Law School Applications: When Should You Take the LSAT?
The LSAT is offered 9 times a year (generally once a month except May, December, and either August or September). You should take the LSAT no later than the summer or fall of the year in which you intend to apply, a full year (or more) before you intend to begin law school. If you are still in college and plan to go to law school right after graduation, you should take the LSAT in the summer after your junior year or the fall of your senior year. For the balance of 2021, the test will be offered in June, August, October, and November—the full list of dates for 2021-22 is here.
If you take the test in the summer and are still in college, remember that you will have a number of other demands on your time through mid-May, all of which will compete with your LSAT test preparation. This is especially true if you are graduating that May—e.g., finals, graduation, moving, etc. On the other hand, if you take an early fall test, you may be balancing the tail end of your preparation with the beginning of the semester. Some students, however, prefer the fall dates because their minds are more attuned to intellectual matters, they are less tired than at the end of the semester, and they are less distracted by summer’s work or play. Judge the best time for yourself based on what you know about your own schedule and mind, your test taking skills, and your work habits.
You should not wait until winter of your Senior year (or the year before you attend law school) to take the LSAT. Most schools have rolling admissions, which means they start accepting students as they receive completed applications. The later you take the test, the later you will submit your application, and fewer seats will be available in the law school class for which you can compete. Some schools do not accept February or later test scores for that fall’s admission.
If you are still in college but planning to take some time off before applying to law school, you can take the test whenever you’d like up until the deadlines above. LSAT scores are good for five years.
The deadline for registration for the LSAT is usually about six weeks before the actual test. Register early in order to secure your preferred test site.