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The realness of BURNOUT

CJ ShinCJ Shin Member
edited September 2013 in October 2013 LSAT 302 karma
Hey guys, I just wanted to share my thoughts and also receive feedback on the issue of LSAT burnout.

I am currently preparing for the October exam taking place in about 2 weeks time.. and after cranking up my studies for the past 2 weeks (10 hrs per day), I hit a brick wall of mental fatigue that I have never experienced before. I have heard of this mental phenomenon before, but did not believe in it until I actually experienced it for myself. I took a PT yesterday (it was the Lunar Moon festival season in Korea) and wow, I was blanking out on most RC passages, had no idea what was going on with the last 2 games even with 25 minutes remaining, and for 1 LR section I ran out of time with FIVE questions TOTALLY UNTOUCHED!!! Timing was always my weakness in LR, but I did improve a lot after a chat with JY.. so seeing myself a-bomb it so badly was a real shocker to me.

After a dismal performance, I just sat down and interrogated myself. Are you studying hard enough? Hmm... well for the past 5 months all I did was eat sleep LSAT. Are you not understanding your material? Well.. I do well on BR.. Are you just dumb? .. I hope not.. well I did get a 3.8 at a good uni..

After a brutal session of beating myself up, I wandered around soullessly online and read an article that James of our forum put up:

And yea, it seems to indicate that I am burnt out and I am really beginning to appreciate the complexity of LSAT. This exam tests you on much more than your ability to reason. Since this is not a knowledge-based test, crunching does't actually work very well as it may lead to mental fatigue. Even though you understand the fundamentals of RC, LR and LG, it is of no use if your mind is wandering off to the distant galaxies and Sirius 67293 when it should be on planet Earth and more importantly, on the god damn paper itself.

The whole point of this exam is to apply your skills effectively and efficiently, which absolutely requires a clear and rested mind. And from my experience, burnout is pretty real and it WILL prevent you from performing well on the test day. After all, what it really boils down to is those split seconds on the test day that your brain makes decisions. You really don't have the luxury of understanding everything and making sure that your answers are correct. So make sure to keep your brain happy and rested so that it does make the right decisions on the actual test day!!


  • lurunbo187lurunbo187 Member
    12 karma
    I share your pain. I'm scoring around the 170-180 range, but I can never, ever, study 10 hours of LSAT a day. 4 hours is the most I can muster. I applaud your ability to grind. Usually after about a week of daily studying, I take a day off. Either by doing nothing or doing only a little LSAT. On a daily basis, whenever I feel like I hit that wall after 3-4 hours, I stop and don't go back to it until the next day. If you're on a failing streak (happened to me a couple of times), you force yourself to take a longer break, usually 2-3 days, then get back to studying.
  • E.T.90066-1E.T.90066-1 Alum Member
    377 karma
    Try 3 hours, break(2hours), 1 or 2 more. And you are done for the day.
  • James DeanJames Dean Member
    297 karma
    Every night I dream about solving lsat problems. Most of the time it involves struggling with an rc passage.... It's become a miserable recurring experience. Hahah 100% truth .
  • CJ ShinCJ Shin Member
    302 karma
    How do you guys recover from burnout?
  • Frank DeboreFrank Debore Member
    edited September 2013 22 karma
    Just played 3 hours diablo3, feeling guilty as hell. I've taken almost 40 preptests and averaged 173ish. Totally understand you. Lately my score dropped to about 168 because total burnout. Recreational reading seems to work for me; I'm reading Brave New World and it's stimulatingly fun.
  • James DeanJames Dean Member
    edited September 2013 297 karma
    I've taken the last couple of days off.. I'm doing a PT in the morning just like I would on testing day.

    My scores went from 169,170,170,174, to a 165 followed by a dismal 160.... I don't know what else to do besides step back and breath. I work full time and I have been studying over 8 hours a day (my sleep has been lacking).Then it was like I got stuck on stupid. Things stopped clicking. My my mind has been cloudy and it's preventing me from dissecting problems on the fly, not to mention reading comprehension on the past two test were like hell. I felt like I was in a foreign country. Anyway, I'll see how tomorrow goes. I'm hoping my score is back up to par.

    Edit** that's
  • KK Member
    345 karma
    James I'm in the same boat. I went from PT'ing 171-173 to 167 on PT 66.

    I'm going to take a break as well.
  • paulfan2011paulfan2011 Member
    125 karma
    In fairness, the newer LSATs (60+) are much harder. So it might not all be burnout.
  • CJ ShinCJ Shin Member
    302 karma
    haha @paulfan2011, that's a weakening answer choice right there.. and yea, I can't believe I am actually thinking about it in LSAT terms.

    Anyway for James, I think it certainly is a burnout. 170ish to 160? That is just insane.
    I guess we all have to be very careful about this phenom, especially during the couple of weeks following up to the test day.
  • ewb08640ewb08640 Member
    19 karma
    @jamesdean: Sleep is pivotal for cognitive functioning! Depriving yourself of this very necessary state will physically prevent your brain from making new memories and hinder you from thinking sharply when you need to the most. I admire your dedication but realize what exactly you are expending when you commit to a study plan so draining. Ha ha sorry, I don't mean to sound patronizing...I just think your declining scores could possibly be the result of something very fixable.
  • EuripidesFanEuripidesFan Member
    83 karma
    It's burnout.... Took me about a week to snap out of mine. Btw... try reading Michel Foucault's "Discipline and Punish" during your days off. It will simultaneously blow your mind and make most RC passages seem like a cake walk afterwards.
  • KK Member
    345 karma
    welp I was sick this weekend so I got my relaxation Friday and Saturday :P
  • Nevill WilderNevill Wilder Member
    19 karma
    In the middle of burnout right now. I've decided to devote the time that I'm taking from studying to things that I have been ignoring during this push for the test. I'm exercising super hard, grabbing a beer or two with friends, actually moving into my new house instead of living in among piles of boxes. My hypothesis is that if I have the rest of my life in order there will be less distractions floating around this hyperactive head of mine, which will hopefully give me a point or two. To be honest I feel like I have extra mental bandwith after getting my room basically set up, and I need every bit of that bandwith for this damn test.
  • CJ ShinCJ Shin Member
    edited September 2013 302 karma
    @Nevill Haha I just took 3 days off and I feel so much better. I did some games to get rid of my guilt for good during those days, but none of the heavy lifting. You should definitely recover from burnout prior to the test day. We only have 2 weeks left!
  • KK Member
    345 karma
    I "retook" PT 66 and did so much better. Yay! :D

    CJ and others, how do you go over LR questions you got wrong? Is there some different strategy you guys use? I can remember the correct answer... but I try to convince myself the other 4 choices are wrong.
  • CJ ShinCJ Shin Member
    302 karma
    @K Great! Yea, "retaking" old PTs helps you to recover confidence. I usually get 180 when I retake one and it makes me feel like the king of the world.

    I don't really know what is the best way to review wrong answers once you reach a certain level of understanding. After all, comprehension is not enough to do well on the LSAT. Personally, I realized that it really boils down to how well you do under time pressure, so I changed my reviewing style to focusing more on recognizing "clues" and avoiding trap answer choices, which of course, do require you to know why the wrong answers are wrong.

    But this is quite different from thinking over and over why the logic of the answer choice is wrong. When you have 35 minutes to do 25~26 questions, you simply do not have time to fully comprehend. So I try to review strategically by "getting the sense" of typical wrong answer choices for each question type.

    For example, I realized that for the newer LSAT, answer choices are usually wrong because of specific words. "Most" is one of the most common wrong answer indicators, and if the question stem is MBT or MSS, "most" should be raising red flags all over the place unless it is explicitly stated in the stimulus.

    Yea.. so this is generally how I approach my review these days. What about you guys?
  • KK Member
    345 karma
    thanks for the response!
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