After the completion of a real LSAT, many test-takers will be asking a very important question. Should I cancel my score? If you find yourself amidst their numbers, don’t worry. You’re definitely not alone. It’s very common for LSAT-takers to second-guess themselves and fret. You may even experience this the moment you leave the testing center! How did you do on the test? What will your score be? Which questions did you get right and wrong? Should you cancel your score?
Deciding Whether or Not to Cancel
Making the decision to keep or cancel can be very stressful. However, there are several situations where cancellation might be a good option for you.
- Test anxiety: you suffered from extreme anxiety during the exam. Sometimes this anxiety manifests by extreme distraction, panic, cold sweats, nausea, etc.
- Lack of preparation: you took the exam “cold” or didn’t prepare for it very well.
- Falling ill: you were ill during the exam or became ill during it.
- Failure to finish: you were unable to complete the test or had to leave during it.
- Gut instinct: you’re convinced that something just went very, very wrong during the test.
The situations that can lead you to consider cancellation vary and are various. One of the first things we tell students to do is evaluate their performance. Many think this is not possible; however, with a little bit of time and some careful analysis, it’s definitely possible! You can certainly put together relatively accurate best- and worst-case scenarios about an LSAT performance.
Evaluating Your Performance
Analyze the LSAT you just took very carefully.
This can be a difficult task, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the test. But, it can prove very useful when attempting to determine your overall performance. Start by writing down the sections you had in order. Now try to recall how many questions you intelligently analyzed and answers as well as those you hazarded a guess on. Determine which sections were hardest and which parts of those sections gave you the most trouble. Was there a specific LG you struggled with? A RC passage that stumped you? Don’t let your feelings about a type of question or the LSAT as a whole cloud your judgment. Instead, consider each section in a manner that is as analytical and question-specific as possible. This almost-impartial breakdown of the test will be invaluable when you’re trying to determine your overall performance.
Try to determine the experimental section.
Again, this is something that many think isn’t possible, but it’s definitely doable in many cases. We offer breakdowns and explanations of what the experimental section is, how it’s used, and how to figure out which section on your LSAT is experimental here.
Create a best-case and worst-case scenarios.
Once you determine how you feel about each of the sections, translate that into a numerical score range. We say “range” because it’s nearly impossible to determine precisely how many you got right or wrong within a section. But, you can definitely establish a general scoring range by figuring out your best- and worst-case scenarios.
- For the best-case score scenario, determine two numbers for each section as objectively as you can. One is the approximate number of questions you feel confidently about. The other accounts for the questions you felt okay with, but not 100% sure of. Add the first number and 75% of the second number together. Do this for each section. This gives you a raw “best-case” number.
- For the worst-case scenario, determine the same numbers for each section. This time, only add 75% of the first number and 50% of the second number. Do this for each section and then add all the numbers together. This gives you a raw “worst-case” number.
- Once you have both raw numbers, determine what your score range is when converting it to the LSAT 120-180. Although you will not have the range for the actual range you took, you can use past scoring ranges to help you. Take your raw numbers and plug them into a historical LSAT range.
Think about how you did on your practice tests.
Now use your feelings about your past performances on practice tests leading up to the real LSAT. Compare that to how you feel on the LSAT you just took. Be objective! Of course you’re likely feeling more nervous, anxious, and less secure about the “real” LSAT you just sat for. Don’t forget to be objective–of course you likely felt more nervous, more anxious, less secure about the “real” LSAT you just sat for. That’s only natural.
Don’t consider your feelings, consider your performance. Do you think the questions were harder? Easier? This can also help you see if the best- and worst-case scenarios are accurate. If you were scoring between 160 and 163 and this LSAT felt easier and your best/worst-case numbers put you in a 162-166 range, then you’re probably right on target. The same goes if you feel it was harder than or about the same as your practice tests. Combine all this information to ensure your analysis and range are in the right area.
Consider which scores you would feel comfortable with.
Are you applying to schools where you need to score above a 155 to really feel comfortable? Do you feel you need at least a 150? A 160? A 165? If you don’t know what ranges your schools are looking for, check out this great resource from LSAC. They provide the 25th and 75th percentile LSAT scores for the prior year’s incoming class for all ABA-approved schools. Use that information to determine where your score should be. Once you have those percentiles in hand, determine which LSAT scores you would feel most comfortable with. Which LSAT scores best improve your chances of getting into the school(s) of your choice?
Don’t forget to think about your past LSAT performances.
If you have multiple cancellations or absences on your LSAT Score Report already, you need to think long and hard. What will yet another cancellation look like on your record? Multiple score cancellations/absences may signal to Admissions Committees that you’re unable to handle the stress of a lengthy timed test. When you consider how intense and long law school finals are, this doesn’t bode well. Or, it may indicate that you don’t take your test-taking seriously. Did you prepare adequately? These questions also don’t bode well.
If you already have other scores on your Score Report, take a moment to consider the effects of an additional score. Is it higher than your last one? Lower? The same? Although schools aren’t required to take the average of all scores in an LSAT Score Report, the average is still reported. Schools can see the average as well as the scores for every LSAT you’ve taken in the last 5 years. Consider how this new LSAT will affect your overall report. Will it have a positive or negative effect?
Make a final decision.
Once you complete all these steps, it’s time to make a final decision. You have six calendar days from the day you took the LSAT to let LSAC know if you want to cancel your score. Consider your best- and worst-case scenarios, your past performances vs this one, the score you think you need, and how your current Score Report looks. Now decide. Don’t feel that you must do this immediately upon taking the test. You do have some time, but don’t put off doing your analysis to the last minute. Make sure that if you do cancel your score, you follow LSAC’s official guidelines for score cancellations.
You’re Going to Cancel. Now what?
So, what happens if you’ve decided to cancel your score? First, you need to notify LSAC. You can do this by completing a score cancellation form, or by sending a signed fax or overnighted letter. But be careful. LSAC does not accept emails or phone calls as “official” cancelation requests! The request must include your signature. Valid score cancellation requests must include:
- A statement that you wish to cancel your LSAT score
- Your name, LSAC account number, and last four digits of your Social Security Number
- The test date, test center number, and test center name
- Your signature
Make sure you carefully read the specific procedures that need to be followed to cancel your score. If you have any questions about the process or what you need to do, contact LSAC at 215-968-1001. Do not email them and wait for a response. Call them!
- Will schools be able to see that I canceled my LSAT score? Yes. Your Law School Report will reflect that the score was canceled at your request.
- Can I get a refund if I cancel my score? No. LSAC gives no refunds for canceled scores.
- If I cancel my score, will I still know what I got? No. You will never know how you actually scored on the test.
- Will I still get a copy of the test questions if I cancel my score? It depends. If you took a non-disclosed test, then you will not get a copy of the test questions. However, if you took a disclosed test, then you will get a copy of test questions. However, you will not receive a copy of your answer sheet.
- What happens if LSAC doesn’t cancel my score after I asked them to (in writing, with a signature, on the appropriate form, etc.)? LSAC is very good about notifying students once cancellation requests are processed. They will mail out a confirmation to you once they do so. If you do not receive one within four calendar days after you submit the request, contact LSAC immediately. You will need to submit proof that you sent the request in on time. So, make sure you keep fax transmittal sheets, USPS/FedEx/UPS delivery confirmations, etc. If you can’t produce proof that you sent your request at or before the six-calendar-day deadline, LSAC won’t cancel your score.