When Should I Take the LSAT? A Comprehensive Guide for Future Law Students


If your ambitions are directed toward a future in the field of law and your goals involve attending law school, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the significant role that the LSAT occupies on this path. However, beyond just preparing to achieve a higher score, a critical decision awaits you: determining the best time for taking the LSAT. This choice wields considerable influence over your readiness, application timeline, and overall triumph in the competitive admissions process. 

To navigate this crucial aspect of your LSAT journey, this comprehensive guide is here to accompany you, delving into the pivotal factors that should shape your decision about when to embark on the LSAT challenge.

When Do You Need to Take the LSAT? Why Timing Matters

The LSAC only administers the LSAT a few times every year. The timing of your LSAT administration can influence various aspects of your law school application process. While the exam itself is challenging, the timing of when you take the test can play a crucial role in your success. Here’s why timing matters:

Test Center Availability

LSAT administrations are scheduled several times throughout the year, but test center availability can vary. It’s essential to consider the convenience of the test center location when selecting your test date. Registering early can help you secure a spot at a preferred testing site.

Application Timeline and Rolling Admissions

Law school application timelines often follow rolling admissions, which means that applications are reviewed and decisions are made as they are received. Applying earlier in the admissions cycle can increase your chances of being admitted, as seats in competitive law programs may fill up quickly.

Test Date Flexibility

Choosing the right LSAT test dates provides you with flexibility in case you decide to retake the exam. Many law schools consider your highest score, so taking the test more than once can potentially improve your application. Planning for multiple test administrations can be crucial for improving your chances of achieving your desired score.

three college students sitting in grass studying blue overlap

When Do People Take the LSAT? Last-Minute vs. Adequate Preparation

Rushing into the LSAT without adequate preparation can lead to suboptimal results. Depending on your baseline skills, you might need several months of dedicated study to achieve your target score. Starting your LSAT Prep well in advance can help you avoid last-minute cramming and unnecessary stress.

Factors Last-Minute Preparation Adequate Preparation
Recommended For Those accustomed to high-pressure environments. Individuals seeking comprehensive skill mastery.
Study Resources Condensed study materials and practice tests. A wide range of study resources.
Stress Levels High stress due to limited time for preparation. Lower stress due to a longer preparation timeline.
Practice Opportunities Limited opportunity for full-length practice tests. Ample time for multiple practice tests and analysis.
Skill Mastery A superficial understanding of concepts and strategies. In-depth comprehension and effective strategy use.
Performance Improvement Limited potential for substantial score increase. Higher potential for significant score improvement.
Long-Term Retention Concepts might not be retained for the long term. Higher likelihood of retaining skills and strategies.
Work-Life Balance Disrupts work or personal commitments due to intensity. Easier integration with other life responsibilities.
Psychological Impact A high-pressure environment might induce anxiety. Reduced stress levels help with concentration.
Overall Test Experience More rushed and potentially less fulfilling experience. Calmer, more confident test-taking experience.

When Can You Take the LSAT? Factors to Consider Before Taking the LSAT

Before embarking on the journey to law school, thoughtful planning is essential to ensure a successful LSAT experience. The decision of when to take the test involves a careful assessment of multiple factors that can significantly impact your preparation and test-day performance. 

Factors to consider before taking the test:

Academic Preparedness

Assess your strengths and weaknesses in areas tested on the exam. Consider if you need extra time to study based on your familiarity with the content. Incorporate tried-and-true techniques on how to study for LSAT.

Personal Commitments

Evaluate your work, school, and family commitments. Determine if you can allocate sufficient time for preparation while managing other responsibilities.

Test Date Deadlines

Research application deadlines for your desired law schools. Ensure your chosen test date aligns with these deadlines.

LSAT Prep Course

Considering an LSAT Prep Course before taking the test is highly beneficial as it provides structured guidance, expert strategies, and access to comprehensive study materials that can significantly enhance your preparation and increase your chances of achieving a competitive score.

Law School Online Resources

Explore online resources such as Law School online courses and online communities such as LSAT Reddit, that can aid your preparation and provide additional study materials.

LSAT Tutor

Consider whether hiring an LSAT tutor could enhance your preparation by providing personalized guidance and assistance.

man and woman sitting next to each other and looking at laptop

When Should You Take the LSAT? Pros and Cons of Different Seasons for Taking the LSAT

When choosing the right test date, the time of year can have both advantages and disadvantages that impact your overall test preparation and application timeline. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of different seasons for taking the exam:

Fall (September to November)


  • Ample Preparation Time: Summer months offer extended study periods for preparation, allowing you to dedicate focused time to learning.
  • Early Application Cycle: If you’re planning to apply for law school in the following fall, taking the test during this period provides you with scores in time for early applications.
  • Favorable Test Centers: Registering early might enable you to secure preferred test center locations.


  • Balancing Academics: If you’re a student, juggling both LSAT preparation and coursework might be challenging.
  • Limited Retake Opportunities: If you’re unsatisfied with your score, retaking the test before the application deadlines might be challenging.

Winter (January to February)


  • Fresh Start: Commencing the new year with test preparation provides a fresh beginning and a clear focus on your law school aspirations.
  • Winter Break Opportunity: If you’re a student, you have an extended break to intensively study without the pressures of coursework.


  • Application Timelines: Law school application cycles may already be underway, requiring strategic planning to ensure timely submissions.
  • Test Center Availability: Some locations might have limited test dates during this period.

Spring (March to June)


  • Balanced Preparation Time: Spring offers a balanced timeframe for thorough preparation, allowing you to allocate time to other commitments as well.
  • Timely Results: Your LSAT scores will be available in time for most law school application deadlines.


  • Balancing Responsibilities: You might need to manage LSAT preparation alongside work, school, or other obligations.

Summer (July to August)


  • Uninterrupted Focus: Summer provides uninterrupted time for intense preparation, making it an excellent choice if you’re not engaged in school.
  • Comprehensive Review: You can immerse yourself in comprehensive review and practice, potentially leading to higher score improvements.


  • Application Timing: Scores might not be available in time for early application cycles, requiring strategic planning.
  • Intense Preparation: Intensive summer preparation can be mentally taxing.

Considering these factors, your test dates should align with your academic and personal circumstances, application goals, and your preferred approach to preparation. Remember that the LSAT cost is also a consideration, and it’s vital to budget for test registration fees while planning your preparation timeline. Additionally, while the LSAT is a key requirement for law school admission, remember to research whether can you take the bar without going to law school in your state and jurisdiction if that’s a path you’re considering.

When Is the Best Time to Take the LSAT and Why?

Determining the ideal time to take the LSAT is pivotal for maximizing your law school admission prospects. The timing of your administration holds a significant influence over your application’s strength. Here’s why the timing matters and the best timeframe to consider:

  1. About a Year Before Law School: Planning to take the LSAT approximately a year before you intend to enroll in law school is optimal. This timeline allows for thorough preparation, application submission, and early admission consideration.
  2. Adequate Preparation Time: Allowing several months for preparation ensures comprehensive familiarity with the test’s content, question types, and strategies. Ample preparation time is vital for achieving a competitive score reflective of your abilities.
  3. Retake Possibilities: Taking the test early in your preparation journey offers the chance for retakes if necessary. Law schools often consider your highest score, so retaking the test can bolster your application.
  4. Application Deadlines: Many law schools follow rolling admissions, evaluating applications as they arrive. Submitting your application with a strong LSAT score early in the cycle enhances your chances of securing a spot before the competition intensifies.
  5. Early Decision Advantages: Some law schools offer Early Decision options, enabling you to apply and receive decisions sooner. Taking the LSAT ahead of time ensures you can meet these early application deadlines.

Consult Experts on When To Take the LSAT

Ready to start your LSAT journey? If you’re seeking a tailored approach to LSAT preparation, look no other than Odyssey Test Prep. Our Tutoring program offers personalized guidance that caters to your unique learning style and strengths. With experienced tutors by your side, you’ll receive expert strategies, individualized study plans, and focused attention to ensure you’re fully prepared to conquer the LSAT and excel on test day.

Looking for personalized guidance? Discover the benefits of LSAT Tutoring at Odyssey Test Prep. Unleash your full potential with one-on-one tutoring sessions that adapt to your pace and needs. Whether you’re a first-time test-taker or aiming for a score improvement, our LSAT tutors are dedicated to your success.

Ready to take the next step toward law school? Explore our Law School Admissions Consulting services at Odyssey Test Prep. We provide comprehensive support to help you craft compelling applications that stand out. Whether you’re seeking advice on personal statements, letters of recommendation, or interview strategies, our experienced consultants will empower you to present your best self to admissions committees. 

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