Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

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Innocent13
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Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby Innocent13 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:52 pm

I recently (literally just finished) took the June LSAT and experienced a panic attack on the exam. The timer, being used by the proctor, accidentally went off four times in the first eight minutes of the second section- RC, which is what triggered the attack. I was unable to finish two of the passages because I had to restart the first passage each time the timer went off. On practice exams, I usual score 168-170, so I knew guessing on 14 questions was well below what I was capable of. I ended up canceling the score before leaving as the section on which I had the attack could not have been the experimental section.

I generally struggle with anxiety and have recently seen a psychiatric who diagnosed me with both anxiety and ADHD, starting medication soon! I was reconsidering taking the exam however after reading many posts, responders said if you have anxiety attacks, law school isn't for you. It has been a goal of mine to pursue law school; however, I understand it might not be for me. I plan on taking the exam again in September, however I don't want to waste my time if anxiety is going to keep me from doing well. Below I have included background informations so you can get a better idea of the type of student I am and hopefully can suggest the right path for me.

Background Info: I am a 4.0 accounting and economics major (so not "challenging majors") at a medium-sized state school 25,000+ who tends to be quiet involved in school (on Chancellor's Senior Honors, college Homecoming court, president of a few clubs, ecct...), I had similar issues with the ACT and ended up scoring quiet low (31); however, I am some-what excelling in school despite my poor standardized test scores. My new medication may remedy these issues, but I don't want to pursue law school if the chemical imbalance in my brain due to anxiety and ADHD will hinder me.

Do you believe this anxiety is a strong indicator that I should not attend law school and give up my goal?

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:03 pm

Innocent13 wrote:I recently (literally just finished) took the June LSAT and experienced a panic attack on the exam. The timer, being used by the proctor, accidentally went off four times in the first eight minutes of the second section- RC, which is what triggered the attack. I was unable to finish two of the passages because I had to restart the first passage each time the timer went off. On practice exams, I usual score 168-170, so I knew guessing on 14 questions was well below what I was capable of. I ended up canceling the score before leaving as the section on which I had the attack could not have been the experimental section.

I generally struggle with anxiety and have recently seen a psychiatric who diagnosed me with both anxiety and ADHD, starting medication soon! I was reconsidering taking the exam however after reading many posts, responders said if you have anxiety attacks, law school isn't for you. It has been a goal of mine to pursue law school; however, I understand it might not be for me. I plan on taking the exam again in September, however I don't want to waste my time if anxiety is going to keep me from doing well. Below I have included background informations so you can get a better idea of the type of student I am and hopefully can suggest the right path for me.

Background Info: I am a 4.0 accounting and economics major (so not "challenging majors") at a medium-sized state school 25,000+ who tends to be quiet involved in school (on Chancellor's Senior Honors, college Homecoming court, president of a few clubs, ecct...), I had similar issues with the ACT and ended up scoring quiet low (31); however, I am some-what excelling in school despite my poor standardized test scores. My new medication may remedy these issues, but I don't want to pursue law school if the chemical imbalance in my brain due to anxiety and ADHD will hinder me.

Do you believe this anxiety is a strong indicator that I should not attend law school and give up my goal?


Reading this message board with that in mind is like going to WebMD to figure out what might be causing an itch and realizing that you have cancer, various STDs, and asthma for some reason. Just because you have anxiety and other people on here who are in law school have unreasonable amounts of anxiety doesn't meant that you shouldn't go to law school.

There is certainly a lot of pressure in law school. Classmates can be obnoxiously competitive (as you have seen on here) and race horse exams suck. And then after law school the bar exam is a beast. But anxiety shouldn't keep you from going to law school if law school is something that you really want to do. Especially with a 4.0, depending on how high you can jack up your LSAT, you'll have some amazing options.

I would just ask you to ask yourself why is it that you want to go to law school and is law school worth the anxiety you will feel. You will feel some anxiety as a law student--it is inevitable. But it is manageable. Much of the anxiety people experience is job/money related. Either they go to law school with no idea about what they want to do and they are about to graduate with no job because they had no purpose. Or they go to a horrible law school and have no job prospects because of the horrible law school. Or they have massive amounts of debt with some combination of the first two things. With your stats and a bit of "why law school" soul searching you may end up at a school that will mitigate some of those anxieties by not having much debt, by having a clear purpose, and by being someplace that will set you up for a job.

Innocent13
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby Innocent13 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:21 pm

Smokey the Bear,

Thank you for your post. I guess I have always wanted to go to law school because I worked in a law office the past several years and have enjoyed it. I loved being a runner, getting the chance to go to court and see litigation... I have never been destined to go to a top school, as many commentators are here- I simply wanted a 160 for a full ride to my state school, as I have many family reasons to want to stay and practice in state. I may take it again with medication and hope that helps.

Thank you again for you reassuring post.

BigZuck
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby BigZuck » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:23 pm

You said you scored "quite low" on the ACT with a score of 31. Just looked up the ACT score range and saw that it is out of 36 and a 31 is in the 97th percentile.

What's the deal?

Innocent13
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby Innocent13 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:32 pm

Big Zuck,

Sorry for the confusion, without context that seems a little odd. What I meant by quiet low is that I have surrounded myself (friends and family) with individuals who scored mostly in the 35-36 range with little studying, so I am on the laughably low side of things (plus I worked really hard for that score, I started at a 27 cold). In addition to that, the ACT is used a predictor for college aptitude, and although I only attend a state school and am in an easy major, I am still exceeding my ACT expectations. I added this as a factor because I was hoping to give context to the idea that although I may only receive a 155 on my LSAT due to anxiety, I can potentially still out preform that score in class due to work ethic and other factors; however, I was unsure if that is possible in law school/your LSAT score truly does predict how well you will preform in law school.

Thanks for the reply!

pyramidenergy888
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby pyramidenergy888 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:33 pm

Anxiety and stress are factors that every human being struggles with. In the LSAT and in life, you must practice to get better at the things that challenge you. Learn to regulate your emotions so that you have a better grip when things go sour, like when the proctor's timer going off made you slip up. Working through your emotions in daily life will help. What are the big issues in your life that keep you from feeling great? Everyone has a few at least. Work on these and start feeling great. It's not like some just have what it takes to handle anxiety. Everyone has to work at it. You can do well on the LSAT and do well in law school if you decide that that is what you want. It's in your hands.. Don't resist when your issues come up and may be frustrating. Facing the things that challenge you the most will help you get better. No pain, no gain. GL

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:14 pm

I don't think most people consider econ an easy major (I certainly don't).

In any case, law is stressful, but so are a lot of professions. If you want to be a lawyer you owe it to yourself to try treatment and see what that does for you. If medication/therapy works to control your anxiety I don't think law will be any worse for you than it is for anyone else.

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Slippin' Jimmy
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby Slippin' Jimmy » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:49 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I don't think most people consider econ an easy major (I certainly don't).

Definitely isn't, I was Econ but switched to Polisci to save my GPA.

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Slippin' Jimmy
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby Slippin' Jimmy » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:51 pm

To OP: If you are diagnosed ADHD see about getting accommodations for your next take. Something like the timer messing up probably wouldn't have given me a panic attack, but definitely would have messed with me and quite possibly would have ruined my score. Don't sweat it.

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Jordan77
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby Jordan77 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:05 am

Sounds like you'll do just fine in law school. Standardized tests are much different than law school exams. If you can master difficult subject matter, I believe you will be less anxious taking a law school exam as opposed to a standardized test.

Certainly some law school exams can be brutal; but it is typically brutal to other people as well and you end up on a curve anyways.

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lavarman84
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby lavarman84 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:09 am

Go for it. You'll be fine. A lot of law students are naturally anxious people. It tends to attract that personality. You won't be alone.

MomJustLetMeGoToGULC
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby MomJustLetMeGoToGULC » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:31 am

Go for it! I was diagnosed with clinical depression and did not seek help until after I had finished my undergrad. I had an abysmal UGPA, but a redeeming LSAT score. I am in law school now at a T14, and I still deal with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, but that hasn't held me back. Please, don't limit yourself because you're worried that your mental health will stand in the way. I promise you, if you can grab it by the reins, take care of yourself, and keep your priorities straight, you will do just fine.

Also, if you get your full ride to your state school (with everything you've said so far, I have no doubt you will!) and you're still worried about your anxiety, give it a go for your 1L year! The financial risk is much lower and if you find that coping is difficult, then you've not lost a lot. But at least you've given yourself the chance to be successful at it. You can also always add an addendum when applying. I did explaining the disparity between my UGPA and LSAT score. Let them know that you have outperformed your standardized test scores.

Good luck with everything, and I truly hope you rewrite the LSAT and apply! You sound absolutely brilliant :)

And hell, all law students are nervous wrecks! You'll fit right in! :D

Innocent13
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby Innocent13 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:26 pm

Sorry for the late reply- I was out of the country. Thank you to everyone that took the time to reply, I appreciate the help with it. I am not on this forum a lot, so I am unsure if the OP usually replies but I want to thank you each for the time you have spent to read my issue and respond.

Pyramidenergy888: Thank-you for your advice, but unfortunately, as I have found out over the past month my anxiety is the cause of severe, high function ADHD due to some chemical issue in my brain and for the LSAT the anxiety stems from the fact that I greatly worry about being unable to focus on the questions. For example, in June I was extremely concerned before the test that I would be placed by a pencil/foot tapper, a slightly heavy breather, a ticking clock... All things that in the past have completely derailed my ability to even fill out information such as my name on a standardized test, and without being able to use earplugs (as I am able to for all regular college exams) I was extremely worried about something happening, as small as dropping a pencil as that would be it for my exam. I am now taking medication which greatly helps with my ability to focus so while I have tried to control my emotions, I am not entire certain I can. But hopefully, some medication will be the right thing for me.

A. Nony Mouse and Slippn' Jimmy: I am glad everyone outside of my college believes it to be a difficult major as hopefully that will help me in the admissions process. However, my particular college does this thing where you can be an Econ Business major (not attending econ graduate school) or you can be an arts and sciences econ major (attending graduate school). As an econ business major selection I was able to bypass taking DiffyQ and upper level statistics courses as well as econometrics #2.

Jordan77: Thank you for the reassurance. I do worry that law school exams are something I will be unable to handle but I am pleased to hear they are not like standardized exams! I do much better on exams in which the material can be learned and processed as opposed to the LSAT where the varying degree of things you can get is endless. (I did recently pick up the Powerscore books and am now realizing there is some repetition to the LSAT, so hopefully that helps). As for accommodations, I may try; however, after reading online forums (not always the best) I am pretty certain they will not be accepted- however, it doesn't hurt to ask.

lavaran84: Thank you! I am going to try and retake in September, however as a back up plan I did take the GMAT and will be apply to some Masters of Accountancy programs just incase.

MomJustLetMeGoTOGULC: I am glad you were able to get some help with your mental health, as I am finding out it can be a hard thing to accept and a really hard thing for other people to accept. (Lots of negative comments from close "friends" about how I am just looking for ways to cheat...) but I am learning to accept that. As I posted above, I am going to try it out and see how it goes. I have never thought about an addendum; however, as we get closer I may look into as I might need to explain the cancelled LSAT score...

Thank you all for your help and support! Just as an update, I have started studying again (had to take a quick break to take the GMAT) and am back at it. With the medication I am realizing that I am able to read not only every sentence in the Logical Reasoning section (who knew they had so much information?!?!?!) but also the entire reading comprehension section! Before I had to skip reading the passage and go straight to the questions to try and pick out answers, but it is so much easier when you can read the whole thing. I am hoping the medication helps on the real lsat as well. Although I have yet to take a full blown practice exam I expect to see drastic improvements on reading comprehension (the only section I was routinely missing questions in). Once again, thank you for you help!

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texasreznikoff
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Re: Panic Attack on Exam: Is law school right for me?

Postby texasreznikoff » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:12 pm

ooof, solidarity. i had a panic attack on my first LSAT and had to cancel the score. it was one of the worst days of my life. i ended up pulling off a score in your PT range on a retake and am now spending a lot of gap year time focusing on my mental health. you'll be ok! try to stay off the forums - that definitely made it worse for me.




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