Now that it’s finally over, I bet many of you are wondering the same thing: “Should I cancel my LSAT score?” I’m sure there are some of you who crushed it on Saturday–but most of you are probably feeling uneasy about how you did. So I’ll help you make the decision:
No. Do not cancel your LSAT score.
There’s a lot of debate online about whether you should cancel your LSAT score. You are obviously free to make your own decision, but in my personal opinion you should never, ever cancel your LSAT score. Here’s why.
1. You Might Do Better Than Expected
This wouldn’t be the first time. There are hundreds, if not thousands of examples online of people thinking they did poorly on the LSAT who end up scoring 2, 3, even 10 points higher than what they expected. The crazy part is, the better you are at the LSAT, the more capable you are of identifying ambiguous or uncertain questions–leading you to take a very pessimistic view of your own performance. You worked so hard to overcome plateaus and hopefully get a 170 on the LSAT. Don’t throw it away because of some bad feelings.
2. You Need Feedback
Okay, so let’s say you were right and ended up scoring abysmally on the LSAT. Does that mean keeping the LSAT score was a mistake? Absolutely not. Cancelling your score means never seeing your score report. Taking an actual LSAT and seeing your results is the best way to receive high quality data from a simulated test. Think about it. All of your practice exams seem kind of real, but waking up on Saturday morning, going to the test center, and sitting in a room with hundreds of other test takers provides you with a test experience you’ll never be able to replicate. Your score breakdown matters. You can use that information to your advantage for the next sitting.
Still have other objections to keeping your LSAT score? Let me address them one by one:
Even if I do better next time, having a low LSAT score on my record hurts me.
Does it? That might be the case if law schools averaged your LSAT scores like they used to. But nowadays schools take the highest score, so having a low LSAT shouldn’t hurt you at all. Remember, they’re looking out for themselves–the reason why they take the highest score is because that’s what’ll go into the U.S. News rankings. Law schools likely realize that the difference of just a few LSAT points doesn’t mean much from an aptitude point of view.
Okay but even if it’s just a tiny chance that it’ll hurt me, I don’t want to risk it.
I’ll concede that there is a non-zero chance that a school will hold a lower score against you. Even if that happens, getting your score breakdown is worth the tradeoff. The reason is because I bet you’re thinking “the next time I take the LSAT I’ll do a lot better.” But what if you’re wrong? What if the same thing happens at your next sitting? If you get your score back, you’ll at least have some feedback on how to improve. If you just cancel and re-take, you won’t.
I just know for sure that I bombed the test.
Lots of people think this yet score better than they expected. Now, you might be right about yourself, but unless something very specific happened (e.g. you ran out of time and had to guess on questions when you normally don’t during practice tests, you were really sick that day, etc.) that’s just typical doubt in your mind. Even if something specific happened you still could score high.
Even if I get data, it’s flawed because I screw up (during practice tests) like I did on Saturday.
I disagree. If something happened on an actual LSAT sitting, that’s more predictive than whatever it is you do normally for your practice LSAT. There are thousands of tiny factors that take place on an actual LSAT sitting that don’t take place during practice tests. Telling yourself that you were the victim of an unfortunate circumstance on test day is just deluding yourself. Keep it real. Get your score breakdown, analyze, practice, and kill it the next time.
You spent all that time working so hard to get your LSAT score up. Don’t you deserve to see how you did? And even if you bombed it, don’t you want to see how you did on the other sections, so that you can improve next time?
The LSAT matters for all applicants, but probably the most for low GPA applicants. If you’ve got bad college grades and plan to apply to law school, sign up to receive my checklist 30 Tips for Law School Applicants with Bad College Grades.