Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

elizeli
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:32 am

Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby elizeli » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:53 am

Took the Oct Sabbath Observer Test, screwed up on the LG and I am going to cancel. As I need to retake the test I think perhaps addressing my concentration issues will help improve my score. Prepped an average of 167 on PT 50 - 63 and 170 on most of the earlier PT's prior to taking the LSAT. My diagnostic was 2 months earlier and was a 158.

For the RC I started forcing myself to pay attention to every word practically underlining every line as I read to help keep my focus. Doing so really helped and in several tests I did -2 on RC. The LR I'd get anywhere from -6 to -0 but it was very inconsistent. I find that its not a specific question type but the complexity of the stimulus that throws me off. I can read and read but sometimes I see the words and it just doesn't sink in. Read it 5 hrs later with no pressure and its as simple as any other question but as I cant make sense of it at the moment I end up guessing. I'd say that's the case for at least 3 questions in every LR section. The earlier PT's had less complex stimulus's and I believe that's why I did significantly better on those tests. Even with the concentration issues I still finished the LR sections in 30min or under most times.

Interestingly enough I found that the games kept me focused and usually finished the LG section with several minutes to spare. I believe I once finished with 10 minutes to spare on one games section.

During the LSAT I found that I was rereading almost every other question and ran out of time on my first LR section guessing above the usual amount. The second LR section I did finish just in time but I was also reading again and again. I know it can be attributed to test anxiety but I have problems even when not taking a real exam.

As a kid in grade school I rarely paid attention but as it didn't affect my grades it was never addressed. This continued through high school and I did well in spite of my self diagnosed ADD. However in college I began finding it hard to read and retain any uninteresting complex material. I can read 3 pages in a book and have no clue what I just read. I'm sure I'm not the only one like this.

Any help would be appreciated, and no, adderall is not an option!

User avatar
3v3ryth1ng
Posts: 295
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:48 pm

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:29 am

The best option is obviously to petition the LSAC for accommodations. Double time is definitely in order.

No but seriously :P I have ADHD (diagnosed since always), and I have found a way to keep my "productivity" high. However, most things I could tell you about studying for the LSAT would likely help anyone. First of all, get yourself a diagnosis. There are several ways of diagnosing it, but a good doctor never just takes your word for it, and it never involves self-diagnosis. The way they diagnosed me back in the day is they gave me some IQ tests, then examined the performance on the subtests. If your performance on a particular pattern of subtests is significantly lower than the others (i.e. your performance on one subtest isn't as high as it should be relative to your other subtests and matched against people of your overall skill level in the general population), they attribute the performance to an attention deficit. There are also different types of ADHD. Knowing which type would probably change your approach. Here are some general ADHD LSATtips:

Many LSAT techniques focus on methods and processes, i.e. they involve steps. While going though these steps can be helpful in understanding the material, going through them on an actual test provides more opportunities for distraction, which in turn produces anxiety. A process oriented approach works for a lot of people, and prep companies make lots of money this way. You should definitely know all these steps, but use them only when you need to. Instead, focus on an having an organic handle on logic, and develop the innate ability you already have. You get a "feel" for it, more than you calculate it. This ability goes hand-in-hand with the processes, but the processes merely support you if you get stuck. Some examples...

-Read the stimuli first. Know the categories of the questions by their stems, but read the stimulus first and learn to predict the stem. Spot those assumptions because they're assumptions, not because your diagram said so.

-For games, do several hypotheticals out first just to get a "feel" for the game. Focus on a setup that it is wholly intuitive. It rarely needs to be more than some sort of grid. These are inherently more process driven, but knowing the game and internalizing the rules lowers anxiety because, again, there are fewer opportunities to get "lost."

-For reading, I'd actually advocate an opposite approach to the one you've been using for ADHD. Get a broad understanding of the structure, tone, and overall arguments. That's pretty much conventional wisdom that most companies will impart, but it's simply the best approach for ADHD as well. Focusing on details and underlining everything will create an incomprehensible "web" of facts in your head. If it's working for you, but it's taking too long, it's not really working for you.

-Finally, set aside lots of time and do lots of tests. Have them become fun. An ADHD sufferer can actually become more entranced with a topic than the general population, getting lost in a "time warp" of sorts. Case in point, these extremely long posts (which are actually taking away from my grading time- I'm a teacher). Use that tendency to your advantage while studying, assuming you're actually ADHD.

That's probably good advice for anyone, but that's what helped me overcome my deficits.

User avatar
mapnoren
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 1:48 pm

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby mapnoren » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:09 am

Its too bad that you have ruled out adderall as an option. I was diagnosed with add in 4th grade. I did not consult a psychiatrist about adderall until I was a senior in college. Let me tell you, there are a lot of people who abuse it. However, for people with add, it makes a world of a difference. You will be able to focus for prolonged periods of time (3-5 hours at first). If this is a moral decision or a decision out of fear, please think it over. Yes, many people who don't have add abuse the drug. However, if you have add, taking the test places you at a HUGE disadvantage. Adderall will make your life so much better in so many ways.

User avatar
rabbitrun
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 9:20 pm

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby rabbitrun » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:02 am

My advice is to study in the loudest place possible. I felt like my concentration was so high (I'm ADD) when I was doing PTs at home. During the LSAT it was constant noise... honking from the street, pages flipping, a proctor pacing in front of me... etc.
I got back on my meds for the LSAT. It helped in some ways, and hurt in some ways. It helped with LG; hurt with CR. I was pretty mediocre at CR anyway, but as soon as I got my amphetamines, I (just like you without meds) was underlining everything and focusing on every detail. To break this habit, I used PT 7-13 and just read the CR stimuluses. I only gave myself 2-3 min each, and read 4 in a row without doing the questions (they are pointless anyway because they are so much easier than the questions in the new CR). When I was taking the tests, I always did the longest one with the most questions first because I tended to take my sweet ass time if I did an easy one first. I saved the comparative reading for last because that is usually the most detail oriented, and I have a tendency to dwell on the details.

My advice to you is to self medicate with caffeine and experiment until you can get your peak level without freaking out on the caffeine.
Last edited by rabbitrun on Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

z0rk
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:11 pm

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby z0rk » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:42 am

elizeli wrote:As a kid in grade school I rarely paid attention but as it didn't affect my grades it was never addressed. This continued through high school and I did well in spite of my self diagnosed ADD. However in college I began finding it hard to read and retain any uninteresting complex material. I can read 3 pages in a book and have no clue what I just read. I'm sure I'm not the only one like this.



Unfortunately, a self diagnosis of ADD will not get you accomodations. You must first establish a body of evidence through testing and evaluations, and then you must petition based on that evidence for accomodation. It sounds to me, however, that you may not need extra time. Don't take my word for it, perhaps consulting someone for a thorough analysis will help you.

Both my brother and father have ADD. The thing that helps them cope best is lots of organization and a lack of excuses. You have to get yourself into a routine, and you can't let my words and the advice you receive in this forum become your motivation. It has to come from within, and you have to constantly refer yourself back to your own ambitions and motivations to keep with an organization routine. I find my brother sometimes shoots himself in the foot because he will spend more time talking about getting organize than he does actually organizing himself - don't do this.

I would suggest registering for the february or June exam and apply for fall 2013 admission. Begin putting time in for yourself now, and consider taking a class or consulting a tutor.

One thing that is often unmentioned/overlooked when doubling down for a test is self care. Make sure to eat well and excercise. It will help your contentration.

User avatar
ss3825
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:56 pm

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby ss3825 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:34 pm


elizeli
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:32 am

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby elizeli » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:32 pm

Thanx for the responses. I am not looking for accommodations I like to overcome things myself and in a natural way. I moved up 10 points from my diagnostic even with the concentration issues. A class will not help me anymore than I have already helped myself. I think concentration and anxiety are my biggest issues currently and thats what I need to overcome to do well next time around.

Just curious if I take a break from prepping till mid December where will I be starting from? My original diagnostic or closer to my improved average score (167)? I assume I will regress but how much? I can't look at another PT right now and dont have the time to practice until winter break...

sfamor
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:27 pm

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby sfamor » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:15 pm

I too have ADD (diagnosed) and got accommodations when I took the GRE for my grad school program. I did not get any accommodations during grad school (although I did for undergrad) and ended up doing surprisingly well so I decided that I would try the LSAT without accommodations as I don't really want law schools to know I have ADD. Although I know there are legal protections for persons with learning disabilities (or however you want to classify ADD) I was not really willing to risk that it still might be looked at in a negative light. Anyways, I wanted to suggest the Manhattan RC book. It's pretty short compared to their other books, but I found that their method really helped me understand and organize the passage in a different way than I had been. I think it makes more sense for people with ADD than the circling method I was taught in my princeton review class.

A general thing that has always helped me with studying is to go to a library where it's quiet and I won't be distracted. I go to libraries that are fairly far from home so that I'm less motivated to get up and leave when I'm feeling distracted and/or unmotivated. I make sure to leave my phone at home and either not have my computer with me or literally take out the wireless card and leave it at home so that I can't get onto the internet which I'm sure is the biggest time sucker for everyone regardless of ADD!

elizeli
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:32 am

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby elizeli » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:04 am

sfamor wrote:I too have ADD (diagnosed) and got accommodations when I took the GRE for my grad school program. I did not get any accommodations during grad school (although I did for undergrad) and ended up doing surprisingly well so I decided that I would try the LSAT without accommodations as I don't really want law schools to know I have ADD. Although I know there are legal protections for persons with learning disabilities (or however you want to classify ADD) I was not really willing to risk that it still might be looked at in a negative light. Anyways, I wanted to suggest the Manhattan RC book. It's pretty short compared to their other books, but I found that their method really helped me understand and organize the passage in a different way than I had been. I think it makes more sense for people with ADD than the circling method I was taught in my princeton review class.

A general thing that has always helped me with studying is to go to a library where it's quiet and I won't be distracted. I go to libraries that are fairly far from home so that I'm less motivated to get up and leave when I'm feeling distracted and/or unmotivated. I make sure to leave my phone at home and either not have my computer with me or literally take out the wireless card and leave it at home so that I can't get onto the internet which I'm sure is the biggest time sucker for everyone regardless of ADD!


Thanx for the info - I didnt use any special technique when I did reading comp. I just ran my pencil under every line I read as it kept me focused "on the page". It worked about 95% of the time and I improved immensely from getting usually about half of the RC wrong due to guessing and not retaining info to being no more than -6 on the section sometimes even -2. I don't know when I'm gonna start prepping again - dont have any interest in looking at another LSAT and don't have the time either. I guess when I start - I will see where I'm holding on RC and if I need it I will look into Manhattans book.

tepper
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:18 am

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby tepper » Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:52 am

I'm not intending to be mean here, but you should think about: is law school really for you? I'm currently a 1L and I can tell you right now that being able to concentrate is crucial in law school, not just when you're reading the cases at home, but also when professors are lecturing.

In addition, think about the bar exam, if you have concentration issue on the LSAT, imagine the bar exam which you'll take after 3L......

User avatar
rabbitrun
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 9:20 pm

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby rabbitrun » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:13 pm

tepper wrote:I'm not intending to be mean here, but you should think about: is law school really for you? I'm currently a 1L and I can tell you right now that being able to concentrate is crucial in law school, not just when you're reading the cases at home, but also when professors are lecturing.

In addition, think about the bar exam, if you have concentration issue on the LSAT, imagine the bar exam which you'll take after 3L......


That's pretty valid actually. I have thought about it. I think most people with ADD who have gotten through undergrad, can probably perform at the same levels as everyone else, with the help of meds and figuring out how to control situations etc. People always focus on the negatives, and never bother to think about how ADD can lead to more creative thinking, and therefore more creative answers. People with higher attention spans tend to fixate and then can't think of different approaches. This isn't spewed crap from supportive 2nd grade teachers. I'm not saying ADD is an advantage, it's just not like people with ADD are incapable of doing work. I read roughly 600 pages a week have to type about 20 single spaced pages a week. If you are medicated, but can't get through the LSAT without accommodations, then you probably shouldn't be going to law school. I think when it comes down to it, its about how dedicated and how smart someone is and not if they can read a page of info without starting to do something else.
Last edited by rabbitrun on Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

contusio
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:53 pm

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby contusio » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:29 am

I literally registered on the forums so I could respond to this thread!

I completely relate to what you're saying. I also took the October LSAT, and while I found the material of the test fairly straightforward when I was studying, my inability to focus really worried me. As hokey as it may sound, I found that yoga and, more importantly, meditation helped tremendously (to the extent that if I was feeling especially anxious, even a 15-minute meditation session would help me feel calmer). Yoga for Emotional Balance by Bo Forbes is fantastic; I would highly recommend it -- if you're skeptical (as I was!) about yoga's benefits, you may be swayed by the neurological studies she uses to back up her claims. Good luck!

User avatar
rabbitrun
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 9:20 pm

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby rabbitrun » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:06 am

contusio wrote:I literally registered on the forums so I could respond to this thread!

I completely relate to what you're saying. I also took the October LSAT, and while I found the material of the test fairly straightforward when I was studying, my inability to focus really worried me. As hokey as it may sound, I found that yoga and, more importantly, meditation helped tremendously (to the extent that if I was feeling especially anxious, even a 15-minute meditation session would help me feel calmer). Yoga for Emotional Balance by Bo Forbes is fantastic; I would highly recommend it -- if you're skeptical (as I was!) about yoga's benefits, you may be swayed by the neurological studies she uses to back up her claims. Good luck!


After hearing the ridiculous claims that my bikram yoga teachers say, I was pretty inclined to think this was poppycock, but she seems pretty legit.
Last edited by rabbitrun on Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ohiobumpkin
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:50 am

Re: Study tips for those with ADD/concentration issues

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:07 am

I haven't read everyone's posts, but I am willing to bet I might be one of the few here (on these forums) who have been given accommodations for a cognitive impairment. Let me start by saying that the process to receive accommodations is long, and usually unsuccessful. I have an incredibly well documented learning disorder since I was FIVE years old. I had to have a more recent cognitive evaluation done before being able to apply for accommodations, and it was hard to find a doctor who could do it, and evaluations can cost up to $3,000. LSAC is also known to almost always reject applicants for accommodations without extensive documentation. It won't be good enough to have a recent cognitive evaluation. Also, if you request anymore than 50% more time, you will almost always be rejected. In addition, and I really hate to say this, LSAC is known for not recognizing attention disorders as warranting accommodations. The argument is that attention disorders are treatable via medication, whereas learning disorders like mine are not. I think you should consider trying to get medication that best treats your disorder, and change your test prep to include practicing in areas that are loud, or otherwise distracting. Hope all goes well. :)




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: kindofcanuck and 6 guests