February 2018 LSAT takers have one burning question in mind: When exactly will my score be released?
Per LSAC, February 2018 LSAT scores are slated to be released on Thursday, March 8th, 2018. However, past LSAC score-release trends indicate that scores are almost always released earlier than the official date (except when weather conditions have interfered with the original test dates, as was the case with the February 2013 LSAT). So, even though you still have to wait to get your score, you probably won't have to wait until the score-release date designated by the test makers.
So when will you have it?
We predict that February 2018 LSAT scores will come out six days early, on Friday, March 2nd, 2018.*
What is particularly interesting about this release (and slightly unsettling from a predictive standpoint) is that it follows what can only be described as two shocking release moves by LSAC:
- December 2nd, 2017 LSAT scores were released a full 12 days before the official date, arriving December 22nd rather than on or even near the announced date of January 3rd. That's a 20-day turnaround, making it the fastest release since February 2011, and the fastest December release since 2007! So the most recent official administration shattered tradition, breaking both the 1-3 days early pattern going back to December 2015 as well as the decade-long trend of releases 23+ days post-December test date. This also marked the first time that LSAC publicly announced the actual release day ahead of time, posting a note to their official twitter on the morning of the 22nd informing students that scores were coming shortly. And, as a final departure from routine, icons went grey around 11:45 am EST on 12/22/17, or about five hours prior to the release time we'd become accustomed to after years of ~4:30 pm first movement.**
- Even more unexpected was the release that occurred following the October 14th, 2017 make-up LSAT given to students throughout hurricane-ravaged Florida (and elsewhere). That exam, necessitated by a number of test center closures and attended by hundreds (if not thousands) of students, never had an official release date. But certainly no one expected scores to be released just five days later, on October 19th! I can confidently say that not only was that faster than anyone anticipated, but it was also faster than anyone reasonably thought possible given the typical, comparatively plodding turnaround time. So LSAC has, in effect, engineered its own tough crowd: armed with the knowledge that less than a week is theoretically needed to compile and distribute results, students will rightfully cry foul if the wait stretches to anywhere near the full 26 days marking February's official 3/8 deadline.
In short, we're in the wake of two unprecedented score releases, and it's those that most significantly inform our expectations for this latest LSAT. I struggle to imagine LSAC reverting to a release of a scant 1-3 days early when we've seen such unimagined urgency govern the prior two.
Again, this is merely a prediction, but with December 2017 scores coming after only 20 days, and the October make-up taking just five, I think a February release 20 days post-test (which is March 2nd) is the most reasonable bet. It's also far from unheard of, as Feb scores from 2005-2011 were all released exactly 20 days later, with the exception of Feb 2010's lag time of 21 days.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Even though trends indicate that scores have traditionally been released before the “score release” date stated by LSAC, there’s no guarantee they’ll do it again. All signs point to yes—especially signs of late!—but don’t bank on the fact that you’re guaranteed to get yours earlier.
- Scores are released in batches over hours and sometimes days. So your friend might get his or her score hours before you do. Don’t panic; you’ll still get it. You might just be in a later batch.
- Scores are not released in any sort of order (geographically, alphabetically by last or first name, by test score itself, etc.). So release "patterns" do not exist in any meaningful sense!
- If you have an LSAC.org online account, you will get your score via email/online by the score release date. If you registered via snail-mail and/or do not have an LSAC.org account, you will get your scores mailed to you, which can take an additional 5-7 business days.
- LSAC cannot tell you your score over the phone, no matter how much you beg. Calling and asking for it won’t yield results, so don't bother.
Good luck to all and feel free to post any questions/comments below!
*I confess an atypical but distinct lack of clarity here: it's been a long, long time since LSAC's behavior felt quite so inscrutable and, dare I say, capricious. Which isn't to suggest this is a blind guess—the reasoning outlined above should add plenty of weight to the prediction—but rather to temper expectations somewhat. I think the following probabilities capture the weeks ahead better than an all-in single date: 50% for the week of March 2nd (from 2/28-3/2, with 3/2 as the most probable day); 20% for the weekend of March 3rd and 4th; 30% for the week of March 5th (3/5 to the official date of 3/8, with Monday, March 5th as by far the most likely in that range). I also suspect others may shade these numbers a little differently; this is simply my personal stance.
As always know that I'm rooting against myself and hoping that scores come even earlier than we predict, perhaps as soon as Wednesday, February 28th!
**I don't know if these types of twitter announcements and mid-morning releases will continue going forward, although I certainly hope so! It removes some of the uncertainty and related anxiety from the ever-mysterious release game, and while it can still make for a long afternoon and evening of refreshing emails and LSAC accounts—as we saw in December, 14+ hours can pass between LSAC announcement and score receipt—at least it narrows the window to a single day rather than a week or more of nagging worry.
Some may also recall that LSAC botched the release announcement in December, too: they tweeted that scores were coming a day prematurely (scores were in the final stage of processing turns out, but not due to be released yet), so that led to some understandable frustration from students. Chalk it up to new territory though; if LSAC repeats procedure for this exam I expect it'll be seamless.