Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

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downing
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Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby downing » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:20 am

I've heard that it's healthy to study for the LSAT in a variety of environments, including some places that may contain a disturbing amount of noise - those places typically being coffee shops. I disagree.

While taking the LSAT I'm pretty sure most people can safely assume there will NOT be any loud talking or conversation taking place, music being played softly or loudly, or other disturbances commonly found in many public areas. I can't see any positive reasons for going to coffee shops to try to feed your brain really vital information and/or experience. It actually seems like a bad habit that is suffering from a widespread and morbid justification; because I know plenty of people, myself included, enjoy leisurely "studying" at the nearby Starbucks (or wherever), and would go so far as to say it's not a distracting influence on one's powers of concentration.

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kazu
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby kazu » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:30 am

A lot of people have complained of noisy test-taking environments: unexpected construction taking place in a nearby building, having children shriek/yell running around due to being next to a playground, pipes making really loud noises from somewhere inside the walls, etc. Hopefully this won't happen to you, and it probably won't happen, but there is a small chance that it will. Getting used to studying in a noisy place is so that, in case that happens, you won't be affected negatively by it.

I found studying in a coffee shop helped a lot. I was able to train myself so that when I was taking a PT, nothing interrupted my concentration no matter how loud the place was. At my test center people complained about noise due to other rooms starting break earlier, noisy traffic outside, etc. I hadn't noticed any of it - I was completely focused.

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pkpop
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby pkpop » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:37 am

Do you play golf? Something I heard once about Tiger Woods was that when he was practicing as a kid, his dad would try to make all sorts of distractions and noise when he was making his shots. Eventually after all the practice, no matter what his dad tried, Tiger would make a great shot. Even though when you're teeing off, or making a putt and everything is supposed to be quiet - it's all about the focus.

I think the point people try to make when they are suggesting to take practice tests at coffee shops is to not get comfortable taking the test in quiet perfect conditions every time. There have been documented instances of LSAT "catastrophes" while at a testing centers (very hot or very cold room, loud construction outside of the window, etc), and the point is that being able to take a test where music is playing, conversation is around you, or any type of environment that is not optimal should hopefully hone your concentration so that nothing distracts your focus on the actual test day. The coffee shop is just one example of many that I've heard. Another example could be taking the test with a full bladder just in case your body decides to act up on test day. It's just all about being comfortable no matter what *could* happen.

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Emma.
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby Emma. » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:41 am

I took a few PTs at my local public library. I felt like that did a pretty good job of simulating the worst distractions I could reasonably expect on test day.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby Nulli Secundus » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:31 am

Will take the test in a private high school built in a big green, walled-off area in a big city, thus an island of tranquility and peace in the city. Lucky me!

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lamentable
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby lamentable » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:02 pm

I have been doing all of my studying in coffee shops. Overall I have enjoyed it, though occasionally there will be people talking annoyingly loud. Maybe switch up your studying sites so that you are sometimes near noisy environments?

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tallboone
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby tallboone » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:16 pm

I enjoyed studying at coffee shops just so I didn't become a hermit in the weeks before the test. Not sure if it helped, but not a single sound distracted me on test day.

lmi
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby lmi » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:20 pm

Studying in places like public libraries, etc. can be helpful, but be sure to study in conditions where it is very quiet save some random intermittent noises (somebody sniffling, turning pages, coughing, etc.). I think the silence plus unexpected distractions was a little harder to deal with than the constant flow in a coffee shop or library. At the end of the day, you just need to be able to focus, no matter what else is going on (as an above poster said).

savagecheater
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby savagecheater » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:21 pm

If you're really committed, you'll do a PT at a Mets game, but that might be easier than you think.

thegrayman
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby thegrayman » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:52 pm

I think taking them at a public library in an area where there is a lot of foot traffic or light conversation is good. I took one at the library right next to the copy machine, and not only was some old guy using it the whole damn time I was taking my PT, but he kept setting the book he was copying on my desk, which I thought was weird as hell since he didn't ask first.

cavebat2000
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby cavebat2000 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:03 pm

Did 99% of my studying in a coffee shop. I did some in a subway and I did my final week of study replicating the environment in a classroom with a few friends using the LSAT proctor DVD. Best part about studying in the coffee shop is that I had learned to tune out all other noises and focus on what mattered. When I got in that testroom I completely ignored the little pencil scratches and the chair movements. In fact, it was so much quieter that my concentration kind of shot through the roof and I got a kickass score.

Wannabelawyer101
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby Wannabelawyer101 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:55 pm

yay, just so that you get acclimated to different environments. it's kind of encouraging when you're able to speed through questions despite whatever else is going on in the background.

lindac
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby lindac » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:32 am

I studied at Argo Tea a few times this summer, but I decided not to go there anymore. And this is for a very good reason: one day, I was doing a Logical Reasoning section in Argo Tea. I was stuck on a Logical Reasoning question, decided to take a breather, and looked down. As I looked down, I saw someone's hand in my bookbag! Thank god the thief wasn't able to reach my wallet on time. I went to the barista, and got the thief kicked out.

And because of that incident, I decided to study LSATs at the local library.

Sandro
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby Sandro » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:46 am

Ive taken a couple PTs at borders. It is definitely a help to simulate conditions involving noises. My last PT i took at Borders about 10 fat ladies decided to use the tables next to me for their knitting club...

LSU Undergrad
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby LSU Undergrad » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:49 am

I took a full length practice test at my local library, but unfortunately all the spots in the "big person" section of the library were taken. I had to go to the kids' area and had to deal with kids not remembering that libraries are supposed to be quiet. I managed a 168 and it gave me confidence that I can perform fairly well even facing greater distractions than there likely will be on test day.

If someone takes a test in a cafe/coffee shop, do not be intensely discouraged by a lower than expected performance. A tiny bit of concentration can have a huge effect.

Doing the notorious PT 27 logic games at a public pool and having someone try and start a conversation with me in the middle, and still managing to get only one wrong under timed conditions, well that was a confidence booster.

And now I would like to take an opportunity to thank the LSAT Gods for making the test on the day of a road game. Or the SEC scheduling Gods. Or blind luck. One of the three.

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pkpop
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby pkpop » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:56 am

Sandro777 wrote:Ive taken a couple PTs at borders. It is definitely a help to simulate conditions involving noises. My last PT i took at Borders about 10 fat ladies decided to use the tables next to me for their knitting club...


That's always so annoying. If you're in a public place thats relatively empty, and a group of random people move in and sit RIGHT NEXT to you (or close nearby) even though the whole place is available. Then they proceed to have a loud & full conversation about the dumbest shit. It's not even just when taking preptests, you could be reading a book or doing other random homework. I can understand if the place is full and there's no other tables available, but when there's room - c'mon people...courtesy.

If you can score well on preptest when this happens, you can test through any conditions on test day.

Sandro
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby Sandro » Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:02 am

I actually had to move my small table over a few inches so that I wasnt in the middle of their knitting circle. Sad thing Is I scored higher on that PT than the one i took all alone in my kitchen today.. :oops:

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DGLitcH
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby DGLitcH » Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:19 pm

I just came back from doing a PT at the local library. There were little kids running up and down the library, babies crying, people talking on cell phones, and the random MS Windows start-up tune. I never did a PT in a cafe but I'm guess it isn't worse than the library on a Sunday afternoon.

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sgtgrumbles
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby sgtgrumbles » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:24 am

I took a PT at a public library and had a bad experience with a kid, too. A three- or four-year-old runs up to my desk while I'm in the middle of a nasty logic game, grabs my bicycle helmet off the floor and puts it on her head, then stares and grins at me while I'm trying to draw inferences. She gets bored with my disinterest and decides to steal my bag that's sitting on the ground. I let her take it since she wasn't going very far, but the whole episode cost me about five minutes of focus and psyched me out for the rest of the test. I scored 10 points below my average...

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3|ink
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby 3|ink » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:30 am

Regarding OP's question, no. I would never take the LSAT at a public place unless I were consistently scoring 180 and wanted a challenge. Even then, I'd probably just give myself 30 minutes per section instead of 35.

sgtgrumbles wrote:I took a PT at a public library and had a bad experience with a kid, too. A three- or four-year-old runs up to my desk while I'm in the middle of a nasty logic game, grabs my bicycle helmet off the floor and puts it on her head, then stares and grins at me while I'm trying to draw inferences. She gets bored with my disinterest and decides to steal my bag that's sitting on the ground. I let her take it since she wasn't going very far, but the whole episode cost me about five minutes of focus and psyched me out for the rest of the test. I scored 10 points below my average...


Don't you hate parents who let their kids do that shit?

thegrayman
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby thegrayman » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:47 pm

sgtgrumbles wrote:grabs my bicycle helmet off the floor and puts it on her head, then stares and grins at me while I'm trying to draw inferences.


Was one of those inferences that she had shit parents?

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OnlyLivingBoyinNY
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby OnlyLivingBoyinNY » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:23 am

I've been studying in China for a couple months. I hear there is a nice quiet place somewhere deep, deep underground in Inner Mongolia. Everywhere else--even quiet rooms or "study rooms"--are simply noisy places with less than 50 people (not to mention external noises like the constant buzzing of construction or loud American pop music from the late 1990s). Starbucks in my city never has less than 100 people inside of it. I was one of those guys who would get really steamed when people would come into the coffeehouse back home and start talking about World of Warcraft or something like that when I'm trying to do RC! Now, it really doesn't bother me too much. I think it's just the surprise of trying to focus in a new environment that freaks a lot of people out. Maybe some noise would be good for you, although this probably has little relevance to OP now.

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topper10s
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby topper10s » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:27 am

For what it's worth, I studied in loud coffee shops, out of necessity, in Korea and on the October test I scored 3 points higher than any PT I ever took, so I think there is something to be said for practicing in harsh conditions. Like my Packers practicing indoors with the doors open to get ready for the cold in the playoffs

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby ThreeRivers » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:15 am

I tried to study in my room with no one else home and complete silence, in my room with other people downstairs / making a slight amount of background noise, and then on varying floors of my university library (every floor is supposed to get quieter... from make as much noise as you want, to can talk softly, to no noise at all, of course that doesn't always work).

On test day I was good 98% of the time:
At the beginning of each test the proctors would walk up and down our aisles in some chorographed sequence. For some odd reason this completely froze me, but it really only cost me 20 seconds a section (besides 1 section in which a proctor was doing something with a window which for some reason bugged the hell out of me for about a minute).

During the logic game from hell I noticed one girl squeaky in her seats every 5 seconds, but honestly I think that was just me flustered by really struggling with 1 game.

Other than that I felt completely in a zone and didn't notice anything at all. The only thing is for 2 minutes before our break the heating shut off and our room went DEAD silent, it felt kind of weird and I didn't really like it (it was back on when we came back) and the 3rd section ending up being my experimental

I scored 3-4 points above my average

lawgem
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Re: Coffee shops/ cafes, yay or nay?

Postby lawgem » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:32 am

A few people have said that they have used this free online proctor in order to help prepare - especially with the little annoying noises -
http://padawanlaw.com/2010/04/lsat-proc ... ft-to-you/




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