LSAC Waivers and Taking the LSAT a Fourth Time

I have taken LSAT three times. One of them is a cancel. I would really like to be able to take the test for a fourth time and can't wait for the 2 years limit to be over for the fourth take. I think I can improve. How can I get LSAC to grant me a fourth take? Thanks in advance.


I have expended the 3 takes in the last 1 year and didn't reach my target. I basically underperformed even though in strictly timed and proctored PTs I was doing well. One of the 3 takes is a cancel. I want to be able to apply this cycle but I can't take until later next year. I can't apply with my current LSAT. I know that 3 takes within one year is already too much but I was/am clearly performing well in prep tests.

What can I say to LSAT so that I can get to take it again before next year? Under what conditions can lsac grant a fourth take in 2 years? Can I request waiver from a school to strengthen the case for 4th take (even though lsac changed the policy in 2011)? I work full time in a very demanding profession and can't wait till next year. Thanks.


Hi Anna. Do you have any idea what sort of "extenuating circumstances" LSAC would be likely to deem adequate for granting an exemption?

These were all comments to a previous blog post I wrote, "Taking the LSAT More Than Three Times." For those of you who are new to the LSAT, LSAC  (the people who make and administer the test) limits the number of times you can take the LSAT. Here is LSAC's current LSAT retake policy:

You may not take the LSAT more than three times in any two-year period. This policy applies even if you cancel your score or if your score is not otherwise reported. LSAC reserves the right to cancel your registration, rescind your admission ticket, or take any other steps necessary to enforce this policy.

For significant extenuating circumstances, exceptions to this policy may be made by LSAC. To request an exception, submit a signed, detailed explanation—along with verification, if possible—addressing the circumstances that you feel make you eligible to retake the LSAT and specify the date that you wish to test. Email your request as an attachment to or send it by fax to 215.968.1277.

That's a change in policy as of 2011. It used to be the case that you could petition any ABA-approved law school to grant you a waiver from the 3-in-2 policy, and you could always find somebody at some random school who would rubberstamp your request. It was a bit of a kabuki dance.

LSAC has since wised up and now serves as that gatekeeper instead. The point of that policy change was to make exemptions much, much harder, and to start enforcing the rule, this time for real.

What that means for you:

You can try petitioning LSAC for a waiver, but I would go into the process assuming the answer will be "no." Are there magic words you can use to soften them up? No. My guess is that unless you were taking the LSAT in a tent in Kandahar those three times and things were going kaboom around you, you're going to have a tough time getting them to bend the rule.

The rule exists for a reason. LSAC knows that taking the LSAT a gazillion times in the span of a few years is almost guaranteed to be either a laziness response (not having studied for the test properly the first three times), or a panic response ("OMG OMG OMG I'm just going to keep retaking it and hope that something changes")  rather than a smart test taking strategy. I'm sure they'd love to collect more registration fees from you, but I'm also guessing they have boatloads of data that support their policy. In any event, it's their policy to make, so we're all stuck with it, for better or worse.

If you weren't able to get the score you wanted over the course of three tests in two years, LSAC's implied message to you is that you either need to accept the fact that these three tests were ample opportunity to show your LSAT capabilities, or you need take some time off from the test and do a serious regrouping. I second that (implicit) advice, as I explained in my previous post:

As a law school applicant, you're looking to join a profession that lives and dies by nitty-gritty procedural rules, so make sure you know about this one, too. That being said, I would strongly discourage you from taking the test more than three times. If you haven't been able to conquer the LSAT in three attempts, you and the LSAT should probably part ways.

I know it's incredibly frustrating to study hard for the LSAT and not get the score you want, but doing more of the same isn't going to get you what you want, either. 

And for anyone just starting with the LSAT, here are some more thoughts on retaking the LSAT from the test prep perspective, courtesy of our friends at Blueprint:

It was never a particularly good idea to retake the test three times, let alone four. However, some people out there do it. My advice is, don’t let yourself be one of those people. Register for the exam that will come after a period of relative inactivity in your life so that you have enough time to properly study. If you’re not ready, postpone, and take the exam once when you’re going to score your highest.


Anna Ivey is the former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School and founder of Ivey Consulting. She and her team help college, law school, and MBA applicants make smart decisions about their higher education and navigate the application process. She is the author of The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions and How to Prepare a Standout College Application, and also serves on the leadership team of the non-profit Service to School.