How to Deal with anxiety during study and real LSAT

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How to Deal with anxiety during study and real LSAT

Postby gambelda » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:10 pm

Thought I'd post a few ideas for those of you who struggle with anxiety while studying and during the actual LSAT. I have always been very calm during standardized tests. Did this mean that I did well in them? Not if you go by my current LSAT preptest scores. Still stuck outside my 170 goal! But I think I can provide some input into healthier lifestyle choices and decisions that can possibly reduce the anxiety that many of you face in studying for the exam or during the real thing.

1) Adopt an aerobic exercise and make it routine - I've been training for an ironman (biking,swimming, running) and these exercises decrease your normal rate of breathing while resting, decrease your average heart rate, and allow you to release tension over longer periods of time. I don't think anyone can who coops themselves up and studies the LSAT exclusively is doing themselves a favor. Take 45 minutes out of your day to exercise, and only concern yourself about doing better in that exercise. For me, its "can I sprint this 2 mile stretch at 30mph on my bike?" Don't think about the LSAT while exercising. People who exercise regularly also tend to have a more stable sleep schedule.

2) Change your diet - Adopt a diet of unprocessed foods and uncarbonated drinks. Limit processed sugars. Drop anything containing high fructose corn syrup. Limit your intake of snacks (chips, processed corn/wheat based products). Adopt more meats, fruits, vegetables. Increase your intake of fish. There have been a number of studies recently released that indicate that a diet of more fish, containing certain omega fatty-acids, have improved average brain functions and helped to reduce frustration, stress, etc. One study introduced more of these omega fatty acids into the diets of prison inmates and found that after balancing their diet, inmate fights decreased substantially.

3) Sleep 8 hours a day at minimum. A number of studies have shown that people our age (20-40) should be sleeping an average of 8-9 hours a day and that sleeping less substantially reduces the efficinecy of brain functions.

4) During the real thing, go into the exam confident. Keep the phrase "I'm going to destroy this exam" in your head no matter what. Some people go into the test saying "I have to get x-score" If you are doing that, then you have already failed...when one problem is irritating you, suddenly the next problem becomes 10x more difficult because you start thinking about how many are left that you can miss before you don't hit your "x" score.

5) Think that even if you fail to meet your score, you can still take it again. I noticed that having the mentality that this isn't a "one and done thing" is a big advantage. When I interviewed with major companies I inevitaby said "if I screw this up, I won't get the job". Finally after failing to get hired by IBM, TPI Consulting, and Bain & Company, I said "screw it, I don't care if I don't do well in my last interview because I'm going to take the LSAT anyways" Amazingly, I smoked the next interview because I went in under the impression that I didn't give a crap about how the interview actually turned out. As a result, I was more myself and performed substantially better. I got the job by the way, with a very hard company to get into straight out of undergrad with no prior work experience.

If people have any other suggestions they ahve found helpful, throw them out there.


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Re: Dealing with anxity during study and real LSAT

Postby minnbills » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:13 pm

I think sleep is the biggest factor.

In undergrad it's really easy to miss out on adequate sleep. I average only 5-6 hours a night from a combination of heavy workload and early morning classes.

The night before the October test I woke between 5-10 times from anxiety.

By the 3rd section, LR, I was having a hard time concentrating.

Surprise surprise, I dropped 8 on that section, the most I've ever dropped on a LR section.

Nex time around, I will be getting adequate sleep at least 2 weeks before the test. For me, I think sleep was the decisive factor in fucking up the test- I scored on the low end of my practice range 162-172.

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