June '15 Testing Anxiety: Group Therapy Thread

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Blueprint Ben
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June '15 Testing Anxiety: Group Therapy Thread

Postby Blueprint Ben » Fri May 22, 2015 3:49 pm

With the June test right around the corner, I'm creating a safe space for first timers and retakers to come vent their fears and share their experiences with testing anxiety.

I and hopefully other TLS veterans will be here to talk you down, motivate you, give you advice, and tell you everything is going to be ok.

I'll start: Everything is going to be ok.

Commence freakout.

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Generally
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Postby Generally » Fri May 22, 2015 3:52 pm

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Blueprint Ben
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Re: June '15 Testing Anxiety: Group Therapy Thread

Postby Blueprint Ben » Fri May 22, 2015 4:23 pm

Seamus887 wrote:First time for me in June. Happy with my PT average right now. Best advice for avoiding test day drops is appreciated.


Hey Seamus,

Not everyone experiences a test day drop, but I'd say a solid majority drop at least a few points on their first take. There's no surefire way to avoid it, but I'll share my experience as a two time taker: I saw a five point drop from my PT average on my first take, and I scored right at my (probably inflated) average the second time around. I'd credit the difference between under- and overperformance to a change in my mentality the second time around. On the day of my first take, I really didn't trust in my skills very much. I went in praying for a miracle, afraid of what might go wrong, rather than focusing on answering one question at a time, just like any other PT day. I got so swept up in the significance of the whole charade that I forgot to actually buckle down and focus on the test itself. I sped through LR and RC for fear of not finishing, and I slowed way down in LG for fear of making careless mistakes. The result was that my accuracy in LR and RC tanked, and I didn't finish LG.

The takeaway from my first take: Prepare thoroughly enough and trust enough in your skills that you don't go in praying for a miracle. You have to trust that if do exactly what you always do, you'll hit your target. I went in with that mentality the second time, and I did not experience a test day drop.

If you're happy with your PT average, then you're golden. Don't doubt for a second that your skills are there. Just sit down and do what you've always done. The test day drop isn't voodoo; it's doubt.

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Utterson
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Re: June '15 Testing Anxiety: Group Therapy Thread

Postby Utterson » Fri May 22, 2015 4:25 pm

I'm taking in October and/or December pending how busy I am at work. How does one deal with an exam as important as the LSAT? I feel like I will just remember it's only an exam and you can retake it if needed. Also, all you can do is try your best. As lame as that is. If you studied and prepared as much as possible and your average PT is around your target score, than screw it. The rest is all out of your hands in a sense.

Blueprint Ben
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:47 pm

Re: June '15 Testing Anxiety: Group Therapy Thread

Postby Blueprint Ben » Fri May 22, 2015 4:37 pm

Utterson wrote:I'm taking in October and/or December pending how busy I am at work. How does one deal with an exam as important as the LSAT? I feel like I will just remember it's only an exam and you can retake it if needed. Also, all you can do is try your best. As lame as that is. If you studied and prepared as much as possible and your average PT is around your target score, than screw it. The rest is all out of your hands in a sense.

I wouldn't say any part of it is out of your hands. Since you're taking in October/December, I'll say to you what I can't say to the June takers:

The best way to over-perform is to over-prepare. Since you have a lot of time to study, start preparing with the goal of scoring well above your target on PTs. Drill twice as much as you think you have to. Review for twice as long. Give more than you think you can handle. That work is going to lay the foundation for you the confidence you need on test day. You don't have to leave it up to luck and positive thinking. If you know that you've done the work, you won't have any reason to doubt your skills.

ctmnyc
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Re: June '15 Testing Anxiety: Group Therapy Thread

Postby ctmnyc » Fri May 22, 2015 5:51 pm

Blueprint Ben wrote:
Seamus887 wrote:First time for me in June. Happy with my PT average right now. Best advice for avoiding test day drops is appreciated.


Hey Seamus,

Not everyone experiences a test day drop, but I'd say a solid majority drop at least a few points on their first take. There's no surefire way to avoid it, but I'll share my experience as a two time taker: I saw a five point drop from my PT average on my first take, and I scored right at my (probably inflated) average the second time around. I'd credit the difference between under- and overperformance to a change in my mentality the second time around. On the day of my first take, I really didn't trust in my skills very much. I went in praying for a miracle, afraid of what might go wrong, rather than focusing on answering one question at a time, just like any other PT day. I got so swept up in the significance of the whole charade that I forgot to actually buckle down and focus on the test itself. I sped through LR and RC for fear of not finishing, and I slowed way down in LG for fear of making careless mistakes. The result was that my accuracy in LR and RC tanked, and I didn't finish LG.


This is literally exactly what happened to me in December and I'm panicked that I'll fall five points again, so I really appreciate the advice. Any other recommendations for a second time taker in these last two weeks besides PTs?

Blueprint Ben
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:47 pm

Re: June '15 Testing Anxiety: Group Therapy Thread

Postby Blueprint Ben » Fri May 22, 2015 8:36 pm

ctmnyc wrote:
Blueprint Ben wrote:
Seamus887 wrote:First time for me in June. Happy with my PT average right now. Best advice for avoiding test day drops is appreciated.


Hey Seamus,

Not everyone experiences a test day drop, but I'd say a solid majority drop at least a few points on their first take. There's no surefire way to avoid it, but I'll share my experience as a two time taker: I saw a five point drop from my PT average on my first take, and I scored right at my (probably inflated) average the second time around. I'd credit the difference between under- and overperformance to a change in my mentality the second time around. On the day of my first take, I really didn't trust in my skills very much. I went in praying for a miracle, afraid of what might go wrong, rather than focusing on answering one question at a time, just like any other PT day. I got so swept up in the significance of the whole charade that I forgot to actually buckle down and focus on the test itself. I sped through LR and RC for fear of not finishing, and I slowed way down in LG for fear of making careless mistakes. The result was that my accuracy in LR and RC tanked, and I didn't finish LG.


This is literally exactly what happened to me in December and I'm panicked that I'll fall five points again, so I really appreciate the advice. Any other recommendations for a second time taker in these last two weeks besides PTs?


I feel your pain. Here's what you should do: If you think your score suffered on the first take from timing problems (too fast/too slow), take a good number of PTs and timed sections, and focus on fitting your work into 35 minutes as snugly as possible. Aim to take the time you need--and only the time you need--on the hard questions to get them right, and be as efficient as possible with the easy ones. Put your pencil down at 34:59 on the dot. That's the goal. The more you rehearse that kind of exact pacing, the easier it will be to find the right pace on test day, even when you're battling nerves.


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