Unlike other graduate school entrance exams, such as the GMAT and MCAT, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is not offered year-round.
The LSAT is only administered four times a year: once in June, once in late September/early October, once in December, and once in February. It is important to decide which specific LSAT you would like to take, so you can plan your LSAT prep study schedule and law school applications accordingly.
In the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and some other countries/ regions, the LSAT is administered on a Saturday morning—except in June, when it is administered on a Monday afternoon. For Sabbath observers, the test is typically administered on the Monday following Saturday administrations.
Most law schools require that you take the LSAT by December at the latest for admission the following fall. However, taking the test earlier—in June or September/October—is often advised.
Think about it: if you give yourself more time between the last possible LSAT you can take and your first LSAT, then just in case you feel unprepared or receive an LSAT score you are not ecstatic about, you have the chance to re-take the LSAT.
We actually recommend targeting the June LSAT before the fall during which you will be applying to law school. For example, if I wanted to begin law school in Fall 2018, I would be applying to law schools in Fall 2017, so I would target the June 2017 LSAT.
The reason for this is that almost every law school has rolling admissions. This means that the first application in is the first application read. The longer you wait, the later your application will appear in the queue.
Ideally, you want to appear as early in the admissions queue as possible, so you are being compared to fewer applicants while competing for a greater number of available seats.
By targeting the June LSAT you will put yourself in a position to have your law school applications submitted on day one because, with your LSAT complete, you can spend the summer working on your applications, including your law school personal statement and your law school letters of recommendation.
That being said, however, if it comes down to applying early with a low LSAT score and applying later with a higher LSAT score, always choose the latter.
Remember, the LSAT is by far the number one factor in law school admissions—up to 75-80% of your application—so you want to ensure that your LSAT score is within the range required to have a realistic chance of gaining admission to your target law schools.