Got a 173 on the LSAT? Debating a Retake?

George Margas

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Scoring a 173 on the LSAT is no small feat; it places you in the 99th percentile of test-takers, a position coveted by many aspiring law students. But even with such an impressive score, I’ve found myself pondering whether I should retake the test. Could a higher score bolster my chances at a top-tier law school?

The decision to retake the LSAT isn’t one to take lightly. It’s a balance of time, effort, and the potential to improve. I know that a 173 is already a strong score, but there’s always that nagging question: what if I could do even better? Let’s explore the factors that might influence a decision to retake the LSAT, even when you’ve already aced it.

Factors to consider when deciding whether to retake the LSAT

When I’m wrestling with whether to retake the LSAT, the decision hinges on a multitude of factors. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons meticulously, without the haste that often leads to regrettable choices.

Law School Admissions Policies
First and foremost, I dig into the admissions policies of my target law schools. Some institutions favor the highest score while others consider an average. It’s crucial to know how the schools I’m aiming for treat multiple LSAT scores. Compiling this information helps solidify my decision-making process.

Time and Financial Investment
Another significant factor is the investment of time and money. Preparing for the LSAT is no small feat, and it demands a significant chunk of both. I examine whether I have the necessary resources and time to dedicate to studying again. The costs aren’t limited to test fees; there’s also the price of prep courses, books, and potentially lost income if I need to cut back on work hours to study.

  • Time commitment
  • Financial cost
  • Potential work trade-offs

Potential for Score Improvement
A critical question I ask myself is how likely it is that my score will improve. Given that I’ve already scored in the 99th percentile, marginal gains are harder to come by. I need to consider if I have specific weaknesses that I could feasibly overcome with more preparation, or if I’ve already peaked in my performance.

Psychological Factors
The stress and pressure of retaking the LSAT cannot be ignored. The psychological impact of studying for and taking the exam again is substantial. I need to be honest with myself about my mental and emotional bandwidth. Can I handle the strain, or would it be detrimental to my well-being and thus counterproductive?

Career Goals and Scholarships
Lastly, I reflect on my ultimate career goals and the role scholarships might play in achieving them. If snagging a scholarship is a priority, and I believe a few extra points on the LSAT could be the key to unlocking those doors, retaking the test might be a strategic move. On the other hand, if I’m content with the options my current score provides, then the incentive to endure the process again diminishes.

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Understanding the significance of a 173 LSAT score

Achieving a 173 on the LSAT places you in a select group of test-takers. To provide context, here’s what this score represents. The LSAT is scored on a scale from 120 to 180, with 173 being an exceptionally high score. In fact, scoring a 173 puts you in the 99th percentile, meaning you scored better than 99% of the people who took the exam. This is no small feat and speaks volumes about your understanding of the material and test-taking skills.

Law school admissions committees often view applicants with a score of 173 as highly competitive candidates. This score can open doors to prestigious law schools, which might lead to a more promising legal career. When evaluating such a strong score, it’s also important to consider the other aspects of your application. Your undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, and personal statement are also crucial. Together with a 173 LSAT score, these components can make your application stand out.

However, it’s not just about getting into law school; scholarships and financial considerations come into play as well. Many law schools offer merit-based scholarships, and a 173 LSAT score significantly boosts your chances of receiving financial aid. This can reduce the burden of law school debt and provide more flexibility in your post-graduate career choices.

To put it into perspective, here’s a list of things a 173 LSAT score can potentially influence:

  • Acceptance into top-tier law schools
  • Eligibility for competitive scholarships
  • Career opportunities post-graduation

Prior to considering a retake, weigh how much a potential increase in your score might actually benefit your law school applications. An increase could potentially tip the scale in your favor for the most selective law schools or increase your scholarship offers. However, given the high caliber represented by a 173, the marginal gains may be limited, especially considering the inherent variability of the test on any given administration day. As you reflect on your law school journey and the significant accomplishment of achieving a 173, it’s worth pondering the balance between the potential benefits of a higher score and the time and effort that would be required to attempt to achieve it.

The potential benefits of retaking the LSAT with a 173 score

With a score of 173 on the LSAT, I’m already among the top applicants. But if I’m aiming for nothing short of the Ivy League or other elite law schools, even the smallest improvement could make a significant difference. While a 173 is impressive, scoring a 175 or above can sometimes be the tiebreaker between me and another applicant with similar credentials.

Boosting my application to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford is one of the potential benefits of retaking the LSAT. These schools have median LSAT scores around the 173 mark. Therefore, surpassing their median score could not only secure my admission but could also place me in a better position for scholarship negotiations. Considering the high cost of law school, any additional financial aid could greatly reduce my student loan burden.

Let’s not forget about the psychological advantage of a higher score. Scoring in the absolute top percentiles can increase my confidence during interviews and networking events, where every bit of self-assurance goes a long way. It’s not just about what I know; it’s also about showing potential law schools, and future employers, that I can go the extra mile.

In terms of sheer numbers, here’s how a score improvement might look:

Current Score173 (99th percentile)
Potential Score175+ (99th percentile)

A 2-point increase doesn’t seem like much, but it could be the deciding factor in law school admissions. However, it’s crucial to weigh these benefits with the investment required to achieve a higher score. There’s no guarantee that I’ll improve my score after retaking the LSAT, but for me, the pursuit of excellence is worth the challenge.

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If I have set my sights on a particular legal career path or specialization, having a higher LSAT could be particularly beneficial. Specialized programs are highly competitive, and a stellar LSAT score could bolster my application to these niche areas of law study. Moreover, it can be a significant boost when competing for roles in highly sought-after firms or organizations post-graduation.

Weighing the time and effort required for LSAT retake

Deciding to retake the LSAT isn’t just about eyeing a higher score. It’s a considerable commitment that demands careful planning. As someone who’s waded through the prep books and tackled practice tests with a respectable 173 in hand, I know it’s crucial to weigh the investment of time and effort that goes into a second attempt.

Firstly, I’ll need to evaluate my current obligations. Do I have enough time to dedicate to rigorous study without compromising my other responsibilities? It’s crucial to ensure that I’m not stretching myself too thin, as that could lead to burnout or negatively affect my performance across the board.

When considering a retake, the quantity and quality of study materials available to me are also essential. Can I access fresh prep resources that’ll challenge me enough to push my score higher? It’s vital to keep my study sessions productive. Just going through the motions won’t cut it; I’ll need to target my weak areas and turn them into strengths.

Also, it’s not just about the hours put into studying—it’s about the intensity and focus of those hours. I have to ask myself if I can maintain the mental stamina necessary for another high-stakes test prep cycle. Am I mentally prepared to dive into the LSAT universe again, pushing for that 2-point (or more) increase, knowing that there’s no guarantee it will happen? It’s a tough question, but an essential one.

Moreover, I have to consider the cost factor. Beyond the test fee, I might need to invest in additional prep courses or private tutoring. These can be quite pricey, but if they’re likely to provide that extra edge, they could be well worth it. It’s a fine balance between potential return on investment and the financial burden of the prep process.

The benefits of retaking the LSAT may indeed be substantial, but they’re not garnered without significant sacrifice and steadfast determination. My journey to reassess, commit, and ultimately succeed on this path is one that requires more than just knowing the content—it’s about mastering the test-taking experience as a whole.

Exploring the impact of a higher LSAT score on law school admissions

When pondering whether to retake the LSAT after already achieving a score of 173, it’s essential to understand how a higher score could influence your law school admissions prospects. Law schools use the LSAT score as a critical metric in assessing applicants, with higher scores often correlating to stronger consideration.

Firstly, it’s important to recognize that an increase in your LSAT score can place you in a different percentile, potentially positioning you for acceptance into a more prestigious law school. For instance, while a score of 173 puts you in approximately the 99th percentile, even a couple of points’ increase might give you an edge over other applicants with similar qualifications.

I’ve compiled some key points to consider:

  • Scholarship Opportunities: A superior LSAT score can boost your chances of receiving merit-based scholarships. Law schools, aiming to elevate their rankings, may offer generous scholarships to candidates with exceptional LSAT scores, which can significantly reduce the financial burden of law school.
  • More Selective Law Schools: Achieving an LSAT score above the median for top-tier law schools can heighten your appeal to those institutions, potentially opening doors to more selective programs, which often lead to better job placement and career opportunities post-graduation.
  • Enhanced Bargaining Power: If you’re aiming to negotiate scholarship offers, a higher LSAT score can serve as powerful leverage. Admissions committees are more inclined to increase scholarship amounts to attract highly qualified candidates.
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While contemplating a retake, remember to research the average LSAT scores for the schools you’re targeting. Admission to law school isn’t solely dictated by your LSAT score; your GPA, personal statements, and recommendations play significant roles as well. However, a score above a school’s 75th percentile can substantially increase your chances of admission and merit aid.

The prospect of a more favorable outcome may tempt you to risk the retake. While there are no guarantees, understanding these benefits can help in making an informed decision. Keep in mind that intensive study and unwavering commitment are prerequisites to improving your score.


Deciding whether to retake the LSAT with a score of 173 is a personal choice that hinges on individual goals and circumstances. I’ve outlined the significant commitment required if you choose to pursue a higher score. Remember, it’s not just about hitting the books again—it’s about the readiness to make sacrifices and face the possibility that your score might not improve. However, if you’re aiming for the upper echelons of law schools or substantial scholarships, that extra point or two could make all the difference. Weigh your options, consider the law schools you’re eyeing, and trust your judgment. After all, you’ve already proven you have what it takes to achieve an impressive score. Now it’s about deciding how much further you want to push for that potential increase.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I retake the LSAT if I have a score of 173?

It depends on your target law school and career goals. If a higher score will significantly improve your chances of acceptance or scholarship offers at a top-tier law school, it might be worth considering a retake. Assess the potential benefits against the time and effort required for additional preparation.

What factors should I consider before retaking the LSAT?

Before deciding to retake the LSAT, consider your current obligations, the availability of high-quality study materials, the mental and physical stamina needed for further preparation, and the financial cost of prep courses or private tutoring.

How much improvement can I expect from retaking the LSAT?

Improvement varies widely among test takers. While some may achieve a significant score increase, others may see minimal change or even a lower score. It’s important to have a realistic expectation and to understand that success is not guaranteed.

Can a higher LSAT score impact my law school admissions?

Yes, a higher LSAT score can position you in a different percentile, enhancing your law school application. It may increase your chances of getting into more prestigious law schools and may lead to better scholarship opportunities.

Will a better LSAT score guarantee my acceptance into a top law school?

No, admission to law school is not solely based on your LSAT score. Law schools consider a holistic view of each application, including undergraduate GPA, personal statements, recommendation letters, and other achievements. However, a higher LSAT score can be a significant factor.

How do I know if the law schools I’m targeting would consider a higher LSAT score?

Research the average LSAT scores for your target schools and gauge where your current score places you among their applicants. If your score is already above their 75th percentile, retaking might not be necessary. If it’s below, a higher score could be advantageous.

Author Profile

George Margas
George Margas
Hello, I’m George Margas, the founder of this platform dedicated to exploring the fascinating world of laws and the justice system. While I’m not a lawyer by profession, my passion for the intricacies of legal systems has driven me to create this space as a comprehensive resource for legal enthusiasts, students, and anyone intrigued by the complexities of the law.