After a few agonizing weeks, test takers received their June LSAT scores last Monday. As usual, reactions I heard ranged from very excited to merely satisfied to somewhat disappointed. The group you fall into dictates how you should utilize the next few months to optimize your chances of acceptance at your top law schools.
Find the quote that best matches your reaction, and read my tips for success below:
"I exceeded my target score, and I am thrilled!"
First, as you have probably already done in the last week, take some time to celebrate! All of your hard work paid off, and you deserve a break.
Next, reevaluate the list of schools to which you plan to apply. With your higher score, some of your reach schools may be more in your target range, and some of your safeties may now be unnecessary.
[Explore the U.S. News law school rankings.]
Since you do not need to retake the LSAT, you now have ample time to complete your applications, so aim to submit them early. Create a schedule outlining what you need to do, and make deadlines for yourself to be sure you stay on track. Ideally, you should submit all of your applications by the end of October, if not sooner.
Also, consider retaining an expert law school admissions counselor. With your higher score, he or she may be able to help you into an even stronger school than you might be admitted to on your own and may help you win a coveted merit-based financial aid grant from one of your top choice schools.
"I scored in the range I was expecting, and I am content."
You did well on the LSAT, but you may not have achieved your highest score potential. Review your list of target schools, and determine where your LSAT and GPA would fall among the accepted students. If your scores are below the 50th percentile, you should strongly consider retaking the LSAT, unless you are comfortable with expanding your list of schools.
Remember that a small point increase on the LSAT could mean the difference between the wait list and acceptance, or acceptance with no money and acceptance with significant merit-based aid. If you will be able to dedicate a good portion of your summer to studying further for the LSAT, retaking is likely a good option for you.
"My score is lower than I hoped, and I am a little bit frustrated."
If you scored more than a few points below your average practice test scores prior to the exam, do not be discouraged. Everyone has bad days, and you proved your score potential before the exam, so you will be able to prove it again in October.
Preparation for the test is key, but your mental state on test day can also make a huge difference in your outcome. Do not let your misstep in June affect your performance in October.
To prevent a repeat, look through your June score report and try to determine what caused your lower score. Were you distracted on test day? Did you feel generally unprepared, or did a specific section or question type give you trouble? Alter your preparation strategy based on your answers to these questions.
[Get more tips for LSAT success.]
If you can pinpoint particular areas of the exam with which you struggled, find a qualified private tutor to help you improve on those questions. Otherwise, if you need a broader overview, take an LSAT class (just be sure to vet the qualifications of the instructors based on their LSAT score and years of experience). Also, look for classes that include proctored practice tests in addition to classroom time.