How does Adderall affect LSAT performance for high scorers?

erdossian
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Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 1:42 pm

How does Adderall affect LSAT performance for high scorers?

Postby erdossian » Fri May 15, 2009 3:47 pm

No pun intended.
Don't mean to flame and hope I do not offend anyone.
My question concerns stimulant use for studying, please do not read further and accept my apologies if you find the subject distasteful.
I started this thread in the 'Off-Topic' forum and it was suggested I move it here.

I've been scoring 165-170 drug-free on practice tests.
I have never been able to study/work effectively in a non-structured environment and , last month, was prescribed amphetamines
to help me concentrate.
Never used any potent CNS stimulants in the past, don't even drink caffeinated beverages regularly.
I'm finding that Adderall and Vyvanse definitely help to focus on getting work done but also make my thinking less fluid and supple.
Specifically for the LSAT, these drugs help me with games, with their multiple rules and variables, but considerably worsen logical reasoning and reading comprehension performance, which is more of a non-conscious snap judgment for me.
Overall, my prep test performance is about the same, with or without, maybe somewhat worse with.
Is this common?
Could the recent LSAT trend to less difficult games and more difficult LR and RC be related to an increased drug use among the test takers?
Anyway, I am definitely not enamored of drugs and hope to find a non-pharmaceutical solution to get work done, until then I feel that I have to rely on these drugs as a 'go-pill' or not get anything done.
I am considering to continue using them for studying in preparation but not taking it for the actual test, maybe.
Any ideas?
Also, if you do take stimulants on a regular basis, please recommend dosage/scheduling regimes to minimize intake while maximizing work done.
I had issues with increased heart rate and trouble sleeping when I first started taking Adderall a month ago and have been taking smaller amounts since then, but also noticed decreased performance.

Thank you!

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robcataus
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Re: How does Adderall affect LSAT performance for high scorers?

Postby robcataus » Fri May 15, 2009 4:00 pm

My experience is very similar to yours. Without any concentration drugs, I was testing 165-170 consistently on PTs. The week approaching the October test I began taking Concerta (not sure if there's a big difference between that and aderall). My first PT on it I scored substantially lower: 162. The next test I scored a 172. On test day, I took a Concerta an hour before the test and scored 161. I retook in December without it and scored 168.

I found that I was too unaccustomed to Concerta to really take advantage of its "benefits." It definitely did something to my concentration, but as I had been practicing for literally months without it, in retrospect I think it was a bad idea. In your situation, it sounds like you have more experience with it. If you really think it helps, make sure that you take all PTs under the same condition you will the real thing (i.e. on aderall). Otherwise, stick to your guns and use what you're used to.

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Jean_Rousseau
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Re: How does Adderall affect LSAT performance for high scorers?

Postby Jean_Rousseau » Fri May 15, 2009 5:04 pm

Was this a prescribed medication you took daily, or something you just took when testing?

seatown12
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:16 pm

Re: How does Adderall affect LSAT performance for high scorers?

Postby seatown12 » Fri May 15, 2009 5:44 pm

erdossian wrote:Specifically for the LSAT, these drugs help with games, with their multiple rules and variables, but considerably worsen logical reasoning and reading comprehension performance, which is more of a non-conscious snap judgment for me.

What's probably happening is your mind is moving too fast to do the kind of careful detailed reading these sections require and you are missing the nuances that are key to not falling for trap answers. I think that unless you have enough time to get used to the effect of the stimulant you will continue to have the same result (worse on RC/LR, better on LG) but you can improve your LG to near perfect just by practicing anyway. If you are not accustomed to functioning on the stimulant you should not take it for the LSAT, and honestly I'm not positive caffeine will be good for your results either if you don't already drink it habitually.

erdossian
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Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 1:42 pm

Re: How does Adderall affect LSAT performance for high scorers?

Postby erdossian » Sun May 17, 2009 11:42 am

seatown12 wrote:
erdossian wrote:Specifically for the LSAT, these drugs help with games, with their multiple rules and variables, but considerably worsen logical reasoning and reading comprehension performance, which is more of a non-conscious snap judgment for me.

What's probably happening is your mind is moving too fast to do the kind of careful detailed reading these sections require and you are missing the nuances that are key to not falling for trap answers. I think that unless you have enough time to get used to the effect of the stimulant you will continue to have the same result (worse on RC/LR, better on LG) but you can improve your LG to near perfect just by practicing anyway. If you are not accustomed to functioning on the stimulant you should not take it for the LSAT, and honestly I'm not positive caffeine will be good for your results either if you don't already drink it habitually.

Probably the opposite, I think my mind is normally too fast for me to consciously figure out what is going on. This stuff is slowing it down, so that I can be conscious of my thinking. I am a slow reader to start, and now even slower.
I definitely want to slow down so I can be aware of what's where, so it will be an adjustment as I get used to it.

erdossian
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 1:42 pm

Re: How does Adderall affect LSAT performance for high scorers?

Postby erdossian » Sun May 17, 2009 11:51 am

robcataus wrote:My experience is very similar to yours. Without any concentration drugs, I was testing 165-170 consistently on PTs. The week approaching the October test I began taking Concerta (not sure if there's a big difference between that and aderall). My first PT on it I scored substantially lower: 162. The next test I scored a 172. On test day, I took a Concerta an hour before the test and scored 161. I retook in December without it and scored 168.

I found that I was too unaccustomed to Concerta to really take advantage of its "benefits." It definitely did something to my concentration, but as I had been practicing for literally months without it, in retrospect I think it was a bad idea. In your situation, it sounds like you have more experience with it. If you really think it helps, make sure that you take all PTs under the same condition you will the real thing (i.e. on aderall). Otherwise, stick to your guns and use what you're used to.

I definitely do not recommend it as a 'boost' for the test. I am now taking a very low dose couple times a day, and I think it would be stupid for me to take more than I am accustomed for the test.
It might make me think/perceive differently than how I normally do, even to the extent that I might falsely think I am doing better than I really am and become LESS attentive.

erdossian
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 1:42 pm

Re: How does Adderall affect LSAT performance for high scorers?

Postby erdossian » Sun May 17, 2009 11:52 am

Jean_Rousseau wrote:Was this a prescribed medication you took daily, or something you just took when testing?

Yes, and I have never taken the 5 Hour Energy drink.




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