LSAT Test Dates
The LSAT is the most important exam for those students applying to law school. The LSAT is the standardized exam law schools use to determine which students will make the best fit for each particular program. The LSAT is a very long and grueling exam. However, students are able to take the exam multiple times if needed. Studying schedules for the exam are always planned around the few LSAT test dates the exam is offered.
Previously, the LSAT was only given four times a year. Test dates were typically in February, June, October, and December. However, starting in 2019, the LSAT will be offered nine times per year, with the digital format being offered in July. This is a significant increase in test date options for potential law school students. LSAC decided to increase the number of testing opportunities to lower the barriers for student entry to legal education. The following table shows the LSAT test taking opportunities for the remaining 2018 testing year to the 2020 testing year.
|Monday, March 30, 2020||12:30 PM||No||February 11, 2020|
|Saturday, April 25, 2020||8:30 AM||No||March 10, 2020|
|June 8, 2020||12:30 PM||Yes||TBD|
|Monday, July 13, 2020||12:30 PM||No||TBD|
|Saturday, August 29, 2020||8:30 AM||No||TBD|
|Saturday, October 3, 2020||12:30 PM||No||TBD|
For students whose religious observance does not allow for them to take the LSAT on a Saturday, there is an alternate test day for Sabbath observers. This day is typically the following Monday after the scheduled exam. In order to take advantage of this exception, students must register for the alternate date and wait for LSAC to place a hold on their file. Once students send LSAC a signed letter from the student’s cleric confirming the request is authentic, the admission ticket for the alternate LSAT will be released. Students can send the letter via mail, fax, or scanned and emailed to the following address:
PO Box 2000-T
Newtown, PA, 18940
Email: [email protected]
In order for the letter to be valid it must be signed by a cleric. In addition, the letter must be received by the administration’s registration deadline. If it is not, the registration will be rescinded and the test fee will be refunded. Students who do not meet the requirements will not be able to test on their preferred test date. Students are only able to take advantage of the alternate test day for Sabbath Observers if the only LSAT scheduled in the month they plan to take the LSAT falls on a Saturday. If there are any other testing days available in the same month, students must opt for the different testing day.
Types of LSAT Exams
There are two different types of LSATs students can take: undisclosed and disclosed administrations. Students who take an undisclosed administration will have access to their LSAT score, their score band, their percentile rank, and a copy of their writing sample one scores become available. Students who take a disclosed administration will gain access to their LSAT score, their score band, their percentile rank, a copy of their answer sheet, a copy of their writing sample, a score conversion table, and a copy of the scored sections that made up their final score. The benefit to students taking a disclosed LSAT is that they can see exactly which sections they need to improve on for their next attempt, if they are not happy with their score.
Students are always encouraged to register early for their desired test date. In 2020, the LSAT registration fee is $200 if done before the deadline. A test center change is $125, a test date change is $125, and a registration refund is $50. As of February 2018, there is no longer a late registration period. If students wish to take the LSAT in a specific month, they must register by the test registration deadline, no exceptions.
While there are now more LSAT testing dates than ever before, not all LSAT testing dates are created equal. First, students must look at the time the exam is given. Some students may find morning exams better because they are most awake at that point. However, other students, may feel they perform best in the afternoon. Keep in mind the LSAT is a three to four hour test all in, so students taking the afternoon exam must be prepared to be alert until 4 PM, a time when many students tend to hit their afternoon slump. June can be an ideal time to students who are looking to get their applications in early, whether it be for scholarship consideration, or to be early on in the rolling admissions process. LSAT scores typically take about three weeks to be released. This means students taking the June LSAT will have their scores well before applications open, and with time to complete their application early, thoroughly and solely focused on the application. June test takers are also able to retake the exam if necessary in the Fall, which would still allow them to get their applications in before the bulk of it, which typically occurs in late December.
For 2020 test takers, the upside to a June test is that it is the last month where students can guarantee they will be taking the pencil and paper test. Starting July 2019, some students will be receiving the digital format, and some students will be receiving the written format. For students who prefer a hard copy test, sorry June 2019 was your last chance to take it. The downside to a June LSAT is that it occurs only a month after finals which can be difficult for some students.
Most popular LSAT test dates
The Fall LSAT, typically administered in September/October, is notoriously the most popular test date. Students who take the exam in the fall typically have the summer to focus on studying, and they get their scores back before the bulk of applications in late December. The downside is that students who take the Fall LSAT and do not score well, will have to retake the exam in December, thus requiring them to apply with the bulk of applications. The December LSAT should only be taken if students feel the extra study time will truly help them raise their score. Taking the December LSAT means students will not be able to apply early. They will receive their scores in early January, and should thus apply right after receiving them. However, if students do feel they can raise their score by a few points, it may be worth it to apply later in the cycle. The LSAT is one of the most important parts of law school application, so it is important students score as highly as possible.
LSATs taken in the first quarter of the year are two fold. On one hand, students applying for admission in the following year, will benefit from having ample time to asses their score, study weakness, and retake the exam if needed. They will also have the luxury of being able to solely focus on applications when they are released. However, most schools will not accept scores from students who take a February/March LSAT for admission in the same year. And, for schools who do, students will be so late in the application cycle that it may be a disadvantage, especially if the school utilizes rolling admission.
In addition to determining which month and time of day is best for students to take the LSAT, they must also consider whether the test being offered is disclosed or undisclosed. For some students this may not matter. Those students who do not care about seeing their answers, or a breakdown of score by section may opt for either the disclosed or undisclosed exam. However, those students who do want to see their score by section, so they know their strengths and weaknesses on test day, are better off taking a disclosed exam.
The LSAT is a long and grueling test, and it takes a significant amount of preparation. While it is important to study correctly, it is also important to plan correctly. The LSAT is arguably the most important part of law school admission and it is important for students to take their time in determining which test will give them the best shot at a high score. It is also important for students to continuously check the LSAC website, to be sure they are meeting all deadlines. Students should also be ultra aware of the differences both in regards to the LSAT in 2020: both with number of times the exam is offered, and in regards to the new digital format. Be sure to also read pout page for all of you LSAT Prep Discounts.