When will the December 2011 LSAT Scores be Released?

December 21, 2011 in Editorial

Sometime in the next few days, thousands of aspiring lawyers across the United States will be receiving their LSAT results. But when exactly? The scores are scheduled to come out on Friday, the 6th of January. But in the past decade LSAT scores have always come out before their scheduled release. Is it possible to predict with any level of certainty exactly when the scores will actually come out? After our success at predicting the release date of the October 2011 LSAT, Centives decided to find out.

The short answer is that we think the scores will be released on Wednesday the 4th of January. However due to the uncertainties outlined below, Centives also believes that release dates of Friday, the 30th of December, and Tuesday, the 3rd of January are possible (Update: They didn’t come out on either of our alternate dates – but we were right about our primary prediction!). Here’s why.

Predicting the release date of the December scores is the most difficult because over the years they have varied the most. Here’s a frequency distribution of the release dates of all LSAT exams excluding those that took place in December.

And here’s the frequency distribution of the release dates of December exams:

As the graphs show there is much greater variation in the number of days early that the December exam results have been released. This makes the job of predicting the date that much more difficult.

However despite this there are a couple of important trends. The coefficient of variation is a measure of how dispersed a dataset is. A higher values means that the data is more dispersed and that there is greater variability in the data. If we look at the coefficient of variation in the release dates over the years we see a general downward trend:

If this relationship continues to hold for 2011 (and it has so far) then this indicates that we can use the number of days early of previous exam sessions this year to more accurately predict how many days early the December 2011 results will be released. So far this year the results have been released two and three days ahead of schedule, therefore based on this trend, the December scores should also come out in around the same time frame.

The second trend is that for December exam sessions, the number of days in advance that the scores have been released have consistently fallen every year since 2007:

In December 2010 the LSAT scores were released four days ahead of schedule. Therefore if this trend continues then the scores should be released four or fewer days before the scheduled release date. This year the scores are scheduled to be released on Friday, the 6th of January. All signs would thus point them being released four days before, on Monday the 2nd of January. However this is a public holiday and so it is unlikely that scores will come out on this date. In the past scores have also never come out on a Tuesday. Therefore, even though historically speaking, it is exceedingly rare for scores to be released on a Wednesday, Centives predicts that the LSAT scores will be released on Wednesday, the 4th of January.

Other possibilities include the LSAC breaking its trend of never releasing scores on a Tuesday and releasing them on Tuesday, the 3rd of January instead. Or perhaps they’ll beat the turn of the New Year and release them on Friday, the 30th of December. Centives chose this as an alternate because, statistically speaking, scores have most often come out on a Friday. But overall Centives predicts a Wednesday, January 4th release date.

Our prediction is much later than some of the others that have been made. This is primarily because the other predictions note that 2010 is the only year that the scores have been released after the New Year and so this is a statistical anomaly that should be ignored. Centives understands the argument but also notes that it seems to be part of a wider trend to release the scores closer to the actual release date. Therefore those hoping to find absolution before 2012 begins may well be disappointed.

Update 1 – 1:19pm EST – According to our calculations today is the day…

Update 2 – 2:51pm ESTThings aren’t looking so good folks. These buttons: http://twitpic.com/759wc4 should turn grey about an hour before the scores go up.

Update 3 – 3:56pm EST – The buttons didn’t go grey until 4:30pm EST in October so there’s hope yet.

Update 4 – 4:36pm EST – It seems like they will be released either a day before the scheduled release or the date of the scheduled release. The trend has been clear for a while – the scores have been coming out later and later. Maybe 2012 marks the year that they begin to release them on the day that they are scheduled to come out…Sorry all, we can only imagine how difficult this is for you.

Update 5 – 5:22pm EST – The buttons have turned grey! The scores will come out today – as predicted. Good luck everybody!

Follow Centives on Twitter to get the latest updates or check back on this page. While waiting for your results take the time to some of our editorials such as the Best Justice League according to data from the FBI, a meta-analysis of coffee reviews for those late night study sessions for the bar, and the details of Kermit’s Muppet Telethon. You might also want to check out our series of posts looking at the Evolution of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart