Whenever scores release, we consistently get the same question. Should I retake the LSAT? And that’s understandable. Some will receive their scores and know immediately that they need another shot. Others are fortunate enough to not have to take the test ever again. But, a large segment of students will be in the middle. The scores are solid, but not slam-dunk and give a chance at target schools, but do not guarantee admission. This leads to a difficult decision period wherein students struggle to decide whether they’re going to retake the test.
Well I’m here to help clarify that difficult decision with a simple bit of advice: retake it!
Now, that might seem like some glib and self-serving advice from a company that teaches the LSAT. But, it certainly wouldn’t be in our best long-term interest to dole out bad counsel. Plus, admissions experts I trust also give out similar advice. As our friends over at Spivey Consulting said in a separate post:
“no matter what anyone says, the reality is that only the high score is submitted to the ABA… Thus, the high score means everything and the only thing to a school’s median LSAT and rankings, and all other scores/takes are meaningless for reporting purposes. Put in practical terms, it behooves an applicant to retake the LSAT if they feel like they haven’t reached their potential.”
Prelaw Guru Peg Cheng says:
“Law schools will look at each of your LSAT scores, but in most cases, they will use the higher one in their evaluation of your candidacy.”
Ann Levine over at Law School Expert states:
“The highest score matters – that’s the one that gets reported to the ABA for rankings purposes.”
And The Admissions Sherpa notes:
“Unless you are absolutely convinced you cannot score any higher, it would be wise to consider a retake. There is almost no risk, but tremendous potential for reward (better admissions and scholarships).”
In other words, law schools focus on your highest score when considering your application. This makes sense because it’s the only one they have to report to the American Bar Association. With that in mind, you should strongly consider taking the LSAT again if you can improve at all.
Sometimes there is confusion over the multiple score situation. That’s due to the not-too-distant past when law schools had to report average LSAT scores to the ABA. In that scenario, taking the LSAT multiple times could be dangerous. A lower second (or third) score could be catastrophic! However, almost a decade ago those requirements were changed and now only the highest score must be reported. Consequently, the highest score is now really all that matters. Sure, if you scored 10 points lower on your second LSAT you might want to explain that in a brief addendum, but schools would still focus on the higher score because that’s the one that’s used for all official reports. It’s also what the US News rankings use, which has a big effect on decisions law school admission committees make.
If you are facing that moment of indecision about retaking, don’t over-worry about score averages or having multiple LSAT scores. It’s by far in your best interest to take the exam again if you think you can do better. Every point counts on this test and a few extra points could be enough to take your application over the top. Maybe it can even award you scholarship money as well. Regardless, applying to law school is on the horizon. If you need help beefing up your application, we’ve got admissions experts here for you.