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Test Anxiety


I'm not a mental health professional.

Anxiety is different than stress

Everyone is stressed by the LSAT. The LSAT is a challenging, high stakes test.

Stress can be productive. Stress can focus and motivate you.

If you interpret your stress as a good thing, then it might become useful.

Anxiety is unproductive stress

Anxiety has as many causes and manifestations as there are human beings. But it has two common effects on the LSAT:

  1. Anxiety distracts you.
  2. Anxiety disrupts your game-plan.

Anxiety impairs test performance when it takes you away from solving the question in front of you.

And anxiety makes the test harder when it encourages reactive, rather than proactive, behavior.

Anxiety might make you... Because...
Rush You just want to get it over with.
Avoid trying new strategies You crave the comfort of familiar methods, even if those old methods are likely to lead to the same old results.
Set low expectations You think negative self talk will insulate you from disappointment, so you let the test beat you before you've even begun.

Avoid practicing anxiety

If you notice yourself feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or distracted for any reason:

  1. Stop.
  2. Reset.

When you're too anxious, or too tired, or too whatever to practice right, don't practice.

Instead, exercise, drink water, nap, eat, meditate, or take care of other business.

Try again when you can approach each question with confidence and integrity.


Don't give up too fast or postpone studying just because you "don't feel like it."

I usually need to warm up with a few questions to get in the LSAT mood.

If your anxiety feels out of control, ask for help

Therapy helped me.