The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is given four times a year: in February, June, September/October, and December.
- If you are not a morning person, seriously consider taking the June test, which is given at 12:30 p.m. You will have your score by July and can apply when applications open in September and October. This is an awesome benefit of taking the June test.
- If you can think clearly in the morning, take the September/October test. Many people also choose to take the test at this time because they have more time to study during the summer.
- Take the December test if you don’t do well on the September/October test and need to retake. I recommend applying to law school by November. If you take the December test, the earliest you can apply is January. Thus, I generally recommend taking the December test only if you can’t take it in June or September/October. (Now, if you’re planning on using your December score for next year’s application cycle, then you’re fine.)
- In general, I do not recommend the February test because it is an undisclosed test. It is undisclosed because LSAC uses it to test questions for future LSATs. Does that suck? Yes, it does. That means you will receive your score and percentile rank, but you will not receive your answer sheet, score conversion chart, and test book. Many people want to receive their test materials so they can go over what they got right and what they got wrong. If you still want to take the February test because it works for your schedule, that’s fine. I just need to warn you about it so you can make an informed decision.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHEN TO TAKE THE LSAT?
Think realistically about when you can best prep for the test for 18-20 hours per week for at least four months, preferably five.
If you’re not in school, think about the time of year when you have less commitments at work and/or at home.
If you want to earn the best score that you can, reduce your commitments as much as possible. If you can’t lessen your commitments, then increase your prep time. So, for example, instead of prepping 20 hours per week for four months, you could prep for ten hours per week for eight months.
If you’re currently in school, imagine studying for a test that feels like studying for a full term of classes on top of what you’re already studying in school. I know. It’s crazy. That’s why I recommend either lessening your class load during the quarter/semester that you’re studying and/or waiting until the summer when you’re not taking any classes.
A PIECE OF ADVICE THAT I WISH MORE PRE-LAWYERS WOULD FOLLOW
If you can’t find the time to study for the LSAT while you’re in college, finish your degree first and then study for the LSAT while you’re working at a job or internship.
I wish more college students would take this route and work for 3-5 years before they apply to law school.
Think about the benefits of this strategy:
- You’d be able to gain work experience and skills while earning money.
- You could pay off any debts.
- You could take your time prepping for the LSAT.
- You’d have more time to live and enjoy your life without the weight of classes, homework, and exams over your head all the time.
It’s something I hope you’ll seriously consider.
In the end, there is not one right answer for everyone.
Pick the time to take the LSAT that’s the right time for you.
Have questions or comments about when to take the LSAT? I’m here to help. Post your questions below and I’ll respond.