With the September LSAT done and over with, you can hopefully put test prep behind you. Assuming you did well, you should be spending the next 3 weeks polishing the rest of your law school applications so you can apply as soon as your score comes out. However, if you believe you might have bombed this test, here's what you should do now:
- Make sure you did bomb it (and not the experimental section). You can determine which section was your experimental by reading our Forum post covering the September 24th, 2016 LSAT.
- Once you have determined that yes, unfortunately, you bombed a scored section, consider if you need to cancel your score. Keep in mind that, with the new ABA regulations in effect since 2008, many students no longer see the benefit of a score cancellation: after all, only the highest LSAT score will count in virtually all admisisons decisions. Nevertheless, if you're absolutely sure that you underperformed by a wide margin, there is simply no reason to keep that score. Even if it doesn't overtly harm your chances of admission, it certainly won't help. LSAC score cancellation policies can be found here.
- Make a plan to re-take the LSAT in December. How you structure your time for the next two months will be absolutely critical to your success, so consider carefully your outside obligations and other committments. If you're still in school, the December 3rd administration may coincide with your finals. Also, keep in mind that the December 2016 LSAT scores will not be available until after February 2017 LSAT registration deadlines have passed, so if there is any chance that you will want to take the LSAT for a third time (hopefully not!), you will need to register for the February 2017 LSAT before you know your December 2016 score.
So, what should your study plan look like between now and December? The key is to change ONE thing about your test prep so far. You're still prepping for the same test you prepped for over the summer: in that sense, nothing has changed. And yet, something clearly didn't work out - or else you wouldn't find yourself in this position. Your first job, therefore, is to figure out what went wrong. Let me speculate on a few patterns I've seen over the years:
- You took a prep class over the summer, but didn't have enough time to take (and properly review) enough additional practice tests. I encourage my students to take no fewer than 15-20 practice tests in the course of their prepration, though the quality of your test reviews is arguably more important than the quantity of practice tests you take. The good news is - you'll have full access to the Online Student Center until December. Make the most of it! Once you've identified specific weaknesses you need to work on, consider investing in a 5-hour or a 10-hour tutoring package. Tutoring is not inexpensive, but for the right student - it can be an incredible value.
- You studied on your own, learned the concepts, and yet fail to apply them quickly and efficiency across a wide array of practice tests. Even with (what appears to be) a solid conceptual grasp of the material, is timing still an issue? In that case, nothing beats taking an actual in-person or Live Online prep course. Having an instructor by your side (two, if you take a Live Online course) can make all the difference between failure and success. Why? Because for most of us, learning is an inherently interactive process - it has been since 1st grade. Studying for the LSAT is no different. As comprehensive as they are, study aids - such as the Bible Trilogy - are pedagogically static. They cannot answer every single question you have, if only because the same concept can be tested in many different ways, at various levels of difficulty. A highly qualified instructor can easily be the missing piece of the puzzle.
- Did you do a minimal amount of preparation or take the LSAT cold? If that's the case (shame on you!), consider the 2-Month LSAT Study Plan using the Bible Trilogy and Workbooks. In fact, even if you believe that you did your best over the summer, your study habits may have been erratic or inconsistent. In that case, a comprehensive, week-by-week Self-Study Plan would provide a great way to keep yourself "in check" even if you don't take an actual prep course.
The registration deadline for the December 3rd, 2016 LSAT is October 18. The best test centers fill up quickly, so make sure to register as soon as you decide to re-take the test.