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Morgan Kristine
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Vinny Gambini
Vinny Gambini
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Serious Anxiety Issues

by Morgan Kristine Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:10 pm

Hey there, Ive been studying for the LSAT for three months now and I'm understanding the concepts well untimed, and if I blind review and i've missed a question, I do come to the correct conclusion. However, as soon as I begin to time myself, I FORGET EVERYTHING and I go into complete and total freeze mode, my heart starts racing so fast I feel like im going to pass out and I miss question I should not miss. I get scared I am spending to much time reading a question stem and then I am spending to much time predicting the answer and then I dig myself into a whole that I cannot escape. I literally have dreams that I'm going to fail this test and I cannot overcome this paralyzation.

Please help me, what has worked for you.

PS: for some background information, I took the ACT 6 times and test anxiety failed me every time, and three times during the ACT I had to throw up so this is not new. In undergrad -- I am a very slow test taker, I'm often the last student in the room, and I triple check my answers. I really need some helpful advice -- What have you done to help you?

Also, I most likely will not get testing accommodations, despite minor dyslexia (rapid naming deficit), I have never used accommodations on any test in my life and I do not think that LSAC will give me them.
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Vinny Gambini
Vinny Gambini
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Re: Serious Anxiety Issues

by MatthewK364 Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:07 pm


This is my first post, but given that I have also felt anxiety with regards to this exam (I mean who hasn't?), I figured I'd at least try to give you a helpful response. I can think of two tips that may be helpful.

First, try completing a section untimed without triple checking ANY of your answers. After finding an answer that you think fits well and is likely the best, choose it, and MOVE ON. If you're still nervous about your answer choice selection, circle the question number, but seriously, MOVE ON. After completing two or three sections in this manner, try to identify if there are certain question types that you got wrong often. Perhaps you can focus on drilling these question types -- but of course, that much is obvious. What is ALSO helpful is to see which question types for which you got all or mostly all correct. This can help you realize which questions types you seem to be able to handle well and don't need to fret about.

This has worked for me. I realized that for both necessary and sufficient assumption questions I tend to get the correct answer quickly with just a single pass through the answer choices, and have had more success "going with my gut" on these question types. On the other hand, I realized that some other question types I thought I understood well, I actually was underperforming on. Starting to address the sections by question type in this manner can be helpful towards knowing which questions you should or should not agonize over, and can help you a great deal in conjunction with the second tip below.

Secondly, jumping from untimed to 35-minute sections can be a bit jarring. Start by setting a timer for 45 minutes when you do your sections. After a few of those, cut it down to 41 minutes and do a few more. Then 37 minutes. Then 35. I think a lot of people have found success with this approach.

Also, when you have more than 35 minutes for the section, you should not be alarmed if you still end up working until the time limit - although I've gotten quite good at the LR section and tend to finish in about 32 minutes with getting 0-2 questions wrong, I could easily spend an additional 10 minutes going back and forth between two answer choices for a few of the questions. Even after that, I would probably still not be 100% sure on 100% of the questions. And it will likely always be that way. I know other top scorers who agree that outside of the LG section, it is almost never the case that a section is finished with 100% certainty for every question. In fact, there are usually two or three, maybe even four or five questions which are iffy. But that's okay.

So realize that being able to perform well in 35 minutes is a balance act of both getting better at the individual question types, but also knowing where you need to be comfortable being uncomfortable and make your best guess and move on. Just make sure you review your errors thoroughly, and do this very soon after you complete the section (preferably that same day, definitely within 24 hours) so you can still recall what you were thinking at that time. This allows you, upon reviewing your section, to not simply realize what you missed in the correct answer, but hopefully realize exactly WHY you chose the wrong answer, which is just as, if not more, helpful.