Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

tisha_beth
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Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby tisha_beth » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:12 pm

Hi guys, this is my first time on here. I just took the test Saturday with pretty much disastrous results. :( I had the most horrible test anxiety I have ever experienced in my life.

To prepare for the test, I studied for a solid year. I took least 20 timed preptests. I read and worked through my PowerScore "Bible" books not once, but two to four times apiece. I was consistently scoring 165 - 170 in practice sessions.

Saturday, my whole world crashed in. When the proctor handed out the test booklets, I started to freak out because I couldn't believe I was actually doing it. During the entire first section (RC), my mind drew a total blank. I wasn't able to focus on a single sentence, let alone the entire passage. I found myself mindlessly filling in bubbles. My mind was racing with thoughts of failure that I could not control. On top of that, I was trembling. I felt like walking out, but I managed to get ahold of myself by the beginning of the second section.

I realize now that I have built this thing up to immense proportions in my head. I've got to tear this monster down. I just need to know what you guys think would help, and if anyone else is in the same situation. I am willing to try anything, yet the usual tips (deep breathing, plenty of sleep, fluids, etc.) seem like giving someone with cancer an aspirin.

My college GPA is 3.95 with a double major. Yet I am so fearful that this LSAT score will prevent me from getting into a top law school. This fear leads to anxiety, of course, and it's a vicious cycle with both feeding off each other.

Thanks for your help!

cowgirl_bebop
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby cowgirl_bebop » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:16 pm

tisha_beth wrote:Hi guys, this is my first time on here. I just took the test Saturday with pretty much disastrous results. :( I had the most horrible test anxiety I have ever experienced in my life.

To prepare for the test, I studied for a solid year. I took least 20 timed preptests. I read and worked through my PowerScore "Bible" books not once, but two to four times apiece. I was consistently scoring 165 - 170 in practice sessions.

Saturday, my whole world crashed in. When the proctor handed out the test booklets, I started to freak out because I couldn't believe I was actually doing it. During the entire first section (RC), my mind drew a total blank. I wasn't able to focus on a single sentence, let alone the entire passage. I found myself mindlessly filling in bubbles. My mind was racing with thoughts of failure that I could not control. On top of that, I was trembling. I felt like walking out, but I managed to get ahold of myself by the beginning of the second section.

I realize now that I have built this thing up to immense proportions in my head. I've got to tear this monster down. I just need to know what you guys think would help, and if anyone else is in the same situation. I am willing to try anything, yet the usual tips (deep breathing, plenty of sleep, fluids, etc.) seem like giving someone with cancer an aspirin.

My college GPA is 3.95 with a double major. Yet I am so fearful that this LSAT score will prevent me from getting into a top law school. This fear leads to anxiety, of course, and it's a vicious cycle with both feeding off each other.

Thanks for your help!


Wait and see what your score was. If it is too low, just retest in December. With a GPA like that you're still likely too get into a good school even if your apps go out in January. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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ArchRoark
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby ArchRoark » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:22 pm

Meditation works for me.

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jwaters
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby jwaters » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:29 pm

.
Last edited by jwaters on Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SupraVln180
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby SupraVln180 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:52 pm

I had the same thing, the first five minutes of section 1, I didnt do one question. Thank God, I prepped hard and can pretty much go a question a minute the whole way through, so I finished in time, but I really hope I didnt fall for a bunch of traps on that first section cause I was moving so quick. I feel like everyone goes through some sort of LSAT adversity on test day, just try and break through it if you're going to retake, but i'm sure you did fine, just be confident in your prep.

AP-375
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby AP-375 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:54 pm

I feel your pain quite acutely. Having been in your shoes exactly, I know that this can be really tough--and can require a little more advice than "be confident."
After doing this twice, I went and saw a psychologist at my school's conseling center, and we worked on cognitive behavior therapies, basically training your mind not to freak out. I considered hypnotherapy, but felt good enough without it, although I think it is a valuable option.
Also, I took some serious time off. I actually finished school, moved, got a new job, and my wife had a baby. The result of this was a drastic shift in life priorities such that my future did not revolve around the LSAT. Note that this did not have a negative effect on my LSAT skills.
Finally, I took a few preps where I envisioned myself taking the real thing, and allowed myself to totally freak out--then, I forced myself to pull it together and finish.
I had pretty good results. I finished the test on Saturday with minimal anxiety-related difficulty.
I would cancel and give it a better shot.
PM me if you'd like.
Best of luck.

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kkklick
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby kkklick » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:57 pm

I had a panic attack after the first section of the june test. I had RC to and on one passage my mind drew a blank and i fucked up. i had a severe panic attack and was about to faint. Then i regained composure and finished the test, first section was fake. Ended up with a 160. Wrote again in october no nerves because i did it before and im expecting a much better result.

So wait it out, if you dont like your score write it again.

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby SoCalStudent » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:00 pm

At least you had the courage to go. I was so freaked out that I didn't even show up for the test on Saturday. Though, it was more for the fact I wasn't prepared as much as anything, I knew when I woke up Saturday morning that I would bomb the exam. I still wish I would have at least tried like you did. You experienced the real thing, and if your score is low, attack the December exam. :)

LauraZofia
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby LauraZofia » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:59 pm

Hi guys, this is my first time on here. I just took the test Saturday with pretty much disastrous results. I had the most horrible test anxiety I have ever experienced in my life.

To prepare for the test, I studied for a solid year. I took least 20 timed preptests. I read and worked through my PowerScore "Bible" books not once, but two to four times apiece. I was consistently scoring 165 - 170 in practice sessions.

Saturday, my whole world crashed in. When the proctor handed out the test booklets, I started to freak out because I couldn't believe I was actually doing it. During the entire first section (RC), my mind drew a total blank. I wasn't able to focus on a single sentence, let alone the entire passage. I found myself mindlessly filling in bubbles. My mind was racing with thoughts of failure that I could not control. On top of that, I was trembling. I felt like walking out, but I managed to get ahold of myself by the beginning of the second section.

I realize now that I have built this thing up to immense proportions in my head. I've got to tear this monster down. I just need to know what you guys think would help, and if anyone else is in the same situation. I am willing to try anything, yet the usual tips (deep breathing, plenty of sleep, fluids, etc.) seem like giving someone with cancer an aspirin.

My college GPA is 3.95 with a double major. Yet I am so fearful that this LSAT score will prevent me from getting into a top law school. This fear leads to anxiety, of course, and it's a vicious cycle with both feeding off each other.

Thanks for your help!


Uh, I feel like I could have written that myself. We are definitely in the same boat (similar GPA, LSAT PT range, and plagued by the monster that is anxiety coupled with high expectations). Because of the immense pressure I put on myself to excel, anxiety has been by far my worst enemy throughout my academic career. And unfortunately, the more I realize how it has such a hold on me and my performance, the more I let that vicious cycle consume me.

I too had the RC first, which I was excited about because it is usually one of my strong points, but my mind decided to pull the same stunt yours did. This poor start, in a section I felt I HAD to do great in incase LG were killer, carried over into my S2 LR. But the second S3 started and it was another LR, I felt the slightest glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, S2 was experimental. I really tried to consciously channel that tiny inkling and snap out of it-to let the anxiety go despite what I felt was already a big failure for me-and it sort of worked. I say sort of because I totally got tripped up on the LG, although objectively I thought they weren't difficult at all, I just let myself freaked out, again.

I know this all probably isn't of much help to you...but the one thing that I'm surprised to find myself walking away with from this overall disappointing experience is the notion that for the first time really, I was able to grab some sort of control of this anxiety, even if it was short lived, it's still progress. For me, dealing with anxiety has always been about progress, not perfection. I'm hoping to take this and let it build my confidence and self-assurance that I CAN and WILL be in much better control of my anxiety.

Even though I feel that I will cancel and take the December test (something that is anxiety inducing in itself because of the increased pressure to perform given the late timeline), I find myself strangely confident as opposed to the despair I expected to feel after this performance. Don't get me wrong, I am disappointed, but I'm seeing that there truly is something to this whole mentality thing and I want to exploit it to my benefit. I'm going to fake it until I make it. This may sound like an asprin type remedy at first, but I really think there is something to it.

I guarantee you that I'm probably just as hard on myself as you are on yourself, if not more so. But this is clearly not working for us, it's just making it worse. My first A- in college felt like the end of the world, but I survived. So, regardless of what you do in terms of keeping score/canceling, I highly encourage you to try and find whatever positive thing you can from this whole experience and turn it into big accomplishment. You said that you were able to get it together by S2; that's great! Go back in your head to that moment where you pulled yourself together, where that something just kicked in, and recall that feeling---remember it---forever. Let it be a source of strength and progress for you. Use it as something you can depend on to snap out of future stressful situations. Yes, it's a mind game, but this whole anxiety thing is a mind game and we need to play it. Right now, just be proud of taking this damn thing. Lie to yourself if you have to.

For my retake I plan to work on timing (using a more stringent/stressful limit), positive mentality, and general mind/body health. There really is something to having a positive attitude and battling against crippling anxiety.

Best of luck to you.

littlepixie11
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby littlepixie11 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:15 pm

I have a problem with that and I still do. I do think it got better though and the way I somewhat improved was just telling myself to calm down. THere is no time to panic, only to answer the questions. You can panic later.

SortOfObsessed
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby SortOfObsessed » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:57 pm

I took February and June's LSATs and had panic attacks in the middle of the LG section both times. It has never happened to me before in any other test; I did really well on standardized testing up to this point. (3.7 GPA, Ivy League)

I took betablockers for the October LSAT and I think it definitely helps. Something like a third of all concert musicians take betablockers to control their anxiety when they have important concerts. I think this might be something you want to look into. There are no side effects and it basically controls your body's fight or flight response so you can relax and take the test without the physical effects of your anxiety.

postn0bills
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby postn0bills » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:56 pm

I have panic disorder so I know exactly what you went through. While I luckily did not have a panic attack during the LSAT, my anxiety kept me up all night prior (I slept for exactly 2 hours). I also panicked during the LG section which threw me off entirely. I found that L-Theanine (a natural amino acid found in tea leaves) has really helped take the edge off, and I should have probably taken a bunch the night before the test so I could have at least slept. I take about 600mg a day now and it's really helpful in keeping my panic in check. I still get nervous/anxious, I'm just better able to talk myself down when it happens, and I'm better able to deal with big things in my life like the LSAT.

I'm trying to decide whether to cancel my score or take the low score and retake in December.

Good luck to you!

tisha_beth
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby tisha_beth » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:49 pm

:D :D :D Thanks guys; you are all amazing. I am definitely going to retake the test in December, and possibly in February as well. I'm going to synthesize all the advice you have offered and plan a strategy of attack. I can't say how comforting it is to know that other people have experienced the same thing!

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catsparka
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby catsparka » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:50 pm

Something similar happened to me during the October test. I'd been PT-ing consistently above 174 (hit 180 a couple of times), but when I opened up my test booklet on Saturday I freaked out. The first section was RC, which is probably my weakest section, and I honestly have no recollection of how I finished reading the first passage. By the time I got to the first question, I was panicking so much that I actually just sat there doing nothing but staring at the text in front of me, thinking about other possible post-graduation options besides law school (ones that don't require a standardized test). Thankfully I managed to pull myself together within a few minutes, but that was still time lost on a section on which I usually struggle with time constraints. I bubbled in the answer to the last question just in time, but didn't have time to go back to the questions that I had made desperate attempts at educated guessing on. The rest of the sections went by as a blur (I remember hearing the five-minute warning for one of the LR sections when I still had 7 questions left and freaking out again). I'm not going to cancel my score, but I simultaneously look forward to and dread the day that test scores come out, since I feel like I can't even begin to predict my score range given my state of panic during the exam.

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cornell
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby cornell » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:07 pm

Hi OP, I had a similar issue with text anxiety when I first took the LSAT in Sep 2007, which I canceled and walked out and felt like shit and hated myself for being such a pussy. After my first failed attempt, I decided to take up a job in the finance industry and consider law school on a future date.

From late 2009 until Oct 2010 test day, I took up the books again and decided to nail this test down once and for all. But before I started studying, I took a hard look at how I failed the first time, which was test anxiety. My conclusion was that my PT simulation wasn't "realistic" enough, so I bought the LSAT Proctor DVD, used it in many different locations such as the library and coffee shops, I even had my girlfriend proctoring me which made it even more realistic. So I have to say this, do the PTs under STRICT testing conditions.

Another factors that helped me was I tried very hard to motivate myself and conquer my fear of failing again, I convinced myself that the LSAT after all, is just a fucking test. I know it's very a important test but getting anxious about it will only screw me like it did the first time. So when I walked into the test this Oct, I was calm, combative, and constantly telling myself that "yes I can, yes I can". And keeping in mind that I worked hard and now it's just the time to redeem my hard work, I'm taking what belongs to me, which is a good score.

I hope this helps.

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northwood
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby northwood » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:19 pm

when you do prep tests, be sure to do them in public places ( the library) with a timer set to 33 minutes a section, and use a scantron of some sort to help you simulate the test day experience. The key is to make test day seem like any other practice test, and not be freaked out by your environment. It seems as though you put too much emphasis on the importance of the test ( super easy to do), and let the new environment impact your concentration. if you can familarize youself with the actual testing site, it will make the transition form prep to real deal easier. Also, perhaps you need to seek out a counselor ( tell youself that its like an athlete seing a sports psychologist, so look for someone who is familiar with standardized testing stresses and experiences)

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s0ph1e2007
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby s0ph1e2007 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:22 pm

tisha_beth wrote:Hi guys, this is my first time on here. I just took the test Saturday with pretty much disastrous results. :( I had the most horrible test anxiety I have ever experienced in my life.

To prepare for the test, I studied for a solid year. I took least 20 timed preptests. I read and worked through my PowerScore "Bible" books not once, but two to four times apiece. I was consistently scoring 165 - 170 in practice sessions.

Saturday, my whole world crashed in. When the proctor handed out the test booklets, I started to freak out because I couldn't believe I was actually doing it. During the entire first section (RC), my mind drew a total blank. I wasn't able to focus on a single sentence, let alone the entire passage. I found myself mindlessly filling in bubbles. My mind was racing with thoughts of failure that I could not control. On top of that, I was trembling. I felt like walking out, but I managed to get ahold of myself by the beginning of the second section.

I realize now that I have built this thing up to immense proportions in my head. I've got to tear this monster down. I just need to know what you guys think would help, and if anyone else is in the same situation. I am willing to try anything, yet the usual tips (deep breathing, plenty of sleep, fluids, etc.) seem like giving someone with cancer an aspirin.

My college GPA is 3.95 with a double major. Yet I am so fearful that this LSAT score will prevent me from getting into a top law school. This fear leads to anxiety, of course, and it's a vicious cycle with both feeding off each other.

Thanks for your help!


retake in Dec. what do you have to lose. i had the same thing happen to me in feb and I definitely did way better this time

NJcollegestudent
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby NJcollegestudent » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:51 pm

Anxiety is something that is a part of everyone's life, and thus we all have felt it. Wait for your score, and if it is not where you want it take the exam.

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2807
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby 2807 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:59 pm

Just wanted to say that I do not get this panic feeling.... Or so I thought...

I was shocked at how confused and disoriented I felt as the test started. I was struggling to read, let alone think.. I have not experienced that level of stress/anxiety before.

Lucky for me I am not an over-achiever on the LSAT so I did not have the added pressure you have with the ability to craft a score like you are. For me, I knew that I could take a moment and it would not really alter my score so much.. ugh. That is the up-side to mediocrity. heh heh.

So, like others on here have said.. You are ok, and you are not alone. It is OK to be stressed when things are stressful!

You can't fix normal.

You are going to be even better now because you know what to expect and will not have anxiety on top of anxiety. Just relax, retake, and do not underestimate the power of deep breaths.

Bankhead
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Re: Please help! Anxiety attack during Oct. 2010 test!

Postby Bankhead » Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:09 pm

If this is going to happen every time you take a law school exam, every interview you go on, etc. then this is not the field for you. I'm not saying it's not, I too had anxiety that led me to cancel -- but look at the LSAT with this type of perspective (your entire career will be stressful if you pursue law) and perhaps it will lessen your anxiety as related to this one test.




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