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PT Concern: Thinking you're doing much worse than you really are

StopLawyingStopLawying Alum Member
in General 821 karma
Things are moving so quickly for me during the exam that I really have no idea how I'm doing while taking the exam. Many times I think I'm doing a lot worse than I really am and this destroys my confidence for the rest of the test. For example I took PT58 last week and thought I did really poorly on the first two sections, LR and RC. Turned out that I got a combined -6 between the two sections. On the last two sections, which were considered much easier according to the 7sage analytics, I went -8 resulting in a 167 score. And one of the sections was LG. During the break all I thought about were the first two sections and how I screwed up, and I think this thinking affected me for the rest of the test. After the test was done I honestly thought there was no way I scored a 160+. Let me add that I finish sections just in time and maybe that's my problem since there's no time for me took double check. So my question in short is what do you think I can do to remain mentally strong throughout the entire test? Any advice would be really helpful as this problem has been plaguing me on almost every test.

Also, it takes me an incredibly long time to BR because I circle so many damn questions, even ones from 1-10. It seems like I'm 100% sure on just a handful of questions each PT when taking the test timed. And that's what I hate about this test: no matter how much I study there's always that feeling of uncertainty during the test. I am always envious of those that only circle like 2-3 LR questions per section. Are those people really 100% sure that they've nailed each and every one of those questions? I can get to that point during BR ( my BR scores are around 175) but no way in hell can I ever do that timed.


  • sarahfatima28sarahfatima28 Alum Member
    edited December 2015 320 karma
    I am no expert so please ignore me if you feel I am talking crap. There are broadly 3 things you are talking about:

    1. Confidence issue
    2. Timing
    3. BR

    As far as 1st goes, how long have you been studying for? Do you feel you have really mastered the core concepts? Or do you think as you progress it's more mental fatigue that plagues your performance rather than confidence?

    For 2nd you not having a lot of spare time for review would improve as you go on practicing PTs. What a lot of the experts say and from what I could understand from Jonathan's LR video going fast isn't the best approach. You need to give each question sufficient time that it deserves. You need to pause and mentally review what you read so that when you choose your answer you have confidence in it. I saw Jonathan take plenty of time in many questions but he still managed to finish the entire section in 19 mins or so. You see? I also read somewhere that when you start drilling and taking PTs you want to aim for mastering each question and then moving on. Understanding and being fully confident about your choice is more important than rushing to finish the section on or before time.

    For the 3rd I think as you progress and improve upon your fundamentals you will circle less and less questions. I think it was Nicole who spoke about how very few people are a 100% confident about their answer choice. If you are 90% sure it's fine. That's good enough. Move on.

    All three things are obviously interlinked. Mastering the fundamentals, mastering each question and not rushing are the key takes here in my humble opinion. Please ignore me if you feel this advice is wrong. Hope this helped. Good luck!
  • GSU HopefulGSU Hopeful Monthly
    1644 karma
    Well to start out with, I would much rather think I bombed it and come out wonderfully than to have the attitude of crushing it only to find I went ten points below my average. So, I think you are in the lesser of the two evils.

    Regarding your feeling during the test, ignore it. This test requires so much of you that you can't afford to waste your time and energy worrying about whether you are doing well or not. You have to stay focused on what is in front of you at that exact moment, be it an LR question, LG or RC passage. Everything else should be shut out. Its extremely difficult to push everything out, but by continuously critiquing yourself and wondering how you are doing, you are undoubtedly costing yourself time and confidence.

    Regarding how many questions you circle, I know that can be frustrating. But comparing yourself to the tactics of others and the lack of questions they circle is a recipe for confidence reduction. What if you have a more loose criteria for circling questions than others do that circle 3? I know ending a PT and realizing that you have to BR 20 LR questions is annoying as hell, but realize that you just gained 20 more opportunities to learn something new that you didn't previously know. Take advantage of that. It sounds harsh and I don't mean it that, but do your best to not worry about what anyone else is doing. Worrying what everyone else is doing is a distraction from what you are doing. Been there.... there's no light at the end of that tunnel. I might circle questions during a test that I confidently eliminated all four wrong answer choices and confirmed the correct answer, but something didn't jive with me and I want to give myself another opportunity to look at it. What if you missed something and guessed lucky? If so, you won't have the opportunity to realize that and fix the reasoning issue that you couldn't see to begin it. It is a whole hell of a lot better to circle too many questions than to circle very few and end up with 5+ confidence errors (questions you missed and did not circle). I still have few pop up every now and then. These in particular are dangerous because they represent what you did not know you didn't know. You were confident in your choice and missed anyway!! Avoid that at all costs. If you end up circling a few more, then so be it. Just learn from it and move forward.

    Your confidence in eliminating ACs and confirming the correct AC will come with time and fundamentals. I don't know if you have gone through the entire curriculum or not, but I would touch on the major topics and core fundamentals at least weekly. Its so easy to get drawn in and just PT after PT, but there are subtle little things to be picked up along the way by going back to the curriculum or Trainer. And again, I wouldn't worry right now about the number of questions you are circling. If you are circling alot right now, that will come down as long as you are learning everything you can from BR. You might just have a loose standard for circling questions like I do. For example, I will usually circle (regardless of confidence in ACs) if I have to read a stimulus more than once or can't readily pick up the flaw/gap. I might continue the question to try gain a handle on it since its a timed PT, but I will damn sure circle because those are two things high scorers do a large majority of the time: read the stim once(ish) and immediately pick the flaw out. I want to be able to do that so I give myself every opportunity to get there. Best of luck to you. If you need anything further, don't hesitate to ask someone. The most damaging question is the one that goes unasked.

  • Nicole HopkinsNicole Hopkins Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4344 karma
    There is very, very little in the way of consistent correlation between feelings about performance and actual performance. That's where the whole concept of "confidence errors" comes from :D I remember feeling just awful about LR1 on PT74. I let it ruin my whole PT experience. Boy, didn't I feel stupid when I found I went -1 on that section.

    You just can't try to beat the LSAT at its emotional game by giving into its tactics. One of those tactics is to focus on how you FEEL. It sounds like you're learning this crucial lesson organically! Keep up the good work!!!

    By the way ... this stuff is critical for staying sane AFTER your real take. Just ask the hoards waiting on gray day whether they regret obsessing over LSAT performance theories for the past 3 weeks :)
  • StopLawyingStopLawying Alum Member
    edited December 2015 821 karma
    Thank you everyone! All terrific responses, really appreciate the help!
    @sarahfatima28 @"Nicole Hopkins" @"GSU Hopeful"
  • __Juan____Juan__ Alum Member
    184 karma
    Just believe in yourself but harder.
  • kennedybjkennedybj Alum Member
    697 karma
    @"Nicole Hopkins" said:
    Just ask the hoards waiting on gray day whether they regret obsessing over LSAT performance theories for the past 3 weeks :)
    yes. yes. and, yes
  • kennedybjkennedybj Alum Member
    697 karma
    When I took the December test, I literally had to remind myself during the break that I had already done the experimental section so i didn't need to fret about it lol thankfully the section i was worried about turned out to be the experimental section
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