How to deal with test anxiety

LSAT test anxiety
By Josh A.

The LSAT was my first time dealing with real test anxiety. I’ve always been a good test taker; the SAT, ACT, AP tests, and years of in-class assessments all proved pretty painless. But the LSAT’s high stakes and new content, plus having to fit it into a college schedule, really got to me. 

It wasn’t just that the LSAT-related stress hurt my mental health. Rather, I noticed huge differences in practice-test scores based on where my mind was when I woke up that morning. It became clear to me that test anxiety could keep me out of top law schools - so I spent months not just working on test content, but figuring out how to get my mind right on test day. 

Finding the Right Pretest Routine 

The first thing I discovered was the importance of finding a routine to do before LSAT practice, especially before practice tests. My advice: find an activity that puts you in a perfect frame of mind. Mine was to go running or lift weights, depending on the weather, take a shower, and do LSAT prep while riding the high of post-workout endorphins. Your activity might be something else, and that’s fine. Maybe painting puts your mind at ease. Maybe playing the drums provides catharsis for your restless energy. Whatever it is, experiment until you find it. And if your schedule is tight, even a few minutes of the activity will do! 

Experiment with Mindfulness 

I had little experience with meditation, but my girlfriend convinced me that it could help with my test anxiety. As usual, she was right. I found pretest meditation to be a powerful anti-anxiety tool. I would encourage LSAT takers to do some research and find meditative techniques that resonate with you. I know many will be skeptical of hippy-dippy stuff, but trust me when I say it works!

Take a Break 

Your mind needs a break. At the height of my LSAT prep, I studied almost 20 hours per week, an enormous amount of work to combine with a full-time course load. But I never worked on Saturday. I felt so much more refreshed when I started working on Sunday as a result. I always recommend taking at least one day per week to decompress. 

LSAT prep is difficult and time consuming, and there’s no way around it. But if you adopt the right techniques, your mental health does not have to suffer.

Comments

topicTopics
academics study skills MCAT medical school admissions SAT expository writing English college admissions GRE GMAT MD/PhD admissions LSAT chemistry math strategy writing physics ACT biology language learning graduate admissions law school admissions test anxiety MBA admissions homework help creative writing AP exams MD interview prep summer activities history academic advice philosophy career advice premed personal statements study schedules ESL economics grammar PSAT admissions coaching law organic chemistry statistics & probability computer science psychology SSAT covid-19 secondary applications 1L CARS legal studies logic games USMLE calculus dental admissions parents reading comprehension Latin Spanish engineering research DAT excel political science French Linguistics Tutoring Approaches chinese DO MBA coursework Social Advocacy academic integrity case coaching classics diversity statement genetics kinematics skills verbal reasoning ISEE MD/PhD programs algebra business business skills careers geometry medical school mental health social sciences trigonometry work and activities 2L 3L Anki EMT English literature FlexMed Fourier Series Greek IB exams Italian PhD admissions STEM Sentence Correction Zoom amino acids analysis essay architecture art history artificial intelligence astrophysics athletics biochemistry capital markets cell biology central limit theorem chemical engineering chromatography climate change clinical experience constitutional law curriculum data science dental school distance learning enrichment european history finance first generation student fun facts functions gap year harmonics health policy history of medicine history of science information sessions institutional actions integrated reasoning international students investing investment banking mba meiosis mentorship mitosis music music theory neurology phrase structure rules plagiarism poetry presentations pseudocode quantitative reasoning school selection sociology software software engineering teaching tech industry transfer typology units virtual interviews writing circles