Taking the LSAT “Cold” – Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Some students believe that they should take the LSAT “cold” or without preparing for the exam, because students can take the LSAT multiple times. So is it a good idea to take an actual LSAT (not a practice one) without prepping just to get the experience?

At Pre-Law Advising Services, we do not encourage this decision. In short, it is not a good idea to take the LSAT “cold.”

Reasons Why You Should Always Prepare for the LSAT Before You Take the Test:

  1. You should take the LSAT seriously.

    1. The LSAT is a crucial element of your law school application. Your LSAT and your GPA are two of the most important parts of your application. Take this part seriously.
    2. A good LSAT score can increase your odds at getting into a school with a higher ranking, a school in your preferred location, more scholarship money, and give you better options when you make your final decision.
  2. Every LSAT score is sent to the schools you apply to.

    1. Even though you can take the LSAT multiple times, every score is sent to every law school to which you apply. You cannot hide a low LSAT score from any law school.
    2. Most schools want for you to explain if your score increases by more than 5 points. Most people that take the LSAT cold and then seriously study for the exam oftentimes have to explain large score increases or discrepancies. It is difficult to do so without indicating that you were unprepared for the exam.
  3. A “cold” LSAT score can show that you were not prepared.

    1. If you have two or three extremely different LSAT scores because you took the LSAT cold, it will show that you were not prepared for the tests.
    2. Law schools may read into the fact you took an LSAT cold – you may come across as an unprepared or unorganized applicant.
  4. Schools may average your LSAT scores.

    1. Because you can now take the LSAT as many times as you want, law schools may use different systems when looking at multiple LSAT scores.
    2. It is possible schools may average your scores, look to the middle test score, or consider your multiple LSAT scores in a different way than you may have planned for.

Our best advice for LSAT prep: allow yourself about 4-6 months to prepare for the LSAT; prepare a realistic study plan, stick to the plan to study consistently, and be honest with yourself and your studying.

A few other thoughts about the LSAT:

  • The LSAT is NOT the same as the ACT or SAT because the LSAT tests your critical thinking rather than your knowledge of any particular subject. Your SAT or ACT score is not necessarily a good predictor of your LSAT score for this reason.
  • The LSAT does NOT test the same material as the ACT, SAT, GRE, or GMAT. The topics and approach to the LSAT should be unique to the LSAT.
  • To prepare properly for the LSAT, as a general rule four to six months of consistent studying is encouraged. The LSAT is not a test that comes easily to many students. It is important to give yourself enough time to study and feel prepared for the test.

The next LSAT is Monday June 11, 2018. For more information about the upcoming LSAT, click here. The registration deadline is Tuesday May 1, 2018. If you are planning on taking the June LSAT, you should register early to get your preferred testing site. Some testing sites fill up quickly, so you should register early!