LSAT Anxiety...

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jw316
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LSAT Anxiety...

Postby jw316 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:04 pm

I'm at a loss right now. Going on 2 years out of undergrad with H/Y/S dreams & no score to date and I HAVE to apply this cycle.

I've been studying off and on since May 2012 (own the bibles & manhattan books; testmasters; etc.) and I'm almost halfway done with the LSAT Trainer after roughly a week or so. LR was great, LG I feel a less confident than the LGB and I've barely touched RC so far.

My plan is to finish up the trainer and do about ~2 weeks worth of PTs (2 a day + review) before Dec 7.

But here's the thing: everyday I see how many days are left until Dec and how much it still feels like I have to do (get through book, drill, start PTs, etc.) and I get anxious.

Do I keep working through the trainer w/ the schedule and supplement any weak areas w other books then hit those PTs?

Or given the amount of time until Dec., do I just start PT'ing now and reviewing mistakes and use the books to address the areas I'm weakest in?
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rebexness
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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby rebexness » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:06 pm

You do not HAVE to apply this cycle.

And 2 per day PTs is a BAD BAD BAD idea.

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Dr.Zer0
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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby Dr.Zer0 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:08 pm

Wait you haven't been taking PTs...like at all?

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jw316
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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby jw316 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:09 pm

rebexness wrote:You do not HAVE to apply this cycle.

And 2 per day PTs is a BAD BAD BAD idea.


Unfortunately for family/monetary reasons it's looking like I do HAVE to apply this cycle. But I know I have a GPA that's above most 75th's so I really, really don't want to waste it.

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jw316
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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby jw316 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:16 pm

Dr.Zer0 wrote:Wait you haven't been taking PTs...like at all?


Since I started prepping again for December I've just been working along w the LSAT Trainer and drilling as the schedule dictates.

Overall I've taken a total of maybe 4 or 5 PTs (diagnostics, during a course before family issues kept me from finishing the course, etc.) because I didn't want to waste them. On and off has just meant literally 4-5 months+ in some cases without anything LSAT (for reasons beyond my control).

I have everyday from here until the Dec administration "off" and available to study full-time; 40+ hours a week, etc.

My story is far from traditional and too long to detail here but I don't mind PM'ing it to you.

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Clearly
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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby Clearly » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:17 pm

jw316 wrote:
rebexness wrote:You do not HAVE to apply this cycle.

And 2 per day PTs is a BAD BAD BAD idea.


Unfortunately for family/monetary reasons it's looking like I do HAVE to apply this cycle. But I know I have a GPA that's above most 75th's so I really, really don't want to waste it.

This still isn't true. It is ALWAYS possible to wait a year. Get a job. Convince your family, whatever.
Calm your pants and don't take 2 PTs a day. Your anxious because your plan blows. You should have been PTing all along. I can promise you if you bring this type of energy into the test you're not gonna be happy with it. Start doing a PT every other day, then reviewing it the next day, and reading the rest of the trainer along the way. Start taking 6 section tests to overexert yourself stamina wise, and if you are good, start doing 30 min sections instead of 35. You don't have time to slowly build PT skills, so you're gonna have to go this route, but taking more PTs doesn't = getting better. Learning from those PTs, and expanding your stamina = getting better.

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Dr.Zer0
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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby Dr.Zer0 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:24 pm

Clearly wrote:
jw316 wrote:
rebexness wrote:You do not HAVE to apply this cycle.

And 2 per day PTs is a BAD BAD BAD idea.


Unfortunately for family/monetary reasons it's looking like I do HAVE to apply this cycle. But I know I have a GPA that's above most 75th's so I really, really don't want to waste it.

This still isn't true. It is ALWAYS possible to wait a year. Get a job. Convince your family, whatever.
Calm your pants and don't take 2 PTs a day. Your anxious because your plan blows. You should have been PTing all along. I can promise you if you bring this type of energy into the test you're not gonna be happy with it. Start doing a PT every other day, then reviewing it the next day, and reading the rest of the trainer along the way. Start taking 6 section tests to overexert yourself stamina wise, and if you are good, start doing 30 min sections instead of 35. You don't have time to slowly build PT skills, so you're gonna have to go this route, but taking more PTs doesn't = getting better. Learning from those PTs, and expanding your stamina = getting better.


The two posters are giving you good advice, the one thing I would add is that you focus on 50s and 60s PTs if you're adamant about taking it this Dec.

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby jw316 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:26 pm

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heythatslife
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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby heythatslife » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:24 am

I second (or third) the others' view that you shouldn't be doing 2 PTs a day, for 2 reasons:

1. Brain fatigue. You might not believe it affects you, but it will have an impact, especially by the time you're on your 2nd PT of the day. And on a test that requires your brain's maximum output like the LSAT, it does make a difference, reducing the 2nd PT's usefulness as an indicator of your performance.

2. Just doing the PTs is not very helpful. Reviewing is key. If you don't understand why you got a question wrong, you'll simply make the same mistake again. Unless you're already scoring 175+, you need to spend at least 2-3 hours analyzing each PT after you tackle it, looking at not only the questions that you got wrong but also all those that you almost missed/guessed on/got held up on.

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby thewaves » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:51 am

You really need to take a practice test NOW to get some sense of where you stand. You seem behind the curve on studying for the LSAT by TLS standards, but who knows, you may knock it out of the park and end up at HYS.

No, you don't HAVE to apply this cycle. Don't let that keep you from getting the score you deserve.

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby Split90 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:16 am

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby Split90 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:23 am

um. and i don't know if this is just me, but don't give up! it isn't the end until it is.

the right mentality you should have right now is study hard---> take the test--->get the score--->then decide whether or not to apply in this cycle.

* if your pt score is 10 pt below where you want to be a week before the test day, then cancel. but first study hard for next three weeks. good luck!

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby Jeffort » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:31 am

jw316 wrote:
Dr.Zer0 wrote:Wait you haven't been taking PTs...like at all?


Since I started prepping again for December I've just been working along w the LSAT Trainer and drilling as the schedule dictates.

Overall I've taken a total of maybe 4 or 5 PTs (diagnostics, during a course before family issues kept me from finishing the course, etc.) because I didn't want to waste them. On and off has just meant literally 4-5 months+ in some cases without anything LSAT (for reasons beyond my control).

I have everyday from here until the Dec administration "off" and available to study full-time; 40+ hours a week, etc.

My story is far from traditional and too long to detail here but I don't mind PM'ing it to you.


I'm interested in your story if you want to PM it to me. Your situation is curious.

You said you are shooting for HYS. What scores have you gotten on the timed practice tests you've taken and when was the most recent one? What is your GPA? (mostly meaning, is it high enough to have a chance of admission for HYS, like not below 3.8?)

Why the sudden last minute urgency to cram for the LSAT and apply right away no matter what when your goal is HYS? I guess I'm mainly curious why you waited until now to get serious with LSAT prep given that you say you have to apply now. Why didn't you start going hard core with LSAT prep over 2-3 months ago (6-12 months ago) knowing that you realistically need 170+ to get into HYS while also knowing you can't wait until next cycle to apply? I don't understand why you would put yourself into a short term do or die cram for the LSAT in 3 weeks to quickly apply plan to try to get into HYS. Plans like that rarely work unless you are an LSAT natural, but you'd know that already since you've been prepping for a while.

You shouldn't be planning on applying anywhere this cycle until you have a realistic idea of your current LSAT score range to know if you are anywhere close to what you need to hit on test day in 3.5 weeks to have a chance at T14 schools. Your application timeline should be controlled by when you are ready to achieve an LSAT score good enough to get into your target schools, not by some artificial timeline you impose about which cycle to apply in. Long term planning is really important, especially when thinking about going to LS and maybe taking on a huge amount of debt.

If you tell us current practice test scores (that means take one NOW to get your current range), people can give better overall advice about what to do. Cramming for 3 weeks thinking you cannot wait another cycle is a bad plan that rarely works out well unless you are already reasonably within reach of your target score and study very efficiently with the limited time you have to shore up your weak areas quickly. If you are reasonably within range and give info about your PT performance with section breakdowns, people can give more specific study strategies to make the best use of the short time you have left before Dec test.

Churn and burn 2 PTs a day isn't going to make your score skyrocket, it just won't so don't try that plan.

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby jw316 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:26 pm

Jeffort wrote:I'm interested in your story if you want to PM it to me. Your situation is curious.

You said you are shooting for HYS. What scores have you gotten on the timed practice tests you've taken and when was the most recent one? What is your GPA? (mostly meaning, is it high enough to have a chance of admission for HYS, like not below 3.8?)

If you tell us current practice test scores (that means take one NOW to get your current range), people can give better overall advice about what to do. Cramming for 3 weeks thinking you cannot wait another cycle is a bad plan that rarely works out well unless you are already reasonably within reach of your target score and study very efficiently with the limited time you have to shore up your weak areas quickly. If you are reasonably within range and give info about your PT performance with section breakdowns, people can give more specific study strategies to make the best use of the short time you have left before Dec test.

Churn and burn 2 PTs a day isn't going to make your score skyrocket, it just won't so don't try that plan.


PM'd you. Most recent timed PT was back in June: 157 on PT 55 [-9 LR, -8 RC, -5 LR, -5 LG; -27].
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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby JazzOne » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:34 pm

rebexness wrote:You do not HAVE to apply this cycle.

With scholarship money on the table, I think it's a huge mistake to rush LSAT prep and overpay for law school. Then again, HYS are the only schools I believe are worth sticker price, so there's that. Still, I'd rather have H at half price than full price. Maybe OP is independently wealthy?

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby jw316 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:44 pm

JazzOne wrote:
rebexness wrote:You do not HAVE to apply this cycle.

With scholarship money on the table, I think it's a huge mistake to rush LSAT prep and overpay for law school. Then again, HYS are the only schools I believe are worth sticker price, so there's that. Still, I'd rather have H at half price than full price. Maybe OP is independently wealthy?


Lol I wish. Just the opposite. If anything the push for this cycle is because I'm worried about how I'm going to survive for another year without being on the track to H/Y/S and at least having enough food to eat from those loans. Sitting out the cycle means a whole 'nother year and given what's already happened this past year (none of which I could've predicted), I don't know if I can afford to take my chances...where I am (Detroit), it's hard enough to come by a job with enough hours to keep the heat on, but often when you find one they want so many hours (even on Saturday) then it becomes hard to find time to study.

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby JazzOne » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:50 pm

jw316 wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
rebexness wrote:You do not HAVE to apply this cycle.

With scholarship money on the table, I think it's a huge mistake to rush LSAT prep and overpay for law school. Then again, HYS are the only schools I believe are worth sticker price, so there's that. Still, I'd rather have H at half price than full price. Maybe OP is independently wealthy?


Lol I wish. Just the opposite. If anything the push for this cycle is because I'm worried about how I'm going to survive for another year without being on the track to H/Y/S and at least having enough food to eat from those loans. Sitting out the cycle means a whole 'nother year and given what's already happened this past year (none of which I could've predicted), I don't know if I can afford to take my chances...where I am (Detroit), it's hard enough to come by a job with enough hours to keep the heat on, but often when you find one they want so many hours (even on Saturday) then it becomes hard to find time to study.

I see. Those are tough circumstances. You're a URM, so that helps. I'll have to defer to others as to the amount of scholarship money a URM with your numbers can expect. Good luck!

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby jw316 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:25 pm

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby heythatslife » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:18 pm

JazzOne wrote:
rebexness wrote:You do not HAVE to apply this cycle.

With scholarship money on the table, I think it's a huge mistake to rush LSAT prep and overpay for law school. Then again, HYS are the only schools I believe are worth sticker price, so there's that. Still, I'd rather have H at half price than full price. Maybe OP is independently wealthy?


HYS all provide strictly need-based aid, so once you get accepted to one of them your LSAT does not have a bearing on the amount of $$$ they offer.

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby jordan15 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:33 am

Why have you barely touched RC at this point? It's the hardest to improve upon so it's important to know now where you stand.

Honestly, if you are this neurotic just talking about your study plan, I can't imagine how much you'll spazz out while actually taking the test. I would plan on taking the Dec test and if you don't miraculously pull yourself together then wait a cycle.

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:39 am

Hey all --

I've been pm'ing w/op about the same topic, and figured I'd copy and paste in case the discussion might be helpful for others as well (though some of the advice is specific to op's situation) -- sorry in advance for the length --

First off, I echo what everyone else has said and recommend that you wait a year in order to really study for the LSAT as much as you possibly can. I know that rationally speaking that may not seem to make complete sense, especially with other things going on in your life, but your LSAT score is that important to your future career--no matter your situation, almost any score increase at all is worth sitting out a year if need be.

Having said that, of course I'll do whatever I can to help you get ready by December, and I'd love nothing better than you see you work your butt off and get a great score -- To that end, here are some general suggestions --

1) Because of your situation, how you choose to allocate your study time is extremely important -- you don't have time to waste. Other people can tell you to drill, or do PT's, or read this book or that, but the truth is that all test takers have different strengths and weaknesses and what you have to be able to do is figure out what you need to get better at, personally, and match your studying to your needs.

So what I suggest is to structure your studying around goals, rather than plans -- that is, instead of saying "I will do 20 pt's, 1 per X" say "I need to get better at X, or I will develop a stronger understanding of Y." By aligning your study-time to goals, rather than plans, you can keep yourself accountable and have a more specific sense of when you are improving/when you are not.

2) Your goals should, first and foremost, be about skills and habits -- when you come up with your list of goals (more on this in a sec) try to start as many items as you can with "I need to be able to..." or "I need to be more consistent at...."

I've had a lot of experience working with students who have felt what you are feeling (and plenty of students who have overcome it to succeed on the test, btw) -- my understanding is that you are nervous because even though you've taken in a lot of info, and even though you are perhaps excited about your own potential, you don't feel confident about your ability to react correctly under pressure; in my experience, the most direct way to combat these nerves is to develop the skills and habits that you know you can rely on under pressure. Thinking about your prep in terms of what you need to be able to do, and what you need to habitualize, is thus obviously very helpful.

3) Here is a general list of the basic skills and habits you need for each of the sections - happy to expand on any part of this if you have any questions --

LR-
- you need specific habits for how you approach the stimulus for each of the q types, based on a clear understanding of what your goals should be for each situation
- you need specific habits for how you eliminate wrong choices for each of the q types
- you need specific habits for how you confirm the right answer for each of the q types
- for argument based questions, you need to be able to very easily separate out and focus on the core of the argument
- for argument-based q's that require you to be critical, you need to be able to very, very good at seeing why the reasoning does not absolutely prove the conclusion (the better you are, the easier q's become).

RC-
-you need to be able to recognize reasoning structure as you read
-you need to be able to prioritize reasoning structure as you read
-you need to habitually apply systems that help ensure that you've read correctly
-you need to habitually employ specific strategies that align w/the design of different types of q's -- these strategies relate to a) how much you should be able to anticipate about the right answer/ b) when you ought to go back into the text c) how you out to eliminate wrong choices/what you ought to look for in wrong choices / d) how you will confirm the right answer/what you ought to look out for in right answers.

LG-
-you need to be able to easily see the general, big picture design of all games -- characteristics of this include being able to easily set up the optimal base and relate it to some other games you've seen in the past.
-you need to be able to easily and automatically notate all rules and understand what your notations mean -- students waste way too much time worrying about the "best" ways to notate, and not nearly enough time making their notations automatic. They need to be automatic enough to the point that you don't have to think about them at all as you solve a game. The test: you should be able to look at any notation and, if it came from a rule, easily be able to say, correctly, what that rule was.
- you need specific strategies that align with each of the question types -- this includes backup strategies, such as when to go to hypos, when to cut bait, etc.

Finally, you need general timing strategies that you've practiced ahead of time and that you can implement without having to think about too much -- timing strategies that help ensure you use your time as efficiently as possible.

All the above are skills can be attained even in a short period of time, and if you can do the above you will be more ready for the test than 9/10 test takers.

4) You need to have a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.

Don't know exactly how you stack up relative to all the above? Take a practice test! Take it as realistically as possible, and be as honest with yourself as possible about what you need to work on most.

5) Figure out how to best address your weaknesses. If you don't feel confident about any of the items above, why is that? Is it because you don't actually have, for example, a clear understanding of the strategies you ought to employ? Or is it because you don't have enough experience that it's become habit? Based on your own assessments, allocate time to learning about the LSAT, drilling the LSAT, and taking PT's. Again, use your goals to dictate your plans of how to allocate time, and hold yourself accountable -- keep track of what you are getting better at, and don't spin your wheels.

Whew! Sorry for the length -- I got started and I couldn't stop -- I hope I didn't bore you to death, and I hope that you found that helpful -- I wish you the best, and if you need anything else, just let me know --

MK

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby koalacity » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:02 pm

^I feel like the above should be stickied for future "should I take or postpone?" questions. Thank you, Mike!

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby JazzOne » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:07 pm

jw316 wrote:
JazzOne wrote:I see. Those are tough circumstances. You're a URM, so that helps. I'll have to defer to others as to the amount of scholarship money a URM with your numbers can expect. Good luck!


Thanks but with all due respect I still have to crack 170+ on the LSAT and get an official score on paper to match my GPA before I even start thinking about scholly stuff and that's why I'm here looking for help :)

With your GPA and URM status, you might not need as high an LSAT score as you think. I'm not a numbers guru, so I'll have to defer to others again. What are your timed PT scores? Work your butt off until December, and let us know how your cycle goes!

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby jw316 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:22 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:Hey all --

I've been pm'ing w/op about the same topic, and figured I'd copy and paste in case the discussion might be helpful for others as well (though some of the advice is specific to op's situation) -- sorry in advance for the length --


Just wanted to say thank you again!

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Re: LSAT Anxiety...But Not That Kind (Begging for Help!)

Postby jw316 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:29 pm

JazzOne wrote:With your GPA and URM status, you might not need as high an LSAT score as you think. I'm not a numbers guru, so I'll have to defer to others again. What are your timed PT scores? Work your butt off until December, and let us know how your cycle goes!


Yeah I tried looking on LSN or whatever but I couldn't seem to get any consistent data based on my GPA and various LSAT score ranges. I know I'm just a big "what if" until I get a score on paper. Shooting as high as I can (180 like we all should strive for) and if I fall short then fine, but I guess with all things considered and what's gone on in my life over the past year I'm just really hoping I can grind out a 170+ on this administration and get in this cycle.

Last timed PT was a 157, I posted it w a breakdown by section a few posts up. Hopefully taking one sometime today and using that to assess where to go based on the advice I've gotten here and in PMs. Again please don't quote my numbers because I plan on deleting for anonymity when I submit apps.




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