Controlling nerves on the big day

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iwanta170
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Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby iwanta170 » Sat May 29, 2010 7:23 pm

I've been scoring in the upper 160's and lower 170's on practice tests I take in the library, but today I took a practice test with Testmasters (aka 100 other people were in the same room taking the same test) and my nerves got the best of me. I scored a 158. I was really anxious on a few of the games and was jumping into the questions before making hypotheticals. I was also reading things way too quickly on LR and was really jumpy and racing through things too quickly without looking at the big picture.

I wasn't nearly as cool, calm, and collected as I usually am and my score suffered. It doesn't help that I usually take 5-10mg of adderall before a practice test but today I took 10mg before and another 5mg during the break. Just so I don't f*ck myself up, I think ultimately I'm going to take just 5mg before the start of the test and that's it for the test. (Yes it's legally prescribed)

Does anyone who has taken the LSAT before, or others who think they can weigh in, have advice on how to overcome test day jitters?

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confusedlawyer
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby confusedlawyer » Sat May 29, 2010 7:33 pm

I haven't written it yet, but I feel I can offer a little advice. I'm like you, I write practice tests in the library and score in the high 160's. My fear to was that on test day I'll get anxious and make dumb mistakes. To be honest, I think it has something to do with the fact that when you are writing a test in the library, for the most part (minues noise around you) you control everything. If you need an extra minute for a section you can do that. If a LG question isn't clicking you can stop your timer and figure out what you are doing wrong. On test day, all of that stuff is thrown out the window. 35 minutes to finish 25 questions give or take. That's it. It's good maybe you got this out of your system, so you know a little of what to expect. I guess I'm different because I'm not really nervous. I know I've prepared the best way I could, and there's nothing more I could have done. Not sure what prescription you are talking about, but don't deviate from your normal routine. The night before get some sleep and just know that you are going to do your best, if you don't, you always have the option of cancelling and writing again.

Another important tip (specifics)

1. LG --> It is probably the most time sensitive section, because if you know it you finish early, if a game trips you up, you could be in for a bad night. Go through the games from easiest to hardest (hybrid). Never sacrifice accuracy for speed. Its better to finish 3 games perfect than rush 4 games, I learned that the hard way. If you're going to run out of time, you're going to run out of time.

2. LR --> I can't stress this enough. READ SLOWLY. LR is the best section for time I can't remember the last time I didn't finish in 35 minutes. It is much better to read slowly and understand the stimulus rather than quick reading 3 times and not understanding.

That's all I got, I can only hope what happened to you won't happen to me

Shrimps
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby Shrimps » Sat May 29, 2010 9:05 pm

Sex, and a good cigarette afterwards. Failing that, winning the lottery a few days prior can prove to be very relaxing.

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confusedlawyer
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby confusedlawyer » Sat May 29, 2010 9:26 pm

Shrimps wrote:Sex, and a good cigarette afterwards. Failing that, winning the lottery a few days prior can prove to be very relaxing.


I would quote you word for word making one minor adjustment of adding the word marijuana before cigarette. Fool proof

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Moxie
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby Moxie » Sat May 29, 2010 9:43 pm

iwanta170 wrote:I wasn't nearly as cool, calm, and collected as I usually am and my score suffered. It doesn't help that I usually take 5-10mg of adderall before a practice test but today I took 10mg before and another 5mg during the break. Just so I don't f*ck myself up, I think ultimately I'm going to take just 5mg before the start of the test and that's it for the test. (Yes it's legally prescribed)

Does anyone who has taken the LSAT before, or others who think they can weigh in, have advice on how to overcome test day jitters?


My best advice is to not get rattled if you think you made a mistake. I took it in December, and screwed up on an LG during the first section (misread one of the rules). Instead of not freaking out and focusing on the rest of the test, I couldn't stop thinking about it, and didn't devote my full energy to the other sections (ended up scoring 4 points below my PT average - not too terrible, but it's frustrating to know that I could've gotten my dream score if I had focused).

Other than that, eat enough so you're not hungry by the 3rd section, and just make sure to take PTs under the same conditions you'll be taking the test (ex: strictly timed, use the same kind of pencils, etc.)

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alex_cryp
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby alex_cryp » Sat May 29, 2010 11:09 pm

You are not alone!!! The same thing happened to me and I can't tell you how comforting it was to see your post. I've been scoring in the mid-high 160s and then took the Testmaster's diagnostic today and got a 157. That's worse than what I was scoring over a month ago! I seriously just went home and cried. But realized that I hyped myself up and when I made a big mistake in filling in the bubbles on rc, I let that throw me off and it affected the whole rest of the test.

I'm going to try to just slow myself down and focus on accuracy and not stress myself out on time. I also have ADD and am on Vyvanse, though I didn't change up my dosage before the test. Let me know if you come across any good ideas on how to beat the freak out. :)

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iwanta170
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby iwanta170 » Sun May 30, 2010 12:51 am

alex_cryp wrote:You are not alone!!! The same thing happened to me and I can't tell you how comforting it was to see your post. I've been scoring in the mid-high 160s and then took the Testmaster's diagnostic today and got a 157. That's worse than what I was scoring over a month ago! I seriously just went home and cried. But realized that I hyped myself up and when I made a big mistake in filling in the bubbles on rc, I let that throw me off and it affected the whole rest of the test.

I'm going to try to just slow myself down and focus on accuracy and not stress myself out on time. I also have ADD and am on Vyvanse, though I didn't change up my dosage before the test. Let me know if you come across any good ideas on how to beat the freak out. :)

My roommate dropped 10 points from his average as well. You're right-I think we all hyped ourselves up too much. Maybe that means on the real thing we should tell ourselves we are going to own it, but try to stay as calm as possible? I've always been more accurate with the slow and steady approach rather than being overhyped and reading things too quickly

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bk1
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby bk1 » Sun May 30, 2010 12:57 am

Shrimps wrote:Sex, and a good cigarette afterwards. Failing that, winning the lottery a few days prior can prove to be very relaxing.


Ironically enough, sex makes me do worse on PT's I do later that day.

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alex_cryp
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby alex_cryp » Sun May 30, 2010 4:16 pm

iwanta170 wrote:
alex_cryp wrote:You are not alone!!! The same thing happened to me and I can't tell you how comforting it was to see your post. I've been scoring in the mid-high 160s and then took the Testmaster's diagnostic today and got a 157. That's worse than what I was scoring over a month ago! I seriously just went home and cried. But realized that I hyped myself up and when I made a big mistake in filling in the bubbles on rc, I let that throw me off and it affected the whole rest of the test.

I'm going to try to just slow myself down and focus on accuracy and not stress myself out on time. I also have ADD and am on Vyvanse, though I didn't change up my dosage before the test. Let me know if you come across any good ideas on how to beat the freak out. :)

My roommate dropped 10 points from his average as well. You're right-I think we all hyped ourselves up too much. Maybe that means on the real thing we should tell ourselves we are going to own it, but try to stay as calm as possible? I've always been more accurate with the slow and steady approach rather than being overhyped and reading things too quickly


I agree. Especially for my reading comp, I find that if I just slow myself down, even if I don't have time to answer all the questions in the last passage, I do better than if I rush through everything. Also, my best PT was right after I had a massage, so I think that just being relaxed from the massage really helped me to not freak during the test. I've been doing Yoga lately, so I might bust out a few relaxing stretches while I'm waiting in line. I'm sure others will find this amusing, but I'll be in a mode where I don't care about what anyone else thinks or does.

sluguy14
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby sluguy14 » Sun May 30, 2010 4:30 pm

While I haven't taken the real thing yet, I gotta believe that staying positive will count for a lot on test day. If you get stuck on a question, don't let it bog you down for the rest of the section (or the rest of the test). I know this sounds cheesy, but I like to actually visualize myself succeeding.

And if you feel yourself getting too stressed (or panicking), just stop for a moment and take a deep breath.

09042014
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby 09042014 » Sun May 30, 2010 4:42 pm

Nut up

OrcinusOrcas
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby OrcinusOrcas » Sun May 30, 2010 4:46 pm

--ImageRemoved--

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iwanta170
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby iwanta170 » Mon May 31, 2010 7:57 pm

Thanks for the tips so far everyone. I was wondering if anyone else would be able to weigh in on controlling nerves

I took another practice test today and scored a 168, but on the first section, games, my mind was racing, I was over-excited, and I had to skip the first 2 games after failing to make any big deductions. Ultimately I got 5 questions wrong in the section because I ran out of time. I went over the first 2 games after the test to review my mistakes and had a really "chilled out" approach because obviously it wasn't timed. Both games were a piece of cake that time around.

How can I prevent this from happening again? Games are so much harder when my nerves are acting up.

skaklight
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby skaklight » Mon May 31, 2010 11:29 pm

bk1 wrote:
Shrimps wrote:Sex, and a good cigarette afterwards. Failing that, winning the lottery a few days prior can prove to be very relaxing.


Ironically enough, sex makes me do worse on PT's I do later that day.


Glad you said this, just bombed (5 points below average) a PT today and couldn't figure out why. Sex about 45 minutes before I started...oops.

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bk1
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby bk1 » Mon May 31, 2010 11:35 pm

skaklight wrote:Glad you said this, just bombed (5 points below average) a PT today and couldn't figure out why. Sex about 45 minutes before I started...oops.


I'm 3 for 3 on this (with significant 5-6 point drops) so I try to avoid it in the morning on days I am doing PT's.

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alex_cryp
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby alex_cryp » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:45 pm

HI Again.

I know this is going to sound new age and lame, but I wrote a bunch of positive affirmations on my mirrors around my house. Saying things like, "Relax. Smile." and "You have everything you need, just apply it." and "The world is rising up to meet me." I think it is really helping me.

I also find that if I am rattled by a difficult question or have lost my focus I just take a deep calming breath and get back to work. I thought that this tactic would waste precious time, but it seems to be getting me higher scores, b/c it is better than reading a stimulus three times b/c I am distracted or nervous.

Hope this helps!

:D

WWAD
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby WWAD » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:59 pm

Other than on the real thing, any mistake helps. I like making mistakes on PT because it shows what can happen. The pretest stuff stressed me out last time, so I write the statement ever time I do a test. The thing with taking it in a crowd is you have to develop some type of focus technique. I kind of do a blinders thing where I just focus on the paper. I am not much of a smile and be positive person on test day, I want to look and feel like I am going to kick the tests ass.

shock259
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby shock259 » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:44 pm

Plan for sex after. I was up 2 points on PTs when I knew I was going to get laid within minutes of finishing the PT.

ZombiesAhead
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby ZombiesAhead » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:43 pm

It's SO easy to get overhyped and start reading things over and over again without understanding them. This is really the worst for me in LR. I was PT'ing 172-174 on PT5X's and scored 163 in December, 2009 with a crap LR score.

1. Relax, slow down and read for comprehension - keep telling yourself this.

2. If you need adderall to stay focused on PT's, just remember that the adrenalin of test day may put you in a hyped-up state to start with. Use only the bare minimum to avoid anxiety-producing side effects.

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goawaybee
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby goawaybee » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:53 am

was taking adderall for PT's then realized it was just getting me too "speedy". very negative impact. Jacked up my focus. At this point I am debating taking some ativan or something. anti-anxiety meds etc...to keep my head on and be cool. Being midday is good and bad in a sense. Gives you plenty of time to work yourself up, but could also benefit if you are able to go to the gym...get the blood flowing,eat decent, cool out and get your head on. I always wanted to suggest that for people on adderall or any similar speedy type thing. to take ptests/with and then ptests without to see how they perform. I know, I know it is all for doctors and such to decide but i think some people would be surprised at the results. Need a month or two to trial and error this type of thing though. They need a hybrid, adderall with a anti anxiety thing mixed in there...stay focused but not stress. we can call it LSAT XR or something...make that money. again, grains of salt here. just an opinion. I don't go to doctors often nor am I a huge fan of western med. just saying those scrips can be tools or they can F*^$ up your game something fierce. we are all wired and conditioned a little different, just like studying gotta find a method that is optimal for you.

good luck, worry not and kill the test.

thriller219
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Re: Controlling nerves on the big day

Postby thriller219 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:17 pm

Yeah, if you do go the prescription drug route, don't do something you aren't familiar with. I've taken it twice already and nerves got the best of me both times (165 and a cancel), this time I am on a long-term anxiolytic (SSRI) and also have a 1 month prescription for Xanax.

So the other day I took 1 mg of Xanax before taking a PT, and went -28. I am usually no more than -12, almost always in the -5-10 range. The lesson: Less/no Xanax. (Probably less, but PTing in a few on it and once more before to gauge).




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