Over the past few years, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) has increased the number of annual LSATs from four to nine. While that means there are many more opportunities to take the exam, it also means many students are now questioning when the best time to take it is.
While most law schools have winter application deadlines, they frequently release admissions decisions on a rolling basis. This means that waiting until the deadline to submit your application may significantly reduce your likelihood of being admitted, and proper timeline management is critical.
Since law schools don’t have prerequisite coursework, the major requirement is the LSAT. For most, the June test date is ideal for a first try. If you are currently in college, you can take the exam after classes have ended but before the summer really gets going. This also allows you the entire summer to solidify your school list and craft applications. And if your score is lower than you were expecting, you have several months to prepare for a fall exam.
Definitely don’t wait until the fall of your application year to take the LSAT for the first time! If you take it in October and you score low, you will have to retake it in November. While many students are successful taking exams that late, it may end up detracting from application work during the most critical time.
Regardless of when you plan to test, you should begin this process by taking a practice exam to gauge how much prep work you will need to do. Thanks to the American Bar Association’s 509 disclosures, you can see detailed information on each accredited law school’s admissions statistics. By comparing your practice exam scores to the scores reported in the 509 disclosures, you will be able to determine if you need to do additional test prep or if your school list should be reevaluated.
The most important thing to recognize about LSAT preparation is that it shouldn’t be rushed. Since admission to law school doesn’t require a substantive background in law, you must be incredibly intentional in the way you go about preparing your applications. By taking the time to methodically plan your test prep and application materials, you can ensure every school knows exactly how committed you are!
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