Limits on LSAT Retakes

Official LSAT Retake Limits

LSAC no longer restricts the number of times the LSAT may be attempted, and this theoretically means that students can take the LSAT as much as they wish. In practice, however, there are logistical limits on retakes. Obviously, a test cannot be taken more times than it is offered. Furthermore, LSAC does not permit registration for more than one test associated with an official test administration. A student cannot, for example, take the test on the regular date and then again on the date for Saturday Sabbath observers.

Exclusions for Test Center Staff

For reasons of test security, LSAC has implemented certain exclusions for test center employees. Anyone who has served as a staff member at an LSAT test center is not allowed to take the LSAT within the next 24 months.

Registration and Fees for LSAT Retakes

The registration methods available for LSAT retakes are identical to those offered for first-time registration (online or by phone). Because the test-taker will already have an online account, however, the online registration process will probably move more quickly. There is no discount for exam retakes. The registration fee is the same (currently $190), as are all fees associated with optional services.

LSAT Score Validity Period

The validity period for LSAT scores has traditionally been five years. At the present time, however, the LSAC website indicates that scores from all tests taken on or after June 1, 2013 will be reported. Most law schools observe the traditional five-year validity period, but some programs have a clearly stated preference for test scores not more than three years old. It is thus important for law school applicants to familiarize themselves with their prospective institutions' policies and preferences.

How Many Times Should I Retake the LSAT?

LSAC data show that second-time test-takers receive a modest score increase of two to three points on average, but third-timers typically do not improve on their first test attempt. Although LSAC has not released statistics on students who have completed the LSAT four or more times, it seems reasonable to infer that any gains are extremely likely to be statistically insignificant. We therefore don't advise taking the LSAT more than twice, and there should be a good reason for even a second test attempt.

Don't Officially Retake the LSAT for Practice

We do not recommend that any student officially take the LSAT for the sole purpose of practicing their test-taking abilities. The wide availability of LSAT practice tests means that testing conditions can largely be duplicated unofficially in the student's home environment. If testing anxiety is a serious problem, the student is better off seeking medical treatment for this condition than in trying to alleviate stress through sheer official testing familiarity.

More Reasons to Limit Retakes

In addition to new registration fees, there are a number of other costs associated with multiple LSAT retakes. Retaking any exam is pointless unless the student has done something to improve his or her preparation, such as enrolling in a more intensive prep course or hiring a tutor to teach the LSAT in one-on-one fashion. This extra preparation obviously isn't free. Moreover, there are transportation expenses, books, potential wages forfeited, and other ancillary costs to consider. The most effective approach is to avoid these expenses entirely by adequately preparing for the LSAT the first time. This can be accomplished by securing the services of a qualified group course instructor or individual tutor.

LSAT Retakes and Accommodations for Disabled Students

Disabled students who have been granted accommodations for previous LSAT test attempts are generally allowed the same accommodations for retakes, but there are some exceptions to this policy. If the last test attempt was five or more years prior to the new test date, for example, LSAC may no longer have access to the student's records, including documentation of his/her disabilities and a list of the accommodations provided. Disabled test-takers who wish to retake the LSAT are thus advised to contact LSAC before registration.