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Slow Down

Going slow doesn't mean plodding through the test. It means staying in control and investing time at key strategic moments.

Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.

Example: Slow down to predict on Reasoning questions

Stopping briefly to predict provides a net speed boost.

Predictions solidify your understanding so that you can move ruthlessly through the answers. The answers are designed to waste your time and confuse you. Predictions carry you through the answers with confidence.

And predictions check your understanding. An "anchor" prediction is just a paraphrase of the argument. If you can't simplify the argument to make an anchor prediction, you probably haven't understood the argument.

Reset whenever you feel out of control

Resets can take half a second or a whole day.

At minimum take a breath, then remind yourself what you need to do next.

A longer, 3-part reset

  1. Breathe squarely: 4 seconds in, 4 seconds hold, 4 seconds out, 4 seconds hold.
  2. Do something physical, like touch each finger tip to your thumb.
  3. Say an affirmation, like "I got this!"

Resets are a skill, practice them deliberately

Try a section without any time or content-based goals. Just practice noticing when you need a reset and then resetting without judgment.

Or try resetting after every hard question.

Trust your confusion

When you ignore your confusion in order to rush ahead, you risk compounding errors.

Confusion is not always your fault. Your confusion can also reveal the LSAT's traps and secrets.

Confusing answers might just be confused

The LSAT is full of bad answers. 80% of the answers are not only wrong, they're also designed to confuse you.

Defer on weird answers. The LSAT wants you to waste a bunch of time trying to figure them out. But if there's another answer you like, then there's a good chance that answer is confusing because it's wrong. Or, if it's the only one left, then maybe it's right.

Confusing arguments are probably flawed arguments

The Reasoning section is full of bad arguments.

If you're confused by an argument, that's probably because it's a bad argument. By investigating your confusion you may be able to pinpoint what's wrong with it.

Own your "silly" mistakes

Rushing can lead to "silly" mistakes, like missing a "not."

You may be tempted to slow down uniformly in order to prevent these small errors. But the better solution is to recognize which "silly" mistakes your personal brain makes, and then make a plan for preventing those specific errors.

Answering the wrong question

I often try to attack the argument on "Help" questions. I get so distracted trying to find the problem that I eliminate the correct answer. Then I select an answer that does exactly the opposite of what the question asked me to do.

This happens often enough that I've added a redundancy to my Games process: I quickly re-read questions after I select an answer.

I don't do this for Reading or Reasoning because I don't make the same mistake there.

Keep a list of your small mistakes

Date Mistake Mitigation Strategy
yesterday missed "unless" in the argument add "unless" to the short list of magic LSAT words to pay special attention to
today eliminated an answer instead of selecting it practice sprinting so I have time to review at the end of a section
today confused the two names in a Reading text note the major characters and their position while reading

This list should be dynamic. As you get more skilled, these strategies/redundancies may become unnecessary crutches. Practice without them from time to time to see if you still need them.