When Should I Take the LSAT? (Ep. 395)

Nathan Fox's headshot.

Novice LSAT students often sign up for test dates before they’ve even started studying. Today on the show, Ben and Nathan explain why it’s a mistake to register for the LSAT prematurely. They share the correct order of operations for deciding when to take the LSAT and apply to law school: (1) study for the LSAT, (2) sign up when you’re happy with your practice score range, and (3) apply with your best LSAT score on record, at the beginning of the cycle. Plus, the guys answer listener questions about LSAT Writing, GPA addenda, scholarship negotiations, and more.

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4.14.2023 — April LSAT begins

4.25.2023 — June LSAT registration deadline

5.3.2023 — April LSAT scores released

6.9.2023 — June LSAT begins

6.28.2023 — June LSAT scores released

0:00 - Don’t Register Until You’re Ready

The June LSAT registration deadline is coming up. But the test isn’t going anywhere. Ben and Nathan encourage listeners to register for an official LSAT only when your practice scores indicate that you’re ready to take the test.

1:38 - Don’t Rush Into Law School

An anonymous listener asks Nathan and Ben if applying to attend law school right after undergrad will put them at a disadvantage compared to applicants who gain work experience before applying. Ben and Nathan pontificate about how admissions committees might view “KJD” applicants. But, they maintain, the most significant application factors are still LSAT and UGPA. Everyone should take the time they need to get their highest LSAT score. For many, that means waiting a year or more to apply. The guys also offer some general advice to young listeners: people change a lot in their twenties. They’d rather see you take time to find a job and work for a few years before returning to school.

19:53 - Your Negotiation Power

An anonymous applicant asks for scholarship negotiation advice. They’ve received multiple scholarship offers (including some full rides), but they have their sights set on a specific school that gave them a lower offer. Ben and Nathan share the most important factor in negotiation: your willingness to say no. As long as you’re willing to walk away, there’s always room to negotiate.

26:52 - UGPA Application Addendum

An anonymous listener asks Ben and Nathan for advice on how to write an addendum about their UGPA. Anonymous did a lot of extracurricular activities in undergrad that might have caused their grades to suffer. Ben and Nathan caution applicants against making excuses. Put your best foot forward on your law school applications by highlighting your strengths, not your weaknesses.

36:20 - LSAT Writing Is Unscored

Listener Todd wonders what he should do to prepare for the writing portion of the LSAT. Ben and Nathan advise him not to waste too much time on it—your time is better spent preparing for the scored sections. You can watch a Demon lesson for just a few minutes and complete the LSAT writing portion online as soon as it’s available to you.

42:11 - LSAT Order of Operations

Listener Michael signed up for the April LSAT before he started studying. The guys discuss why Michael, like many novice students, went about his LSAT journey in the wrong order. Students should begin studying for the LSAT first. Take your studying seriously. Then, when you’re happy with your practice score range, sign up for the next official test date.

51:50 - Take the LSAT as Soon as You’re Ready

Student Aiden has been using the Demon for only two weeks and is currently scoring in the upper 150s. He’s shooting for a score in the 170s and asks the guys if they think he can get there in a year. Nathan and Ben are confident Aiden can reach the 170s, especially if he can perfect his games. They encourage him to take the test when he’s ready—which might be a lot sooner than a whole year from now.

56:58 - Don’t Lie on Your Resume

An anonymous listener is considering fudging dates of employment on their resume. But they worry that they might get in trouble with the ABA or State Bar Association after law school. Is lying worth the risk? The guys first note that March is way too late to apply to law school. Anonymous shouldn’t be applying now, and they shouldn’t lie on their resume when they apply in the future.

1:03:43 - Law School Employment Outcomes

Listener Pranav asks if he should avoid law schools with low employment outcomes. Ben and Nathan discuss why lower-ranked schools tend to have sub-par outcomes. Employment outcomes are largely a function of the students’ merits, not necessarily the schools themselves. Going to a lower-ranked school and kicking ass will make you more likely to succeed than the average student.

1:12:56 - Get a Job

Anonymous is studying for the LSAT because they don’t know what to do with their undergraduate degree. They’re also considering a master’s program that they don’t seem all that interested in. Should they go for the master’s program or go to law school? Nathan and Ben suggest a third option: do neither. Get a job, and start earning money. At 21 years old, you might not know what kind of job suits you yet. You have a lot of life ahead of you, and you should take time to figure out what you want to do. Law school will always be there if you want to revisit it later.

1:18:53 - Don’t Apply Before You’re Ready

Listener Jackson is graduating next year and wants to apply to law schools this fall. He already took the LSAT before he was ready. Ben and Nathan advise him about the correct order of operations: Study for the LSAT, sign up when you’re happy with your practice score range, and apply with your best LSAT on record at the beginning of the cycle. Jackson should plan to push his application cycle as long as he needs to do this process correctly.