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Adderall and the LSAT

LARamsNationLARamsNation Member
in General 592 karma
OK... Save the anti-drug bashing, but constructive criticism is invited. I've taken it since college and I've done pretty damn well with it. Now with two months left before the Dec. exam I'm starting to wonder if this is hindering my abilities. Sometimes it works great, other times not so much... For example, I'll dominate an LR section but the very next RC section I'll get lost in a passage and start to panic, which then throws me off come question time and vice/versa. I've been studying since June with it currently scoring in the high 150's low 160's... Is there anyone else here taking it who has a successful strategy with using it correctly? Perhaps a certain time of day you take it? Any specific foods you eat to maintain energy? I'm worried if I stop taking it altogether it will throw me off and by the time I recover and begin to excel it will be too late for the Dec. administration. Any suggestions or pity party invitations are graciously accepted, haha. Cheers #addywoes.


  • mes08mes08 Alum Member
    578 karma
    In my experience, I'd be fairly careful. I was prescribed Adderall for my ADD a little over a year ago and I took it for the December '14 LSAT. Adderall helped me *immensely* to stay focused while I was studying in the months leading up to the test. However, on test day it caused me to have an anxiety attack when I came across an unfamiliar LG game and threw me off for the rest of the test. As you can imagine, my score was disastrous. Adderall definitely helps increase focus, but I feel like the benefits of that are offset by its tendency to increase stress, anxiety, and obsessiveness. I stopped taking Adderall after December and I'm retaking the LSAT tomorrow without it.

    In your situation, I would stop taking it now. From what you said, it sounds like you're kind of going through what I was when I was taking Adderall. You have plenty of time to get used to studying and taking PTs without it until you sit the December LSAT. The first few weeks it's tough, but eventually you get over it and realize you can do well without it. Hope that helps!
  • cliffinesscliffiness Alum Member
    86 karma
    just remember to BREATHE regularly to give yourself some time to relax to avoid the anxiety attacks (as with any drug like this, it's all about your mindset going in) and also to absorb some information. obviously avoid coffee, tea or anything with caffeine that can trigger anxiety. and make sure you eat balanced meals (doesn't have to be big) before you take it and while you're on it.

    if you can avoid the anxiety when you're PT-ing, then definitely take i because it will help you keep focused and on trackt. (have you thought about cutting the dose in half?) in my experience though, i found it more helpful to take it while BR-ing or reviewing it so you remember the processes and how you got to those answers better

    good luck
  • petitigrepetitigre Member
    edited October 2015 227 karma
    If it doesn't work consistently for you, then it doesn't work for you.

    On that note, someone on Reddit claimed to have scored a 174 or a 177 (something in the mid to high 170s) after "binging on Adderall" while studying. So it worked out for that student.

    You should just do what's consistent.
  • EcceRomeEcceRome Alum Member
    26 karma
    I have ADHD and other cognitive disorders. I've had a prescription to adderall my entire life. I haven't been using medicine to study for the test, nor am I planning on using medicine on the test day (this is a personal choice, not a decision that I'd recommend to other disabled people obviously).

    If you're not intimately familiar with adderall and it's effects, I do not recommend you taking it at all. I've known people to try and get better scores by taking a stimulant on test day and they absolutely bomb from having a panic attack. If you take too much, you'll get lost inside your own head and afterwards you will crash very hard.

    As for things that could help you:

    Scents have been shown to boost cognitive memory; specifically peppermint and rosemary. I've been using a peppermint soap every morning before I study. I have no idea if it helps, but I like the ritual. If you wear a similar scent that you *only* use when you're studying, it might help calm you on test day.

    As for eating, DHA (especially derived from algae) will boost your memory--it's literally brain food. I take it daily.

    Another thing you can start eating is MCT oil which helps you build complete amino acid chains and it has the added benefit of keeping you full for hours. It's a very popular breakfast substitute. MCT is most commonly eaten as Bulletproof Coffee. I plan on eating it before the test for breakfast.

    If MCT oil isn't your thing, make certain that you eat protein when you wake up. There have been a lot of studies on school children that ate a typical english breakfast (sausage, eggs, tomato) vs an american one (pancakes) and the children that ate more protein fared much better on tests.

    Here's articles on DHA:

    Article on BPC:

    Another thing, just generally, undergoing a lot of stress can cause apoptosis or cell death. People who undergo a lot of stress have, on average an 18% smaller hippocampus--which of course impairs mood and memory (this is completely reversible--so don't be alarmed). This is something that happens over a longer period, but keep in mind that, reducing stressful triggers will keep you happier and healthier long-term.

    Good luck, you're going to do great with or without the drug. It's small habits that lead up to great achievements. :)
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    If you're prone to anxiety at all and adderall has triggered it during a test then I would avoid it during prep and on test day. While it is a pretty amazing drug for those it affects perfectly, it can be a nightmare for others. Sounds like you aren't in the former camp so just practice like it's game day which means no adderall from start to finish. It might take some adjustment but you'll get the hang of it eventually.
  • LARamsNationLARamsNation Member
    592 karma
    Thank you all for your words of encouragement, super helpful and I will take everything you guys said under consideration. I'm gonna try to cut the dosage in half, and if that doesnt work after a week I'm cutting it off altogether... Interesting though, does anyone get a "tired" feeling after initially taking it sometimes. Throws me off for me warm ups lol
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    Do you take regular or extended release? What dosage are you taking and how long ago did you start? I've had friends who started 10mg before high school and eventually couldn't function with less than 100mg or more and the withdrawal is crazy if you let it get to that point... I haven't seen things go well for people after they pass regular use over 40mg a day...
  • LARamsNationLARamsNation Member
    592 karma
    Both actually. I rarely get to 40. Usually take a 20XR in the morning then 10 instant the afternoon. I was prescribed my freshman year at UCLA and have been on it since... so pretty much 6 years. Luckily I haven't had any sort of withdrawal at all when Ive taken breaks from it
  • alonsogaralonsogar Live Member
    edited September 2022 69 karma

    As far as a substitute I'd recommend Lion's Mane, L-Theanine and remember to consume sugar perhaps in the form of fruits as glucose is one of the main fuel the brain runs on. I believe you answered your question yourself. It's you taking the examination and not the medicine itself. If it doesn't work at the time of performance and you don't absolutely need it, then you know what to do.

    However, before going ahead and changing your regime as far as what you consume, always consult your Dr. and don't rely on discussion boards. What works for others may not work for you .Be safe.

    Good Luck.

  • brandon.r.batchelorbrandon.r.batchelor Alum Member
    23 karma

    I think the best thing to do would be to practice consistently. If you think Adderall is influencing your ability to focus or succeed on the test and are considering not taking it for the test. Try going off it for a week or two and take a PT or two in that time. If your score drops immensely or you feel any negative effects across both weeks. Maybe it's better for you to stay on it. Just make sure two things are true about your prep. You're putting your health (mental, physical, and otherwise) first, and that you find a rhythm for test day and stick to that rhythm for a while before test day comes.

    Good luck my friend!

  • smoothbrainsmoothbrain Member
    128 karma

    Did anyone notice the OP was posted 7 years ago lol - im pretty sure it's safe to assume this dude is a full lawyer by now

  • laura_lololaura_lolo Core Member
    155 karma

    Hahaha- didn't notice it was 7 years old. Thank you!

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