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If You Didn't Hit Your Target LSAT Score...

Updated: Feb 28

After weeks of anticipation and constantly questioning how you did on the LSAT, the day has finally arrived--you received your LSAT score. With sweaty, trembling hands, you click on your results. But then, your heart sinks to the floor as you come to the horrible realization that you scored below your target. All the hard work you put in feels like it was for nothing.

I hope you never have to go through this experience. But even if you do, remember that you are not alone. Many people end up retaking the LSAT, and there is no shame in that. But also remember that this could mean there are things you need to change within your prep that can help you make sure you don't have to deal with the stress and anxiety of not reaching your target score.

Let's go over some precautionary measures you can take to help you avoid issues for the next test if you decide to retake.


#1. Take more practice tests

If you ended up performing significantly worse on test day compared to your practice test scores, that could mean you have not taken enough practice tests. Underperformance typically stems from a lack of familiarity with the pacing and endurance aspects of the test. The best way to overcome this is by taking practice tests more frequently (with review, of course!) under very strict timed conditions.


It can also help to make the parameters of the test slightly harder than what you can expect on the day of the test. You can adjust certain factors, such as removing the break or adding an additional section. This will help account for any underperformance due to lack of endurance or anxiety.

If you did not take any practice tests or were not scoring near your target as you approached test day, that's okay! But we can use this as a learning opportunity. Practice tests are a great indicator of what you can expect to score on the real thing because they were actual LSATs that were administered in the past, so make sure you are scoring consistently within your target range before deciding to take the next LSAT. It may also be beneficial to aim for a slightly higher practice test score to provide you with cushion just in case you underperform on test day.



#2. Plan out the next test

Be honest with yourself. Did you give yourself enough time, or were you cramming a couple weeks before the test? A common mistake people make is they immediately sign up for the next available test. Then, they don't have enough time for that test and they just keep repeating the same process.


Don't be one of those people. Set realistic expectations for yourself by examining how long it took you to improve up to this point. If you have other obligations and you know you won't be able to spend a lot of time on the LSAT or if you realized LSAT progress takes longer than you had anticipated, push back the exam.


Also, many people don't have a plan to begin with. As a result, they don't study consistently or are completely lost in terms of how they should be studying. Make sure to set up a weekly plan with targets on what you want to learn. Break down the LSAT into smaller components and focus on one thing at a time instead of just burning through tests. I wrote a book on this exact topic that walks you through how to study. For a limited time, it is completely free for subscribers.


#3. Stick to the Strategies

If you performed significantly lower on test day compared to your practice tests, ask yourself what you did differently on test day. Most of the time, there will be something that was different. Perhaps you second guessed your answers more. Maybe you did not use the strategies you learned.

Taking more practice tests can help alleviate this issue for next time. But with each test you take, always reaffirm to yourself that the strategies are working. If you don't feel confident in the strategies, that could simply be a sign that you need more time to learn the fundamentals.


#4. Reconsider your study methods

Before you immediately jump to conclusions about whether you are 'meant for' the LSAT, ask yourself the following questions...

-Did I study consistently?

-Did I review AND repeat every question, or did I just attempt a question and move on? Do I feel confident that I could explain to someone else every question I got wrong and the most efficient way to approach them?

-Did I focus on mastering individual concepts before moving on rather than trying to learn everything at once?

-Do I have specific strategies for questions rather than just winging it and answering questions based on gut instinct?

If the answer to any of these questions is 'no', there's no shame in that! But make sure you are implementing the correct study techniques. I offer plenty of study tips and advice regarding this topic.


It is even more important to ask yourself if you have been committed to the LSAT, or whether you are able to be committed for the next LSAT you take. The LSAT is learnable, but it requires commitment. Many people think they can just put in minimal effort and eventually see progress. For most people, this is not the case. 

Also, if you know the LSAT has been giving you a lot of trouble, consider switching away from self-study to other methods. There are plenty of courses, books, and private tutoring options to choose from. If you are specifically interested in private tutoring, I offer a free 2-hour trial session.


Have questions? Feel free to email me:


Stay motivated!


Cho from Impetus LSAT

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