When Should You Take the LSAT Exam?
Taking the LSAT exam is a crucial step for those striving to meet the requirements for attending law school. When it's time to register for the LSAT, you'll want to select a testing date that gives you plenty of time to study and complete several practice exams, boosting your confidence and increasing your chances of hitting your target score.
When is the best time to take the LSAT? The answer depends on several factors, including your chosen law school's application deadlines, your personal study schedule, and how many retake exams you think you'll need.
Deadline-Friendly Test Dates
For most people, the best LSAT test date depends on the admissions processes and deadlines for their preferred schools. Many law schools begin accepting applications in September or October, requiring candidates to submit their essays, test scores, and other documentation by February or March. However, other institutions have rolling admissions and accept applications year-round.
Best Time to Take the LSAT
The LSAC offers the LSAT exam during the following nine months of the year:
Law school admissions committees often prioritize earlier applicants over those who submit their paperwork just before the deadline. Most students take the LSAT in June, July, or September to submit their applications in October, right when the admissions process begins for many schools.
You can take the LSAT whenever you like if your preferred law school has rolling admissions. In fact, some people take the exam up to one year in advance. However, those who plan on taking the LSAT within their chosen enrollment year might consider sticking to the following timeline:
- Fall Admission Cycle
- Begin studying in spring, preferably around late April or early May
- Take the LSAT in the summer, either in late June or early July
- Submit test results in September or October
- Spring Admission Cycle
- Begin studying in November or December
- Take the LSAT in early January or late February
- Submit test results in late March or early April
LSAT Test Prep Timing
Generally speaking, most students spend 200 to 300 hours, or three months, studying for the LSAT. Those who think they'll need extra time to review logic games, work with sample questions, and complete practice tests often add an extra month to their study schedules to prepare for the LSAT difficulty.
For example, while you may have initially planned to take the LSAT in September, you might want to wait until October or November if you keep missing your target score on your practice tests. That way, you'll have more time to review the LSAT sections and questions you're struggling with and hopefully improve your mock test scores before your exam.
Leave Time for Retakes
Even if you're confident in your ability to hit your target LSAT score or percentile on test day, you might want to take your exam early in case you need a retest. Most law schools prefer to admit students whose LSAT scores fall between 155 and 160 or higher. If you score lower than this, having enough time to retake the exam can keep you on track to enroll during your preferred semester.
How Many Times Can You Take the LSAT?
Students get a maximum of three LSAT attempts within a single testing year, five attempts in five testing years, and seven attempts in a lifetime. According to the LSAC, exam years run from August to June of the following year. When determining the best time to take the LSAT, consider leaving an extra month or two free so you can retake the LSAT as needed without going over your test attempt limits.
Choosing Your LSAT Date
Once you determine which LSAT exam date allows you to meet your law school application deadlines, offers ample study time, and leaves room for retakes, you can begin your exam prep journey so you can be ready to do your best on test day. Consider choosing an early test date that puts you ahead of other law school applicants, but feel free to make adjustments to suit your personal schedule.
Application & Admissions
What Happens After I Take the LSAT?
Upon completing the exam and receiving your final score, the college admission process starts to move forward. If you decide to use the LSAC's services to submit your application, you'll need to start updating your account with the necessary paperwork and information. During this phase, keep in mind that some law schools might require different documentation than others.
The most important actions you can take after passing the LSAT include updating your resume, requesting and obtaining recommendation letters, completing your personal statement, and submitting your transcripts. The LSAT is a major step in the college process, though there's still plenty of work to do after passing.