The LSAT is offered four times per year – February, June, October (or late September), and December. Assuming you are entering law school in the fall of next year, you should consider the following factors when choosing a test administration date:
The June LSAT:
Many prelaw advisors recommend taking the June LSAT because it will allow you to submit your applications at the beginning of the admission period. Most law schools use a “rolling admissions” process and applying early gives you a slight advantage. In the rolling admission system, applicants are considered as they “roll in,” and thus by applying early you have the least amount of competition for the greatest number of spaces. Applying late can be a disadvantage because you have a greater amount of competition for a smaller number of remaining spaces. However, that is only a generalization-if you apply late with outstanding credentials, you will still get into many law schools. All things being equal, though, applying early is better.
Taking the June LSAT also gives you more time to work on your résumé, your personal statement, and your law school applications. By completing these items early and then reviewing them over the ensuing months, you can create the very best application possible.
Also, if you do not feel prepared for the June test, or if you do poorly on the June test, you can re-take the exam in October.
The October LSAT:
October is the most popular test date of the year, in part because the test falls at the start of the application cycle. October is also popular because the test comes at the end of summer, convenient for many college students who can use part of the summer to do their test preparation. An important consideration for all test takers is to take an LSAT that allows a plentiful amount of preparation time, because more preparation time usually translates into a higher score.
Many students also like the October test because they have the December LSAT to fall back on if October does not go well. Just make sure you sign up early-the October test tends to fill up early!
The December LSAT:
Every single law school accepts the results of the December LSAT. Equally important, December is the last exam that you can take to meet the deadlines of the top law schools. However, the downside of the December LSAT is that your results come in later than other applicants, pushing you back in the rolling admissions cycle. The December LSAT can also be tough on college students since the test date often coincides with final exams.
Students sometimes ask if it is better to take the October LSAT over the December LSAT simply because the October LSAT returns earlier results. Despite the earlier results, we feel your final score is a more important consideration. Given the choice of taking the October LSAT or taking the December LSAT and scoring three points higher, we would opt for the December exam.
The February LSAT:
Although many schools accept the results of the February LSAT, not every school does, and so you must check application deadlines before deciding on this exam. The February test can be a lifesaver for applicants applying to schools that accept the results of this test, and this exam is also a great option for students planning ahead and preparing to apply for the following year admission.
One final note: contrary to internet rumors, no particular LSAT is necessarily harder or easier than other LSATs. For example, some people say that the June LSAT is the hardest test every year. In our experience, some June LSATs are difficult and some June LSATs are easy (relatively speaking, of course!). Law Services works incredibly hard to equate each LSAT and no particular monthly LSAT administration is consistently harder or easier.