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Test day drops are freaking me out...

shannon_beaman1shannon_beaman1 Alum Member
in General 157 karma

So, I’ve recently discovered that some people score significantly less on the actual test as compared to PTs. There is a general “rule of thumb” that you typically score -3 from what you PT at. So if my target score is a 160, should I be comfortably at 163 before considering the real test?

What’s even more scary is I’ve seen that people drop like -8 or more on the actual test. For someone like me who is aiming for a 160, that much of a drop is absolutely terrifying. If I were to drop that much (assuming I’m actually capable of scoring a 160) then my score wouldn’t be near the median of the schools I’m looking at applying to.

This whole concept of test day drops is literally keeping me up at night, especially since anxiety is something I’ve always struggled with. So, right when I think LSAT prep is already hard enough, there is this possibility that I don’t even score what I’ve worked so hard for:(

Comments

  • lexxx745lexxx745 Alum Member Sage
    3190 karma

    Think about it logically. If you take enough PTs and score consistently, as long as your in the same mindset nothing should be stopping you from getting the same score. Its all mindset

  • lexxx745lexxx745 Alum Member Sage
    3190 karma

    Also, dont forget many people score above their PT average

  • SamiSami Live Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    edited March 2020 10774 karma

    @shannon_beaman1 said:
    So, I’ve recently discovered that some people score significantly less on the actual test as compared to PTs. There is a general “rule of thumb” that you typically score -3 from what you PT at. So if my target score is a 160, should I be comfortably at 163 before considering the real test?

    What’s even more scary is I’ve seen that people drop like -8 or more on the actual test. For someone like me who is aiming for a 160, that much of a drop is absolutely terrifying. If I were to drop that much (assuming I’m actually capable of scoring a 160) then my score wouldn’t be near the median of the schools I’m looking at applying to.

    I completely understand that fear. I also underperformed a lot. There were two things I eventually learned that helped me with this:

    1. Breathe: If during the test day or anytime you end up feeling anxious just take a second and take a deep breath -exhaling slowly. This will bring you calmness and focus and will allow you to redirect all your mental energy back on the test.

    2. Control for inputs rather than outputs: you can't control the difficulty of sections much less control for wether you will under perform or over perform. What you can control for is whether you follow your process and strategy on the sections. Focus on doing the best you can on the test because that's all you can do. Think of the outputs, your score, as a by product of your inputs, which is your strategy, knowledge, and process.

    When I underperformed it was because I was worried about getting a bad score. This led me to not read with a calm mind and despite knowing that I wasn't reading at the level I should be, I kept pushing myself to keep moving. Looking back I realized there were multiple places where I was not careful because I was worried about time and therefore did not follow my own process. This is what I should have done and eventually did on my final test. If you feel anxious anytime, just take a second and take a deep breath focusing on the exhale. Do it twice or thrice if you need to. Refocus on what your task is: to follow your process and make the best decision you can. This is something that I can always do and control for no matter what has happened in the test before and no matter what the score ends up being. I always like to say, I may not like the score, but I want to be proud that I followed my strategy.

    The funny thing is when I don't care about the score and focus on the inputs, the score always just ends up lining up with my skill level. :smiley:

  • shannon_beaman1shannon_beaman1 Alum Member
    157 karma

    @Sami said:

    @shannon_beaman1 said:
    So, I’ve recently discovered that some people score significantly less on the actual test as compared to PTs. There is a general “rule of thumb” that you typically score -3 from what you PT at. So if my target score is a 160, should I be comfortably at 163 before considering the real test?

    What’s even more scary is I’ve seen that people drop like -8 or more on the actual test. For someone like me who is aiming for a 160, that much of a drop is absolutely terrifying. If I were to drop that much (assuming I’m actually capable of scoring a 160) then my score wouldn’t be near the median of the schools I’m looking at applying to.

    I completely understand that fear. I also underperformed a lot. There were two things I eventually learned that helped me with this:

    1. Breathe: If during the test day or anytime you end up feeling anxious just take a second and take a deep breath -exhaling slowly. This will bring you calmness and focus and will allow you to redirect all your mental energy back on the test.

    2. Control for inputs rather than outputs: you can't control the difficulty of sections much less control for wether you will under perform or over perform. What you can control for is whether you follow your process and strategy on the sections. Focus on doing the best you can on the test because that's all you can do. Think of the outputs, your score, as a by product of your inputs, which is your strategy, knowledge, and process.

    When I underperformed it was because I was worried about getting a bad score. This led me to not read with a calm mind and despite knowing that I wasn't reading at the level I should be, I kept pushing myself to keep moving. Looking back I realized there were multiple places where I was not careful because I was worried about time and therefore did not follow my own process. This is what I should have done and eventually did on my final test. If you feel anxious anytime, just take a second and take a deep breath focusing on the exhale. Do it twice or thrice if you need to. Refocus on what your task is: to follow your process and make the best decision you can. This is something that I can always do and control for no matter what has happened in the test before and no matter what the score ends up being. I always like to say, I may not like the score, but I want to be proud that I followed my strategy.

    The funny thing is when I don't care about the score and focus on the inputs, the score always just ends up lining up with my skill level. :smiley:

    The only thing that concerns me is that I am a very anxious person, and I have always been someone who gets anxious about taking a big test, and in this case, it’s the most important test of my life. So with that being said I just can’t see how I could control how nervous I am considering I’m someone who worries a ton, along with the magnitude of the test.

    On that same notion, I also feel like it would be greatly improbable that if I’m scoring 160 on PTs, that for some reason I score a 152 on test day. That much of a drop seems so improbable just due to the fact that so much practice is done in preparation for the test, that if I were to drop that much, it would only be done by throwing everything I’ve learned out of the window, and I don’t see how that would happen.

    Thank you so much for the awesome advice, and is there anyone I can speak to regarding tutoring?

  • 776 karma

    @Sami
    Recommend her a lot. All time LSAT legend (like really)!!!

    I understand your shoes .... I remember these feelings.
    Anxiety for me came from not understanding the LSAT, knowing what to expect & my control over the exam. This comes from a) Your knowledge b) How your knowledge supports your approach in controlling the section...

    These are just my thoughts.

  • studyingandrestudyingstudyingandrestudying Core Member
    5254 karma

    This is an understandable feeling. As long as we're strategic about our takes, there will probably be enough chances to get to our goals. Practice test experience and review helps develop strategies. It's going to be OK.

  • kubicatekubicate Member
    14 karma

    Test day drops had me in a mental knot as well. I wrote the LSAT back in September (and just got offered admission to all three of my target schools!)
    My target LSAT score was also 160, but one week before the test I was still averaging 155-156. The September LSAT was notoriously hard, not sure if you heard. I scored a 159. Test day drops are BS-- it is what you make it. A few days before the test I changed my mindset--I had no other choice. I started believing that the actual test day experience would enhance my mental processing because of the pressure. I have never been overly good with time pressure and testing, but it really is what you make it. If you go in expecting your performance to be worse, it just might be.
    Chin up! You can do it.

  • Theo - Student ServiceTheo - Student Service Member Moderator Student Services
    edited March 2020 850 karma

    Hi there,

    You may also want to check this podcast episode by JY:

    I hope this helps.

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