One of the most frequent topics we are asked about is the LSAT – and whether to cancel a score when test day doesn’t go as planned.
We’ve devoted an entire podcast to the topic and you can listen to it here. After the October 2012 test, we got the following question from a listener.
So here’s my deal. I did not prepare for the LSAT as well as I should have, and because of that,I had some serious issues with timing…on the analytical reasoning question, I literally answered 11 out of 23 questions, and didn’t even get to the others, so I blankly filled the rest in, since it was a better alternative than merely leaving them blank, though obviously neither is ideal.SAT
At best, I think I did decently well on the other sections, though I did have a few timing issues with them as well. All in all, it is the first time I took the test, and plan on taking the test again February. I would love to go to a top 25 Law School in September of 2013, but I am not necessarily in a rush. I understand that not all schools accept a February LSAT score, but they will accept that score the next year, so, 2014, so if I do well on the February test and can’t apply for 2013, that is OK, since I’m working full time.
So here is my question. Assuming that I’m taking the test again one way or another in February (I will be taking a class this time, and now realize that I did not prepare sufficiently on my own, which was 100% my own fault), do you recommend cancelling the score, or just taking it, hoping for the best? I honestly can’t imagine that I scored higher than a 155, but I am confident that with practice and focus, I could improve that score significantly. I admit, I thought I would be able to wing this, and was sadly mistaken…I guess I’ll have to chalk this up to a learning experience. I have taken some time and stepped back from the situation, trying not to be overly dramatic, proclaiming impending doom, but I am certain that I did quite poorly on this exam.
My concern is that if the score is flat out terrible, which I believe is very, very possible, that it will kill my chances of getting into a good law school in the future. I am under the impression that a cancellation will not hurt me, and I’m positive that I will do better with actual preparation the next time around. Assuming that I got, say, a 150 on this exam, and a 168 on the exam in February, would it be better to have both of these showing, or 1 cancellation, and 1 168?
We turned, again, to Manhattan LSAT’s Cory Ferreira, for the following thoughtful response to this question:
First and foremost, don’t be too difficult on yourself. If you’re like most of us, the LSAT is unlike any other standardized test you’ve ever taken before in your life. It’s very, very difficult and you certainly are not the first person to “wing it” and find out the hard way what an undertaking this exam is.
My advice to you would absolutely be to cancel the score, since you are certain that you are going to take the exam again, and are certain that you are going to score much higher when you do. There truly is no benefit to simply “having” a score on your record if you are certain it is not the best score you’re capable of, and based on the way you described your experience with the Logic Games section, it sounds like you are very sure that you underperformed.
The good news is that the skills necessary to do well on this test are absolutely learnable and can be developed with hard work and proper training. Even better news for you, perhaps, is that logic games is the section of the test that is probably the most learnable of the three sections.
So, to answer your question directly, I think it is better for you to have one cancellation (which is no big deal to Admissions councils) and a killer score, than a 150 and a killer score.
Listen to our full podcast for more info on this topic!