The registration deadline for the July LSAT administration is fast approaching. If you want to take this test you'll need to sign up by June 4th- the day after the June LSAT administration. General information about registering for July can be found here. FYI, LSAC has recently raised registration fees to $200.
If you weren't aware, July is your last chance to ever take a paper format LSAT. This test administration will be 50/50 digital and paper. The divide will be by test center- roughly half the test centers will be digital format, half paper. You will not know which format your test is until you arrive at the testing center. After July, all North American tests will be 100% digital.
The July LSAT offers a fantastic bargain opportunity for anyone planning to take the LSAT this cycle. Why? Because of a one time generous offer LSAC has made to allow July test takers to take the test, see their score, and then decide if they want to cancel or not. In past (and future) administrations of the LSAT, the decision to cancel must be made before seeing your score. For July only, you'll know what score you have to work with before making that choice. Even better? If you do cancel you'll get to take advantage of a free retake anytime between September and April of this cycle. Here's the full list of your retake options:
- September 21st 2019
- October 28th 2019
- November 25th 2019
- January 13th 2020 [all schools except potentially those with February 1st deadlines will accept scores from this test and the ones before it]
- February 22nd 2020 [for February and tests after it check school policies on whether they'll accept the test for your 2019-2020 application]
- March 30th 2020
- April 25th 2020
This opportunity to see your score and cancel/retake for free is available to both digital and traditional paper test takers in July- the format you get doesn't matter.
If you take the test in July, you'll be getting two shots at the test for the price of one admission ticket. For a lot of folks out there, money is a real concern when it comes to the LSAT. Prep isn't cheap, and neither is the test itself. By taking July you're hedging your bets. Most applicants end up taking the LSAT more than once; in fact this cycle the ratio of test administrations to applicants (a very rough measure of how often applicants take the test) was about 2.4 test administrations per LSAT applicant.
Some people we've spoken to have concerns about how schools will view an LSAT cancellation. You don't need to worry. Admissions departments understand that things happen, and won't look negatively at a cancellation on your record. This is especially true of July, as schools are aware of the unique circumstances around this test.
So there are a couple scenarios if you take July. Lets go over them.
Scenario 1: you take the test and don't do nearly as well as you were hoping. Maybe you were aiming for a 165 and got a 153. In this situation, you can cancel your score and retake for free to get closer to your target. Nothing lost, and now you have some real world experience taking the LSAT for when you use your free retake!
Scenario 2: you take the test and get close to but not quite what you wanted. Sticking with our "aiming for a 165" situation, maybe you score a 162. You're a few points below your target- but a 162 is still an 85th percentile score that can get you into fantastic schools. Sure, you didn't quite hit your target, but there's something to be said for the downside protection of getting such a solid score. You'll go into the cycle knowing your absolute minimum will be that 162, and can apply/plan accordingly. Think of it like insurance. Your July score is the floor which schools will evaluate you on, because if you retake later you'll either do better (in which case they'll consider that score) or you'll do worse (in which case they'll consider you based on your higher July score). You're insuring yourself against future LSAT results. There's a lot to be said for that kind of mental comfort. You only downside is that you won't get the free retake without cancelling.
Scenario 3: you knock July out of the park. This does happen for some - you might be averaging in the high 150's before the test, but everything clicks for you on test day and you get a 166. This is the best case scenario, because now you've got an amazing score to apply with. And you can still retake if you want to!
Are you worried that schools will look down on a low July score if you retake, or average your scores? Don't be. The high score is what matters- you can read more about that here.
Some folks might be concerned about the transition to a digital testing format. While this is understandably nerve wracking for everyone who has been practicing on the almost exclusively paper materials currently available, there is some good news. LSAC has increased the number of free digital format practice tests available to 3. You can find them here. We recommend using them to get comfortable with the electronic tools you'll have on test day (side note- we think they're pretty good!). Answers to any other logistical concerns you have about the July test can be found here. Our friends at PowerScore have also put together a great page with information on the digital LSAT here.
You shouldn't be nervous about July test content either. The subject matter and format will be the same on the digital test as on past paper tests. LSAC is absolutely not going to radically change their testing content, especially not as they move to a digital format. Everything you've been studying will be 100% applicable to the July administration. As Dave Killoran of PowerScore has said, "the July LSAT should be about the most straightforward and normal LSAT they can find. This is a big transition for them, and so they will avoid doing anything unusual."
To sum it all up, July: all upside, no downside. What are you waiting for? Go sign up!
Written by Justin Kane and Mike Spivey