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how to not get psyched out on test day

I was wondering if anyone had any tips to not get overly nervous on test day.
I took the August test, and despite taking tons of practice test and drills, I blacked out when the test started. On the practice tests, I was consistently scoring in the high 160's-low 170's and even reached a 173 on the practice test the day before I took the real one. However, my official score was much much lower than that. I know that I am capable of getting my dream score, but I cannot help but feel overly nervous when the test comes around... I tried the usual "take a deep breath" but that obviously did not help.

Anyone got any tips before the October test?


  • I work full time so what I do is take off work that Friday before my Saturday test and RELAX. Literally, do all the self care stuff that I can think of. Go on a walk, get my nails done, eat what I want, go to the gym, watch a nice movie and go to bed on time. The worst thing you can do is cram and study the day/night before your test. Day of, I schedule my test around 10 am so then I have time to relax, get ready, make breakfast, and do an easier LG and a few LR questions to warm up.

  • ilovemydog17ilovemydog17 Member
    68 karma

    Hi, first I want to say do not get discouraged! just because you got overly nervous on august does not mean you cannot be completely fine for oct. I had a very similar experience. I was scoring very similar in PTs to you and legit freaked out in august and completely bombed LR and didn't do great on RC, I was really struggling to stay calm and read. I thought I was just incapable of staying calm but by September test I completely turned it around. My score went from 161 in august to 172 in sept.

    Here's what helped me the most -

    Before I started like an hour before, I did a really easy logic game that I have done multiple times before and answered like three LR questions that I had also done before. This might not be for everyone, but for me, it helped warm me up and reminded me that this is the same thing I've been doing time and time again and that I knew what I was doing.

    For the two weeks leading to the test I practiced ten minutes of mediation (first time I ever tried mediation in my life), just listening to simple youtube videos every other day or so. This helped me get used to clearing my mind. My proctor situation got weirdly messed up for sept. but I really think bc I had worked on mediation, I was able to stay calm and have a clear mind during that time when I was waiting for the proctor.

    I ate breakfast before (cereal and a protein shake, if you are not used to drinking protein shakes I wouldn't try for the first time on the test day though), I know it sounds simple but I really think it helped me stay focused and relax. And I had whole grain rice and quinoa with a protein for dinner the night before because I read that whole grains and protein are helpful for brain flow.

    The morning before I also read like ten pages of one of my favorite books, I also think this helped with general brain flow/ relaxation and I sat outside for a little.

    Lastly, I just tried to take away the "end all be all" mindset that I had about the test. This is easier said than done but just remind yourself that by believing that this test is the end of the world, you are only hurting yourself. Treat having a relaxed mindset as just another step towards completing the test.

  • As someone with pretty severe anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder even beyond test-taking anxiety), I can say that it was not until my fourth time taking the test that I felt completely at ease.

    During the first through third administrations, the anxiety I felt about the tests was overwhelming, and this feeling of dread occurred not only during the exams but also before the exams/test day mornings as well. In fact, during my third LSAT I had a panic attack that started during the second section and continued throughout the entirety of the exam.

    Truly, the only thing that has helped ease this anxiety has been my growing familiarity with the material and, subsequently, the confidence I have in my own abilities. By the time I took my fourth exam (September 2022, around 8 months after my third exam in January 2022) I KNEW I had more knowledge of the material, so I went into the exam trusting I'd be able to test in a way that reflected my abilities. So worrying about being unprepared (an anxiety trigger) did not really get in the way that day.

    I will also say I planned out the entire morning of my test day to avoid any stressors. While I did follow my otherwise normal daily routine (wake up at a decent time, daily cleaning routine, big breakfast, workout) I also pumped myself up by listening to Beyonce's new album. I set up a snack for the 10-minute break, and quite literally jumped/shook around when I was able to move around for those ten minutes. It's important not to overthink sure, but it's also important to remember that every minute (even those not utilized physically taking the exam) are crucial. Definitely do what works for YOU, though, and not necessarily what people recommend-- i.e., some people try implementing habits that are not conducive to success or their personal preferences, simply because they think it might help. If something works for you, do it. If something doesn't work for you, don't.

    So, in my experience, the only way to avoid anxiety about the LSAT is assert control over everything you CAN control. You CAN control how much you study/how prepared you are. You CAN control the daily routines/practices that contribute to your general state of being. You CAN control what your test day looks like. Maybe you won't know exactly what questions they will ask on test day, but by limiting the uncontrollable variables on test day, you can limit your anxiety.

    And for what it's worth (although numbers are different for everyone and everyone's journey is different!) I scored 7 points higher on my fourth exam than my highest score (164 from a 157, which was my second LSAT, the third test where I had a panic attack I scored two points lower with a 155) and I'm going to test again in October. Don't give up!! Anxiety is normal. Instead of fearing it, learn how to use it to your advantage. Good luck!

  • Steven_B-1Steven_B-1 Member
    777 karma

    Definitely try to take at the very least 1 day off before the LSAT so you can rest your mind and eyes (screen exhaustion is real). Try to have a ritual before you begin. For example, i like to listen to comedy skits the morning before i test and an hour before the exam, i will review easy LR questions, review easy LGs and review my RC strategy.

    Ten minutes before exam time I like to do lunges and push-ups to wake me up and get the blood pumping. I will meditate while i wait for the timer to hit 0 and start the proctor U process. My meditation consists of being grateful for the opportunity to take the exam, to be in a priviledged position where I have a shot at showing my skills and eventually of going to law school. Think about the BILLIONS of people who will never even have a shot at pursuing their passion and be grateful that we at least have a shot. I think that helps focus the mind.

    Finally, i think its important to take as much psychological pressure off of yourself as possible. Don't view the exam as "do or die." It isnt. Worst case scenario, you continue studying and wait another cycle. Just tell yourself that you've prepared and you're going to do your absolute best! That's all you can ask of yourself. This has helped me enjoy the process more and take unneeded pressure off.

    Best of luck!

  • grugthesluggrugtheslug Member
    107 karma

    personally I like to throw up in the yard and punch bricks with my hands wrapped with a tshirt. warrior-goblin mode activate.

  • zshi20zshi20 Member
    edited September 2022 36 karma

    What I wanna say was already said. These are all really good points.

    I'll just add one thing about brain recovery, supplements, etc. I actually had very similar situation in my June test and once thought about whether I had some psychological issues. Initially I planned to get some psychological counselling, but after doctors scanned my brain, I found out from the report that my body does not produce enough glutamic acid/glutamine and dimethylaminoethanol, which are crucial substances to repair one's brain and help it recover. In addition, the report said that my brain lacked oxygen. This issue could be due to insufficient ventilation in my room or my insufficient sleep. That explained a lot why I found it harder to recover after taking a preptest than my peers who used to study with me.

    Therefore I began to take these two supplements and occasionally go to other rooms in my apartment/go out just to breathe fresh air. I felt better afterwards. In the middle of a preptest I also opened the window, let the air come in, and breathe deeply. I'm now preparing for the October administration full time so that I can sleep as much as I want. Although I sleep relatively late, nowadays I sleep about 1 hour earlier than I did before. I'm also drinking tons of juice btw just to make sure my brain has enough sugar to use. These practices are really helpful personally.

    The doctor also prescribed some drugs such as propanolol hydrochloride tablets, which can lower one's heart rate, and lorazempam tablets, which can alleviate stress symptoms . But I found the one that can lower my heart rate also makes me sleepy, so I'll not probably use it before the test. For the other, I think I need to try a few more times to see its effect.

    Hope this provides some perspectives. Regardless of the approach, I guess the most important thing is confidence: we have the ability, and we can do it again in the actual test!

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