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What to do in your last week.

canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
edited June 2021 in Sage Advice 8139 karma

Of course this isn't a one size fits all thing. We all learn differently and different routines benefit each individual, but if anyone needed some direction, here are some tried and true practices for your last week before test day. Take and use what suits you. You guys are fucking warriors and you got this.

Take 1-2 more PTs the weekend prior to test week... so like this weekend. I normally advocate for 1 PT/week, in order to give you time to extract the maximum value from the material through deep review, but here we are looking for a last minute push in volume of exposure to identify any residual weaknesses, and a final polish on our stamina. Take them at your scheduled test time with the exact setup/conditions you will have on test day.

Review everything that gave you trouble - not just wrong answers. More than on the content, focus specifically on what caused you to get this question wrong, and what specifically you can do this week to prevent you from making the same mistakes. Be specific. Saying something like "oh I got a lot of flaw questions wrong so I'll just work on those" is only a little better than saying "my score is too low so I'll just make it higher," why are they giving you trouble? What specific actions will help you address it?

Focus on LG. In my opinion, this section has the best potential for a last minute breakthrough. This is especially important if you are not consistently going -0 on games.

If you haven't yet, get on a schedule that centers around your test time. Make sure you will be rested even if you fail to get a good night's sleep the night before the test. Account for natural cognitive fatigue - if you have an afternoon time, maybe plan a nap or some downtime into your late mornings this week.

Pay attention to what you consume. Nutrition matters. You want a good balance of complex carbs, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. My pre-test fave was salmon. Hydrate throughout the week so that you don't have to worry about it the morning of the test. The last thing you want is to chug a bunch of water and then have to go to the bathroom mid-section.

Work out. Physical activity improves learning. If you aren't a physically active person, maybe go for a walk or something each morning.

Minimize stress. Focus on relaxation. Don't take on any new stressful projects or get into fights with your family/partner. Stress is a performance killer in so many ways.

No drastic changes. If you're not a coffee drinker, now is not the time to start. If you are a smoker, now is not the time to quit. Whatever homeostasis is for you, that is your foundation for good performance in the next week.

Check your setup. Get on the ProctorU chat, and have them run you through an equipment check using your exact test day setup. One less thing to worry about. Also collect all the items you will need... ID, pencils, paper, earplugs, etc. Prepare your room, and make any necessary arrangements with friends/family (be out of the house, off the internet, watch the dog, stfu, etc.) ahead of time. You want to avoid any last minute stress and ease your overall cognitive load as much as possible.

Get your mind right. Meditate and practice positive affirmations. I am the least new-agey person you'll meet but whatever... this works. Don't stress about the right way, just do it. A 10 minute guided meditation (I liked Khan Academy's videos) every day did wonders for me. Remind yourself that you put in some good hard work for this, and you are well equipped to succeed on this test. You are confident and in control. No matter what you are going to beat this test so it might as well submit to you now. Visualize a successful performance on test day. You will be prepared, and zen AF, and ready to just destroy this test. Efficiency is the balance of speed and accuracy, and you will achieve this through economy of effort... slow and methodical when needed and explosive violence of action where allowed. If your first section is LR, you will be critical, smooth, read for understanding, and rely on your strategies. If it is RC you will read as fast as you can understand and translate as you go, summarizing each paragraph and maintaining a critical mindset as you attack the questions. In games you will remember your form and remember to push rules together. You will articulate exactly what criteria the stem gives you for your answer choice. You will skip aggressively and eliminate ACs aggressively because we don't have time for that nonsense. If you get stressed you will put your pencil down, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. During breaks you will visualize my attack on the remaining sections and relax. Or something like that. Don't wait until the morning of... start now.

For the love of god take a break. If you do any one thing in the run up to the test, make sure you don't try to cram. You will burn out and waste all the months of hard prep you put in. Take at least a couple days off. For some people a few days off followed by a light day of prep before the test works. For others a break right up to test day with a good warmup the morning of is better. You know yourself best.


  • Granger DangerGranger Danger Alum Member
    717 karma

    This is exactly what I need to do. Thank you for this.

  • Confidence150Confidence150 Alum Member
    1417 karma

    Thank you @canihazJD . Good luck all!!

  • tahurrrrrtahurrrrr Alum Member
    1106 karma

    Thanks for the words of wisdom! 12 more days til go time

  • Cassandra GaertnerCassandra Gaertner Monthly Member
    20 karma

    This is what I needed today! Thank you

  • love2learnlove2learn Free Trial Member
    252 karma

    And stay away from people that could get you sick! Do what you can to prevent and strengthen your immune system - keep your mind sharp and able to focus!

  • 120_or_bust120_or_bust Monthly Member
    edited June 2021 124 karma

    Thank you! Good luck to all the others taking June!

    I'm also planning on taking LSAT Writing sometime this week (prob 3-4 days prior to my scheduled test). I'm calming myself down by knowing that it's unscored and I've had a lot of practice verbally BS-ing stuff (I work in an admin/staff job) ;)

  • cagrudercagruder Alum Member
    28 karma

    What are peoples' thoughts on drinking booze?

  • 123anami123anami Alum Member
    382 karma

    @cagruder said:
    What are peoples' thoughts on drinking booze?

    whatever your routine is normally, keep it. Obviously, if you're getting wasted - try to do that at least 2 days before the test so you can recover and perform with full brain capacity, or wait til after the test lmao.

  • calmacalma12calmacalma12 Alum Member
    41 karma

    this made me feel so much better

  • ireland.lesley5ireland.lesley5 Alum Member
    36 karma

    This is fantastic advice thank you! Do you recommend avoiding any prep tests during the week? (for reference I also have a job from 9-6pm)

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    edited June 2021 8139 karma

    @"ireland.lesley5" said:
    This is fantastic advice thank you! Do you recommend avoiding any prep tests during the week? (for reference I also have a job from 9-6pm)

    Personally, the latest I'd take a PT is test day -5. That way you can review, drill if needed and still have time to relax. Closer and you'll likely end up not getting a significant portion of the benefit and/or freaking yourself out if you score low and without time to address those issues. Just my opinion.

  • Lime Green DotLime Green Dot Alum Member
    1376 karma

    @canihazJD thank you for this! Could you offer some pacing advice for the final week as well?

    I feel like until very recently, my pacing was good enough to help me finish LR with around 7-8 minutes after round 1; RC, not as much time to spare, but I felt I could at least comfortably finish with maybe a minute or so in the bank.

    Recently, I've had much less time left over for LR and almost none to negative (ran out of time) for RC. I think psychologically getting closer to the exam, I'm just become more risk-averse and spending a bit longer on questions/passage reads than I should be.

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    edited June 2021 8139 karma

    @"Lime Green Dot" said:
    ...I'm just become more risk-averse and spending a bit longer on questions/passage reads than I should be.

    I think this indicates at least part of the issue. What’s more risky, keeping pace and skipping fast, or dumping time into a hard question/passage? I’d argue the latter... meaning if we are getting paranoid about risk management, whatever we’re doing, it shouldn’t be slowing down. Let's stop for a sec and clarify that you should of course not try to force speed or go faster than you are capable of. Here we are talking about a perceived regression in performance. If we've developed our speed, coming down to the wire shouldn't make us view it as a liability all of a sudden, especially since it's served you well to this point.

    Like of course I know what you mean... that's just part of how we've evolved to think, but we really do need to realize that aggressive pacing and skipping is an overwhelmingly positive strategy. Our objective here isn't to "get" the question. On test day we will never "get" that content. For all intents and purposes, it will cease to exist as soon as we finish the section. Your objective is to get as many points as you can, whatever way it takes to get them. The best way to do that is to be quick and nimble (cue ice ice baby), and realizing that the test is a dynamic environment that sometimes requires us to transition between careful analysis and high speed gun runs (or bugging the F out). Understanding, and slow methodical reading/evaluation is just like everything else we do here, one of many tools. None are suited for everything, and we need to know when to use them. Your trigger to nope out of a question should be one of the most developed parts of our skillset... kind of like how Nightcrawler can just poof himself out of bad situations. Once we are able to move fast we do it because it helps us achieve victory. Not because we can simply get away with it.

    Pace is the result of many things... content mastery, confidence, knowledge of your limits, and a collection of individual efficiencies to name a few. Do you really need to read the rest of a parallel AC after you identify an unrecoverable mismatch? Do you need to see the rest of the answers when you have a prephrased MC or SA that you just found in an AC? On a question where you have 4 hard eliminations, do you really need to understand why the last one is right in your first round? Are you comfortable with shallow dives through the AC's to look for obvious contenders and/or trash answers? Are you paraphrasing as you go... reading actively and critically? In untimed work or review are you identifying, "here is where I would flag and skip," or "here is where I would pick the AC and just move on." Obviously there's a lot more that we could go into... I have a great bruce lee analogy for this too.

    You know what, I can see I'm all over the place here. In my defense, it's a pretty broad topic. Feel free to hit me on DM and we can talk it out on zoom or something. Maybe we can open it up to everyone to get those last minute freak-outs out of our systems.

  • Lime Green DotLime Green Dot Alum Member
    1376 karma

    @canihazJD, thank you so much - I always appreciate how you ask us to ask ourselves these hard but important self-assessment Qs. You're really amazing at that.

    I feel I have developed at least a few of those skills, know I lag in others. But it's so odd to me-- like, I have consciously felt myself going slower during a take (or even frankly a re-take at this point), but it's like the disaster in motion I somehow cannot stop, and I do not know why.

    I would love to hear that BL analogy. Will DM you on the rest. I'm sure we'd all be grateful for your time and help if you are able to host a freak-out-purge Zoom 😅

    Thank you again!!!

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    8139 karma

    Won't be on here much this week, but good luck August crew.

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