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How long does it take you to recover after a PT?

Like_SpikeLike_Spike Live Member
in General 203 karma

I've taken 14 full PTs so far and one of the things I'm noticing with myself isn't so much that I struggle with fatigue during the exam (although I do feel a small concentration decline by the 5th section), but rather that I struggle to recover quickly after the exam. At first I tried taking a PT every 3 days +/- 1 day. But I realized when I went to sit down my mind just wouldn't focus. I could still feel the exhaustion from the prior test. The last few weeks I've been doing just one PT per week (plus BR and some drilling in between) and I've sat down feeling much more focused and fresh. The issue is that in doing this it's taking me longer to get more exposure to full PTs.

Does anyone care to share their thoughts on this? I'm not sure whether to push myself and PT more often or go at this pace and risk not being ready for the November exam (and January if necessary). My scores have fluctuated all over the 165-173 range.


  • LouislepauvreLouislepauvre Alum Member
    750 karma

    I take a full PT on Friday and then only review answers on Saturday because I’m so burnt out. I also work about 50 hrs/week and reading and writing is a part of my job so I think it has an impact.

    The general wisdom is to do one timed 35 minute section a day and thoroughly review your answers, and do one full PT/week. That’s generally what I do. Also, I’m very impressed you don’t fatigue during the test. I always fatigue in a section toward the end, and after 3 in a row, I’m tired.

  • tekken1225tekken1225 Alum Member
    770 karma

    Yeah, I also don't fatigue during the test. I think once I get going, the adrenaline starts flowing, and I kind of "get in the groove". The PTs are pretty short, it's just 4 35-minute sections (I don't do a 5th section, maybe I should), so that's another factor. I just knock out the sections one after another.

    I also don't feel too much burnout after the exam. Usually, I turn around after an hour and start going over the exam.

    The worst part for me is before starting the exam. I get this sense of dread and feelings of fatigue, burnout before starting the exam. It's so weird I feel the mental exhaustion before starting the test. Anyone experience something similar to me?

  • cdaddario2cdaddario2 Member
    362 karma


    I experience the exact same thing. My stress level prior to taking the test is high. After I get going I am much better. And an hour or two after the test I am ready to begin BR'ing. In fact I am rather excited a few hours after the PT to get back to it and see how it all shakes out. My worst experience throughout this effort of studying for the LSAT has been the time prior to a PT. Yeah, the hours of study are long, I have put pretty much everything else on hold while I work on this, but I have always been able to compartmentalize my life when I have needed to do so.
    Perhaps the anxiety of the PT, knowing it is a metric of how much we have or have not mastered, is the stress point. Whatever the reason my experience is much like yours.

  • Victoria.Victoria. Member
    553 karma

    @tekken1225 @cdaddario2 I think your anxiety right before the test might actually benefit your prep a lot. I never felt anxiety during or before a test so I was in for a huge shock when I was extremely anxious before September and it was very detrimental to my mindset. If you have established calming strategies that work for you I'd say both of you are set up for success. Could I ask what you do before your PT to calm your feelings? I still can't seem to mimic the anxiety but I want to have a strategy in place when the feelings inevitably come back to me when I take the November exam.

  • cdaddario2cdaddario2 Member
    362 karma

    @Victoria Just prior to a PT, the overwhelming feeling that this test matters, that I am not fully prepared, that this PT is indicative of who I will be as an LSAT test-taker in real time. In that moment I am not taking a PT, I am taking the actual test and I somehow have convinced myself that I cannot learn any more or progress in any way.

    So I try and counter the feelings above by remembering what a friend of mine told me not long ago.

    A bunch of my buddies have known I am studying for the LSAT. They give me a lot of crap. My one friend is a doctor. He knows I want a high LSAT score. One day he asked me 'why'. My response is irrelevant.
    What he said to me was this, 'In 15 years of knowing me, did you ever ask me what medical school I attended'?
    I said no.
    He said, ' Dude, no one is going to care where you went to law school and no one is going to care what you got on the LSAT after you take the fucking thing. Just do your best and calm the fuck down'.

    I know this may not apply to your particular situation, but maybe some part of it does. My life won't end if I don't maximize my potential on the LSAT. I am giving it all I have. I hope I do well. But in that most stressful of moments, just before I take a PT, I play in my mind the advice of a friend.
    Victoria I hope you have an awesome test day on 11-17.

  • tekken1225tekken1225 Alum Member
    edited October 2018 770 karma

    @"Victoria." Perhaps this sounds really macabre, it's actually just really existential, but I just remind myself we are all going to die someday, so none of this really matters.
    I don't know, it calms me down, haha.

  • unclesysyunclesysy Alum Member
    edited October 2018 106 karma

    Are you doing BR the same day, or the day after? I was taking 2, and even sometimes 3, PTs a week, but I found that leaving BR to the next day helped mitigate fatigue.

    Personally, this close to the test, I'd consider 1 PT a week too few. I'd try pushing through the fatigue, as long as you're not experiencing burnout (which is different). Preparing for the LSAT is hard. You're going to feel tired. You're not going to feel 100% every day. But, if it were me, I'd want to get more exposure to more PTs. Of course, I'd cut back drastically the week before the actual test, so you're not feeling worn down right before it.

  • Victoria.Victoria. Member
    553 karma

    Wow @cdaddario2 I think this advice is extremely helpful. And @tekken1225 haha I think both of your messages are similar though, this test shouldn't be seen as a do or die kind of thing despite it's importance. I've been thinking that I would just encourage myself on test day by saying I'm going to do well and that's that, but I think it'd be way more helpful to employ the opposite strategy and tell myself so what if I don't? I'm going to try my best either way but I'd be relieve myself of the pressure if I choose to accept that no matter the outcome things are going to fine. Thank you so much for this.

  • Sue Doe NimbSue Doe Nimb Alum Member
    183 karma

    @Like_Spike I initially was taking a ridiculous amount of PTs, and it did pay dividends. However, as you've mentioned, it is quite taxing, and it can make you score worse/work less effectively. Something that I've found is that supplementing PTs with sections during the week is very beneficial. I know it is considered sacrilegious to take apart a PT. However, if you are only going to take one PT a week, I don't know if using a second one for sections is going to kill you. This is especially true if you are using older sections (e.g. prior to LSAT 34), but I think it may be true regardless.

  • Like_SpikeLike_Spike Live Member
    edited October 2018 203 karma

    @Louislepauvre Actually, to backtrack some on what I said, I sometimes feel fatigue after 3 sections as well, but it's only during the break where it sets in (ironically). Other times, I feel good until the 5th section. I think it just depends on external factors for me.

    @"Sue Doe Nimb" that's largely what I've been doing as a supplement to PTs since I finished the CC back in August, although I didn't know that's somewhat frowned upon. I've done 13 full PTs and 11 PTs (mostly in the 36-46 range) split up and spread out, usually 2 consecutive sections per day 3x per week on top of a full PT. Honestly, I do seem to benefit from it - both in that I recover more quickly and also continue to improve and learn - although it's tough to tell whether I'd get more benefit from PT'ing a second or third time each week instead.

    @unclesysy Yeah, half of me takes that line of thought too. The other half worries that if I'm not 100% (or, say, 90%) then I'm not using valuable PTs (I'm thinking particularly of the most recent ones from 70+) as efficiently and resourcefully as I should be. The handful of times (3-4) I've scored in the 170's I seemed to have felt much more mentally fresh, although it's tough to pinpoint if that's what actually accounted for those scores.

  • cdaddario2cdaddario2 Member
    362 karma

    @"Sue Doe Nimb" I think as you do on the subject of taking apart PT's. I think it is a really good idea to dismantle a number of PT's, especially ones from 1-35, particularly when you have recently completed the CC. A complete PT is rather daunting.
    The CC is a remarkable learning tool but it is not designed to prepare one for the timing aspect of the test. And when you look at the program, it makes sense. One needs to learn and master the lessons before one can layer-on the additional stress of time management.
    Taking PT's apart and using them as 'mini-tests', each section its own little test was how I worked my way up to a full PT. I would take one section, use the free proctor tool in the 7-Sage bundle, and then I would BR it. It was far less daunting and it help me build up my stamina for a real PT. This also helped me understand the cadence and flow of the different sections. If you take just 5 PT's apart you end up with 10 LR sections, 5 LG and 5 RC 'mini-tests' and for me that was immensely helpful. I took my first PT at the beginning of the course and then I took one soon after finishing the CC. As soon as I finished that second PT I knew I had a problem with timing. The thing was, I knew I had learned lots of lessons, but I was not proficient enough for my new found knowledge to transfer to a full PT. It was too much pressure under timed conditions and for me, it was counterproductive. I was working strictly to manage time. I found that to be detrimental in my learning process. Breaking up a few PT's was a pretty good return. The mistake I see people making is burning through the PT's without BR'ing properly. We all want instant gratification, so we rush to grading our work. That is when a PT gets wasted.

  • 26 karma

    how much time during real lsat will we get to take breaks in between each 35 minute section ?

  • LouislepauvreLouislepauvre Alum Member
    750 karma

    @adrianmicciollo said:
    how much time during real lsat will we get to take breaks in between each 35 minute section ?

    No time at all. They say, “Turn the page and start the next section.” You do three 35 minute sections in a row, just like that, then you get a 10-15 minute break. Then you do 2 sections and the writing sample. For me, the hardest is the second or 3rd section in the first half. At the end, I can brute force my way through the last 2 and never lose focus. There’s something about that light at the end of the tunnel.

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