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Getting Tripped up by Time

tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
in General 3679 karma

Does anyone else have this problem? When I do a section or a problem timed I get completely flustered because my mind is constantly under pressure and wondering if I'm taking too long. The second I decide to do the same section untimed, I notice I do the questions faster and get them all right. I'm sure others have encountered this. What did you do to get past the time stress?


  • acsimonacsimon Alum Member
    1263 karma

    What section(s) is it?

    Also, what’s your drilling technique(s) for that section?

    Also (again), do you employ a skipping strategy?

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    3072 karma

    This is anxiety. Do you meditate regularly, even when you're not anxious?

  • nessa.k13.0nessa.k13.0 Legacy Inactive ⭐
    4141 karma

    @goingfor99th said:
    This is anxiety. Do you meditate regularly, even when you're not anxious?

    Yup meditation can definitely help with this.

  • akistotleakistotle Member 🍌🍌
    9361 karma

    Yes....I think we've all been there. Meditation can help.

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    Honestly, I find the watch and the apps distracting at times. When I study, I look at the time, then work on print outs as fast as I am comfortable with, then look at the time only when I'm done and satisfied with my answers, and I log it. Sometimes, it's disappointing. But I always know exactly which questions were my time drain. I don't need to know how much time they drained, just that they did. The time is just an outside, reliable measurement that confirms how bad they tripped me up. On those questions, I redo and focus on them until I know them better. Other times, I'm well under time and happily surprised. I think doing it this way starts setting up your own internal measurements (ie "Okay, I'm taking too long on this question because I don't understand something"). It's not you vs the time, really. It's you vs the test. Time is part of it, but ultimately, if the questions bog you down, it's the test winning because you were not prepared for something it threw at you, and that is what eats your time. If you know how to figure it out, you'll be able to answer the questions relatively quickly.
    In a nutshell, I guess.. use the clock as a measurement tool of how quickly you get the answers and how well you understand the problems, but don't let it stress you or dictate things while you study. Find another way to time yourself that is less stressful.

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    2531 karma

    Do some more timed prep in addition to meditation. The 15in15 --> 25in25 strategy plus meditation each morning and evening worked for me.

  • JenJernstedtJenJernstedt Alum Member
    142 karma

    I'm with you! Lately I feel as though my timed performance is reallyyy not reflective of my skills. More practice to get comfortable! Keep a good mindset (meditation is really key for staying calm and training the brain to focus in). You've got this :)

  • Adam HawksAdam Hawks Alum Member
    990 karma

    @tringo335 said:
    Does anyone else have this problem? When I do a section or a problem timed I get completely flustered because my mind is constantly under pressure and wondering if I'm taking too long. The second I decide to do the same section untimed, I notice I do the questions faster and get them all right. I'm sure others have encountered this. What did you do to get past the time stress?

    Getting tripped up by time, ask yourself the following questions:

    How are your fundamentals for the LSAT?
    Are you placing too much unnecessary value on this one test?
    Do you have a warm up prior to taking a PT?
    Are you sleeping and hydrating well?
    Are you exercising sufficiently?

    I can only speak for myself, but I was not improving on my PT scores under timed conditions and had to go back to the CC and the Trainer to correct my fundamentals. I've also been doing some meditation and tends to re-balance me. Furthermore, proper nutrition, hydration is essential. Too much coffee or soda is detrimental.

    Finally, I know that the test that I take in June, does not need to be the only test I have to take. You are allowed unlimited re-takes and schools do not care about how many takes you need. I am going to work hard towards un-timed mastery and then slowly pick up the pace. Without that mastery, you're just going to get wrecked by the test writers.

    Best of luck.

  • olepuebloolepueblo Alum Member
    235 karma

    Skipping a ton was the most important thing for me. I like to skip whenever my heart desires so I don’t pause during the test. I’d rather do all the questions that flow for me first. This leaves you more time for the questions where factor x got in the way.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    When you feel like you are flustered, close your eyes and take three breaths to calm your nerves. You need to be at peak focus to go through LSAT questions efficiently. For LR, if you still find yourself struggling to grasp what the stimulus is saying after 1 minute and 30 seconds, you should just guess and move on. The same applies for RC and LG. Don't let a puzzling game, RC passage or LR question mess up your funk and ruin your pacing for the rest of the exam. Often times, we can get more clarity into a question after spending some time away from it. Nerves are the enemy unless you use them to focus and move through the questions with a sense of productive urgency.

  • Brian_LSATBrian_LSAT Yearly Member
    232 karma

    One thing that I’ve done to deal with the stress of timed sections is getting really, really comfortable with the 35 minute time limit. I’ve done so many timed sections now that I know exactly where I should be at important time markers (which depend on what type of section I’m doing). I’ve even taken to studying and working in 35-minute “pomodoros” so I now almost don’t need a timer to know when 35 minutes is up.

    For an example of important time markers, I glance at my watch after doing the 10th LR question, and I know that I should be around the 10-minute mark. Even being 1 minute over means I’ve got to push a little harder.

    I learned a lot about how I was progressing through sections by keeping track of how long it took me to complete each game in LG, each passage in RC, and first 10/first 15 questions in LR. I do that every time I’m drilling sections, then when I take a real PT or on test day itself I have a very good feeling for where I should be in each section at any given time.

  • teamteamvicsterteamteamvicster Alum Member
    774 karma

    I've developed a really good grasp of 35 minutes. I find I get more anxious looking at the clock and tend to do worse. If I just let the time go and don't look at it (but still keep a strict 35), I do much better. I have more confidence, and the questions fly by giving me more time to check answers. I have never been one for meditation. I just get more anxious...#anxietydisorder??? BUT I do rock climb daily minus Tuesday BR calls and every weekend go on hikes. That keeps me breathing.

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Legacy Member
    1723 karma

    This is a great post. I'm struggling tremendously with time and its night and day between timed and untimed sections. Seemed like I lose my reading and comprehension abilities randomly and therefore get into jams. Definitely going to try the meditation!

  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    edited April 2018 3652 karma

    I've always been that person who took a really long time on exams during undergrad. I purposely slowed myself down so that I could take up every minute without rushing + have time for reviewing. I would shamelessly be one of the last people out of the exam room. I was so used to those ridiculous 30 minute high school AP essay exams that I really milked those 2 hr exams in university. I think bc of that I've never had a problem with time on the LSAT.
    Today I had 3 minutes left on the LR section I drilled on my lunch break at work and I was like whatever I'm done, just gonna take the 3 min to finish my lunch. I got -2 on that section. I prob glance at my clock every 10 questions but I dont really think about it at all.
    I think a good thing to do would be to not look at the time at all until you get into a natural rhythm. I dont think it's necessarily an anxiety thing. I think the clock/concept of time distracts you. Dont think about the time at all. Set a timer in a drawer and look at it when you're done to see if you went over or under. Or just write down the time you started on the first page and the time you ended on the last page.
    Looking at the time, thinking about the time, is a waste of time, it takes time away from the questions, and makes the exam harder. Worrying generally "i'm too slow" or "i'm rushing," doesnt help and you will go nuts if you question every second you take on each question.
    If you always overthink science questions bc you just hate science or you're always too confident and rush through strengthen questions or you always get easy questions right but you're underconfident and still circle easy q's for BR...keep that in mind and use it to tailor how you approach each question. Individualize your pacing for each question based on the strengths/weaknesses you uncover when you BR.
    But do so without glancing at your clock all the time. Just check how long you went over/under at the end and keep making edits to your pace until you get a good natural rhythm going. Once you have a natural feel for 35 minutes and know how much time you can take for each type of question and you naturally know what a "hard" and "easy" question feels like, then start using a watch during the exam so you can check occasionally and at the end you can be like sweet I have a lil time left I can go back over some questions.
    I think something really important to note, which I don’t agree with in some of the above comments, is that you actually don’t need to be at a certain time after a certain amount of questions. The section I just took had a level 5 question as question 2. So maybe I was at the 4 minute mark at question 2 (idk I didn’t check). Had I looked at the time and really focused on it by the minute, maybe I wouldve been worried I took too long on the first few questions and tried to rush when I didn’t need to.

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