Important info for December 2016 LSAT takers; Deciding whether to retake

The December LSAT scores will not be out until January 4, 2017.  If you took the December LSAT, please take a moment to review this very important information on February 2017 LSAT registration. Then, this blog entry will go on to discuss how to decide whether to retake.

February LSAT registration.  As you know, the LSAC indicated that scores would be released on January 4, but the regular registration deadline for the February LSAT is TOMORROW, DECEMBER 21! If you took the December LSAT and you have decided you want to retake in February, and then decide NOT to retake after you see your score, the LSAC will refund your regular or late registration fee. BUT you must register by December 28 (late registration deadline) and request the refund by January 10, 2017. Mark your calendars! Here are instructions about the process, straight from the LSAC website:

December 2016 LSAT scores will not be available until after February 2017 LSAT registration deadlines have passed. Therefore, if you think you may want to take the February 2017 test, you must register for it before you know your December 2016 score. December 2016 test takers with a reportable score who no longer wish to test in February can request a refund for both regular and late registration fees after receiving their December score. Eligible candidates must submit a request for a refund by January 10, 2017. Your email request should include your name and LSAC account number and be sent to Please indicate “February 2017 Full Refund” in the subject line to ensure accurate processing.

Whether to retake the LSAT. The bigger question for many of you will be: Should I retake the LSAT? This consideration is even more important due to the timing of the next LSAT (in February).  Note: February is the one nondisclosed LSAT administration.  What does this mean?  If you take a nondisclosed test, you will have online access only to your LSAT score, score band, percentile rank, and writing sample. You will not be given a copy of your answers and the answer key.  As such, you will know how you did but not what you missed.

How do Illini perform on an LSAT retake? As a general guideline, most retakers score within 2.5 points of where they scored on the last LSAT. We did a study of University of Illinois LSAT takers from 2012-2015 and found these results:

  • 44% of Illini took the LSAT more than once
  • The average Illini LSAT retaker scored 2.45 points higher on the second exam
  • Of all Illini LSAT retakers:
  • 51% of Illini retakers scored better on a subsequent LSAT
  • 15% of Illini retakers scored worse on a subsequent LSAT
  • 6% of Illini retakers scored the same on a subsequent LSAT
  • 33% of Illini register to retake and then are absent for the subsequent exam

Some questions to ask yourself about whether to retake:

  • Was your actual score consistent with your practice exams?
  • Do you have the time and willingness to continue your LSAT preparation consistently until February?
  • How will you continue LSAT prep without your academics suffering? (Consider final papers and exams.)
  • What can you do differently so that this exam performance is better?
  • How close is your score to the medians of your top choice law schools? Is it likely that you could achieve the medians by retaking?

If you decide to retake in February, here are some suggested next steps:

  • Register ASAP; you may not get your preferred test site and that will mean making other arrangements such as a hotel
  • It is VERY important that you return to studying for the LSAT now! Don’t wait.
  • Clear your upcoming schedule as much as possible to allow you to balance prepping for the LSAT and prepping for final exams/papers/projects.
  • Consider doing something different in your LSAT prep–exploring a different book, class, website, using a different study plan, etc. (For some suggested resources visit our Compass page and click on the LSAT folder.)
  • Revamp your application timeline. Your goal should be to apply by early March, when the February LSAT scores will be released.
    • Applying in March is quite LATE in a rolling application cycle.  You might want to consider waiting to apply until next fall, which would put you in the pool of applicants looking to begin law school Fall 2018.

You may find it helpful to speak with a Pre-Law Advisor about next steps. Call 333-9669 to make an appointment!