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Anxiety Because of Time Limit

Kaleighns4Kaleighns4 Alum Member
in General 45 karma

I’m having some trouble getting over the timing aspect of the LSAT. If I take an untimed practice section, I feel so much less pressure AND still finish within the 35 minutes. But the second I start timing myself, I start feeling really anxious and overthink the questions. Even though I know I’m capable of finishing within the allotted time, I still feel a lot of pressure when I time myself. Does anyone have any helpful tips to move past this?


  • keets993keets993 Alum Member 🍌
    6045 karma

    The best advice I got was just to keep timing yourself. It sucks but eventually you get used to the time, kind of like exposure therapy. Mind you, I'm still not totally comfortable or at my peak in 35 minutes but I no longer panic like I used to. Unfortunately the real thing is timed so all you can do is get better at doing it timed.

    Also, when you say that you take it untimed, do you mean that you don't have a timer on but a stop watch?

  • Kaleighns4Kaleighns4 Alum Member
    45 karma

    @keets993 Yes, I use a stopwatch, but go at a pace that is comfortable and not necessarily trying to meet that 35 minute time limit. I guess I shouldn't say I always make it at 35 minutes. Sometimes it's more like 37-38, but I'm generally pretty close. But I get really stressed once I use the 7sage proctor/timer. I need to start using the timer all of the time though to get used to the stress that comes with the time.

  • gettysburggettysburg Alum Member
    edited October 2018 126 karma

    Using a stopwatch instead of a timer is a good start; for some reason I think seeing the clock approaching 35:00 is less stressful than seeing it approach 0.

    Perhaps you should try doing specific problem sets timed, rather than entire PT sections. Instead of trying to tackle an entire LR section in 35 minutes, maybe try to tackle the first 10 questions in 10 minutes. You could try doing individual games or individual RC passages in under 9 minutes as well. Once you get comfortable with timing the smaller parts, you can work your way up to entire sections and eventually entire timed PTs.

  • tekken1225tekken1225 Alum Member
    edited October 2018 770 karma

    @gettysburg said:
    Using a stopwatch instead of a timer is a good start; for some reason I think seeing the clock approaching 35:00 is less stressful than seeing it approach 0.

    Same here. Timer counting down to 0 gives me full-blown panicked feelings. I'd much rather have the clock approaching 35.

    Actually I'd much rather have no clock at all.

  • acsimonacsimon Alum Member
    1269 karma

    Try doing timed individual section drilling and set your timer to 32 or 30. Bare in mind that this is only after you have your strategy (including skipping) fairly subconscious. Doing this really helps with speed and, in turn, helps with full PTs at the normal time. The reason (one of them anyways) is that you have feedback which will tell you that 35 min is not bad at all—you’ve been competing sections with significantly less time (while maintaining accuracy). Eventually, this eliminates time specific worries (although, you still might have actual test anxiety which you will need to moderate). This sort of strategy should be something that you take on later in your prep. The most important thing is accuracy.

    Just an anecdote—I started doing this kind of cutting and my test went by stupid fast. My slowest section was one that I completed on first pass with like 8 mins left. I’m not sure how that happened since the absolute least amount of time I would drill at was 28min. I think that my time work towards the end helped a lot, along with a good dose of adrenaline from taking the test. Maybe a little more, because I worried that I was going too fast. Luckily, I only missed a handfull amount of questions overall. But the point is that this strategy can have major benefits (indirectly) for time related anxiety. Best of luck!

  • studyingandrestudyingstudyingandrestudying Core Member
    edited October 2018 5254 karma

    Maybe also visualize completion.

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    edited October 2018 2531 karma

    Timed section drilling will solve this. Don't worry, it's a natural progression.

    That being said, just doing timed section drilling won't bring huge returns on your score if you aren't blind reviewing after.

  • jhbm_nycjhbm_nyc Alum Member
    edited October 2018 568 karma

    If you want to get used to time pressure, I recommend using the Pomodoro technique during study sessions. Focusing with a ticking clock in the background will eventually become second nature, hopefully during timed PTs as well.

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