The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is one of the most competitive examinations in the US, with almost every decent law school requiring a score of 160+ to consider a student’s admission application. This fact alone is enough to stress potential applicants out, especially considering that over 40 million people in the United States suffer from anxiety, making it one of the country’s most common mental health disorders.
Suppose you’re a law school hopeful who deals with high stress levels and anxiety. These symptoms can be a significant hindrance to your success on the LSAT. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage your test anxiety levels better.
About Test Anxiety
Test anxiety is a subtype of anxiety associated with nervousness and uneasiness before or during an exam. It is widespread and at times even regarded as a good thing, since it can stimulate your brain to release dopamine to focus during the exam.
However, in more severe cases, test anxiety can cause both emotional and physical responses like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, high levels of stress, fear, and so on. These physiological responses can severely impede your ability to focus while taking the LSAT. The stress often makes it harder to recall your preparation, leading to further anxiety and fear, thus continuing the vicious cycle.
The LSAT is designed to test many things, including your endurance and ability to focus under pressure. The test is meant to be intense, so some anxiety is expected. However, some people’s test-taking anxiety is severe enough that they will need to take additional steps to combat it.
One of the main reasons many examinees suffer from test anxiety is under-preparedness. The LSAT is a very competitive examination, and that, combined with the fear of failure, can cause high levels of stress and nervousness that eventually culminate in test anxiety.
Thus, if you do have a history of panic attacks and stress disorders, simply knowing you’ve done your absolute best to prepare can reduce stress levels to a significant extent. The following are some test preparation strategies you might find handy:
- Enrolling For LSAT Classes- These classes can help you prepare for the exam right from the ground up, from preparing you with customized study materials to helping you home your time management techniques.
- Studying Past Tests- Familiarizing yourself with the type of questions asked on the exam will help you plan out your preparation accordingly by highlighting the areas you need to work on the most.
- Understanding the Test Structure- You must have a thorough understanding of the exam’s pattern and structure to optimize your time management techniques and avoid unnecessary surprises in the examination center.
- Obtaining the Best LSAT Prep Books– If you do not have the resources or time to join classes, prep books can do an excellent job of familiarizing you with the exam, its testing objective, and its syllabus content.
Staying Calm Under Pressure
One of the issues with test anxiety is that no matter how technically prepared you genuinely are, you may still feel unprepared. For this reason, retaining control of your emotions is just as important as mastering the test material. The following relaxation exercises can help you do just that:
- Breathing Exercises- Deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, is one of the best ways to reduce stress levels. This is because it helps you take in more oxygen, improving brain function and preventing your heart from racing. It also helps lower the heartbeat and stabilize the blood pressure.
- Yoga and Stretching- Yoga has long been considered one of the best ways to combat stress by encouraging mind-body relaxation through meditative action. Its profoundly relaxing techniques can not only prevent the onset of anxiety but also help you focus more.
Take the LSAT One Step at a Time
Test-taking is universally acknowledged as stressful, and your test anxiety is no reason to be ashamed. However, it is something that you need to work on, especially to score well on the LSAT.
The middle of the test is a bad time to try implementing relaxation techniques for the first time, so you should know the best ways to combat test anxiety right from the get-go.