Asthma, Anxiety, and the LSAT

User avatar
coldshoulder
Posts: 963
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:05 pm

Asthma, Anxiety, and the LSAT

Postby coldshoulder » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:10 am

I had a terrible experience at the June LSAT. I had been PT'ing with a 175 average, including a couple 180's, before going into the test today.

Once I got nervous, anxiety hit, and with it an asthma attack. My inhaler wasn't enough to calm it, and with the combined pains of not being able to breathe almost at all and back spasms, I couldn't concentrate at all on the test and doubt I scored higher than a 165.

For the October test, can I request any sort of special accommodations? Should I include an addendum in my application for this? Also, any recommendations on anxiety medications?

User avatar
joebloe
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:02 am

Re: Asthma, Anxiety, and the LSAT

Postby joebloe » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:15 am

Also, any recommendations on anxiety medications?


Obviously, see a psychiatrist about this. Make sure you discuss the long-term effects of use and dependency to such drugs.

The only real recommendation I'd give you is to take care of this now and get used to the effects of the drug while you're taking timed PTs.

postn0bills
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:09 pm

Re: Asthma, Anxiety, and the LSAT

Postby postn0bills » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:09 pm

I took two previous administrations and did not get any sleep the night before each due to crippling anxiety. The anxiety inevitably continued into the next day, and I had a really tough time. Before taking the June test, I decided to see a doctor about my anxious non-sleep. He prescribed Ambien to help me sleep. I tried it out a few times before the night before the test to see how it affected me. Having that rest made a huge difference in my anxiety levels the next day, without even needing anti-anxiety medication.

There are also medications such as Xanax and it's less powerful counterpart, Ativan, but I decided not to try these for during the test because they tend to make the brain a bit too foggy, albeit less anxious.

The first step is to get a psychiatrist, and also a psychologist so you can learn to deal with your anxiety over time in a way that is productive and will lessen it long-term, without the use of medication. While there are certainly triggers like the LSAT for anxiety, it's more important to pinpoint the source/origin of it and attack it from there. This takes time and is something you should pursue months before the test.

MOST importantly, and something that took me a little bit of time to master, which I think helped me the most of anything for the June test, is that I learned not to put the LSAT on a pedestal over time. Even though I didn't always feel that way, I kept telling myself that it's not an unconquerable feat -- it's just a test. It's just words written on paper. It's just five hours of my whole life. Not a huge deal, and certainly not anything I am (or you are) incapable of defeating.

postn0bills
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:09 pm

Re: Asthma, Anxiety, and the LSAT

Postby postn0bills » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:11 pm

As tough as the anxiety is, it isn't something you CAN'T get past. Don't sell yourself short and request additional accommodations or write an addendum without giving yourself a fair shot at conquering this. You CAN do it, you just need to put in the time and effort.

User avatar
davesmystery
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: Asthma, Anxiety, and the LSAT

Postby davesmystery » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:16 pm

I second postnobills on this one. After yesterday, I'm going to talk to my doctor about my issues with anxiety and panic as well, not to mention chronic fatigue and mental fogginess sometimes.

Taking the real thing also showed me how little control I have over my own anxiety. I had asthma as a kid, but still have crazy panic attacks sometimes like what you described. Not that it helps, but pretty much the same thing happened to me yesterday. To be honest, after leaving the test I couldn't remember anything I just did, it seemed like I was just along for the ride and everything was on autopilot. I always finish with at least 5 minutes at the end of the section and I had to guess on 2-3 on each section. Even though I told myself there was no reason to be nervous I still only slept 3 hours and never really felt like I was consciously reasoning out the answers. Needless to say I'll probably be retaking in October barring a hugely forgiving curve, but just the experience of the real thing was enough to show me that I really need to seek help in eliminating that source of stress.

postn0bills
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:09 pm

Re: Asthma, Anxiety, and the LSAT

Postby postn0bills » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:33 pm

davesmystery wrote:I second postnobills on this one. After yesterday, I'm going to talk to my doctor about my issues with anxiety and panic as well, not to mention chronic fatigue and mental fogginess sometimes.

Taking the real thing also showed me how little control I have over my own anxiety. I had asthma as a kid, but still have crazy panic attacks sometimes like what you described. Not that it helps, but pretty much the same thing happened to me yesterday. To be honest, after leaving the test I couldn't remember anything I just did, it seemed like I was just along for the ride and everything was on autopilot. I always finish with at least 5 minutes at the end of the section and I had to guess on 2-3 on each section. Even though I told myself there was no reason to be nervous I still only slept 3 hours and never really felt like I was consciously reasoning out the answers. Needless to say I'll probably be retaking in October barring a hugely forgiving curve, but just the experience of the real thing was enough to show me that I really need to seek help in eliminating that source of stress.



I have felt the exact same way after leaving each test. I get really horrible panic attacks sometimes and the anxiety gets really put in focus during the LSAT and everything else seems impossible. I would suggest letting your score go through and then decide what to do (regarding the retake) -- sometimes autopilot is a defense mechanism against the anxiety and it can actually help you on the test. I don't remember anything I did from yesterday either, but I also have to trust my own abilities that even on autopilot, I was able to do OK (a very anxiety-inducing prospect). Also, most people do not work as efficiently on the actual test as they do on the PTs... this is especially true for us anxious folk! But I definitely recommend talking to your doctor. I wish I had done it sooner than I did.

User avatar
coldshoulder
Posts: 963
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:05 pm

Re: Asthma, Anxiety, and the LSAT

Postby coldshoulder » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:45 pm

Thanks to both of you for the extensive replies, it helps to know others have found solutions to the same problems. :)

User avatar
davesmystery
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: Asthma, Anxiety, and the LSAT

Postby davesmystery » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:12 pm

I'm definitely on the fence about my score, as you stated autopilot can definitely be a defense mechanism. Such situations switch on your "fight or flight" survival instincts. I feel like I could have gotten anywhere from a 150 to a 170 depending on how well my "autopilot mode" was able to use all the months of studying I put into the test.

Coldshoulder, let me know what your doctor says, I'm trying to get in to see my doc ASAP. Hopefully we can find solutions and rock the October test.




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: The_Pluviophile, wildquest8200 and 4 guests