December 2016 LSAT vs. February 2017 LSAT: Which One Should I Take?
For students taking the December 2016 LSAT, some inevitably want to delay taking the exam until February 2017, thinking it will give them more time to study. Since the December and February LSATs are administered very close to each other, here’s a breakdown of the advantages to taking the December and February LSATs!
Reasons to stick with the December 2016 LSAT
1. Results will still come out sooner.
If you are planning to start law school in the fall of 2017, your December results will come out sooner. This is important because many law schools do rolling admissions (touched on in this post). If your LSAT score and GPA are slightly lower than your target school’s median, you need to apply as early as possible. Many law schools get the bulk of their applications during Christmas break. Waiting until February to apply could mean not getting into your target school!
2. December’s LSAT is disclosed.
No one really plans on taking the LSAT more than once. However, if you score below where you want, your previous LSAT is an invaluable tool to preparing for your next test. The February LSAT is not disclosed, meaning you will not get a copy of the test or your answers. This makes it much more difficult to diagnose what went wrong if you don’t do well. So, if you feel ready in December, take the LSAT then. If you don’t do well, it is much easier to figure out why with a disclosed test.
3. Lost studying time during holidays is a big risk.
There are a lot of distractions from studying during the month of December. Holiday parties, family get-togethers, and festive activities all take away from review time. Since the LSAT is on December 3, you can get it out of the way well before Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa celebrations begin. It will be much easier to enjoy your holidays without the LSAT looming over your head.
Reasons to take the February 2017 LSAT
1. You will have extra time to prepare.
If you think you might not be ready for the December 2016 LSAT, it is best to wait until February. Although the exam is not disclosed, there is no point in taking the December exam if you are not ready for it. Take the extra two months to fully prepare for the test!
2. December’s LSAT often falls during final exams/end of semester push.
The December LSAT often overlaps with finals and end of semester projects. If you won’t be able to devote yourself to consistently studying for the LSAT, it might be best to wait until February. Again, you need to be fully focused and prepared to do well on the test, and a final or class project looming over your head won’t help your concentration.
Ultimately, I advise to take the December LSAT if you are ready. The benefits of having a disclosed test before the holiday season outweigh the benefits of a few extra months of studying. If you do not feel like you did well on the December LSAT, you can always take the February exam. If your score comes back higher than expected, then there is no problem! And if it comes back lower than you want, then you can take the February LSAT.
I also would recommend, if you feel December’s LSAT does not go well, to immediately register for the February 2017 one. LSAC will refund a registration fee for December 2016 takers who sign up for the February 2017 exam, since you won’t know your score until after the registration deadline for February has passed. If you get a good score on December’s LSAT, there is no penalty to withdraw from February’s administration. Check out LSAC’s website for more details.
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