Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

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Tip Walker
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:55 am

Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby Tip Walker » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:22 am

First time post on TLS, long-time roamer.
Like the title says, I have taken up some unusual studying habits leading up to the Dec LSAT that seem to be working and want to let the TLS community know, as well as hear some feedback.
Here is the story:
I decided in the summer to write the October LSAT, and went through the Powerscore bibles beginning in August, but a couple weeks into September I was not scoring in the range I liked to write in Oct, so I decided to re-book for December. After that I took a few days off from studying in which I smoked marijuana a few times daily for about a week. I am from a place where many young people smoke marijuana regularly, including two of my three roommates, both of whom are currently doing their MBAs, so this was not especially strange behavior in my opinion. This went on for a few days.
In college I was a regular smoker so this was not out of that out of character - I was an honors student in college while smoking 1-2 times/week so I never found weed really got in the way of anything.
I took up studying a few days later and kept smoking regularly, at least once a day, if not 3-4 times a day. For those of you unfamiliar to marijuana, this may sound extreme. It's not, really. I knew guys in college who would take a bong hit 10+ times a day.
After a couple of weeks of heavy smoking, I was scoring between 164-167 by October. I would not smoke right before a PT, but I would smoke heavy amounts of weed the night before with my roommates.
This has kept going. Yesterday, for example, I smoked 4 times and today wrote a PT and scored 171. This is not to say this is because of weed, but because I'm so near the test, I don't see the reason to change any of my routines. I'm averaging 169 my last 5 PT's and smoking regularly is in that routine - which also includes exercising 4 times/week, reading dense material, etc.
I'm not sure how many people have smoked everyday in the weeks and months leading up to the LSAT? This is not a 'Who here loves weed?' thread, so please to the smokers out there don't wreck this post with types of responses.
I am interested to know what other people think about all of this. It feels a bit strange for me, as I was never planning on doing this when I decided to write the test, but have instead fallen into it. I can't say I'm against it though, since it does help me to relax and de-stress from studying, and does not seem to be interfering with anything LSAT related.
Thanks, appreciate any wisdom and will take questions.

Tip

AsianCurveKiller
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:21 pm

Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby AsianCurveKiller » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:32 am

Tip Walker wrote:First time post on TLS, long-time roamer.
Like the title says, I have taken up some unusual studying habits leading up to the Dec LSAT that seem to be working and want to let the TLS community know, as well as hear some feedback.
Here is the story:
I decided in the summer to write the October LSAT, and went through the Powerscore bibles beginning in August, but a couple weeks into September I was not scoring in the range I liked to write in Oct, so I decided to re-book for December. After that I took a few days off from studying in which I smoked marijuana a few times daily for about a week. I am from a place where many young people smoke marijuana regularly, including two of my three roommates, both of whom are currently doing their MBAs, so this was not especially strange behavior in my opinion. This went on for a few days.
In college I was a regular smoker so this was not out of that out of character - I was an honors student in college while smoking 1-2 times/week so I never found weed really got in the way of anything.
I took up studying a few days later and kept smoking regularly, at least once a day, if not 3-4 times a day. For those of you unfamiliar to marijuana, this may sound extreme. It's not, really. I knew guys in college who would take a bong hit 10+ times a day.
After a couple of weeks of heavy smoking, I was scoring between 164-167 by October. I would not smoke right before a PT, but I would smoke heavy amounts of weed the night before with my roommates.
This has kept going. Yesterday, for example, I smoked 4 times and today wrote a PT and scored 171. This is not to say this is because of weed, but because I'm so near the test, I don't see the reason to change any of my routines. I'm averaging 169 my last 5 PT's and smoking regularly is in that routine - which also includes exercising 4 times/week, reading dense material, etc.
I'm not sure how many people have smoked everyday in the weeks and months leading up to the LSAT? This is not a 'Who here loves weed?' thread, so please to the smokers out there don't wreck this post with types of responses.
I am interested to know what other people think about all of this. It feels a bit strange for me, as I was never planning on doing this when I decided to write the test, but have instead fallen into it. I can't say I'm against it though, since it does help me to relax and de-stress from studying, and does not seem to be interfering with anything LSAT related.
Thanks, appreciate any wisdom and will take questions.

Tip


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Context-dependent_memory

Smoked a ton in undergrad/grad school, never affected me seriously.

sueeeee22
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby sueeeee22 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:50 am

You know what dude, I envy you. I was a frequent smoker prior to devoting regular time to the LSAT. All through HIGHschool and college I was a devout smoker however, the weight the LSAT has on my career has hindered my herbal habits.

With about 2 weeks until I write I have developed a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of the test. My performance, however, after 2 5-section diagnostics is inconsistent; The prime reason: anxiety. Mind you, after several more D'stics I should be able to bring my score up to a consistent 165, but the calm that ran through my body the day after a heavy session as a sort of buzz residue sure would come in handy in handling the pressure of the trials these days.

Good luck, man.

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TCScrutinizer
Posts: 497
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:01 pm

Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby TCScrutinizer » Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:06 pm

Context-dependent memory is TCR. This is it's good to try to take practice exams early in the morning, just like the actual test.

Something I did that I think really helped with my concentration was to take timed practice exams in the same room with a television at a moderate volume.

Eric475
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby Eric475 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:57 pm

I'm smoking every night and also planning on taking the December test. SMoking was never damaging in school and doesn't seem to be damaging for the LSAT either. I have moderate anxiety disorder (untreated except for the plant) and i really think it helps. Though getting high BEFORE the test is probably not a good idea (though in practice it actually didn't affect me much haha), I don't think there's anything wrong with doing it the night before.

almostthereee
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:16 pm

Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby almostthereee » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:25 pm

I am a pretty heavy college smoker myself. You described a similar situation I am in, where I'm from smoking marijuana is not considered crazy. I originally thought marijuana MUST do something to my RC at the very least (short term memory blah blah blah) and I stopped smoking 6 weeks prior to my October test. In all honesty, I can't tell if it helped or not. All I know is that I was super nervous from then on out and my stress level was through the roof leading up to the test.

I naturally took a break from my LSATs for the 3 weeks after the test and started smoking again. Never touched another LSAT problem, only worked on applications, with heavy smoking (3-4 times at least a day). I started studying for the December test on Nov 9 and shockingly a lot of the material came back pretty naturally. My LR actually improved, I can finish sections much quicker this time around. LG is too hard to tell for me... I either kill the games or bomb and it's a matter of repetition so I don't know if I improved that much at all. My RC has either stayed the same or gotten better. Granted, RC is my worst and most unpredictable section. I range anywhere from -4 to -10.

I still do know how much mj is affecting me subconsciously but for now I'm still PT'ing at the range I want. I don't feel mj is hindering my study at all other than maybe making me a bit lazier than usual, but I still get my PTs done. I just feel after 5 hours of PT'ing and reviewing I want a reward to look forward to so it helps me push through sometimes. I'm officially out of mj after today ( I got one more bowl after I do preptest C today) so I guess I'll be going cold leading up to the test for 2 weeks as opposed to 6 last time.

youknowryan
Posts: 182
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:20 am

Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby youknowryan » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:04 pm

The idea of recommending ANY controlled substance (dope, alcohol, etc.) makes little sense. Granted it might give one the effect they want some of the time, if ones over does it, under does it or is unable to do it, then the reliance upon this additional input will backfire since it has then become a crutch of sorts and required for performance. If you are truly convinced that you need something, this affects performance.

It is far smarter to study the LSAT until it becomes second nature. If one truly knows this stuff cold, has practiced numerous, 5 section recent tests, under timed semi-noisy conditions then knowledge and proper thought process are what you have to rely on and not external stimulants/depressants.

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Tip Walker
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Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby Tip Walker » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:24 pm

Doing PT's with tv on a low volume is a good idea.
I would not say I rely on marijuana - like I said, smoking is part of my routine. I wouldn't say I rely on jogging twice a week either, but like smoking, it is part of my routine. I would not say smoking effects me much or at all the next day, either.
I tried doing a LG section after smoking a decent sized joint and it was not a good idea. About halfway through I started feeling sick and decided to go lay down rather than finish. For me, receiving therapy (smoking) and then trying to write right after was not a good idea. Weed is awesome, however, prior to listening to music, watching most movies, or going to an art gallery.
I also never recommended smoking as a way to increase your LSAT score. I realize everyone has different tolerance levels. I've smoked with inexperienced smokers and have seen people get sick or have some type of episode - behavior similar to when someone drinks too much and ceases to make sense. Once in a blue moon if I am in a crowd (concert, big city, etc.) and I smoke I can get anxiety, as well. It does have certain drawbacks, but for me they're very limited. When I first started smoking regularly, I would definitely find that I was not as sharp mentally the next day (referred to as being "stoned over" by some people). Once you smoke long enough, however, the negative aspects of smoking generally dissipate - at least that is the case for all the regular smokers I know.
It doesn't make me lazy, either, but actually has the opposite effect. If our house is dirty, me and my roommates will pass the pipe around, put on some music, and do a deep clean for 2 hours straight. Normally, I would not be motivated to do such a thing without weed. I am of course only speaking for myself and those I know quite well.

Tip

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snowballgirl
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Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby snowballgirl » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:26 pm

Is it possible that you are just more relaxed while you are taking the PTs when you are smoking? Studing for this potentially life-altering test can be very stressful. Stress, in turn, can impair cognitive performance when it causes severe distress. Taking a drug to relax you so you can concentrate on the material may be what is contributing to your gains. (Also, studying helps.) Perhaps, instead of mj, you could try some simple relaxation techniques while you are prepping? I hate to sound prudish, but situational memory (or context-dependent learning) can backfire when you depend upon a substance for performance gains.

Just my 2 cents.

youknowryan
Posts: 182
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:20 am

Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby youknowryan » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:04 am

Tip Walker wrote:smoking is part of my routine


That's my point, if something becomes part of a routine, you depend up on it to some degree. Let's make up a number: if you depend upon a controlled substance for 5% of your performance (I would guess that I am low-balling it) and you do not have it, then you risk a pretty serious performance hit. A 170 becomes 161.5. Maybe you think you've got a great thing going. That's your call. I post this so others consider that possible the negative effects of depending upon anything beyond knowledge and technique can be considerable.

almostthereee
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:16 pm

Re: Unusual studying habits that seem to be working

Postby almostthereee » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:52 am

Tip Walker wrote:Doing PT's with tv on a low volume is a good idea.
I would not say I rely on marijuana - like I said, smoking is part of my routine. I wouldn't say I rely on jogging twice a week either, but like smoking, it is part of my routine. I would not say smoking effects me much or at all the next day, either.
I tried doing a LG section after smoking a decent sized joint and it was not a good idea. About halfway through I started feeling sick and decided to go lay down rather than finish. For me, receiving therapy (smoking) and then trying to write right after was not a good idea. Weed is awesome, however, prior to listening to music, watching most movies, or going to an art gallery.
I also never recommended smoking as a way to increase your LSAT score. I realize everyone has different tolerance levels. I've smoked with inexperienced smokers and have seen people get sick or have some type of episode - behavior similar to when someone drinks too much and ceases to make sense. Once in a blue moon if I am in a crowd (concert, big city, etc.) and I smoke I can get anxiety, as well. It does have certain drawbacks, but for me they're very limited. When I first started smoking regularly, I would definitely find that I was not as sharp mentally the next day (referred to as being "stoned over" by some people). Once you smoke long enough, however, the negative aspects of smoking generally dissipate - at least that is the case for all the regular smokers I know.
It doesn't make me lazy, either, but actually has the opposite effect. If our house is dirty, me and my roommates will pass the pipe around, put on some music, and do a deep clean for 2 hours straight. Normally, I would not be motivated to do such a thing without weed. I am of course only speaking for myself and those I know quite well.

Tip



When I meant lazy, I meant mentally lazy. I'm not one of those that likes to do homework high. The only thing remotely academic I like to do would be reading of some sort. Physically I'm fine, I actually prefer working out high.

And I also agree with the ultimate notion of testing without the influence of a substance. Like Tip, I'm not condoning anyone to smoke in order to raise their LSAT scores. I'm just stating why I do it and what I gain from it. The thought of having some reward to look forward to after just makes the grind and stress of studying for the LSAT A LOT more bearable. Ultimately though, I do believe testing without is a safer route. I say this only because of LG though where substance recognition can save your life.




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