LSAT Diary: LSAT Studying and Depression

LSAT Blog Diary LSAT Studying Depression
This LSAT Diary is from Jennifer, who's studying for the June 2015 LSAT. Below, she shares her LSAT self-studying experience.

If you want to be in LSAT Diaries, please email me at (You can be in LSAT Diaries whether you've taken the exam already or not.)

Please thank Jennifer for sharing her story below in the comments!

Jennifer's LSAT Diary:

Studying for the LSAT has been difficult. I have been studying for five years, on and off, for the LSAT. I know it sounds excessive. I suffer from clinical depression and with that depression comes insomnia and the inability at times to focus and concentrate. There were days I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. So over the years I’ve been gone through these long depressive stages that really interrupted my ability to study.

Recently, I was let go from my job. A reduction in force, they called it. Basically, someone, somewhere in my Fortune 500 company, didn’t plan ahead strategically and my division lost a lot of clients and money, so I and a few others had to go. Being without a job or without something constructive to do, is depressing, but it did mean that I had time to study.

Yes, there are days when I can’t even get out of bed before 5 pm. There have been weeks when I wasn’t able to study. I’m still working on the Logical Reasoning and I’ve only made it up to the Weaken questions. I just realized that time is running out. I’m freaking out a little bit. Just a little bit. The LSAT will be here very, very soon.

With all of this going on, even on my most depressed days, I at least try to study for 35 minutes. That’s the bare minimum. I take a section of the LSAT and time myself. If, I have the energy, I go over each of the questions and figure out why each answer choice was correct. If I got any questions wrong, I try to figure out why that answer choice was incorrect. Luckily most days, I accomplish more than just completing a random LSAT section.

I chose to study on my own versus taking a course. In college I was that girl that never showed up to class. Maybe the first or second class, but after that, I never showed up, because most of my professors and instructors taught from the expensive textbooks. I learn best from reading and actually doing the problems. If I have a question, I’m sure I can find someone to ask. Hint. Hint. Hint. Steve.

My study schedule starts on Mondays. Monday through Friday. I recently finished the Logic Games. The first thing I do now, when studying is to print the logic games section from a recent LSAT preptest and try to complete all of the questions within a certain time limit. I started at 45 minutes and now I’m down to 35 minutes. Whenever I finish the Logical Reasoning, I will do this for the logical reasoning sections as well.

I do it this way, because I am the type of person that gets stuck on trying to solve the question, taking up precious time. It’s really hard for me to stop in the middle of a difficult question and move on. So I have to train myself. If I spend a minute trying to figure out a question and I haven’t started marking answers that I know are incorrect, then it’s time for me to move on. I circle the number and hope there is time for me to comeback.

For the logic games, with this strategy, I have been able to complete three out of four games, with high accuracy like 15 or 16 correct out of 17. The more I push myself, I know that I can eventually at least get through the rules and pick off some of the easier questions.

On Saturdays mornings, I go to the nearest coffeehouse. Saturdays are the best days because moms with their young and loud children are always at Starbucks. It’s the perfect place to train for what I call the intangibles of the LSAT.

Learning to work while there are lots of distractions is important. I never take my headphones. I always try to find the most uncomfortable, smallest table to sit at. I also try to overdress or underdress to simulate what it would be like to take a test in a hot or cold room.

Saturdays are devoted to taking the full proctored test. I take all five sections and I write the essay. I take the breaks. I bring water, a snack, pencils, and whatever else I’m allowed to have when it comes to test day. I think of myself as not prepping to take a test, but training for a big fight. Cue “Eye of the Tiger.”

On Sundays I try not to study. It’s my day to do laundry, clean my apartment, go to my meditation class. What I do is go over the test that I took the previous day. I go through every question, regardless of whether I got the correct answer or not. I notate, which is tedious, why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. The more I do this, the better that I can actually understand what the test-makers are attempting to do. You see little patterns. Like the most difficult questions are really no harder than the less difficult ones, it’s just that the wording of the stimulus and the answer choices is more convoluted.

It’s upsetting and a little demoralizing when I get something wrong. For example, I was going through all of the Inference questions and I missed a lot of the most difficult ones. I got so upset. There was crying, cursing, and pens were thrown across the room. Eventually, I realized I had to accept that I probably won’t even make it to the most difficult questions on the LSAT. I had to realized that I am going to get some questions wrong. The LSAT I learned is a numbers game. I needed to focus on the questions that I understood right away and focus less on the more difficult ones. If I can get a lot of level two and three questions correct, then I’m probably going to make my goal of getting 162-166.

No comments:

Post a Comment