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emotional state after completing a preptest

imharrisimharris Alum Member
edited May 2017 in General 466 karma

i'm noticing a trend in my preptests:

finish a preptest feeling like i bombed it ------> usually a higher score.
finish a preptest feeling like i aced it ------> ok, but not great score.

anyone else notice any trends in their emotional state after completing a preptest?

i'm trying to use this information to train myself to ignore my self doubt after i take the actual test.

if you have already taken the lsat: did your emotional state and expectations after the test match your test score?


  • camcam Alum Member
    349 karma

    I've learned that my emotional state isn't always the best judge. I have completed PT's that felt really easy and bombed them, yet I have also completed PT's that felt really easy overall and did amazing on at least one section. Same deal on the opposite end.

    As far as the real test goes, I sat for February 2017. I left the test feeling like I either did at the high end of my PT scores (163-164), possibly above it...or that I completely fell for every single trap answer choice (150-155). I ended up writing a 156, about 4 points below where I was PTing in the month leading up to the test (last two PT's before the test were a 160 & 163). My goal was 160+.

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    5320 karma

    I estimated my actual score within 1 point after sitting for the LSAT. I've found that to be case more often than not.

    Just curious. Why emphasize on training you post PT mindset?

  • imharrisimharris Alum Member
    466 karma

    @jkatz1488 i'm training myself to not trust my post PT mindset. i'm worried that i'll feel like i bombed the test when i sit for it and might do something stupid like cancel my score. trying to focus on trusting my studies and training.

    out of curiosity, how many PT's did you do before sitting?

  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma

    Post-PT mindset: I just sat and did a test for four hours...I need to do something else now lol

    Seriously. I wouldn't recommend you emphasize anything after your PT. At the end of the day, it's over and you don't know until you know. It kind of isn't worth the mental energy to try and evaluate how you did until you sit down and start reviewing.

    BR mindset...that is a horse of a different color.

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    5320 karma

    @imharris I believe I took somewhere between 10 and 15.

  • klewis4440klewis4440 Alum Member
    edited May 2017 13 karma

    Hi imharris,

    I tracked my emotional state quite carefully throughout the LSAT process, and noticed that there was not necessarily a correlation between PT performance and emotional state in the early stages of training, but that as I got more comfortable, I could test in a state of focused but relaxed alertness that definitely correlated with a decent score. Too much cockiness would lead to lower scores, as would too little confidence/second guessing. I at last found the sweet spot and tested to the potential of my PTs on the Feb. 2017 LSAT, after testing below potential on the Dec. 2016 test. The Feb. score was good enough to get me into all my choice schools, with very decent scholarship offers at two T-10 schools. (turned these down to go to school in Canada, with a great scholarship).

    (Note that the "sweet spot" could kind of exist independently of passing emotional states---e.g. frustration or fatigue, but was an underlying state of trust, and a gentle but persistent commitment to return to focus each time I would fall out of it.) I did not do as many PTs as many people suggest, because I found the process inherently draining and difficult---once I knew I could get through the full 5 sections, and knew where I was likely to have trouble, and was comfortable with seeing the different test-section types in a variety of orders, I focused on doing 2 or 3 sections in a row to stay sharp. Excess PTs were causing me to burn out. No matter how well they go, they are inherently exhausting, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Everyone has their own approach here, and I am sure that for some people doing lots of full tests under game-day conditions is great. I probably did 10 full PTs in total, but I was on a full time study schedule in a condensed time period---not ideal but it was what I had to work with and it worked for me. If you have longer to study, you can and should do more PTs, but spread them out (At first I tried to do 3 PTs in a week and it was WAY TOO MUCH). (Side-note: Everyone in the test center looked like beaten men after the LSAT, both times I is not designed to leave you feeling fabulous don't cancel the score on the basis of feeling like crap afterwards!!!)

  • imharrisimharris Alum Member
    466 karma

    @JustDoIt totally agree with doing nothing after a preptest... just trying to tune into my performance: did i feel rushed? was i more easily distracted than usual?

    i'm taking a preptest every monday right now to mirror the experience i'll have on june 12th. just trying to monitor my routine and develop good habits for test day.

    as i mentioned above really just trying to prepare myself for the internal struggle i'll feel in the week after the test. the september test is a great safety net, but feeling a little worried that i might be tempted to just cancel my june score if i feel like i bombed. the reality is that my perception of my test performance is often completely distorted.

  • jaefromcanadajaefromcanada Alum Member
    315 karma

    I feel exactly the same as you do on this!

    I think it was you (maybe I'm wrong) that wrote extensively and elegantly about the BR process. I'm trying (and mostly failing) to try and shift my focus on BR and not on PT. Since you wrote that post, I have emphasized doing a whole day BR (not after my PT) and I've improved since!

  • imharrisimharris Alum Member
    466 karma

    @jaefromcanada and @klewis4440 thanks for the feedback!

    blind review is where i really hold my emotional weight. as i wrote a while back once i was able to shift to emotional reaction from a preptest timed score to my blind review score i was able to really improve and focus more on learning.

    one of the insights i am gathering from others is that some tests will play to your strengths while others will throw up more roadblocks. those differences can move your score 3-5 points. the hope is to have done enough preparation to be ready to handle the roadblocks without beating yourself up emotionally during the test or after completing a timed test.

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