Law School Discussion

"Letting go" of a hard question or section

"Letting go" of a hard question or section
« on: January 19, 2006, 02:09:29 AM »
If I have difficulty with a question and am unsure of my choice, I have trouble letting go of that frustration and worry when I move to the next few questions. If I feel I have done poorly on a particular section, I am basically screwed for the rest of the test, because I can't seem to let my frustration go. 

How do you let a bad question or section go? Any advice would be so helpful. Thanks!

veg

Re: "Letting go" of a hard question or section
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2006, 02:44:13 AM »
That's definitely difficult. It was one of the things I struggled with, too.

I didn't have a technique to get over the anxiety of being unsure about my answers. Essentially I came to the conclusion that I can't change what I've already bubbled in. All I can do is work harder in the other sections to make up for any mistakes I've already made.

Good luck!

Re: "Letting go" of a hard question or section
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2006, 11:25:46 AM »
You just have to humbly accept that no matter how hard you study, to a degree, the lsat is a measure of natural aptitude and you won't be able to get everything perfectly.

"V"

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Re: "Letting go" of a hard question or section
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2006, 12:01:36 PM »
You just have to humbly accept that no matter how hard you study, to a degree, the lsat is a measure of natural aptitude and you won't be able to get everything perfectly.

I wouldn't even know where to begin with that statement. If the LSAT is, to any measure, a measure of natural aptitude then it's a poor one - as most people see their scores not only improve with study, but drastically improve. In fact, the test has already been argued against by many (much smarter than I) people who point out its flaws and very possible bias towards specific gender/race.

If the LSAT measures anything at all, it's your ability to do certain types of 'mini-puzzles', which have little, if anything, to do with your natural aptitude, or your ability to do well in law school. They have to do with how well you do the 'mini-puzzles', how long you spent studying, and whether you paid for the right tips from a book, or course.

As for the original posters question, my best advice is this: if you get to a problem that makes you feel shaky, give it your best guess. Then, instead of 'moving on' from the problem and worrying about it, just tell yourself 'I'll come back to this with any time I have left at the end'. Then, you can try to focus fully on other problems, because you haven't left it for good. I usually had from 5-10 minutes to spare at the end of a section (depending on the section, obviously) and this is how I got over my own 'must get right!' mentality.

Mr Shears

Re: "Letting go" of a hard question or section
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2006, 12:44:13 PM »
That's good advice.  I have an internal meter that I use; if I start getting that desperate feeling in my gut, I know I'm spending a dangerously long amount of time on this one question.  At that point, I make a guess, make a note, and move on without thinking about it (which is hard to do, I know).

Re: "Letting go" of a hard question or section
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2006, 12:50:01 PM »
If you can handle letting a bad question go, you will not have bad sections.  You can sacrifice individual questions; sections you cannot.  The solution is to learn to prevent disasters.  I worked through my catastrophe-causing frustration by learning to isolate and contain the problem in one question.

Implement a practice strategy that will help you move on and get through.  Learn to make smart tactical decisions during the exam.

For instance, if you start a game and are having a lot of trouble setting it up and answering the first question, stop.  Make a choice: move forward, or fight through it and eat up your time.  Carefully read it through once more, and if it still doesn't make sense skip it and go to the next one.  Rather than spend 15 minutes struggling, work on the other set-ups.  You cannot let one botched portion spill over into the entire section.  Practice making choices like this, and pretty soon you will find you make less mistakes all together.  If you make a quick, smart decision to skip the game you should have plenty of time to finish most--if not all --of the skipped section at the end.  A fresh look almost always helps you see something you missed the first time through.  Also, a little confidence from knowing you finished the rest of it helps you relax.

In logical reasoning, it is much easier to learn to make smart decisions.  If you spend 4 minutes on one question that you'll probably end up getting wrong anyway, you eat up the time you could have spent on two or three other questions at the end.  A one question problem turns into a three question problem.  Even if you're going for a 180 you have two or three questions you can sacrifice.  Just skip it.  Come back w/a fresh, confident mind.  Practice making decisions that will isolate the problem. 

Stay within your time distribution for RC.  Work out how much time you are giving yourself for each section and each question.  Don't let one difficult question ruin the others.  If you know that you can do complete all four passages then never go over your allotted time for one question.  You could be sacrificing 3 correct answer at the end.

The best way to stop from getting frustrated is to get every question right that you know you can get right (which should be every question anyway).  To get everything right you cannot have disasters.  To prevent disasters you have to isolate the problems.  And the only way to isolate the problems is to practice doing it. 

Re: "Letting go" of a hard question or section
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2006, 10:23:15 PM »
Thanks everyone for your great tips!

Re: "Letting go" of a hard question or section
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2006, 03:59:13 PM »
I have this problem with reading comp a lot.  Here's my solution that I haven't tried yet: I'm going to treat every passage like the next one is going to be twice as hard.