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What You Should Do If You are Unhappy with Your LSAT Score

What if you weren’t happy with your performance on the LSAT? You may have choked on an analytical reasoning problem and not managed to finish the section. You may have been too sick to think straight. You may have kept a running tally of questions you thought you got wrong and decided that this test wasn’t going to give you a score that you wanted.

How to cancel a score

If you decide that your life would be better if your score on this test never saw the light of day, you can cancel it. You have two ways to do this:

  • You can cancel the score before leaving the test center; talk to the test administrators.

  • You can send the LSAC a signed fax or overnight letter requesting that the LSAC cancel your score. You have six calendar days to take this action. If you miss the deadline, your score stands.

If you cancel your score, that’s the end of it. Neither you nor anyone else will ever see the score, though your score report will indicate your decision to cancel.

How to request a rescore

What if you’re sure you got a certain score, but when you receive the official report, it’s much lower than you expected? You can ask the LSAC to rescore your answer sheet. An actual person reads your answer sheet, comparing your answers with the correct ones.

You have 60 days to request this service, which you must do in writing. Send a letter or fax to the LSAC with your name, Social Security number or LSAT ID number, test center name and number, your reason for requesting a hand score, and payment of the fee.

If you encountered a problem at the test center — for example, if you had no desk and had to hold your test on your knees — report it to the test supervisor. To make sure the problem is considered, you must also report it in writing to the LSAC; you have six days to do this.

Repeating the LSAT

If you’re disappointed with your score and you’re sure you can do better, you can take the LSAT again. The LSAC’s data shows that scores often improve (slightly) for repeat test-takers. Scores also sometimes drop.

Before you commit to retaking the LSAT, look at the policy of the law schools you want to apply to. Most law schools average your LSAT scores, so even a big improvement may not make that much difference. However, because of a recent change in American Bar Association reporting rules, more and more schools look at the best score only.

The LSAC allows you to take the LSAT three times in a two-year period, which includes any tests whose scores you cancel. That means you can’t just take the LSAT every time it’s offered, hoping to get the perfect test that gives you the perfect score.

Even if your score improves dramatically the second or third time you take the test, law schools still see your lower scores. The LSAC sends all LSAT scores in its reports to law schools. It also informs the law schools that the true measure of your ability is the average of your scores, not the highest score. In the score report, your scores appear individually and averaged.

You don’t have to let your scores speak for themselves. If something happened that made you score badly, tell the law schools when you send in your application. Think of this as an opportunity to practice your persuasive writing skills. If you do a good job, the law school may be so impressed with your potential as an advocate that it will accept you despite a low LSAT score.

The LSAC’s score report automatically includes the scores of all the LSATs you’ve taken (or registered for and missed) since June 1, 2008; cancellations also appear. If you took the LSAT between June 1, 2004, and June 1, 2008, and you want law schools to see that score, you can send a written request to the LSAC.

If you took the test before June 1, 2004, the LSAC won’t report the score. If you decide to apply to law school but your only LSAT scores are more than ten years old, you have to take the test again. Lucky you!

Looking to the future, some (but not all) state bar associations demand the law school admission records of applicants. To be safe, keep all the paperwork from your law school admission process until you’ve been sworn in and added that lovely “Esq.” to your name.

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