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Need help overcoming a slump

TheoryandPracticeTheoryandPractice Alum Member
edited April 2017 in General 1008 karma

Today is pretty weird. I am usually quite positive and optimistic when studying the LSAT, but today I'm fraught with anxiety and sheer frustration. I think the reason is that when I was working on PTs in 20-30s range, I was doing very well and established all my strategies based on them. Now I started to solve PTs in 60s-70s, and I noticed a score drop and having to rearrange and rethink some of my strategies. Now I am redoing some problems in PTs in 20-30s (the ones I usually do well in) and I notice a time lag and anxiety as well. My mind is not focusing at all. LOL...

Right now when I am reading, I have this urge / anxiety to comprehend every single thing I am reading, to be in control of everything. I don't think I've been this frustrated with the LSAT before. Usually, when I am frustrated, I don't mind much and I still keep a positive attitude. Today is just a disaster.

Anyone know a way to get out of this slump?

Comments

  • jknaufjknauf Alum Member
    1736 karma

    Take a nap brah

  • jknaufjknauf Alum Member
    edited April 2017 1736 karma

    In all seriousness, it's probably just a bad day. Which sounds like it is.

    Maybe you didn't get enough sleep last night? Perhaps your moms clam chowder isn't sitting well and your body is devoting more resources to the digestive track. On days when you are just not mentally all there, I think the best thing to do is reinforce good habits. Such as doing old logic games which you have already fool proofed or walking through some old RC or LR sections not timed but still focusing on mechanics (e.g. this is the premise, this is the conclusion, this is context, this supports the conclusion in this way, the flaw or gap in the argument is this). Essentially, work on theory & slow practice <--- :wink:

    Perhaps you are burned out? If this is the case, take a few days off. Go for a run, get a workout in, watch Suits (I think this show is super corny but for some reason prospective law students love it), do some meditation, bake some cookies, play some xbox (xbox>ps4), or just take a nap. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that there is a big big difference between being burned out and just being pissed off because the LSAT is hard. So if you aren't burned out, don't take time off.

    The new tests are slightly different, but not significantly different. So one would expect to see a slight difference in score, but not a significant difference in score. Don't get down on yourself, this slump is nothing but a pit stop on a much longer journey. Best of luck

  • TheoryandPracticeTheoryandPractice Alum Member
    edited April 2017 1008 karma

    @jknauf Thanks so much!!! You are so wise :D Yeah when I woke up this morning, I felt more tired than usual and wasn't reading very well. Still not reading very well for some reason.

    @jknauf How do you discern whether you are burnt out or just pissed off at the LSAT?

  • Mellow_ZMellow_Z Alum Member
    1997 karma

    @jknauf said:
    In all seriousness, it's probably just a bad day. Which it sounds like it is.

    play some xbox (xbox>ps4)

    Console exclusive's homie. No contest. PS4 >

  • extramediumextramedium Alum Member
    edited April 2017 419 karma

    @TheoryandPractice said:
    Now I am redoing some problems in PTs in 20-30s (the ones I usually do well in) and I notice a time lag and anxiety as well. My mind is not focusing at all. LOL...

    Right now when I am reading, I have this urge / anxiety to comprehend every single thing I am reading, to be in control of everything. I don't think I've been this frustrated with the LSAT before. Usually, when I am frustrated, I don't mind much and I still keep a positive attitude. Today is just a disaster.

    Anyone know a way to get out of this slump?

    Sorry you're having a rough day. I know the feeling. Personally, when I start getting burned out, I notice an increased emotional attachment to the LSAT and overblown reactions to scores. My approach starts to get scrambled like you're describing too.

    Take the afternoon off and do something to take your mind off it.

    If you're taking a ton of adderall or caffeine before testing/drilling, maybe ease back on that.

    I've started to try and use my anxiety when it comes to skipping questions. If I start waffling between two choices or freaking out about how much time I'm spending on a question, I'll usually just pick an answer and move on. If I feel like I'm wasting time but I'm very close to the right answer, I'll take a deep breath, read the question and stim one last time, then pick an AC and move on.

    It helps to take a slow, focused approach on your first read. This makes it a lot easier to sort out premises and support from conclusions and identify the function of each part of the stim in an efficient manner.

    If you're still having trouble with anxiety after that, then see a doctor and apply for accommodations. If you're prescribed anti-anxiety medication, I'd recommend taking it about 30 minutes before a PT/section. I take 1mg xanax before PTs/sections and I don't get tired halfway through or anything like I thought I would. Hopefully you won't have to go through that.

  • jknaufjknauf Alum Member
    edited April 2017 1736 karma

    @TheoryandPractice said:
    @jknauf Thanks so much!!! You are so wise :D Yeah when I woke up this morning, I felt more tired than usual and wasn't reading very well. Still not reading very well for some reason.

    @jknauf How do you discern whether you are burnt out or just pissed off at the LSAT?

    awh shucks

    I think the determining factor for burn out is when you just don't care anymore. You complete a PT or a drill and you just don't really care about the outcome and your effort was lackadaisical at best. But it is good to be emotionally detached from your score, otherwise this test will eat your soul, so keep that in mind. Also, consider sometimes you just need the day off. That doesn't necessarily mean you are burned out. If you are burned out you need to take a few days off and just not just one.

    I think a good analogy would be lifting weights. If I lift 100 lbs frequently, then the next day I can't lift 100lbs, is it because I am burned out? No, usually not. It could be because I didn't get enough sleep the night before so my muscles haven't recovered fully, or I'm lacking the proper nutrients to fuel the muscle group which is required to lift the 100lbs. But just because I couldn't reach my full lifting potential that day doesn't mean I should chalk the day up as a loss. I can still work on diet and form (theory and practice).

    If I was burned out, it would be more like "I'm not going to the gym, I don't care if I am unhealthy, I don't care if I loose all this muscle, which I've worked so hard for or I don't care that I couldn't lift 100lbs today, I'm not going to consider why I couldn't lift 100lbs today, because I just don't care. Screw the LSAT."

    This all differs from individual to individual so you really must know yourself. Here is a little tidbit from JY about winning the psychological battle. It doesn't touch on burnout, but I think it will still be fruitful.

    https://7sage.com/lesson/winning-the-psychological-battle/

    Also, a less popular tidbit from JY about living the LSAT - not super relevant to our current discussion but a good read none the less

    http://www.preprobono.org/living-the-lsat/

  • jknaufjknauf Alum Member
    edited April 2017 1736 karma

    @Mellow_Z said:
    Console exclusive's homie. No contest. PS4 >

    I'll remember that when I'm driving around in my Warthog

  • Colin1485Colin1485 Legacy Member
    edited April 2017 108 karma

    I am a big sports guy. What I do to overcome the Lsat pressure is: I approach the lsat like a game. As Jknauf mentioned, slow and steady! Maybe you just had a bad day, week or month(s). Keep on grinding it out - You'll see the rewards eventually.

    Some people take study peds to concentrate better, it can help with studying but the side effects and possible addiction suck. Make sure your eating right, getting exercise and sleeping.

    Truthfully, it sounds like your placing a mental block on yourself and thinking about failures before even taking the test. The Test is just a test, It doesn't mean your stupid or lacking or even matter in the big scope of things. Think perspective and of your goals; your just wanting to get into a new profession. Keep in mind the profession your embarking on; Many lawyers all in all quit after school or a couple years out - because of lack of employment/stress or hating the job.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/the-only-job-with-an-industry-devoted-to-helping-people-quit/375199/

    I would recommend shadowing a lawyer; if your stressed out already just studying for the entrance exam, the road is only getting harder. Make sure your willing to walk down the path and make the huge investment.

    When your taking the actual prep tests, visualize and think, "I have already scored a perfect score on another lsat Test - All is well and I will score great on this one as well" - be in a happy place; Also make sure your not getting stuck in the time sinker questions - having a good skipping strategy helps!

    Good luck!

  • SamiSami Alum Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    10710 karma

    @TheoryandPractice said:
    Today is pretty weird. I am usually quite positive and optimistic when studying the LSAT, but today I'm fraught with anxiety and sheer frustration. I think the reason is that when I was working on PTs in 20-30s range, I was doing very well and established all my strategies based on them. Now I started to solve PTs in 60s-70s, and I noticed a score drop and having to rearrange and rethink some of my strategies. Now I am redoing some problems in PTs in 20-30s (the ones I usually do well in) and I notice a time lag and anxiety as well. My mind is not focusing at all. LOL...

    Right now when I am reading, I have this urge / anxiety to comprehend every single thing I am reading, to be in control of everything. I don't think I've been this frustrated with the LSAT before. Usually, when I am frustrated, I don't mind much and I still keep a positive attitude. Today is just a disaster.

    Anyone know a way to get out of this slump?

    I agree. Take a break and come back with a fresh mind. Also, do some drills and try over confidence drills where you are reckless and don't control anything. See how your scores turn out. And then scale down or up in your recklessness depending on your score. Drilling is a great way to let go of bad habits of control and not moving on by skipping.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

  • TheoryandPracticeTheoryandPractice Alum Member
    1008 karma

    Thanks everyone! I did a mini meditation and already feeling better lol. To be quite frank, I really like the LSAT, as nerdy as it sounds. I've been studying for months and every morning I woke up feeling excited. Today was pretty counter to that. Hence my apprehension. Im glad that this happened today as opposed to the test day. You have all provided valuable resources that I want to take advantage of, even when I am having a good day.

    Other further suggestions are all appreciated!!

  • TheoryandPracticeTheoryandPractice Alum Member
    1008 karma

    @jknauf @Colin1485 @Sami @extramedium

    Thank you for all of your wonderful advice. I sensed a burn out and took off Thursday afternoon and the entire weekend. Before taking the time off, I think I was getting emotionally involved with the exam. Now I am in quite a happy place. Here's a note to a future self (and also to my current self to ingrain these insights) and to anyone who wants to prevent a slump. Please feel free to add any more insights.

    1. Mistakes are important, crucial pieces for improvement. My screen name is theory and practice, because I believe that improvement comes from the going back and forth btw theory and practice. You test a theory/ strategy through practice, see how it works, amend the theory, test it again. Improvement comes from the process of these refinements. Mistakes are not setbacks, but they serve as important clues for progress.

    2. Life is good with or without a high score on the LSAT. When I took time off last weekend, I made a point to enjoy being outside, hang out with as many friends as possible, and really experience that what makes life worth it and fulfilling is these incredible and intangible connection that I make with other people and serving them when I can. That's why I want to go to law school anyway. I can connect with people, and use my talent to best of my ability regardless of how I do on the LSAT.

    3. Learning is fun. I found the LSAT incredibly fun and intellectually stimulating, and I still do now. When I don't get caught up in my scores, I find studying for the LSAT fun. I get to practice active reading, reading for structure, and actually applying them in real life. I get to think about the weaknesses of the argument and how to make my own argument better in real life. I can't think of the practical utility value for the LG (which is why it is my least favorite section (well, also I am generally bad at it) ), but even LG has its practical value; it makes you a disciplined thinker, thinking step by step. I am a pretty intuitive thinker and not necessarily the most disciplined one. I think it helps me work on my weakness to be a better thinker overall. This is why I like the LSAT so much more than say the SAT or the GRE, because it actually helps me to be a better critical thinker.

    Anyways, I think the weekend off helped me to really experience the all 3 above (these are all quite common wisdom, but really believing in them and acting in accordance with them is a different issue). I'm going to keep this in mind going forward.

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