Taking the #LSAT on February 9? “Simple” minded advice for being prepared

The February 2013 LSAT is exactly one week away. For most LSAT takers, the word “LSAT” has become synonymous with the word  “anxiety”. What do people feel anxious about? People taking the February LSAT typically suffer from  “heightened” LSAT anxiety for  two reasons:

1. It is the last (the word is “last”  and not “LSAT”) test they can take in the current application cycle;  and

2. I suspect that February testing pool includes a much higher percent of people who have already taken the LSAT. The problem with retaking the LSAT is that:

You are  taking the LSAT already knowing that you have underperformed. The knowledge that you have “underperformed”  once is not helpful  to you. It is not good for your confidence.

The two requirements for  being “LSAT Prepared”

1. You must actually be prepared.

2.  You must believe/feel  that you are prepared.

The requirements are equally important. To use the language of the LSAT: each of these two requirements is a “necessary” but NOT “sufficient” condition.

Some thoughts  on each.

1. You must  actually be prepared

You are  one week away from the test. You are familiar  with the test.  You have done a number  of practice LSATs. At this point you should NOT try to actually learn anything else. You should reduce the number  of things you think about. You should focus on a smaller number of basic principles that are always relevant.  For example, all LSAT questions require you to determine “what”  you are being told and the reason for that message. Focus on less! Focus on what you are most certain of! Don’t exhaust yourself by thinking about an endless number of categories of questions (which are irrelevant). The LSAT is a test of “reading” and “reasoning” with the information you read. No more and no less. Learn to see all questions as an exercise in:

A.  What am I being told in the LSAT passage/question?

B. What is the justification for  what I am being told?

C. What am I being asked  to do with that information?

You will “actually” be prepared if you can do those  three things.

2. You must believe that you are prepared.

Henry Ford was  fond of saying that:

“Whether you think you can do  or think you can’t do it, you are right.”

Yes, your “mindset” and your attitude are important. Your “mindset” is largely a function of your level  of anxiety. When it comes to  “anxiety” there’s good news and bad news:

The “anxiety” bad news:

Too much anxiety will make it hard for you to have the calm and relaxed  state of mind that you need to perform well.

The “anxiety” good  news:

A certain amount of anxiety is required  for you focus and and stay focused through the duration of the LSAT.  If you aren’t worried, why would  you care enough?

It’s interesting to me that at least  two  LSAT prep  companies  have  (this week) issued “bulletins” which focus on anxiety and attitude.

First  on “anxiety” – LSAT Freedom:

Second on “attitude”  – Powerscore:

I  agree. “Your attitude  will determine your altitude” and you level  of “anxiety”  will  influence  your attitude. So to  take  a common LSAT reasoning pattern:

Your attitude  will determine your altitude;

Your anxiety will determine your attitude

Therefore, your anxiety will determine your altitude.

You will feel  less anxiety if you focus on fewer concepts!

When it  comes to the LSAT,  your goal is to:

Simply,  simplify and simplify“.

 

 

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