Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

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Borachio05
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Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby Borachio05 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:13 pm

Hello everyone,

I took the December LSAT after a few months of intense, daily preparation...and choked horribly. :oops: :cry:

I pulled a 162, when I was averaging 6-10 points higher than that...simply because I nearly fainted during the first LR section. I got cold, started sweating uncontrollably, and began to see white spots. My brain shut down for almost ten minutes, and I thought I was about to vomit. The more I tried to re-focus the more I panicked. I just couldn't think. I finished the rest of the test strong, for what it's worth, but still feel like shit to this day. I'm the LSAT equivalent of Tony Romo, Bob Stoops, and Billy Buckner COMBINED!

I'll never forget what it's like to choke like that. It's never happened to me before, and I'm terrified it'll happen again when I take the February test. The most frustrating thing, and I imagine this has happened to many other people as well, is that it was not a lack of preparation or ability that's held me back...just an inability to remain calm.

I'd really appreciate it if people who have struggled with similar anxiety would share some tips with me.

Thank you, and good luck to everyone applying this cycle!

becauseimaddicted
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby becauseimaddicted » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:39 pm

I'm in exactly the same situation (though my reaction wasn't as extreme as yours sounds).

I spent the summer studying a lot, took a course and worked with a tutor. I was scoring in the high 160's, panicked during LG (heart racing, hands sweating, couldn't make even the simplest deduction because my brain was someplace else). Missed twelve and got a 161.

Retook in December. I studied more but didn't cram, tried to relax. I felt great, my pt's were ranging from 16-173.

The morning of, I was really relaxed. Weirdly relaxed, since I'm a pretty anxious person. Felt like a zombie the first two sections and, again, royally fucked them up. Ended up with a 160.

I'm taking again in February. I really need to get this score up, especially because I know my applications won't be looked at until very late in the cycle.

I don't have any great advice, but this is what I'm going to change for February.

Weekly acupunture. I was mocked in another thread for mentioning this, but it does help me relax and I'll take anything i can get.
Weekly yoga (deep breathing can help with panic attacks, which it sounds like you had)
More efficient studying (to avoid burnout)

Also, I'm trying to view this LSAT as something I'm doing for myself, to prove to myself that I can do it. As important as it is for the schools I want to go to, I am already admitted into one school, so the pressure is kind of off in that regard. I've taken the test twice and feel like an idiot for choking both times. I know I can do better, and its important to me that I do. The score, and the schools, are secondary in that regard.

If anyone else has other advice, please share!!

Swamp Monster
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby Swamp Monster » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:46 pm

Hey, I can't say my reaction was as severe as yours, but on Sept. LSAT I definitely struggled with anxiety on LR and got a -9 and - 5 when I was averaging -2 on PT's my best advice is to try and almost turn that part of your brain off as weird as it sounds...I worked on it for the December LSAT and got a -2 and -3 on the two sections...When I began to freak out I just took 10 seconds and consciously focused all my energy on the question in front of me, it's not simple or easy but as I'm sure you're painfully aware you can't afford to give up 5 minutes stuck inside your own head and expect to do your best....Good luck I know its not easy to deal with.

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Borachio05
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby Borachio05 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:47 pm

Thank you both. I have always had a problem with fainting since I was eleven (low blood pressure). I'm greatful to hear words of encouragement.

Good luck on the next test =)

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bloustmaster
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby bloustmaster » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:24 pm

you must realize that it is only a test. Though the test determines what school you'll go to, it will not determine how good of a lawyer you'll be. Realize every kid in the room is the same as you.

huck
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby huck » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:19 pm

Exact same position, Because. I suspect the low 160s are often populated with those of us who choke a bit.
I'm trying this guy's tack: http://zenof180.blogspot.com/

Also, read some literature on choking. Try Gladwell's piece: --LinkRemoved-- It's a fairly common and particularly interesting phenomenon that, in the absence of instant feedback, we are often unaware of. I had no idea how much I was screwing up as I was taking the test. I took alot of real PTs strictly administered by a second party but the two lowest scores I've ever gotten on the test are on LSAC's website just staring at me. Get a better understanding of the realities of choking under pressure and don't think you can just remove all of that pressure, you might just have to deal with alot of it. Good luck in Feb.

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chadwick218
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:31 pm

Stress with respect to the LSAT is nothing compared to the stress that you'll face when preparing for your first semester's exams.

With that said, I found that completing practice test after practice test helped to reduce my overall level of stress. Additionally, I tried to take as many practice test at the same time as the actual test in test like conditions.

Derrex
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby Derrex » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:32 pm

There are drugs to deal with anxiety. If you are physically getting ill during the test, you might want to consider it.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:34 pm

Derrex wrote:There are drugs to deal with anxiety. If you are physically getting ill during the test, you might want to consider it.

+1
Sounds like an anxiety attack. Worth experimenting with a low dose of benzodiazepines if you have the money to visit a doctor.

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chadwick218
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:35 pm

Derrex wrote:There are drugs to deal with anxiety. If you are physically getting ill during the test, you might want to consider it.


Actually, this is a good point. I'm looking into taking aderall during finals next semesters and will use midterms (mostly ungraded) as a trial experiment.

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Borachio05
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby Borachio05 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:45 pm

chadwick218 wrote:
Derrex wrote:There are drugs to deal with anxiety. If you are physically getting ill during the test, you might want to consider it.


Actually, this is a good point. I'm looking into taking aderall during finals next semesters and will use midterms (mostly ungraded) as a trial experiment.


What would aderall do for anxiety? Isn't that basically speed? Might be the last thing I need; sounds good for studying, but on test day I'd rather not risk it.

I've never taken it, but was roommates in college with a guy who had Asperger's Syndrome (high functionality autism). Most people with his condition can pass for a typical "normal" (albeit strange) person, but the Aderall he'd take was crucial for him to focus on human interactions and developing social skills.

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chadwick218
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:54 pm

Borachio05 wrote:I've never taken it, but was roommates in college with a guy who had Asperger's Syndrome (high functionality autism). Most people with his condition can pass for a typical "normal" (albeit strange) person, but the Aderall he'd take was crucial for him to focus on human interactions and developing social skills.


The couple of cases where I know that adderall was prescribed over a typical anti-anxiety drug were for friends who really only suffered more from extreme test anxiety and probably had some form of ADHD.

becauseimaddicted
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby becauseimaddicted » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:22 pm

huck wrote:Exact same position, Because. I suspect the low 160s are often populated with those of us who choke a bit.
I'm trying this guy's tack: http://zenof180.blogspot.com/


I've been through his whole website and haven't found anything except a catchy title and the same advice I've read elsewhere.

Which parts of his strategy are you finding helpful?

As for drugs, I've taken lorazepam in the past for panic attacks and found that it worked well without rendering me a stoned zombie the way some of those drugs do.

I wouldn't take it during the test because I've never taken it during practice, but that's more because the anxiety (obviously) isn't as bad during practice tests.

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chadwick218
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby chadwick218 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:41 pm

becauseimaddicted wrote:As for drugs, I've taken lorazepam in the past for panic attacks and found that it worked well without rendering me a stoned zombie the way some of those drugs do.


I have thought of this, but have been leary of the sedative type effects, especially during finals. This is good to know.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:58 pm

Adderall is not an anti-anxiety drug. It is a stimulant prescribed to treat hyperactivity and inability to concentrate. It is generally taken by children and adults with ADHD, as well as by adults who are scamming their doctors to gain an advantage at school or work.

The two main classes of anti-anxiety medications are SSRIs and benzodiazepines (like lorazepam). SSRIs (which are also used to treat depression) would be prescribed for someone who has chronic, generalized anxiety and must be taken every day, while benzodiazepines are taken as needed to treat acute anxiety (acute in the medical sense). A low dose of a benzodiazepine is generally not particularly sedating, but, as with all medications, you should never try it for the first time in an environment in which you absolutely have to function.

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jmaan
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby jmaan » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:17 pm

Hey everyone..I was in the same position before dec. I tool the sep LSAT and scored well below my pt average due to nerves...I was well prepped and I knew this.

I signed up for the next LSAT and just took 3 pts/week and reviewed them the next day.. That's it...I went out and drank a lot and just treated the test like a final for a class I already had an A in and always attended class...I just knewi wasgonna kill it..
Took the test and hit my exact pt average breaking 170

so the moral of the story is that if you know you are prepped..then just stop stressing..just treat it like u already beat it and I promise you'll improve

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angiej
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby angiej » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:33 pm

I am prescribed adderal for ADHD and it actually INCREASES my anxiety.

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FloridaGirl
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby FloridaGirl » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:41 pm


bkbkbk
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby bkbkbk » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:30 am

I naturally get very intense when taking tests and in the past this has sometimes manifested itself in panic. But I remember hearing a guy on these forums talking about channeling that intensity into more of a feeling of determination. It might sound kind of weired but he would imagine himself as a warrior and attack the questions one buy one. I have since used this in my undergrad courses and it works great for me. It lets me channel that intensity. Every question is just a small obstacle and every question I can solve just gets me more pumped up. Rather than being a victim to my tests and taking them in a defensive manner and being thrown off by some of the questions I try to be proactive and offensive with the intention of making that test my bitch. For me it was an issue of getting over my fear of the test and going the extra step of wanting to mutilate the shit out of it. That's my plan for test day.

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IHaveDietMoxie
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby IHaveDietMoxie » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:50 am

Borachio05 wrote:Hello everyone,

I took the December LSAT after a few months of intense, daily preparation...and choked horribly. :oops: :cry:

I pulled a 162, when I was averaging 6-10 points higher than that...simply because I nearly fainted during the first LR section. I got cold, started sweating uncontrollably, and began to see white spots. My brain shut down for almost ten minutes, and I thought I was about to vomit. The more I tried to re-focus the more I panicked. I just couldn't think. I finished the rest of the test strong, for what it's worth, but still feel like shit to this day. I'm the LSAT equivalent of Tony Romo, Bob Stoops, and Billy Buckner COMBINED!

I'll never forget what it's like to choke like that. It's never happened to me before, and I'm terrified it'll happen again when I take the February test. The most frustrating thing, and I imagine this has happened to many other people as well, is that it was not a lack of preparation or ability that's held me back...just an inability to remain calm.

I'd really appreciate it if people who have struggled with similar anxiety would share some tips with me.

Thank you, and good luck to everyone applying this cycle!

wow you're kind of like me. beta blockers, talk to your doctor about using them for the test.

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nematoad
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby nematoad » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:03 am

same same. got a 162 when i was averaging high 160s/low 170s... nearly half the questions i got wrong were on the last section. i just freaked. no other way to explain it. still makes me want to cry.
it's why i'm waiting for june instead of february. i'm still tripped out about it.

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chewdak
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby chewdak » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:53 pm

Be careful not to make your retake 'easy' -- it might hurt your performance.
Last edited by chewdak on Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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paratactical
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby paratactical » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:04 pm

.
Last edited by paratactical on Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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homestyle28
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Re: Tips on how to deal with stress? Please help!

Postby homestyle28 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:29 pm

As tempting as it is to just post pictures of alcohol, I see that's already been done...so here are 2 things to help (1 of which i actually use).

1.) Despite all other indication you may have, this test (interview, date, etc.) is not the sum total of who you are. Life will go on, in all likelihood you've worked hard to prepare for this moment. Now TRUST YOURSELF. It's wasteful to get hung up on being nervous, getting too worked up etc. When I took the June 09 Lsat I had a 4 hour drive to testing center and filled it with 'pump up' music and got overexcited pissing 4 or so points away. In Sept I got 4 hours sleep and barely cared about taking the test that day = 175. Being relaxed helps and you can control your thoughts.

2.) Talk to your schools learning disability center. They likely have CD's that help meditate past test anxiety. While I haven't used these, my wife has given them to friends who have gone up 10 percentage points on GRE's, LSATs etc.




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