Retaking the LSAT
So, you didn’t do as well on the LSAT as you may have liked the first time you took it. Now, thoughts are running through your head about whether you should retake the test, whether you would do better if you did retake, and whether it’s worth all of the time, pain, and stress to do it all over again. Many people have been in your place before, and this article is meant to help you make an informed decision regarding whether you should retake (tl;dr – you most likely should) and how you should prepare for it.
How to Determine Whether You Should Retake
The first thing you need to ask yourself when considering a retake is how likely it is that you will improve your score the next time around. Did something happen before or during the test that significantly diminished your ability to concentrate on the test? Could you have studied much harder/more effectively for your first attempt? Did you score significantly lower (5+ points) than your practice average over your last ten tests? Was there a section that you really messed up on, much more than usual? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, especially the 2nd, then you are an excellent candidate for retaking. If not, you should probably think very hard about how high your chances of increasing your LSAT score on a retake really are. Just because you want a high LSAT score doesn’t mean that you can attain that score.
That being said, I’m of the opinion that any reasonably intelligent individual with good work ethic can get at least a 156 on the LSAT if they make it a priority. If you’re in the high 140s to mid 150s, the marginal increase in quality of school you can attend with even a couple point increase of the LSAT is much higher than in any other bracket. Find a study method that works for you, devote an hour a day and four hours once a week for prep test for two months before the test, and you should be able to improve your score.
Let’s assume that, since you’re continuing to read the article, you are one of those people for whom it is a good idea to retake the LSAT. The benefits of doing so are massive, larger than most people realize without having done research. A quick glance at certain schools on Law School Numbers (LSN: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/) will show that in many cases a single point on the LSAT can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money. A three point increase on the LSAT can sometimes even result in a full scholarship offer where otherwise there would be no scholarship at all. Consider this scenario for a moment: If someone offered you $100,000 to increase your LSAT score 3+ points, would you do it? It seems to me that any sane person would accept this offer. So, given this, it should now be clear why it’s in your best interest to retake the LSAT if you under perform, despite the large amount of work and hassle that is involved in retaking.
What to Do Different This Time?
Ok, so we’ve established that it’s a good idea for you to retake the LSAT and that it is more than worth it to do so. Now, how can you avoid a repeat of the first time? What do you need to do differently? Well, that depends on what your problem was the first time. Earlier, I discussed some common problems that cause people to under perform on the LSAT. I’ll address how to attempt to resolve each of those problems in this section.
Some Distraction Affected Your Performance on Test Day:
There are two possible kinds of distractions that can lead to a lower score: those that happen before the test and those that happen during the test. For those things that happen before the test, the best thing you can do is prevention. Do you have loud roommates that kept you up before your first LSAT? Stay in a hotel the night before your retake. Were you ill during the LSAT last time to an extent that it kept you from focusing? Focus on staying healthy and getting lots of sleep the entire week before your retake. Unless the problem was a death of someone close to you or perhaps the end of a relationship, there’s nothing that you can’t work to prevent, and those things are very unlikely to repeat themselves.
If it’s something that happens during the test, the two possible solutions are to change to a testing center that is less susceptible to distractions or to avoid people who are more likely to be a distraction. Perhaps there was a lawn mower going or a marching band playing outside of the room you took the test in. That test center may have also been exceptionally crowded or disorganized, leading to a late start. For your retake, make sure to select your test center carefully. Ask people who have taken it there before if they had a positive experience. If you have to travel a long way to get to a good testing center, get a hotel room near your testing site for the night before. Also, don’t be afraid to ask to be moved away from a window or for a door to be closed if it’ll help your performance.
If the problem is someone that was sitting next to you, take solace in the fact that the odds are extremely low that individual will be sitting next to you again. One trick you can use to try to avoid distracting people is that some test centers have you line up going into the testing room and seat you accordingly. If you’re standing next to someone who is ill or seems overly nervous, move back in the line a bit so you don’t end up sitting next to them. This is not always preventable though, so one of the best things you can do is work on making sure that you are calm and relaxed going into the test so you’re not easily thrown off by the behavior of others.
You Did Not Study As Well As You Could Have:
If you didn’t study as much or as effectively as was possible, this is the easiest and most direct way to improve your score on a retake. If your study methods were not up to par, it means getting the right materials. I’m not going to spend too much time on proper studying methods, because that isn’t really what the article is about and you can easily find this information in the LSAT forum. Just quickly, the Powerscore LG and LR Bibles are very useful study aids, and if you haven’t tried them out yet you should definitely buy them and read through them. Other than that, the best thing you can do is get copies of real LSATs and take them while simulating real test conditions, which I will explain later.
Assuming you have this many prep tests that you haven’t taken left from your first round of studying, you should take about 10 prep tests between your first take and your retake. As I said before, make sure that you’re taking those tests under real conditions. That means timing yourself, not going over that time limit, not taking breaks between sections (except sections 3 and 4, for 15 minutes) and preferably taking it at a library or somewhere else that’s quiet but not your house. Make sure that at least half of those tests, if not more, are from the last five years. The reason for this is that, as a result of a proliferation of study materials and prep classes, the curve on the LSAT has gotten tighter and the test has gotten harder. Thus, if you’re taking tests from 1995, or even 2000, you’re not getting a real indication of what score you’re going to get on the real thing. Thinking that scores on old LSATs are indicative of what you will get on test day is a big source of people being disappointed with their score.
If you taken all of real practice LSATs out of the books published by LSAC, you have the option of buying tests that have not yet been published in books one-by-one, which is what I would recommend. If you have exhausted even these, then lack of preparation probably wasn’t your problem, but just to keep you fresh you can retake a few tests from earlier on in your studying, as you’ve probably forgotten a lot of material from them by now.
A lot of people complain that they don’t have enough time in their busy schedule to study for the LSAT the first time, let alone for a retake. Whether it’s because of a job or school, it’s important to keep in mind how important the LSAT is when considering whether you have time to properly study for it. As I said before, a three point LSAT improvement on the LSAT can lead to upwards of 100k in additional scholarships. In virtually any job you could have that’s getting in the way of studying, the trade-off in $/hr to time spent studying for the LSAT will clearly favor studying for the LSAT 10 hours a week for 8-10 weeks. If you don’t have time because of school, remember that conservatively, one LSAT point is worth 0.1 GPA points. With a three point LSAT score increase, even if you had a 4.0 every other semester and got a 2.0 the semester you were studying for the LSAT, your GPA would still only drop 0.25 and thus the time spent studying on the LSAT would be worthwhile.
You Underperformed and Have No Idea Why:
So, you studied hard, weren’t distracted by anything in particular during the test, but you still did much worse than your practice test average. Maybe you even walked out of the test feeling great, and were shocked by the poor score you received when you got it. Sometimes people just have a bad day and hit the bottom of their practice range or slightly lower. Sometimes something in particular will throw you off (Talk Story, Dinos, etc.) However, make sure to think carefully and make sure there isn’t something you’re missing that led to you having a lower score than you anticipated. Were you taking your practice tests untimed? Were you taking lots of practice tests that were 6+ years old? If this is the case, you have walked into the test with false expectations of your potential. This is not to say that you still couldn’t improve from a retake, but it’s not necessarily the odds-on bet it might have otherwise been.
If it is the case that you just had a bad day, the most important thing you can do is not let it rock your confidence and mess you up on your retake. Come to terms with it, convince yourself that it’s an aberration, and get it completely out of your head by the time you have your second go. Take a week or two off from studying after you get your score to clear your head, and then start back into it with as much energy as you had when you started studying the first time. If there’s a particular section that you messed up on, try looking into a different method for attacking those questions. Different things work for different people, and you have to find what works best for you come test day.
Taking the LSAT a Third Time
After retaking the LSAT once, you’re still not happy with your score. It could be because you got the same or (god forbid) lower score than your first time, because you still haven’t hit your initial target score, or because your expectations adjusted upwards after all that studying you did for your second LSAT. A lot of the same considerations go into retaking the LSAT a second time and a first time, but one has to make sure they’re being honest with themselves when considering using your third chance. Did you study as hard as you possibly could, are you sure your practice tests are simulating real test conditions, are you letting your nerves get the best of you when it’s game time, etc. are all questions you need to be asking yourself. There is a lot more risk involved in taking the LSAT a third time as you don’t have another chance to take it after that and many schools will look on a third LSAT score unfavorably if it’s not a significant improvement over your previous two scores.
That being said, all things being equal, anecdotal evidence suggests that the potential positive aspects of going up a few points on a retake greatly outweigh the negative repercussions that one might experience from dropping a couple points. So if you feel reasonably confident that you can boost your score over your highest score thus far, go ahead and retake one last time. If you’re worried about your retake having a negative impact on your admissions decisions, one tactic that has become increasingly popular is to take the June LSAT of the year you are enrolling in law school and using that score to negotiate for scholarship money and to get off waitlists. As there are no cases on record of schools withdrawing offers from students for sitting for the LSAT after being admitted, this removes the risk from the idea while still providing much of the benefit.
School Policies on Multiple LSATs
Schools have different policies when it comes to how they view multiple LSAT scores, which is something you should keep in mind when you’re considering a retake. If your top choice takes the highest score, a retake is much more appealing than if it takes the average, and this is something you should definitely take into consideration. I’ve made an attempt to break the schools down into four main categories, organized in the table below. However, some policies are kind of in a gray area and thus my distinctions were somewhat arbitrary, so I decided to include the actual text of the policy from each school. Because many schools don’t post their policy on this issue on their website, much of this material is exclusive to TLS.
Yale- Says that they “consider all information about an applicant, including multiple LSAT scores.” It’s hard to interpret what exactly this means, but considering that Yale’s admission decisions as a whole are hard to predict, it comes as no surprise that their policies are somewhat vague.
Harvard- “The LSAT need be taken only once. If you take the test more than once, all scores and their average will be reported and considered.”
Stanford – Makes no comment with regard to multiple LSATs on their website. I imagine this is a result of their desire to maintain an appearance of holistic admissions in which they consider everything. Presumably they’re in line with HY and average, though.
Columbia – “Even though the ABA requires that we report the highest LSAT score, the Committee considers the entire LSAT testing history when evaluating applications for admission. Published statistics for this and prior years were based on average LSAT scores.” A quick glance at LSN seems to refute this though, as a 165/175 will always do better than a 170, for example.
NYU – “If I take the LSAT more than once, does the Committee see the higher score?
Yes, but they evaluate based on the average score in most cases. The Committee may take special circumstances into account. If a candidate can point out specific reasons why the Committee should consider an LSAT score aberrant, they should detail those reasons in an addendum to the personal statement.” It seems that they are much more willing to accept a reason for a sub-par LSAT score than this statement might suggest, however.
Chicago – “We recognize that some students will take the LSAT more than once, perhaps because the first score was the product of unusual conditions or because it seemed low given earlier practice test scores. In keeping with recent changes in LSAC and ABA policies, we will focus on the higher of an applicant's two scores. LSAC data suggest that the first score is an excellent predictor of a second score; applicants are thus advised to re-take the test only if there is reason to expect significant improvement. We certainly do not wish to encourage expenditures on repeat test taking.”
Berkeley – “Most candidates take the test only once. If you take the test more than once, we will use your average score in most cases. We recognize that there is no statistical significance to a score gain or loss of a few points within the standard deviation for the test.”
Penn – “We will consider an applicant's highest LSAT score. However, if there is a significant difference between an applicant's highest and lowest LSAT score (more then 4 or 5 points) the applicant should address this discrepancy in an addendum to his or her application.”
Michigan – “The LSDAS report for an applicant who has sat for the LSAT more than once will show every score or cancellation, as well as the average score. The ABA requires law schools to report score information based on an admitted student's highest score, and therefore, that is the score to which we give the most weight. We do, however, consider the average score as well, because data provided by the Law School Admissions Council suggests that it has the greatest predictive utility. If you have a significant disparity between scores (six or more points), it would be very helpful to address any explanation for the difference in an optional essay or addendum.”
Virginia – “The ABA requires law schools to report LSAT information using an admitted student’s highest score, so that is the score to which we give the most weight. We evaluate all information submitted as part of the application for admission, however, including all scores earned on the LSAT. Studies by the Law School Admission Council suggest that in most cases the average score is the most accurate predictor of academic performance in the first year of law school, so we encourage applicants with a significant difference in LSAT scores to include with their application any information that may be relevant to the interpretation of test results, such as illness, testing conditions, or other circumstances that may have affected LSAT performance.”
Northwestern – “Northwestern Law’s policy is to take the highest score earned on the LSAT.”
Cornell – “In general, Cornell Law’s policy is to take the higher score if it is at least 3 points higher than a prior score, but the Admissions Committee invites applicants to submit an addendum to their application explaining the different LSAT scores and why we should take the higher score.”
Duke – “In the case of multiple test scores, data show that the average score is generally the most useful in predicting law school performance. However, Duke may place greater weight on a high score if the applicant provides compelling information about why that score is a better indication of his or her potential. If you feel that one or more of your test scores does not accurately reflect your ability or potential, please explain this disparity in a separate attachment.”
Georgetown – “For reporting purposes, Georgetown adheres to the ABA policy of reporting the higher LSAT score. For evaluation purposes, the Georgetown Admissions Committee typically averages LSAT scores. Georgetown may consider the higher LSAT score if you have only taken the LSAT twice. Please address any mitigating circumstances you feel the Admissions Committee should consider.”
UCLA – “Our general policy is to consider the highest LSAT score attained, although we will take note of all scores. In the case of a significant discrepancy between scores, applicants are advised to address it in their application. It is always helpful for the Admissions Committee to be aware of any factors that may have adversely or positively impacted one’s performance on the LSAT. Item 11 on our application is a suitable place to provide such explanation.”
Vanderbilt – The only guidance Vanderbilt gives with regard to the LSAT is this: “There is no minimum LSAT score; however, applicants with lower LSAT scores are admitted at lower rates than applicants with higher scores. The median score of J.D. students at Vanderbilt is 167. We consider each applicant's LSAT score in the context of all the information in the full application. This means that applicants with lower scores are more likely to be admitted if they are strong in other respects.” This gives little insight into their actual policy, however. Anecdotal evidence suggests that they take the highest score.
Texas – “Candidates with multiple LSAT scores will be evaluated using all reported scores. However, the Law School will no longer solely consider an applicant’s average score in the admissions review process. The ABA recently revised its survey reporting requirements; all law schools are being asked to report an applicant’s highest LSAT score.”
USC – “We report the highest LSAT score to the American Bar Association and other organizations. However, all scores (not averaged) will be considered in the admissions review process. If there is a significant discrepancy in your scores (five or more points), we encourage you to submit an addendum in order to put the variance into context for our Admissions Committee.”
Wash. U. STL – “The test may be taken more than once if you think that you can substantially improve your performance. If you take the test more than once, all your scores are considered.”
Boston University – “If an applicant has taken the test more than once, the highest score will be considered in admission review.”
Emory University – “If there is more than one score on the LSDAS report, the highest of those scores will be used.”
U. Minnesota Twin Cities – “The admissions committee considers the highest LSAT score. “
U. Indiana Bloomington – “You will find that most law schools look at the higher or highest LSAT test score for applicants with multiple scores. However, applicants should keep in mind that Admissions Committee members will see all scores and may be negatively influenced by a large number of tests or a downward trend in scores.” While this does not explicitly state that they take the highest LSAT score, I’m willing to bet that the assertion that most schools do so implies that they do as well.
U. of Illinois – “At Illinois, and at just about every other law school, we will take the high score.”
Notre Dame – “It is our policy to consider all LSAT scores. However, if you have taken the LSAT more than once within a five-year period, the most recent and/or highest LSAT score may be given more focus.”
Boston College – “We will consider all LSAT scores in the application review process. We will use the highest LSAT score for reporting to the ABA and LSAC.”
University of Iowa – “When reviewing the LSAT score(s) while considering an applicant for admission, the Admissions Committee will look at the highest achieved LSAT score.”
William and Mary – “William & Mary Law School will evaluate the LSAT portion of the application by using the highest reported score.”
George Washington – “We will consider each of your LSAT scores if you take the test more than once, but will give greater weight to the highest score.”
Alabama University – “For admissions and scholarship consideration, the University of Alabama School of Law considers the highest LSAT score when multiple scores are presented. An addendum is not necessary.”
University of North Carolina – “For applicants who have multiple LSAT scores, the policy at Carolina Law is to base our admissions decisions on the highest score. Despite this, we generally advise prospective students against taking the LSAT more than once, unless there are extenuating circumstances which caused the student to perform poorly during the first LSAT.”
University of Washington – “We average multiple LSAT scores. Scores are valid for three years.”
Washington & Lee – “In accordance with our policy of reviewing all the materials submitted with an application, we look at each of your LSAT scores as we consider your candidacy. Absent a compelling reason that persuades us otherwise, we place the greatest weight on your highest score because statistical analysis indicates that a student' highest score is the best predictor of their success at W&L Law.”
UC Davis – “In most cases when there is little or no difference between scores, multiple scores are averaged. In exceptional cases where it is apparent that a significant difference exists between scores, the Admission Committee will consider carefully the explanation provided by the applicant. If warranted, the highest score will be used to reach a decision on the file. This is in keeping with past practice of the UC Davis Admission Committee. The highest score will be the recorded score on all admission materials. The Admissions Committee has access to all scores submitted and, therefore, is aware of any 'significant' increase or decrease. A change of five points or more is considered significant. Applicants should provide an explanation of any significant change in LSAT score.”
University of Georgia – “The Admissions Committee only considers an applicant's top LSAT score. If an applicant wishes to explain varied test scores, they may certainly do so by attaching an addendum to their application but this is not necessary.”
University of Wisconsin Madison – “We take the highest LSAT score when considering an application for admission to the Law School. Students are free to submit an addendum regarding their scores as well.”
UC Hastings – “The Admissions Committee will see each test score and date taken and will consider the highest score in its evaluation. Please note, however, that for fall 2009 admission, you must have taken the LSAT since the June 2003 administration. You will have to re-take the test if you have not taken the LSAT since June 2003.”
Wake Forest – “We only factor the highest LSAT. Furthermore, there is no penalty for taking the test more than once. We like to see that people recognize their own potential and try to do better.”
Brigham Young University – “The committee recommends a retake only if an applicant expects a major improvement. However, the highest score will be considered for admission, as the Law School is now required by the ABA to report the highest score rather than the average.”
George Mason – “We will receive each LSAT score from LSAC and, therefore, will see if there has been significant improvement. However, for statistical purposes, we will consider the high score of any LSAT scores that you earned in the past 5 years. For fall 2009 admission, scores earned between June 2004 and February 2009 will be considered.” Somewhat ambiguous, but it seems to apply that there needs to be significant improvement (significant generally means 3+ points) in order for the highest score to be considered.
University of Arizona – “Beginning this year, the ABA now permits law schools to report the high score if an applicant takes multiple LSATs. All LSAT scores will be reported on the LSDAS report and will be considered in the admissions process.” It seems that they’re saying they will consider all scores, but are more likely than not going to take the highest.
American University – “WCL receives all LSAT test scores from the Law School Admission Council that fall within the 5 year LSAT reporting window. Although all tests within the reporting window are evaluated, generally we consider the highest score for admission purposes.”
Tulane University – “If you took the LSAT more than once, we will see all of your scores. We encourage you to provide us with information that will help us determine which score is more indicative of your abilities.”
University of Colorado Boulder – “Colorado Law’s Admissions Committee sees your LSDAS report with your scores for each individual examination, as well as your average score. The Law School uses the higher score for reporting purposes.” This is non-answer. Generally this means they evaluate on a case-by-case basis. Write an addendum.
University of Utah – “In situations where a candidate has multiple LSAT scores, the College of Law will presumptively use the highest score. The reviewer, however, may use the average score if information in the file indicates that the average score is the most appropriate measure of the candidate's skills.”
Southern Methodist University – “We use an applicant’s highest reported LSAT score for admissions and scholarship awarding purposes.”
Cardozo – “It is within the discretion of the Admissions Committee to place heavier emphasis on the higher LSAT score, but all scores will be taken into consideration. If there is a particular reason why you think you performed much better on one of the exams, you should include an explanation with your application.”
University of Florida – “In the absence of documentation that a candidate was ill, or that some other unusual condition occurred during one of the tests, all LSAT scores are considered. Applicants should discuss score differentiation in the Admissions Statement (see No. 3).”
Florida State – “If you take the LSAT more than once, the Committee will consider the highest score.”
University of Cincinnati – “Applicants are strongly encouraged to retake the LSAT if the initial score is significantly below the college's published LSAT median. The highest LSAT will be used in the admissions process.”
University of Connecticut – We use the higher LSAT score in our analysis, but we do see all scores. If there is a significant difference between two scores, an applicant can provide an explanatory addendum, especially if he or she can point to substantive and valid reasons for the difference.
Case Western Reserve – “We look at all LSAT scores with the emphasis on the high score.”
University of Kentucky – “Beginning for fall 2007, if you have multiple LSAT scores, the UK Law Admissions Committee will consider only your highest score if that score appears to be a better predictor of your performance in law school than your average score.”
University of Houston – “We give primary consideration to an applicant's highest LSAT score. If an applicant feels that their LSAT score is not indicative of their academic abilities, they may submit a one-page optional statement explaining that.”
Brooklyn – “The Admissions Committee will see all reported scores, but attaches substantial weight to the highest score, which is the one we will report in our data.”
Lewis & Clark – “When multiple scores are available, we consider the higher score, however, we will be able to see all reportable scores. If there is a significant difference in LSAT scores, we recommend submitting a supplemental statement regarding why they believe such a difference exists.”
University of San Diego – “Effective September 1st, 2006, the highest LSAT score will generally be used to evaluate applications for admission and scholarship consideration.”
Villanova – “Applicants with substantially different scores on multiple testing dates should provide reasons for disregarding the lower score(s). The decision to disregard any test score is at the sole discretion of the School of Law.”
Baylor – “Baylor Law considers all LSAT scores for each applicant. Because the American Bar Association recently revised its rules to allow law schools to consider an applicant’s highest LSAT score, we no longer solely consider an applicant’s average score.” Sounds like they will take the highest if you write a reasonable addendum for why they should do so.
Georgia State – “The admissions committee will review all LSAT scores.” Another non-answer. As previously stated, this generally this means they evaluate on a case-by-case basis. Write an addendum.
Temple – “The Faculty Admissions Committee does not average LSAT scores and all scores from the LSAT will be considered. We do not use an index and admission to Temple Law School is not determined solely on numerical indicators such as the LSAT. If you have taken the LSAT more than once, and if there is a large disparity between your scores, we recommend that you address the disparity in a separate statement to be included with your application.”
Kansas – “We consider the highest score; no addendum is necessary.”
Missouri – “The Admissions Committee will see all scores, the dates taken and the percentile. If you have taken the LSAT twice, we will consider the highest score. If you take the test more than twice we will use the average score.”
Loyola LA – “If you have taken the LSAT multiple times and have a score differential of 4 points or more, we ask that you submit an addendum explaining the circumstances surrounding the disparity. At our discretion, we may base the decision solely on your high score.”
Miami – “In most cases the highest LSAT score will be given the greater weight. Discrepancies should be explained in an addendum to the application.”
Oklahoma – “The Admissions Committee at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, acts on the highest LSAT only.”
Pittsburgh – “If an applicant takes the LSAT more than one time the highest score is considered by the admissions committee when making a decision.”
University of Nevada Las Vegas – “We take the highest score no matter what “
IIT Chicago Kent – “If the LSAT is taken more than once, the Admissions Committee may consider the average score, the more recent score or the higher score, depending on individual circumstances. Preference is typically given to the highest score earned. Application files will be completed as soon as one score report is available unless an applicant requests that we hold review of the file until a new score is received. If there is a significant difference in LSAT scores that you feel warrants further clarification, you may submit an addendum to the Office of Admissions explaining the discrepancy.”
Seattle – “If an applicant has more than one LSAT score, the Committee normally gives greater weight to the highest score. However, the Committee does not disregard previous scores and applicants are encouraged to discuss issues surrounding their prior performance in an addendum to their application.”
Seton Hall – “The Admissions Committee will consider an applicant's entire testing record, but may use the higher school in evaluating the overall strength of your application. An applicant might consider writing a supplemental statement (Question 27B. in the Admissions Application) to address any circumstances surrounding a standardized test performance that does not reflect his/her best efforts.”
Denver – “We will use your highest LSAT score when reviewing your file for admission.”
New Mexico – “Applicants who were disappointed with their first LSAT score may choose to re-take the test. If an applicant has taken the LSAT multiple times, the applicant’s Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) report will show all of the scores, as well as computing an average score for the applicant. The Admissions Committee will have the opportunity to see all scores for that applicant, and the high score will be used for reporting purposes.”
Oregon – “The American Bar Association, in surveying its member schools, asks that the highest LSAT score of each enrolled student be reported.”
Richmond – “We look at the highest score if the LSAT is taken multiple times.”
Santa Clara – “If the test is taken more than once, the higher score will be considered.”
Buffalo – “The University at Buffalo Law School uses the high LSAT score for admission review.”
Depaul – “Although the Admission Committee will see all scores from tests taken within the last five years, the Committee will generally use the ‘high score’ in evaluating your application for admission. Applicants with significant discrepancy among LSAT scores may wish to provide a brief explanation for the discrepancy.”
Indiana Indianapolis – “We use your best score.”
Loyola Chicago – “Individual scores as well as the average are considered during the application review process. If there is a four- point or greater differential between two test scores you will need to provide a brief explanation of the circumstances.”
Marquette – “In the case of an applicant with more than one LSAT score, the Admissions Committee will receive a test score report for the applicant that discloses all LSAT scores and the average of those scores. The Admissions Committee may give the highest score priority on a case-by-case basis, especially if the applicant can provide compelling, convincing evidence in a brief written addendum explaining why a lower LSAT score should be considered aberrant.”
Rutgers Newark – “We will put the most weight on the highest score. A student does not have to send in an addendum about the two scores.”
St. John’s – “If an applicant has taken the LSAT more than once, there will be an emphasis on the highest score during the review process.”
Catholic – “We see all previous LSAT scores on your LSDAS report, but our policy is to take the highest score, not the average, when considering you for admission.”
Northeastern – “If you have taken the LSAT more than once, we will use the highest score.”
St. Louis – “Saint Louis University School of Law takes the highest score. No addendum is necessary.”
Arkansas – Fayetteville – “We consider all LSAT scores, but in most cases we rely on the highest score in making admission decisions.”
Louisville – “Our practice is to use the highest LSAT score.”
USF – “USF will utilize the average score when multiple LSAT scores are presented for application review.”
Gonzaga – At Gonzaga University School of Law we accept the highest LSAT scores when considering our applications. Since we automatically consider the highest LSAT score, there is no need to submit an addendum.”
Hofstra – “We will use your highest LSAT score when reviewing your application for admission.”
University of Maine – “Maine Law will average your multiple test scores.”
Albany – “LSAT/GPA searches to predict the likelihood of admissions are based on historical data using the highest LSAT score for those individuals with multiple scores. Albany Law School considers all scores and reviews all parts of your application.” I’m not quite sure what this search they’re talking about is, but given that they’re willing to use the highest LSAT score in that, it seems likely that in most cases they’re going to take the highest LSAT score.
Chapman – “If the candidate has taken the LSAT multiple times, the Committee will review all of the LSAT scores. From an admissions perspective, the average score may be the best indication of an applicant's success. It is advisable for the applicant to explain why one score is more indicative of his or her likelihood of success.”
Cleveland State – “It is our policy to take the highest LSAT score.”
Drake – “We use the highest LSAT score, however, our admission committee considers all scores earned (in the past 5 years).”
Howard – “Thank you for your email. We accept the highest LSAT score and a addendum is not required. However, if a student provides an addendum the admissions committee will review it with the rest of the student's file. If you have any additional questions please let us know.”
Loyola New Orleans – “We use the highest and the applicant should send a statement about the lower score.”
Michigan State – “The Admissions Committee generally focuses on the highest LSAT score when more than one LSAT score is reported.”
Ohio Northern – “If you take the LSAT more than once, ONU College of Law will consider the highest of your scores for admission.”
Southwestern – “Southwestern will take the highest score into consideration, but we will be able to see all your scores. If you would like to explain any discrepancies between your score, you are welcome to write a brief addendum.”
Stetson – “Stetson uses the highest LSAT score for admission.”
Syracuse – “Syracuse Law will see all LSAT attempts. We use the highest LSAT score to calculate in to applicant's index score.”
Texas Tech – “Governing agencies permit law schools to report the highest LSAT score received by the applicant. Texas Tech University School of Law will evaluate the strength of an applicant’s file based upon the highest score achieved, while taking into consideration the number of scores reported and the number of exam scores canceled. Therefore, it is still in the best interest of the applicant to fully prepare for the exam and plan on sitting for the exam once. Never take the LSAT exam for practice under the belief that you can achieve a higher score at a later date.”
Akron – “If you have taken the LSAT more than once in the last three years, we will use your highest LSAT score in evaluating your application.”
Arkansas Little Rock – “We consider all LSAT scores, but in most cases we rely on the highest score in making admission decisions.”
Hawaii – “Your LSAT reports will include scores for all tests taken after June 1,1996. The Committee is inclined to consider your highest valid score.”
Idaho – “We use the highest score for all statistics and reporting. However, the Admissions Committee may put more emphasis on the most recent score if a significant amount of time has elapsed between scores.”
Memphis – “While the admission index uses the highest LSAT score, if an applicant has taken the LSAT more than once he or she is encouraged to explain, in a statement, any variance in their LSAT scores.”
Mississippi – “We take the highest LSAT score.”
Missouri Kansas City – “You may take the test more than once. UMKC considers all scores when reviewing files.”
Montana – “We look at all LSAT scores and any accompanying explanations.”
North Dakota – “Our Law School just takes the top LSAT score.”
South Dakota – “U South Dakota uses the highest LSAT score for reporting purposes.” This was in response to a direct question about whether they use the highest score in evaluating applications, so it seems likely this means that they do evaluate using the highest score.
St. Thomas – “UST Law will review all test scores submitted, but will consider the highest score when reviewing an applicant's file.”
Toledo – “We use the highest score.”
McGeorge – “The ABA now allows us to use the highest score. However, we recommend you prepare for the LSAT and plan on taking it just once. If you are not satisfied with your score and think you can do better you may want to consider retaking the LSAT. The Admissions Committee has access to all scores but for purposes of admission the highest score is used.”
West Virginia – “The admissions committee sees all scores, but uses the highest score in its decision making.”
William Mitchell – “The highest LSAT score among multiple scores will be considered for admission and scholarship awarding purposes.”
Appalachian – “At ASL we consider the high LSAT.”
Ave Maria – “When an applicant for admission has taken the LSAT more than one time, the Admissions Committee typically relies upon the highest score when arriving at the admission decision.”
CUNY Queens – “The admissions committee looks at the highest score.”
Campbell – “The admissions committee will consider the highest of all scores reported in the event of multiple LSAT scores.”
Duquesne – “If an applicant has taken the LSAT two times within the last three years and has two LSAT scores on file with Law Services it is the policy of the Admissions Committee to use the higher of the two scores, without averaging the scores.”
Florida international – “The admissions committee no longer uses an applicant's LSAT average. For multiple LSAT scores, the highest score is considered for admissions.”
Mississippi College – “Mississippi College School of Law takes the highest score submitted.”
New England – “If an applicant repeats the LSAT, his or her application will be reviewed using the highest score. In some cases, the committee may also give weight to all scores the applicant has obtained. If there is a significant difference in scores, an applicant may include an addendum in your application explaining the difference.”
Northern Kentucky – “No, we will accept the highest score. However, if there is a significant difference between the scores, provide us with an explanation of the difference.”
Nova Southeastern – “Thanks for your interest in the Shepard Broad Law Center. If an applicant has multiple LSAT scores, the Admissions Committee will consider the highest score, an addendum is not necessary.”
Regent – “The committee relies heavily upon the highest score when an applicant has taken the LSAT more than once, but all scores will be reviewed.”
South Texas – “STCL accepts/considers/reports the higher of multiple LSAT scores. No addendum is necessary unless there was something specific or exceptional that impacted one performance over another.”
Southern Illinois – “The Admissions Committee will use the highest score earned for both admission and scholarship purposes.”
Suffolk – “The Suffolk Law Admissions Committee considers only the highest score on the LSAT when making admissions decisions.”
Texas Southern – “The Admissions Committee will consider the higher score if there is a substantial increase.”
Texas Wesleyan – “All scores will be reported to us, but we will review and use your average score based on all LSAT exams taken during the reporting period. Significant improvement on the LSAT is also considered in making an admissions decision.”
Cooley – “No, we will use the highest LSAT score as long as it is not over five years old.”
Touro College – “The ABA permits law schools to report the "high" LSAT score of students who have taken the test two or more times. However, all LSAT scores are considered in evaluating students' aptitude. Applicants whose first LSAT score is not indicative of their potential should consider repeating the exam. However, they are strongly discouraged from taking the LSAT more than twice.”
Detroit Mercy – “The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law doesn't average the scores nor do they take the highest. The admissions committee sees all of an applicant's scores and then looks for trends between them (i.e. did they improve, stay the same, etc.) An applicant is welcome to submit an addendum to explain any portion of their application, including LSAT score.”
Tulsa – “If the need to retake the exam does arise, know that TU will look more closely at the high rather than the averaged LSAT score when reviewing an applicant's file.”
District of Columbia – “Generally, our Admission Committee considers the highest LSAT score of a multiple test taker-applicant.”
Valparaiso – “Valparaiso Law takes the highest LSAT score for all of our applicants.”
Washburn – “Washburn Law uses the highest score. We suggest an addendum nevertheless, if there is a large discrepancy in multiple scores. “
Western New England – “We take an applicant's highest LSAT score when multiple LSAT scores are present (as is required by the ABA). However, the Admissions Committee analyzes multiple scores as one of many predictors of an applicant's academic success.”
Whittier – “The ABA requires all law schools to report the highest score of a matriculated student. The Law School will look at individual scores and assess the reliability of each LSAT score and its combination.”
Widener – “Widener will report the high score, but will consider all scores taken for the past five years. A reasonable explanation should be provided for discrepant scores to determine whether the highest score should be given more weight. This explanation should not be included in a personal statement but instead be provided in a separate statement accompanying the application.”
Willamette – “We don't have any formal policies about multiple LSAT scores but here is our basic philosophy: We will accept the highest effort for admission purposes but we reserve the right to average scores for merit scholarship qualification. If a student has a huge disparity among his or her scores, we would want to know why and would expect to see an addendum from that student as part of his or her application.”
Many years ago TLS held a content competition. The competition is no longer active, but this forum keeps going.
3 posts • Page 1 of 1
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Ok, so this is my article on retaking the lsat. Don't be put-off by the ridiculous length, the last 2/3rds or so is just quotes on the policies of all ABA-accredited schools (that I have been able to find policies for) as to what they do with multiple LSATs. I made some changes to the formatting and fixed the table so it should be a lot easier to read now. Anyway, I'm looking for feedback, so please don't be shy about saying what you think I should add/change about the article. Hope everyone enjoys!
Last edited by Splitt3r on Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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