162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

SortOfObsessed
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162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby SortOfObsessed » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:32 pm

I'm apologize for having to preface this with a long back-story, but I feel it offers another dimension to my work ethic/test preparation abilities.

I'm currently in undergrad, a rising senior on track to receive my degree in December with a 3.7 GPA from an Ivy League university. Standardized testing has never been an issue for me before the LSAT and I have no one but myself to blame for this embarrassing turn of events. (I did well on the SAT in HS and was a National Merit scholar)

I took the February LSAT (well ahead of time compared to my peers) just to be safe. I went into the test after preparing using the Powerscore Bibles + Nova + All 3 LSAC books + Ace the Logic Games + 10 recent diagnostics, feeling confident because the lowest I had been scoring on a diagnostic test was 166 and I had the logic games down. I had been scoring consistently between 166-169 at the time.

Somehow when I reached the LG section halfway through the February 6th test, I froze. I could barely finish 2 of the logic games and had to guess on half of the questions. I felt a type of panic unlike anything that I'd experienced before, and the anxiety persisted through my remaining 2 sections. I left the test feeling like I had done abysmally, but my parents encouraged me not to cancel, and I didn't. Receiving the 162 was like a hard slap across the face because it was barely an improvement from my score on my first diagnostic when I had taken the test cold.

The strange thing was that I felt the same striking feeling of panic that I experienced during the logic games section every time I thought of the LSAT. Long story short, the exact same thing happened in June even after my months of additional preparation. I felt so breathless with panic during the LG section of the test that not only did I miss 10 questions, it threw me off for the last 2 sections of the test. I was trembling after the break ended and could barely grip my pencil. I missed 7 on RC, which I usually miss less than 3 on, and missed 5 on the last LR section because my concentration was shot.

I guess what I really would appreciate right now is advice on whether any of you have had similar experiences and how I should deal with my current situation. Should I apply to law schools with what I have, or risk it all on my very last retake? Any insight on how to best deal with test anxiety issues?

I want to be honest and admit that I have never felt so discouraged before in my life. I am normally not one to complain (as I'm doing now) or one to ask for help, but I feel like none of my friends/family can provide an objective opinion, no strings attached. So to anyone who responds, I really appreciate it.

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djjf39
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Re: 162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby djjf39 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:52 pm

OP, do not feel discouraged. You still have one last shot to take the LSAT, and I would definitely pull the trigger. First off, I would always bet on myself given the opportunity. Second, if your main problem is nerves reducing focus, then you are in pretty good shape. Some people have to overcome slow reading speeds, which in my opinion is nearly impossible with respect to LSAT prep.

I would take a break to begin with, nothing huge like 1 - 3 weeks. Chill out, and let your mind reset from the June test and score. Then I would take whatever steps you feel would help you the most to build confidence for the next exam. For instance, if it were me, then I would be doing the LG bible, LG Bible workbook, and every single game from ever recent test three times for the next 80+ days before OCT. You would also need to maintain LR and RC, plus take at least 10 PTs(most recent does not matter if they are repeats).

You might also try taking the LG timed sections in extremely loud, crowded public places; Starbucks on a SAT morning works great. I would also go to the test center several times and take PTs/ timed sections there. Do anything necessary to pound into your skull that you are capable of completing the LG section at -0 within 35 minutes. Eventually, because I think you are intelligent, the message will stick and you will come out of OCT with a 170+.

You can do it.

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danr2040
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Re: 162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby danr2040 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:11 pm

Keep at it, OP. I have a similar background and had the same thing happen on my first real LSAT, right down to panicking on the logic games and nearly matching my damn diagnostic. It was frustrating and embarrassing.

FWIW, I got up to a 170 on my third test (a June retake) not so much from additional studying (I had done that between my first and second tests), but from going in to the third test more relaxed and refreshed due to the following:

Realize that if you really really want to be a lawyer, not just for the models and bottles but because it is your life's ambition, your 162 and 3.7 will get you in somewhere decent where if you work hard enough, you can make it happen. It may not be pretty, but you can make it work. Your third retake is just for gravy. Get that in your head, and maybe the pressure will relent for you as it did for me, and you can reach your potential.

If I had to do it again, I guess I would also try the Pithypike study method for LGs (search for it in the forum) and see if you can get some more points on LG. I never did get up to the -0 on logic games even after trying a lot of them, maybe more repetition would have helped. However, I think attitude is most important.

fenway
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Re: 162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby fenway » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:22 pm

it sounds like material may not be the real issue. you have to find a way to control your mindset when put in the test environment. i too performed well on the SAT but on my original diagnostic scored a 145. Since then I've been PTing much higher in part from learning the material, but also through working on ways to process the anxiety. for me personally, "pre-gaming" with music is extremely effective. ill listen to stuff like brian eno for an hour or so before testing, and i notice a significant difference in my clarity of thought. it may sound flaky but I also close my eyes while I listen--takes away 1/2 of your mental stimuli so you can relax more. check out some breathing exercises too. with all of these things, I'd stress that you don't view them as crutches to spring for solely right before test time. by incorporating some of these methods into your daily life/exam prep, you associate a mental state of relaxation with the test.

i struggled writing all of this shit cuz I am not that "kind" of guy, but it's been well worth it to explore some zen-ish techniques to crack my nerves. do some research yourself and try out some stuff to see what suits you best--but make sure to give it an open mind. best of luck with your progress

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blackwater88
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Re: 162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby blackwater88 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:28 pm

Man, do not get discouraged. I can say I'm a testament to the saying that third time is the charm. Got low high 150s first two times and got a 169 the third time. The first two times I was too stubborn to take a course, so by the time I got my second score I freaked out realizing I had no chances at T14 with those shitty scores, I took Testmasters and improved greatly. It also helped that June was my last chance to apply in the next two years, I had a very "not give a fuck" attitude the day of the test, I knew that whether I did well or badly, I wouldn't have another chance. It worked :)

ajmanyjah
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Re: 162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby ajmanyjah » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:40 pm

Take Beta blockers or eat bananas, learn from music performance majors?

SortOfObsessed
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Re: 162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby SortOfObsessed » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:57 pm

Thank you all for your input, it's given me a lot to think about.

djjf39, I think I'll go ahead and sign up for the retake, and start practicing in crowded areas so I can build up my focus. Thank you for that interesting idea. I always studied in deathly silence under the impression that it would help me concentrate better. I suppose I do need to challenge myself to do well in spite of obstacles to my concentration.

Blackwater and danr2040, have either of you applied to law schools yet? I am curious as to how admission committees regard multiple scores where there are 3 scores and they are all fairly different.

Fenway, I will definitely look into relaxation exercises. At this point I would take any approach that works, flaky or not.

ajmanyjah, pardon? What will bananas do?

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blackwater88
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Re: 162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby blackwater88 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:02 pm

SortOfObsessed wrote:Thank you all for your input, it's given me a lot to think about.

djjf39, I think I'll go ahead and sign up for the retake, and start practicing in crowded areas so I can build up my focus. Thank you for that interesting idea. I always studied in deathly silence under the impression that it would help me concentrate better. I suppose I do need to challenge myself to do well in spite of obstacles to my concentration.

Blackwater and danr2040, have either of you applied to law schools yet? I am curious as to how admission committees regard multiple scores where there are 3 scores and they are all fairly different.

Fenway, I will definitely look into relaxation exercises. At this point I would take any approach that works, flaky or not.

ajmanyjah, pardon? What will bananas do?



Actually that's the only thing I'm worried about, I'm applying this cycle so I don't know exactly how law schools will look at my multiple scores. Schools like Cornell and Georgetown only take the highest score, I'm hoping at the least I get into those schools.

fenway
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Re: 162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby fenway » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:06 pm

*james taylor is good too

I'd also concur with bananas as a general lifestyle choice, great source of potassium. You will be assured of no pesky calf cramps.

also, if you have the money, find a good private tutor and have him or her target the spots where you are getting tangled up in Games.

(aka SOP: have problem--->throw money at it---> if needed, repeat)--just like the South Park AIDS cure

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nematoad
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Re: 162 in Feb + June. Need advice on 3rd Retake; Please help.

Postby nematoad » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:30 pm

I had very similar anxiety throughout the LSAT process. my greatest fear was going to the restroom and i had bouts with phantom urges my first 2 times.. such a lame way to go down. My PT avg was 170 at the time, I canceled my first LSAT in sept 09 after i took a piss during the RC section. took a piss twice during the dec 09 exam for a 162 despite the fact that i practiced with 33 minutes per section as a precaution. after i took the test in december i resigned to hanging it all up. fuck law school. my mom mentioned yoga and meditation not necessarily for the lsat, but just cause she knew i was so distraught. I grew up doing acupuncture, but had never gone done the yoga/meditation route of eastern medicine. I decided to take the june lsat last minute without nearly as much studying, only 7 practice tests. I ended up with a 166, not necessarily what i wanted, but still a solid score. I'm not saying I learned how to meditate in 5 months by any means.. people spend a lifetime and dont even get close. but i did find some semblance of serenity by test day. coupled with a good diet and exercise, i really think meditation/acupuncture/yoga saved my ass in june.

this test comes down to focus, thats it, most people on TLS are smart enough to do well (i think), its just not many people can stay in the zone when it matters most (which is a trait of a good lawyer). watch this world cup, esp now that its down to 8 teams, for law students the lsat migh as well be the world cup. look at the players, how they train, how they talk/walk, there is a mentality you have to have in order to stay focused. landon donovan talked alot about staying focused as what separates great footballers from good ones, i think the same goes for the lsat. kobe bryant isnt a godlike player for no reason, he trains harder than most, but more importantly stays focused down the stretch. eastern culture helped me... but who knows, maybe all you need is a good tug before you walk in come test day.




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