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Test anxiety affection performance?

emmorensemmorens Core Member

Hi all!

I'm sure there's a lot of you out there who have gone through this and I thought it would be helpful to get some advice.
I have been on my LSAT journey for nearly a year now and am finally starting to score where I need to be but I find my performance on tests is hindered by my anxieties. I tend to tune into the "I'm taking the test right now" which leads me to read stimuli over a couple of times without actually taking anything in, I almost feel paralyzed if that makes sense? It really only happens in LR I'm not sure why.

I usually score between -5 on LR and just took the second LR on PT 73 and scored -9 not counting the 5 questions I left unanswered. Wondering if anyone has any strategies to combat this?


  • emmorensemmorens Core Member
    1470 karma

    I have no idea why I wrote affection, I meant affecting

  • mmurph95mmurph95 Alum Member
    22 karma

    The best strategy is to just practice. Over and over and over again. A practice section every other day and a full length test every weekend was my general strategy, at first under standard test conditions, then adding complications. For example, one time I made my room extra warm to try and throw me off game. It sucks, but brute force practice is the best strategy. Also, lay off the caffeine, it can make anxiety worse.

  • lester_knopflester_knopf Member
    edited October 2020 36 karma

    Plus one to the caffeine tip! My heart used to race during timed sections and PTs and I couldn't focus.I had to scale back my caffeine intake to one cup of tea in the AM and it massively helped.

  • An_SkywalkerAn_Skywalker Member
    160 karma

    Keep telling yourself that it's just another PT, even on test day. Because that all it essentially is.

  • Frenchy555Frenchy555 Live Member
    edited October 2020 388 karma

    Taking a drink of ice cold water can help refocus but that's usually just a quick fix. Maybe try lowering caffeine intake or consuming more nutritious foods? The smartest person I know hasn't eaten sugar in 20 something years, crazy right? Another thing to try that I think could help immensely, next PT focus on your breathing habits and monitor your heart rate. Improper air intake can have some insanely negative consequences in terms of cognitive function and focus.

  • 375 karma

    @emmorens I really find that meditation helps! I've been struggling with the exact same thing and have also been in this process for about a year. Headspace is a really great app. I find it has helped me to incorporate a short meditation into my everyday routine. Headspace also has a meditation that is specific to exams which is very calming I find.

    Another strategy I just discovered is visualization!! You basically sit down and visualize from start to finish what it would be like if you were taking the exam-- imagine everything from how you are dressed, what is around you, what you see, what you smell, everything! And visualize yourself starting sections, skipping questions, visualize the good and the bad so you're prepared for all scenarios. There's a podcast called The Happiness Lab which explains this really well and the science behind it is fascinating. It's season 1, episode 7 called "Don't Accentuate the Positive." They talk about how Michael Phelps uses this strategy (and lots of other athletes do) and it helps them with preparing to perform. I try to visualize myself taking the LSAT every single day and I find it has significantly helped me be less anxious and more focused and calm when I take PTs. I really

  • howdoichangemyavatarhowdoichangemyavatar Free Trial Member
    52 karma

    The same exact thing happens to me, especially when im over-caffeinated. What helps me is trying to visualize the short passages as best I can when reading them. I also mouth the words in a sort of almost-whisper to myself. I could not tell you why this works for me, but 90% of the time it did.

  • carlos.raiz23carlos.raiz23 Alum Member
    195 karma

    I would start by doing a easy lg game and 4 easy lr q's to get you warmed up like 15 min before taking a PT. That should ease the anxiety.

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