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Burnout is REAL!

chrijani7chrijani7 Alum Member
edited December 2014 in General 827 karma
So I have a subscription to Scientific American MIND and this months edition had a 4 page write all about burnout. Although it was mostly pertaining to the workplace, I found much of the article pertained to burnout in general and would applicable to the LSAT, so I figured I'd share.

The articles begins by outlining what burnout is and how it comes about. Burnout typically comes as a result of overextending one self. The most familiar reason for burnout is exhaustion from working too hard with insufficient rest. This clearly isn't some secret, but as someone who has studied for the LSAT, I think its safe to say we often underestimate the need for rest and overlook how beneficial it can be to our studies.

The article goes on to say that the three main components of burnout are: exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. Experts say that even exhibiting features of one area is a risk factor and that the three factors tend to be related. What typically contributes to burnout is unrealistic expectations and feeling a lack of control over your work. However, the article also notes that there is not just one recipe for burnout.

What I found particularly interesting was, "The quantity of work is important, but he real trouble arises from an employee's perception of his or her performance". This statement directly ties back to how setting unrealistic expectations can lead to burnout. I found this area to most relevant to the LSAT because I know there were times where I thought I did really well on a test, only to find out after scoring it I bombed it. Typically what followed were doubts about the entire process, maybe even a little anger and resentment towards the LSAC and there were even times where I felt like giving up.

So what does the article say helps to prevent or reduce burnout?
SOCIAL EXCHANGES, recovery periods, and a sense of community (i.e: 7sage!)
and the more obvious answer of course.... getting a sufficient amount of exercise, sleep, and eating healthy.
I think we often forget about how important it is, for whatever reason, that we actually take a step a way from our work and take care of ourselves. There are times in our lives, such as final exam season and studying for the LSAT, where our lives get hectic. But, that does not mean we must destroy our body and mind just to meet our goals. Sure, if you need to cram for an exam or be a hermit for a week or two thats fine. But the LSAT is a long-term test, that typically takes at least 3 or more months of studying before actually taking the test. It is important that when you study you take the time to take of yourself. Not only will you feel better, but it will likely improve your performance on the test as well. I know when I studied I considered not looking at the LSAT for an entire day as being lazy and uncommitted. I was SO WRONG. If I wasn't in LSAT mode 24/7 I felt guilty and useless. This was wrong and I probably could've benefited from actually going to see my friends or taking a day off here and there. While I did exercise and eat relatively healthy, I was pretty anti social. Some days I felt like not studying and actually going out and seeing society for once. However, I talked myself out of it and chalked up my behaviour to no pain no gain and pushed through. DO NOT DO THIS.

A highlight in the article for me was:
"People who face burnout DO NOT lack some essential quality, such as work ethic, resilience, or self-confidence"
"Burnout represents the erosions of these qualities"

This is exactly how I felt. That taking time to recover was a sign I lacked those qualities.

Moral of the story: Take the time to take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and for heavens sake BE SOCIAL. This is not an excuse to procrastinate or go out and party because you deserve it. But you can take a day off to go and hang with friends during the day or at night, it won't kill you and it certainly shouldn't make or break your LSAT score.


  • ddakjikingddakjiking Inactive ⭐
    2116 karma
    I agree. I have been studying hardcore from Sept and until the week of Thanksgiving before I decided to postpone to Feb. I burnt out, realizing that I wouldn't be ready for the Dec LSAT in 2 weeks. Since then I've reduced my weekly studying by 10 hours and went back to the basics via the 7Sage course. I have yet to PT in over a month but my accuracy has shot up while doing the homework!
  • kclubs323kclubs323 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    275 karma
    Thanks for sharing this useful advice! @chrijani7
  • SnowballSnowball Member
    111 karma
    Thank you for sharing. I like the statement that unrealistic expectations can lead to burnout. Once I realize that my accuracy and speed are there, I hope to do perfectly every time. That made me burnt out.
  • NoticevishNoticevish Member
    36 karma
    Clarity of thinking and confidence are the key factors you need that you might lose in burning out.
    43 karma
    While completing my MA, I attended a seminar for graduate students about completing the masters thesis. It was offered all grad students regardless of major. The speaker offered some great advice about burnout that I've used since that day. She presented studies that showed the optimum performance time period is 45 minutes. So to combat burnout during a long process like completing a thesis or study for a major exam like the LSAT, she suggested taking a 5 minute break every 45 minutes. I was skeptical, believing that the break would disturb my flow. However, it worked. On long days, I was able to complete 8 or 9 units without much mental fatigue at all. I aced my thesis with much less stress. Using the same method now and making good gains with little fatigue.
  • GSU HopefulGSU Hopeful Core
    1644 karma
    Thank you for posting this. It contains very good advice. At times, I have been hardcore studying of a few hours each day for a week or more. At the beginning of the week, I did really well and developed a flow. But, the longer I went without taking at least a day off, the worse I would be. After taking a day or so off, I get back into it have my wits about me again. The moral of the story for me is that my test is not for a year, so I can afford to take some days off here and there if it means keeping me in the right frame of mind.
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