Should you take the LSAT if you are not fully prepared?

Dear Advisor, 

I am registered for the October LSAT, but I’m worried that I won’t have enough time to prepare. When I took a practice test, I scored way below what I need to for the law schools I’m interested in. This summer, I am doing a study abroad program in Europe, so I won’t have much time to study. When I get back to school, I’ll be working part-time, doing an internship, and writing a thesis. Should I go ahead and take the October LSAT even if I’m not completely ready? I can always retake in December. My parents are pressuring me to take it because they want to make sure I go to law school right after college.

S.

Dear S.,

I know it’s a tough decision, and you can wait until you are closer to the test to make a final call on whether to take it. In my opinion, though, if you are still not scoring where you want to be at that time, I would think about waiting to take the LSAT. It’s a lot of pressure, and not all that much fun to retake such an anxiety producing exam. Often, pre-law students become even more anxious when they see that they didn’t get a good score, and feel even more pressure to do better.  Plus, all scores are reported to the law schools you apply to—even if you do better the second time, they will see the first score on your record. I would try to do a lot of practice questions this summer, and see if your score goes up.

 When you are scoring where you want to, and completing sections on time, you are ready to take the test. Pre-law students often tell me that they feel pressured by their parents or their friends to go to law school right after college. Or they fear that they “will never go” if they don’t go right away. The truth is that many, many students work for a year or two before going to law school these days. Give yourself the absolute best chance to get into the law school you really want to attend.

Good luck,

Hillary Mantis

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Hillary Mantis is a Director of the Pre-Law Advising Program at Fordham University, and a Consultant who works with Pre-Law Students, Law Students and Lawyers. She is the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers. You can write to Hillary at: altcareer@aol.com