Struggling on When to Take the LSAT? We’ve Got Some Ideas!

by: Kristine Kristine Thorndyke | Last Updated November 30, 2019

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With nine LSAT testing dates this year, it’s easy to wonder when to take the LSAT to maximize your study potential as well as chances of getting admitted into the top law school of your choice. The 2019 and 2020 LSAT test dates have been announced by the LSAC (with quite a few changes) and we’re going to dive into which of these dates are the best time to take the LSAT:

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To tackle this question on when to take the LSAT, we’re going to list out the approximate testing months, which can vary depending on the year and when the dates fall, and some of the pros and cons of taking the LSAT on these test dates. Contrary to rumors you have probably heard about certain LSATs being more difficult than others, this is actually not the case. The most difficult part of the LSAT is actually preparing for it and choosing the best time to take the LSAT according to your own schedule. Read on if you want to know when to take the LSAT:

Related: One through Six-Month LSAT Study Schedules

 

June LSAT

Pros:

  • If you want to apply for regular Fall admissions, taking the June LSAT would allow you to retake the LSAT if you are unhappy with your performance. Most likely, the September / October LSAT would be the next LSAT that you could prep for and take in time.
  • If you do not want to retake the LSAT, then taking the June LSAT will let you apply at the beginning of the law school admissions pool of most schools that have rolling admissions.
  • Taking the June LSAT gives you a bit more time to put together the rest of your application including polishing your personal statement and recommendation letters.

Cons:

  • You do not have the full summer to prepare for the LSAT as you would if you planned on taking the LSAT in July or October.
  • You probably will be preparing and studying for the LSAT during your Spring semester, which also falls around the same time as end-of-the-year projects and finals.

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July LSAT

Pros:

  • The new July LSAT will offer some students flexibility if they had scheduling conflicts with the June testing date
  • More time than the June LSAT to study over the summer without having to worry about exams or classes
  • June test takers can immediately retake the LSAT in the July date if they were unhappy with their performance
  • Still gives you plenty of time to either continue prepping and retake the LSAT in September / October
  • You will be on track to apply for the beginning of the Fall admissions for the next calendar year as well as have time to polish your application materials

Cons:

  • This only gives you about an extra month to study compared to the June LSAT, which means you will probably still be studying for the LSAT during the Spring semester at school amidst finals and end-of-the-year class projects
  • This test will not be disclosed, so you will not receive a copy of the test or your answers. This can make it a bit more difficult to study with, should you decide to retake the LSAT

 

September / October LSAT

Pros:

  • The September / October test is at the start of the law school application cycle when students are most active in preparing for law school and the application
  • You have the majority of your free summer to prep for the LSAT, compared to the LSATs in June and July when you will be preparing while also in classes
  • You still have the November / December LSAT to fall back on should you decide to retake the LSAT after the October test date

Cons:

  • You will not be at the beginning of the application season if you take the LSAT in October, as those who took the June and July LSAT will have been able to send in their application materials at the beginning of the rolling admissions season
  • As you are nearing the end of the LSATs you can take before applying for the upcoming school year, you will have fewer retake and fallback tests compared to those who began testing earlier in the year

November / December LSAT

Pros:

  • If you did not like how you felt taking the LSATS earlier in the year, this is another opportunity to finally nail the LSAT and raise your score
  • If you have a solid study plan, this LSAT could give you the most time to prepare and rock out on the LSAT

Cons:

  • This is the last exam that law schools will accept for the upcoming class. This can put a lot of pressure on this LSAT to make it count
  • Your application will come in later than the rest of the applicants, potentially lowering your chances of getting into the school of your choice, as they have already begun filling seats for their incoming class.
  • The November / December LSAT probably falls towards the end of the Fall semester, meaning you could be juggling classes, finals, and end-of-the-year projects while also trying to study and prepare for the LSAT

 

January LSAT

Pros:

  • If the school you want to apply to accepts the January this could be the last chance late students have to taking the LSAT and getting into law school for next year.
  • This can actually be taken for the next application year, meaning you are getting a leg up in taking the LSAT before the summer test takers!
  • Less test-day stress for students knowing that they can retake the test, if necessary, for those applying for the next application year. 

Cons:

  • Not all schools will accept this LSAT for their upcoming school year admissions, so you must be extra diligent to find out whether the schools you intend on applying to will or will not accept this LSAT.
  • You will not have a long break to prepare for the LSAT, meaning you are probably studying during the end of the Fall semester at its busiest time.
  • Even if the school that you are applying to does accept the January LSAT, you are still applying very late in the application timeline.

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February LSAT

Pros:

  • If the school you want to apply to accepts the February LSAT, this could be the last chance late students have to taking the LSAT and getting into law school for next year
  • This can actually be taken for the next application year, meaning you are getting a leg up in taking the LSAT before the June / July test takers!
  • Students can utilize some of their Winter break to study and prepare for the LSAT

Cons:

March LSAT

Pros:

  • Similar to the January and February LSAT, taking the LSAT in March is a good way to get it over with early on so that you can focus more on the details of the actual law school application
  • March LSAT test takers will be able to get their application in early for the next year. 
  • March LSAT test takers will have time to retake the test if they are unhappy with their LSAT scores.

Cons:

  • This is not the LSAT to take if you want to get into law school for that same year. The results will come back too late for application to most schools.

We hope you found some good insight on when to take the LSAT. As you can see, there is no magic bullet answer as to when to take the LSAT, but rather various options with their own advantages and disadvantages. The best time to start preparing for the LSAT is now, which means choosing when to take the LSAT and planning around it accordingly.

Start now by enrolling in one of these top LSAT prep courses!

We wish you the best of luck on your test prep journey and getting into your dream law school!

Kristine

Kristine Thorndyke

Kristine Thorndyke is the founder of Test Prep Nerds and a seasoned educator.  She has spent years writing test prep advice and tips for students and has been featured on Business Insider, CEO Blog Nation, and Insider.