for students who missed the test date change deadline (which is a whopping three weeks before the date of the test) was to either cancel their score or not show up to the test at all. However, this new "withdrawal" option allowed students to withdraw their LSAT registration right up until midnight on the day before the test with no adverse consequences other than the loss of their registration fee. The withdrawal doesn't even show up on your LSAT Score Report. So, if you're not feeling like you'll score your best on test day, know that you have right up until midnight of the night before to decide if you want to take it. 

You can be absent.

This is exactly what it sounds like. You just don't show up. Will this look bad on your record? Not if you only have one absence. Many things can happen the day of the test that can result in you not showing up: car trouble, a family emergency, sudden illness--no one is going to fault you for having a single absence. You might want to provide a brief explanation via an addendum on your application, though, given that an absence does show up on your record and law schools know that you had the chance to withdraw your registration right up until midnight the day before. Also, remember that if you don't show up, you forfeit your registration fee. 

You can cancel.

Beginning the day after the test, you will be able to cancel your score on the LSAT Status page of your LSAC account. This option will be availble to you until 11:50pm ET on the sixth day after your LSAT date.

Be advised...if you miss the deadline, whatever score you get is going right on your record. And LSAC is a stickler about that deadline .  If you miss it, they're not going to let you cancel.

There are a few more facts worth noting. Your law school report will reflect that your score was canceled at your request. You will not recieve a score or a copy of your answer sheet. If you took a disclosed test, you will recieve a copy of the test questions as well as the credited responses for the scored sections. 

So there you have it, folks. If you've decided that you're not ready to take the LSAT, but have missed the date change deadline, those are your options. Think on it and choose wisely!

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