You Failed the LSAT: Now What?

You Failed the LSAT: Now What?

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You failed the LSAT (by getting a score much lower than what you wanted) and are wondering what to do next? Well, the obvious answer after the initial disappointment is to consider doing it again. After all, you are allowed to take the LSAT up to three times in any two-year period, and data confirms that scores for repeat test takers often rise slightly.

However, LSAC warns that law schools will have access to your complete test record and not just your highest score. The schools are also advised to look at your average score as the best estimate of your ability, particularly if the tests were taken over a short period of time. Also, if you manage to increase your score substantially, keep in mind that large score differences will be reviewed by LSAC for misconduct or irregularity. You will also have to inform law schools directly about your registration for additional tests yourself, as LSAC does not do this automatically.


It Comes Down to Retaking the Test

Still, there is no other way to increase your score other than re-doing the test. Particularly if illness or anxiety prevented you from performing as well as you might have expected, you have everything to gain from doing it again. You may also have been under-prepared the first time around, and will need to put in more hours for your studies or improve your study skills. Even though you've done the test once already and know what to expect, you may want to study test-taking techniques and strategies and re-familiarize yourself with the test instructions and question types. 

Take practice tests with writing samples, and do it under actual time constraints. It will help you estimate how much time you can afford to spend on each question, and remind you of which question types you should spend your time practicing. LSAC offers free material—take advantage of it!


Go at It Alone?

Did you study with a friend or in a group the first time around? Experts say that the LSAT test exposes your personal strengths and weaknesses more obviously than any other standardized test. Most questions are of analytical nature and what comes easily to you may prove to be a challenge for your friend and vice versa. Since the test does not quiz you on content, studying with a friend is of little benefit. The test is unique in the way it exposes how you use logic, and your ability to think analytically. The LSAT is best prepared for alone. A teacher or mentor may be of great help of course, and offer invaluable guidance, but do the actual studies on your own.

However, mere practice isn't enough. Especially when you are preparing the second time around, it's crucial for you to look closely at each question you missed, and analyze what led you to the wrong answer. Students who have received high scores on the test are said to agree that practice without analysis gave no improvement. If you really want to improve, the most effective way is to review every question that you miss and understand why you miss it before moving on.

To help you get into the right mindset, you may want to consider signing up for some unrelated college classes such as logic, philosophy, critical writing, or similar classes focusing on logical thinking. It's not what you learn in these classes that matters for the LSAT test, but how you learn to understand and express complex concepts. By analyzing complicated theories or texts which are unrelated to the LSAT, you still exercise the same analytical thinking needed for the test.


Alternative Study Methods

Another helpful tool is playing games. The logic games portion is the test section most alien to students, since it differs so much from most standardized tests, but practice can lead to dramatic improvements. Velocity Test Prep is a course I often recommend for those that struggle with the logic games section. Playing logic games is such a practice. Also, don't try to keep everything in your head. The easiest way to solve the complex hypothetical relationships between multiple parties is to diagram the relationships. By drawing a diagram, the complexity is better understood as visualization will help your brain keeping all aspects clear.

You didn't leave any questions blank, did you? Unlike the SAT, there is no penalty for getting an incorrect answer on the LSAT. Therefore it's crucial to at least make educated guesses on questions you can't answer. Leaving it blank will definitely lower your score, while guesswork at least has the possibility for you to get it right. And remember that every question is weighted the same.

Recent data shows that 66.8 percent of all test takers took the LSAT once; 26.1 percent took the test twice; and approximately 7.1 percent took the LSAT more than twice. Setting aside months of preparation and fail again can be disheartening. Taking all these pointers into consideration will help you improve your score for a successful second test! Good Luck!


Crush the LSAT is an online resource dedicated to helping professionals pass the LSAT Exam on their first try. They provide reviews of LSAT study materials and provide unmatched study strategies to fast track each student’s success. Learn more at