Whether to Study the Day Before

Do you plan to / did you study the day before the LSAT?

Yes - a lot
5
8%
Yes - a little
26
41%
No
33
52%
 
Total votes: 64

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AntipodeanPhil
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Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri May 20, 2011 4:19 pm

I tried to search for a thread on this topic, but no luck.

I usually study right up until the day of a test - often on the day as well - but I know a lot of people take the day off before the LSAT. I was wondering what the reasoning is for and against this. Some possibilities that stuck me as relevant:

FOR studying the day before:
1. It's another whole day to study.
2. Generally, the closer study is to a test, the more effective the study is, because you remember more.
3. If you do well, you might gain confidence.

AGAINST studying the day before:
1. It's best to give your brain a break - let it recuperate.
2. If you do badly, you could lose a lot of confidence.

Does anyone have any further thoughts - or stories? Does a day of recuperation really help?

LockBox
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby LockBox » Fri May 20, 2011 4:23 pm

Well, my reasoning against studying the day before is that you're not necessarily trying to remember anything for the exam. The test is more akin to an athletic competition where you want your resources and faculties to be at 100%. But, if you feel you get the best performance from studying right up until an exam as you did in undergrad i'd say go for it.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby KibblesAndVick » Fri May 20, 2011 4:37 pm

One day shouldn't be enough time to improve your understanding of the LSAT. If it is you've already lost the game. The low hanging fruit should have been picked weeks ago.

The most important thing one day out should be keeping a calm demeanor. You need to walk into the test the next day ready to kick ass and take names. You should spend the day before doing whatever will keep you from freaking out. If that means watching TV and clearing your head - do that. If that means staying on schedule and taking a practice test like you have been doing for weeks - do that.

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tmon
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby tmon » Fri May 20, 2011 4:42 pm

I don't see any reason to study if you're going to be trying to learn new stuff. It's not a test you can cram for, so last minute studying doesn't seem too effective. However, I plan on doing some light work the day before just to stay in rhythm and remind myself what it feels like to go through the motions, pacing, etc. I have a feeling for my own good I wont even score that stuff. I just perform better if I can keep a low level of practice for a short time going straight up through the day before. Personal preference.

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Fri May 20, 2011 4:50 pm

Assuming you've already spent X number of time studying, one last day will do nothing (anything you didn't understand/were unsure of should have been worked out by then). If you have done no studying, than one more day also will do nothing.

Bottom line: studying before the final day will do nothing for you.

bhan87
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby bhan87 » Fri May 20, 2011 5:00 pm

DON'T study the day before, but DO some warm up drills the day of the test to wake up your mind.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri May 20, 2011 5:02 pm

MrPapagiorgio wrote:Assuming you've already spent X number of time studying, one last day will do nothing (anything you didn't understand/were unsure of should have been worked out by then). If you have done no studying, than one more day also will do nothing.

So if one day of studying will do nothing, why study two days before the test? After all, that extra day will do nothing. But then, why study three days before the test? Continue, ad infinitum...

My view: LSAT studying produces incremental gains. I think the more one studies, the smaller the increment, but almost none of us will do enough study that the increment approximates zero.

To claim that studying does not make sense the day before, it has to be the case that either: (1) the benefit is outweighed by some cost - like test-day lethargy or panic; or (2) there is some special reason why studying on that day won't be even incrementally beneficial.

bhan87
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby bhan87 » Fri May 20, 2011 5:03 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
MrPapagiorgio wrote:Assuming you've already spent X number of time studying, one last day will do nothing (anything you didn't understand/were unsure of should have been worked out by then). If you have done no studying, than one more day also will do nothing.

So if one day of studying will do nothing, why study two days before the test? After all, that extra day will do nothing. But then, why study three days before the test? Continue, ad infinitum...

My view: LSAT studying produces incremental gains. I think the more one studies, the smaller the increment, but almost none of us will do enough study that the increment approximates zero.

To claim that studying does not make sense the day before, it has to be the case that either: (1) the benefit is outweighed by some cost - like test-day lethargy or panic; or (2) there is some special reason why studying on that day won't be even incrementally beneficial.


The incremental gain of studying for an extra day is smaller than the benefit of resting your mind the day before the test. The extra energy is more likely to score you a few more points than rushing to cram in more materials

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Cupidity
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby Cupidity » Fri May 20, 2011 5:16 pm

I realize that I am against the great weight of authority on this site, but I say study down to the wire.

The LSAT is a state of mind, it's groove you get into, and once you are there, you become an efficient question answering machine. If you are taking the same test every day and getting the same score, why break the rhythm?

I spent 3 days doing 3 full diagnostics per day and one thing I noticed was this, my score each day would go up by the third test, but I would lose some gains the next morning.

I also advocate doing some questions the morning of, sit down and have a logic game or two with breakfast, you'd be amazed how it affects both your score and confidence. You don't open the test and freak out, it's the same thing you were doing 30 minutes ago in the hall way.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri May 20, 2011 5:17 pm

bhan87 wrote:The incremental gain of studying for an extra day is smaller than the benefit of resting your mind the day before the test. The extra energy is more likely to score you a few more points than rushing to cram in more materials

That strikes me as entirely plausible, but does anyone have any evidence, even anecdotal?

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Cupidity
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby Cupidity » Fri May 20, 2011 5:19 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
bhan87 wrote:The incremental gain of studying for an extra day is smaller than the benefit of resting your mind the day before the test. The extra energy is more likely to score you a few more points than rushing to cram in more materials

That strikes me as entirely plausible, but does anyone have any evidence, even anecdotal?


It's important to know how you work. If you don't need it, don't take it.

bhan87
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby bhan87 » Fri May 20, 2011 5:23 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
bhan87 wrote:The incremental gain of studying for an extra day is smaller than the benefit of resting your mind the day before the test. The extra energy is more likely to score you a few more points than rushing to cram in more materials

That strikes me as entirely plausible, but does anyone have any evidence, even anecdotal?


From personal experience. About week before the December 2010 exam I was in a panic mode because I still wasn't achieving the score stability I had hoped by that point. I ended up trying to resort to brute force by taking a practice test a day. This actually led to a gradual score DECREASE (177 -> 170 -> 171 -> 169 -> 168). Needless to say, I realized I needed to change my game plan and took the next two days off. I took one more practice test two days before the real deal and scored a 172. Took a day off, then was able to score a 172 on the real exam.

Though the effects of mental drain affects people differently, it does significantly impact your score (especially for those aiming for a 170+). 2-3 questions can simply be a matter of how much stamina your brain has left in it (the more fatigue you have, the more likely you'll make a small diagramming mistake, or not make a significant inference).

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TheFutureLawyer
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Fri May 20, 2011 5:25 pm

I did half an LR, RC, and LG section the night before and the next half the morning of the test. I scored about .25 above my average, though I only got like 4 hrs sleep. I thought it was a nice warm-up, and I did not check the score or what I got wrong.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri May 20, 2011 5:26 pm

Cupidity wrote:I spent 3 days doing 3 full diagnostics per day and one thing I noticed was this, my score each day would go up by the third test, but I would lose some gains the next morning.

Wow - 3 PTs per day! You obviously have a lot more stamina than me.

Interesting, though - I would have imagined your scores would go down. Perhaps I'll try 2 PTs a day next week.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri May 20, 2011 5:29 pm

bhan87 wrote:About week before the December 2010 exam I was in a panic mode because I still wasn't achieving the score stability I had hoped by that point. I ended up trying to resort to brute force by taking a practice test a day. This actually led to a gradual score DECREASE (177 -> 170 -> 171 -> 169 -> 168). Needless to say, I realized I needed to change my game plan and took the next two days off. I took one more practice test two days before the real deal and scored a 172. Took a day off, then was able to score a 172 on the real exam.

Though the effects of mental drain affects people differently, it does significantly impact your score (especially for those aiming for a 170+). 2-3 questions can simply be a matter of how much stamina your brain has left in it (the more fatigue you have, the more likely you'll make a small diagramming mistake, or not make a significant inference).


Curious. I was doing 1 PT each day most of this week, and my scores also went down (174 -> 172 -> 171). I also made some stupid mistakes on the last two tests - like messing up my LG diagrams twice in the same PT.

09042014
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby 09042014 » Fri May 20, 2011 5:32 pm

It's a skills test. Not a materials test. You don't study for the LSAT you practice the LSAT. Taking a day off shouldn't worsen your skills.

But I actually took a PT the day before my test. I didn't take PT for a week before my exam because of a family emergency that took me out of time. So I took one the day before to make sure I wasn't rusty. But I didn't spend hours thinking about wrong answers.

For most people, I'd recommend taking the day off.

Gideon Strumpet
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby Gideon Strumpet » Fri May 20, 2011 5:39 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:That strikes me as entirely plausible, but does anyone have any evidence, even anecdotal?

Do you have any evidence, even anecdotal, that there is any point to this thread? If your habit is studying to the day of and that works for you, then do it. It's unlikely to make a difference in your outcome either way. Also, nobody cares.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri May 20, 2011 6:37 pm

Gideon Strumpet wrote:Do you have any evidence, even anecdotal, that there is any point to this thread? If your habit is studying to the day of and that works for you, then do it. It's unlikely to make a difference in your outcome either way. Also, nobody cares.

So you sincerely believe that everyone already knows what is best for them - that nobody is mistaken? That would have to be true for there to be no point to this thread. What evidence could you possibly have for that view?

This matters because - for the LSAT - even a point or two is a big deal. If you don't care, that's fine, but then why did you take the time to read this thread and comment on it?

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zozin
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby zozin » Fri May 20, 2011 8:59 pm

Personally I'm going to enjoy the Sunday. I don't need a bad preptest to lead to problems sleeping and increased anxiety. I do score better if I do individual sections or questions before an actual preptest, so I plan on showing up 1/2 hours early to the test center, bust out some sections and practice, get into a grove, and hopefully kill the test.

Gideon Strumpet
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby Gideon Strumpet » Fri May 20, 2011 10:03 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:So you sincerely believe that everyone already knows what is best for them - that nobody is mistaken? That would have to be true for there to be no point to this thread. What evidence could you possibly have for that view?

I sincerely believe that most people are able to answer a common sense question by using their common sense.

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pkrtbx
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby pkrtbx » Sat May 21, 2011 2:09 am

I don't think I will take a full PT the day before, but I will probably do a game or two, maybe an RC passage and a couple of LR questions just to keep my head in the game. This is only because I have noticed that going even a day or two without looking at LSAT material at all can really get me out of the mindset and cause me to get 'stunned' by certain question types. But beyond that, I will probably do a yoga class, get a massage, and watch some True Blood.

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Kabuo
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby Kabuo » Sat May 21, 2011 2:59 am

I am one of the many who found that doing too much LSAT in too short a time period would make my scores gradually decrease. I took PT 59 4 days before my real test and got my best raw score ever. I didn't want to risk losing the confidence that gave me, so I spent the days leading up to the test doing a game or two, or maybe a section. Then, the day of, I did one RC passage, ~8 LR questions, and a LG section. I finished all this with about an hour to go before the test and spent that time working on becoming the zen master. So there's more anecdotal evidence for you.

Also, for something more substantial: what DF said. You practice, not study. Too much practice can wear you out for the real thing. You have to space it out. The whole point is that practice will make your real performance better, so it doesn't make sense to keep practicing past the point when it's doing that. I'm sure you can draw a million sports analogies of your own, so I won't do one for you.

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mac35352
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby mac35352 » Sat May 21, 2011 2:30 pm

I plan on going over some questions and a few games. Just to keep my mind active. I wouldn't take a whole practice test.
Good Luck

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minnbills
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby minnbills » Sat May 21, 2011 8:19 pm

I would take an LG section throughout the day, and probably not check my score. I wouldn't take a PT- if you score poorly it could ruin your confidence. However, this is obviously a personal choice.

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Cartman
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Re: Whether to Study the Day Before

Postby Cartman » Sat May 21, 2011 10:58 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
MrPapagiorgio wrote:Assuming you've already spent X number of time studying, one last day will do nothing (anything you didn't understand/were unsure of should have been worked out by then). If you have done no studying, than one more day also will do nothing.

So if one day of studying will do nothing, why study two days before the test? After all, that extra day will do nothing. But then, why study three days before the test? Continue, ad infinitum...

My view: LSAT studying produces incremental gains. I think the more one studies, the smaller the increment, but almost none of us will do enough study that the increment approximates zero.

To claim that studying does not make sense the day before, it has to be the case that either: (1) the benefit is outweighed by some cost - like test-day lethargy or panic; or (2) there is some special reason why studying on that day won't be even incrementally beneficial.


For someone taking the LSAT, your reasoning is horribly flawed. If one day will do nothing, this does not mean that going two or three days back (or 500 days back) will also do nothing, simply because you are adding one day each time. 1 day really may not do much, but a couple of months sure will (and a couple of months can be broken down into adding single days.) Some part of me wonders why no one pointed this out yet?

That be said, it really seems as though you want to study down to the wire. And I think you want someone to give you evidence that studying down to the wire would be a good thing. I think that some of the posters have hit the nail on the head - it's really going to come down to knowing what works for YOU. YOU know yourself best, and know what test taking strategies work best. Some people will thrive taking the whole day off and relaxing, others will thrive by doing a full ptest with warmup sections.

As for me, I personally believe that a section or two or light studying to keep the juices flowing wouldn't be a bad thing, but I also agree that you're going to want your full strength come test day - so don't burn yourself out. If it helps you calm your nerves and reassure yourself going in, then by all means I think it'd be a good idea. Like many others have said, whatever best helps keep your nerves down, keep you in the moment, and let you get in the mindset to go in and kill it.




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