February LSAT: To take or not to take?

That is the question.  The deadline to sign up is this Thursday, January 10th. So what do you need to consider in order to make a reasoned decision about whether to take the February 12th LSAT?

First, if this would be a retake for you, all the usual concerns about retakes are in full force. (And Law School Podcaster has just posted another version of this same information here—with cool charts and graphics.)

Second, regardless of whether it’s your first LSAT or a retake, relying on a February score for admission in this application season is a risky game.  The score won’t be released until the first week of March, putting you past the deadline for some schools, and very VERY late in the season for every other school.  While a second year of decline in the volume of applications is causing many (if not most) schools to extend their normal cycle a bit, nonetheless, they’ve largely filled their classes by the time the February scores come out.  A significant percentage of March applicants face rejections and wait lists—for no other reason than the timing of their application.

Third, there are no downsides to putting off your application for another year.  In that case, a February test (assuming you are well prepared for the test) puts you in a great position—way ahead of the game for next year’s application cycle

Fourth, for what it matters to you, the February LSAT is undisclosed, meaning you will only receive your score, and not your test booklet or any information about which questions you got right and which wrong.

In sum, if you are considering taking the February LSAT, you should be contemplating taking a year (or more) off.  There’s no rush, after all—law school will still be there.