to the top

LSAT Prep/ Test Anxiety help!

brebre234
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue May 21, 2019 6:22 pm
Points: 13

Hi! I am currently working on my LSAT preparation I have been studying for over an month and a half at least. On my LSAT diagnostic/practice I scored a 141. Then I recently took my second LSAT practice test and I scored over a 154. Due to being a slow test taker I'm suppose to get extended time when I take the LSAT due to me having extended time on previous standardized test. I realized I might only get the 50% extended time. However when I tested myself with the extended time it wasn't enough time it seemed like. So as a result I tried working with double time (2X) which is 75 minutes and I still worked over my time. I think its just nerves because even when I'm just taking a regular practice test. I start getting nervous then end up getting a bad headache. The root cause for my LSAT anxiety is because I think since I didn't do good on the SAT/ ACT test in high school. I think I'm going to fail the LSAT and not get into a good law school or no law school (I know it doesn't make sense lol) I also think when I take the actual LSAT I'm going to get really nervous and score lower than my practice test. Because in the past with standardized test I always scored higher on the practice test than the actual test. I wanted to know do you have any advice on how I can practice becoming faster when it comes to Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning questions. Along with advice on test prep anxiety?


Thank You
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 2648
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:01 pm
Points: 2,461

Thanks for the questions, brebre234. You're not in this alone - a lot of students are experiencing exactly what you are, and test anxiety is a real thing that must be dealt with. Here are a few things to consider.

First, the LSAT is nothing at all like the SAT and ACT. Those tests are largely a matter of knowledge - vocabulary, grammar, math formulas, memorizing certain shortcuts. The LSAT is not about knowledge at all - the subject matter of the passages and arguments is never relevant, and you don't have to know all the vocab or memorize any formulas (although some memorization of common argument structures, key indicators for different types of reasoning, etc., does help). The LSAT, rather than testing your knowledge, tests your ability to reason logically, to analyze arguments. So, how you did on those other tests has little bearing on how you might do here. A lot of students get frustrated at first because they have always been good standardized test takers, and the LSAT quickly breaks that streak for them. Others set themselves up to believe they will do poorly based on past standardized tests, when the LSAT may in fact be right up their alley if they would just have confidence and go at it with a more positive attitude.

Second, your past experience with the SAT and ACT does have one thing in common with the LSAT, and that is that most students will score a little lower on their actual test than on their best, or most recent, practice test. This just makes sense - you should expect your score to rise and fall a bit from test to test due to a variety of factors, including a bit of nerves and a bit of luck, and so your real test is probably going to be somewhere near the average of your recent practice scores rather than show an increase over your best one. Accept that, and don't worry about it - it's normal and natural and nothing to get worked up about.

Third, it seems to me that you are a bit too focused on speed, rather than on accuracy. For now, stop timing yourself, and just work through the materials you have to get better at the basics. In LR, are you looking at an argument? If so, what is the conclusion? Do the premises fully support that conclusion (probably not), and if not, why not? What are you supposed to do with that info (what does the question stem ask you to do)? Come up with a prephrase, then check the answers to find the best match. In games, are you jumping to the questions as soon as you finish diagramming the rules, or are you taking the time to hunt for additional inferences and try hypothetical solutions or build templates? In RC, are you noting the location of key elements like viewpoints, main point, lists, dates, and arguments? Are you prephrasing that Main Point as soon as you finish reading, rather than diving into the questions without a clear sense of what it was all about? Build a solid foundation based on good strategies and a good process for applying them, and speed will take care of itself. Later, you can try a timed section of two, and eventually a full timed test, and by then you will, I hope, have your response from LSAC letting you know what accommodations you have been granted and you can time yourself accordingly. If you feel that you really must time yourself, do it with 1.5x time, not 2x - it will be easier to adjust to more time than to less if things change later on!

In short, forget about trying to get faster, and focus only on getting better. Your anxiety will decrease as you develop a good process for attacking the questions, and as you get more familiar with the content and structure of the test. Forget your past experiences with tests - they don't matter.

Good luck!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
brebre234
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue May 21, 2019 6:22 pm
Points: 13

Adam Tyson wrote:Thanks for the questions, brebre234. You're not in this alone - a lot of students are experiencing exactly what you are, and test anxiety is a real thing that must be dealt with. Here are a few things to consider.

First, the LSAT is nothing at all like the SAT and ACT. Those tests are largely a matter of knowledge - vocabulary, grammar, math formulas, memorizing certain shortcuts. The LSAT is not about knowledge at all - the subject matter of the passages and arguments is never relevant, and you don't have to know all the vocab or memorize any formulas (although some memorization of common argument structures, key indicators for different types of reasoning, etc., does help). The LSAT, rather than testing your knowledge, tests your ability to reason logically, to analyze arguments. So, how you did on those other tests has little bearing on how you might do here. A lot of students get frustrated at first because they have always been good standardized test takers, and the LSAT quickly breaks that streak for them. Others set themselves up to believe they will do poorly based on past standardized tests, when the LSAT may in fact be right up their alley if they would just have confidence and go at it with a more positive attitude.

Second, your past experience with the SAT and ACT does have one thing in common with the LSAT, and that is that most students will score a little lower on their actual test than on their best, or most recent, practice test. This just makes sense - you should expect your score to rise and fall a bit from test to test due to a variety of factors, including a bit of nerves and a bit of luck, and so your real test is probably going to be somewhere near the average of your recent practice scores rather than show an increase over your best one. Accept that, and don't worry about it - it's normal and natural and nothing to get worked up about.

Third, it seems to me that you are a bit too focused on speed, rather than on accuracy. For now, stop timing yourself, and just work through the materials you have to get better at the basics. In LR, are you looking at an argument? If so, what is the conclusion? Do the premises fully support that conclusion (probably not), and if not, why not? What are you supposed to do with that info (what does the question stem ask you to do)? Come up with a prephrase, then check the answers to find the best match. In games, are you jumping to the questions as soon as you finish diagramming the rules, or are you taking the time to hunt for additional inferences and try hypothetical solutions or build templates? In RC, are you noting the location of key elements like viewpoints, main point, lists, dates, and arguments? Are you prephrasing that Main Point as soon as you finish reading, rather than diving into the questions without a clear sense of what it was all about? Build a solid foundation based on good strategies and a good process for applying them, and speed will take care of itself. Later, you can try a timed section of two, and eventually a full timed test, and by then you will, I hope, have your response from LSAC letting you know what accommodations you have been granted and you can time yourself accordingly. If you feel that you really must time yourself, do it with 1.5x time, not 2x - it will be easier to adjust to more time than to less if things change later on!

In short, forget about trying to get faster, and focus only on getting better. Your anxiety will decrease as you develop a good process for attacking the questions, and as you get more familiar with the content and structure of the test. Forget your past experiences with tests - they don't matter.

Good luck!


Thank You this made me feel a lot better because when I took the practice test last night and got a 154 on it I felt like I really didnt earn it due to the over-timing. However I will definitely try not to worry during my test prep and actual test.