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Test Anxiety even for a Prep Test

gabywashington10gabywashington10 Monthly Member
in General 28 karma

I’m honestly afraid I’ll fail. I feel confident when I’m doing little drills but when I know I have to take a prep test to evaluate my progress, I’m scared. I don’t know if anyone here feels the same. I was wondering if anyone had any tips to get over test anxiety. Thank you

Comments

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    I'm right there with you. There's a quote that doubt is worse than failure, but I totally get the PT anxiety issue. I'll think about this and post later.

  • Lime Green DotLime Green Dot Monthly Member
    edited August 2021 1365 karma

    Yeah, it was really weird, but I remember earlier on in my PT phase when I was on an up-streak with my PT scores (incrementally increasing in the low- to mid-160s with each PT), I remember about 3 or 4 PTs in having what felt like a panic attack, but I'm not sure if it was entirely that. I felt short of breath and was on the verge of tears, it was so strange! I think in retrospect, I feared nearing or having already reached my ceiling and that I had no where to go but where I already was or down.

    I remember that day so vividly, because the fear I felt left such an impression on me. What I remembered doing after that--I was just about to take another PT, but decided I definitely could not--was going outside and having a long walk out in town in the broad sunlight with my husband and expressing these feelings to him, a person I trust. After coming back, I had calmed down a whole lot and enough to brave the PT I'd left behind. I wound up getting the highest score to date on that PT, and of course I was elated, but I think my biggest victory was in realizing that I don't have to allow my worries box me in with panic or inaction. I can accept that I feel worried, yet I can ground myself by remembering that if I can learn from whatever I miss or spend too much time trying to figure out or get right for the wrong reason(s)... well, then, my time has been redeemed, and I'll know what to work on next! If I perfectly execute everything, what have I got to do between now and the REAL test? Twiddle my fingers? Lol

    This is why internalizing, really internalizing the truth that the PT is a rough measure of where I am now, not where I have to end up (if it turns out to be a 'bad' test day), nor necessarily what I'll score on test day has helped me tons.

    Whatever happens, you deserve self-love, not self-loathing, and a low or mid-range or high PT (or actual!) test score relative to where you're scoring is NOT going to change that fact. Embrace the value of the PT, but at the same time, remember that it is not an end itself, but a path to progress, and your mistakes, however many or few you make, are there to help you along this journey.

  • kckelley25kckelley25 Alum Member
    108 karma

    I totally feel you. When I took my first full PT after six weeks of studying, I only scored 3 points higher than my diagnostic and I was so disappointed that I cried. I studied for 6 more weeks, and ultimately saw a 10 point increase on my real LSAT from my initial diagnostic (and on the real LSAT I actually scored a few points lower than what my PT average had reached by that point). Just remember that progress is not linear! And that even if you don't score well on a few practice tests, you're still so capable of improving, and sometimes they really are just flukes! Going into a test with confidence is huge. Easier said than done, and it sounds silly, but before I take tests, I say to myself, "I am so smart and capable. I can do this." Whether or not I actually believe it in the moment, it helps! :)

  • Facts_or_FeelingsFacts_or_Feelings Alum Member
    edited August 2021 179 karma

    Yeah, it was really weird, but I remember earlier on in my PT phase when I was on an up-streak with my PT scores (incrementally increasing in the low- to mid-160s with each PT), I remember about 3 or 4 PTs in having what felt like a panic attack, but I'm not sure if it was entirely that. I felt short of breath and was on the verge of tears, it was so strange! I think in retrospect, I feared nearing or having already reached my ceiling and that I had no where to go but where I already was or down.

    I remember that day so vividly, because the fear I felt left such an impression on me. What I remembered doing after that--I was just about to take another PT, but decided I definitely could not--was going outside and having a long walk out in town in the broad sunlight with my husband and expressing these feelings to him, a person I trust. After coming back, I had calmed down a whole lot and enough to brave the PT I'd left behind. I wound up getting the highest score to date on that PT, and of course I was elated, but I think my biggest victory was in realizing that I don't have to allow my worries box me in with panic or inaction. I can accept that I feel worried, yet I can ground myself by remembering that if I can learn from whatever I miss or spend too much time trying to figure out or get right for the wrong reason(s)... well, then, my time has been redeemed, and I'll know what to work on next! If I perfectly execute everything, what have I got to do between now and the REAL test? Twiddle my fingers? Lol

    This is why internalizing, really internalizing the truth that the PT is a rough measure of where I am now, not where I have to end up (if it turns out to be a 'bad' test day), nor necessarily what I'll score on test day has helped me tons.

    Whatever happens, you deserve self-love, not self-loathing, and a low or mid-range or high PT (or actual!) test score relative to where you're scoring is NOT going to change that fact. Embrace the value of the PT, but at the same time, remember that it is not an end itself, but a path to progress, and your mistakes, however many or few you make, are there to help you along this journey.

    This is really helpful, thank you. I have been dealing with this since some weeks now. I'm almost crying (even panicking) every time I start PT's. I dread PT days and trying to keep my motivation up has been really difficult.

    I used to go for walks to clear my mind but recently felt that I have to prep so much more for PT days, so I skipped out on my walks. :neutral: Need to get back to this.

  • mkleinman0000mkleinman0000 Alum Member
    69 karma

    I have suffered from a pretty major anxiety disorder my whole life, so I definitely can relate to your pain. What I try to remember is that over thinking doesn't help anyone. That being said, remind yourself that all you can do is the best to your ability, there's no need to stress over anything. It is just a test, I have a hard time following this advice, but it does work wonders. One of the things I believe helps me is doing a few problem sets, getting my mind ready and rid of some of those butterflies, after that I jump right into a test. Being relaxed plays a major role in the success your going to have!

  • Journeyto99thpercentileJourneyto99thpercentile Monthly Member
    240 karma

    @gabywashington10 thanks for sharing your concerns. First, pay attention to everyone who has commented on this post with similar feelings of frustration, anxiety and doubt. I know that knowing others are in the same boat may bring little comfort, but know that even those who do not comment have ALL struggled! There has never been anyone, even those who have scored a 180 who haven't struggled to some degree. Yes, we all started at a different point, some of us wishing we would have started higher, but remember that it's a standardized test, i.e. to say it is learnable. Be creative in how you study. Switch it up a bit to continue to make it fun and exciting. Look at how far you've come when you may have doubted your ability to get to where you're now. I think that the best piece of advice is to take a step back and just ask yourself, why am I anxious? Why am I so scared? I've done this hundreds of times and I continue to make progress and get questions right, how is this any different? You may have to have the attitude of come what may until you learn that these PT's aren't any different than when you're drilling. Once you've gained that confidence, continue to build off of it.

    Lastly, go listen to the Powerscore's latest podcast on the seven deadly sins. It's their latest episode. They discuss your concern from a bunch of different angles.

    Hope some of this helps.

  • cat_kimballcat_kimball Monthly Member
    61 karma

    I completely understand where you're coming from. I also struggle with anxiety before taking a practice test. One of the ways I handle it is by giving myself a schedule. For instance, every Monday morning at the exact same time, I go to a nearby law library and take a practice test. While I wouldn't say my anxiety has dissipated, it helps to have a consistent schedule. I'm hoping it will get to the point where it feels like no big deal since I take these tests every week. Also, I give myself something to look forward to after taking the exam. Personally, I like to go swimming after a test. It helps release any stress from the exam and feel invigorated to start the blind review process.

    Also, remind yourself that you're still in the studying process. Don't worry too much about the timed score just yet, because you'll have a chance to prove to yourself that you know what you're doing with your BR score. Eventually the two scores will match each other with consistent and smart studying tactics. Hope this helps!

  • nomomnomnomomnom Monthly Member
    edited August 2021 362 karma

    I'm so sorry you're feeling this way and I hope you remember to take care of yourself right now and for the rest of your LSAT journey. There will be highs but many many many lows. Please remember (and I know it's very very hard not to feel like this) whatever PT score you get does not mean you are a failure/not smart enough/not meant for law school or being a lawyer. Hell I would argue that a good portion of people studying for this exam are super dedicated/motivated/highly intelligent people. The LSAT is not an IQ test, and while it is true some people start off higher, starting off lower does not exclude you altogether from getting a high score. If you have the drive and grit, you will get there eventually. It might just mean you need more time to work on and improve on x/y/z to get there. Where you are right now, does not mean that's the only destination you can go. But it is up to you to determine where you want to go and to put in the work to get there. The only advice I can give is to try to let go of putting too much importance or attachment on the score you get after a PT, after all it's just an indicator of where you are right now, remember to practice self-care and love and do things/hobbies outside of studying to keep yourself sane and relieve anxiety and stress. Meditating might also be a good way to control the anxiety prior to taking the exam and if practiced daily, can help reduce your anxiety. I hope this helps, and you can reach out to me if you need support/rant. I also deal with anxiety not just from the test but in life in general, but I learned you just need to find the right tools to manage them and I hope you can find some too.

  • agc438agc438 Yearly Member
    253 karma

    OMG, I'm the same way. My test is in six days and I can't even concentrate long enough to take a practice even though I've gone through 50 percent of the prep tests. Honestly, I think you should listen to some nice music and write your thoughts and feelings down. It helps me :)

  • pugloverpuglover Monthly Member
    148 karma

    The more you practice and get comfortable taking the exam will help. Consider taking untimed sections and PTs before timing yourself. Maybe the timing is what makes you stressed. You can even start problem by problem. Do 5 problems in a row. Then do 10 problems. Do 1 game and add another game. Modify to make yourself feel comfortable taking it. Gain confidence as you go.

  • megzy217megzy217 Monthly Member
    67 karma

    I had to take a xanax after some logic quizzes the other day, so I get it. We keep going. This is a REALLY REALLY REALLY hard test. I breezed through high school, college, and grad school. I've never seen Lawgic a single time in my life and never been challenged like this mentally. I always did what I needed to and understood (except maybe high school Chem class). This really tough, but we gotta keep chugging. It can be learned. Give yourself more time if you need to. I might need to change when I apply (again, sigh) and matriculate. That's okay too. We are all okay. <3

  • rashi.prasadrashi.prasad Alum Member
    94 karma

    Hi. I used to feel this exact same way, and I still do at times when I take PrepTests. I am also afraid of failure so to do a prep test and then to see myself get a score I am not happy with is very discouraging. Maybe you can start with doing sections instead of doing full length tests to give yourself some exposure to the PT material? And maybe you can do this untimed as well for now, instead of timing yourself which may cause anxiety (as it does for me; to see the clock running and then to see that I am not going fast enough is very frightening at times).

    Just know that you are definitely not alone. This stuff is very hard, and learning is a slow process. It takes time! Its not a measure of how smart you are, this is a skillset test takers have to build in order to succeed. Don't be too hard on yourself. A lot of us feel the same way! And the great thing is that 7sage is a great community that is always willing to help. :)

  • mesposito886mesposito886 Alum Member
    248 karma

    I'm studying to take the LSAT for a second time. I used to have panic attacks approaching LR because it was my weakest section, and would put off doing full PTs out of dread for the test. My mental state approaching the test has changed my studying journey so much (first test score 168/now PTing in the low-mid 170s so a modest score increase too). Here are my top pieces of advice:

    1. Change the way you view the test. Instead of seeing PTs as highlighting where you failed, look at them as an opportunity where you can learn. Thinking of the test as a game has cut down on my test anxiety and kept me engaged while taking PTs.

    2. Remember that the correct answer is somewhere on the screen - it's not going anywhere. If a significant amount of your anxiety stems from the timed aspect of the test, slow down. You don't have to finish every question, and it's better to take the time during your BR to learn the question types/helpful techniques and then work on speed.

    3. It may be time to take a break. The first time I studied for the LSAT was 2 years ago, and you may not have the ability to step away for as long as I did. If you feel as if the test is becoming all-consuming, however, a break of a few days to help you reset may prove more beneficial than forcing more information into an overworked brain. Be sure to take care of yourself during this time too.

    4. Celebrate the small gains. You may take a PT where your raw score happens to be lower than the last PT you took. But maybe you got every assumption question correct on a LR section, or only -1 on a particularly difficult sequencing game. I try to devote time to where I need it, and delight in the little wins when I have them.

    Above all, you will be ok.

  • I felt the same, until I realized the fear of the unknown is even worse. You wouldn't want to dive into an ocean without proper gear would you? The PT is your gear, the ocean is the LSAT. Only by doing PTs will you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. Do not view the PT score as your final score, it is a stepping stone TO your final goal. Take them, relax, review, repeat! You got this!!!

  • josephwilliamsimonjosephwilliamsimon Alum Member
    36 karma

    Picture the testmakers in their underwear

  • BlueRiceCakeBlueRiceCake Alum Member
    edited August 2021 302 karma

    Meditation helps me a lot in dealing with stress. I think you should give it a chance. It can do wonders

  • gabywashington10gabywashington10 Monthly Member
    28 karma

    I thank you so much. I know I need to be kinder to myself. It’s some times hard when you do practice and still where you started (139) and studying for the November test. But I’m going to take your advices and picture the test makers in their underwears 😂. Would anyone be interested in maybe a study group?

  • McBeck418McBeck418 Alum Member
    500 karma

    I too struggle with test anxiety. I've struggled with plateaus, with the pressure of being a splitter, with the fear of wasting PTs, with the fear of being too stupid to learn, with the fear of anxiety attacks, and with burn out. I've been through it all and I've learned a few things that I might be helpful for you. I'm still testing my methods, but when I don't keep these things in mind, I know I do poorly.

    1. It's incredibly hard to force yourself to calm down in the moment when you're stressed. So if you walk into a test worried about your score, worried about proving you've learned something, worried about testing conditions, worried about the noise someone else is making, worried that you're not good enough and you'll never get anywhere, you are going to struggle with calming yourself down. You can breathe as much as you want, stretch as much as you want, but you're still going to be on edge. You'll just be calm tense instead of rigid tense and that will transfer into your exam.

    2. Fake it until you make it. Get yourself in a strong, confident, positive mindset well before you sit down to take the test. Feel good. Remember other times you've succeeded. If you've improved even marginally, remember that you've gotten that better score and that you're primed to improve. Tell yourself you're amazing, that you've got this. It sounds stupid, but this is the way to a calm, cool, controlled mind and body. When you feel truly relaxed you process better.

    3. Be curious. Learn the fundamentals not because you have to, not because they're something to memorise, but because you're truly curious about how they work. Go slow. Ask questions. Do drills. At some point, when your Blind Review/Untimed scores are at or above your target, you'll get to the point where you have to trust you know what you do, but until then, always be curious and always be willing to learn something.

    4. Be conversational and friendly with yourself and the test. Some people like to be adversarial with the exam, and that's fine. It might help you get into decisive mindset, but I think treating the test as something open, conversational, enjoyable goes a long way in taking the pressure off. It's no longer about conquering and proving yourself better than the words on the page. It's about understanding what is being said and being calm enough to form a reasonable/logical response. Be friendly with yourself. Treat yourself positively. Believe that you can grow. Be curious about your mistakes. Do things untimed until you feel confident that you've got this.

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