Most LSAT test-takers are aware of LSAC’s (some would say draconian) limitation on the number of times you can take the LSAT in a prescribed period of time: as per the LSAC website, “You may not take the LSAT more than three times in any two-year period.” And, for those of you looking for a loophole via cancelled or unreported scores, LSAC is unrelenting: “This policy applies even if you cancel your score or if your score is not otherwise reported.”
In the past, LSAC used to allow law schools to put in an exception request on your behalf–they could petition LSAC to let you take the LSAT just one more time within those two years. However, back in 2011, LSAC put the kibosh on that option, too (and you can read all about it here).
So, what happens if you want to take the LSAT one more time, but you’ve taken it the max number of times within the last two years? You have to petition LSAC directly:
For significant extenuating circumstances [explains the LSAC website], exceptions to this policy may be made by LSAC. To request an exception, submit a signed, detailed explanation—along with verification, if possible—addressing the circumstances that you feel make you eligible to retake the LSAT and specify the date that you wish to test. E-mail your request as an attachment to [email protected] or send it by fax to 215.968.1277.
However, be forewarned: Exceptions to this rule are rare. Although LSAC doesn’t specify what counts as “significant extenuating circumstances,” in our experience students have not been successful by simply stating that they need to get a higher score in order to improve their chances of admission. Make sure to provide detailed proof of the circumstances you are citing, and to submit your request far in advance of the test date you are requesting an exception for.
What happens after you submit your request? Per LSAC:
You will be notified by e-mail of approval or denial of your request….Barring unforeseen circumstances, LSAC will respond within seven working days of its receipt. LSAC’s decisions are final.
Moral of the story? Take the LSAT only when you are completely preparared. Don’t think that a cancelled LSAT score doesn’t count towards the three-LSATs-in-two-years rule. Report any negative testing circumstances immediately after the test in which they occured (in case you plan on using them later to request an additional test date, if necessary). And, if you are requesting an exception, make sure it is extremely well documented and supported, and submitted in plenty of time for LSAC to make a decision.