Hi there —
I can definitely sense that you feel overwhelmed — in my personal experience, when I’ve felt something similar to what I imagine you describe as burnout, it happens when there is simply too much to think about at one time — your brain just has too many factors to consider, and not enough direction for how to do so, and it prefers to find excuses to get away from that mess —
You know yourself best, so as I often say, please feel free to ignore any advice that you feel doesn’t apply to you, but here are some thoughts that come to mind that I hope you might find useful —
1) If at all possible, wait to take until the June exam
In terms of conflicting info for your mind to consider, on one side you’ve got the frustration of having studied for this exam longer than you’d like (and the associated guilt, stress, etc.), and on the other side, of course you want to perform as well as you possibly can, and it seems, per what you’ve mentioned, that you have the sense that you haven’t put yourself in a position to do that as of yet.
It makes no rational sense that a 100 question multiple choice exam should play such a huge role in the lives of individuals who want to be lawyers, but the reality is that it does (the LSAT plays an even bigger role in admissions than your GPA, which you likely had to work 4 or more years to earn) — and so, because of the situation, I believe the smart decision is to spend as much time as you possibly need to score at your best. You didn’t beat yourself up for not graduating college in a year, and so you shouldn’t think twice about giving yourself more time to study for this exam.
When it comes to something as important to your career as this exam, I believe it’s a gazillion times more important to do things right rather than fast — again, I understand that this is an ideal and life can present other more stressing issues, but I think you know that waiting until June will give you a better chance to perform better, and so if that’s workable that’s certainly what I would suggest.
2) Take a few days off from your normal prep to do a general assessment of where you are now and where you want to get to —
The way I suggest you perform this general overview is by putting together, for yourself, a big picture outline of all the various things you need to master for each for the sections —
For example, for LG, you might list out all the different things you have to be able to diagram well, or different types of games or rules you have to be comfortable with, or for RC, you can list out the different things you want to be good at — such as having effective reading habits, or specific ways in which you know you can effectively attack each of the q types — and so on —
You can either use your own personal experience to create these categories, or you can use the layout of the Trainer — that is, you can make each of the points that the Trainer focuses on (for example, for LR, it might include general abilities such as finding flaws and more specific abilities such as being able to deal with each of the q types) —
Again, take plenty of time to do this, make several drafts if you need to, and know that just doing so also happens to a great way for you to review the work you’ve done in the past.
Additionally, I suggest that for each of those items you put on your master outline, you set up 4 different “check boxes” — one each for understanding (I understanding this topic), strategies (I know how I can deal with this on the exam), skills (I feel confident I can deal with this when I recognize it) and habits (I know I can consistently utilize my skills at the right time and in the right way) —
Now, moving forward in your prep, this outline can serve as a blueprint of all the things you want to accomplish in order to feel that you are ready to perform at your best.
As you go through the Trainer again (more on this later) and do additional practice work and so on, keep in mind that you want to be able to tick out those boxes, and work to do so — by the time all those boxes are ticked off, you will be ready —
And, should your understanding of what is important for you to master change during your studies, you can reflect that on your master notes/outline.
3) Focus on quality rather than quantity
Your score will not go up because you finish X number of learning products or take X number of practice exams or spend X number of hours studying —
Your score will go up when you improve your understanding, strategies, skills, and habits, and so you want to make those the focal point of your planning and practice.
Don’t worry about getting in a ton of practice and instead, make sure that when you do practice, you will not be disturbed and you can be totally focused (I think sessions that are roughly an hour to an hour and a half are best for this, but you know yourself best, and the length of time over which you can really keep focus easily and consistently should ideally grow during your prep).
And more importantly, make sure you are thinking of accomplishing something that directly impacts your performance, rather than thinking in terms of accomplishing a volume of work.
At the end of every single study session, you should feel that you have improved your understanding, strategies, skills, or habits — go into your session with these sorts of goals in mind, and evaluate the effectiveness of your session in terms of how well you accomplished them (and track off those boxes from the overall outline as your mastery of individual parts improves, which can be so, so, satisfying).
Again, don’t worry about getting in a ton of learning products or a ton of pts — plenty of people have gotten top scores just studying from the trainer (and plenty just studying from the other learning products you mentioned as well) — instead, choose your tools carefully and make sure to focus on maximizing their value.
4) Lastly, if you decide to go with the Trainer, I suggest that you utilize one of these two 12 week schedules —
Using a 12 week schedule will give you some more time should you need it to master something, or should you need to take a break should life get in the way (I have kids, too) and so on —
Again, per what you’ve told me about the various things you have to juggle, it seems that either of the above will give you the right amount of guidance while also allowing for enough flexibility.
Here are a few things I worked hard to build into the Trainer and those schedules that I think are most relevant to some of your concerns —
1) those schedules account for all the variety of work you have to do — if you follow them, you will cover everything you need to cover in order to cross off all those boxes on whatever outline you create.
2) the book and those schedules are designed to help you split up your work into manageable, bite-sized pieces that come together with “multiplicative” impact (as discussed in the intro of the trainer) —
I think that a great way to study is to
a) have small,clear, important, and manageable goals to accomplish &
b) have a structure where the mastery you develop comes together as efficiently as possible —
You mentioned returning to review things you’ve covered before — you certainly do want to do that at points, but, to highlight some of what I mean with the above points and what is already built into the Trainer —
Certain early chapters focus on helping you strengthen your ability to identify flaws in LR q’s in a general way, and then later chapters focus on show you how to apply this to a variety of different challenges presented by the different q types —
The planning of the drills and pt’s and such work in much the same way in that they present individual tasks (and specifically are most important for building skills and habits) — and flow naturally, and build upon, what you learn in the book (so that, for example, you learn about a certain q type/get strategies, and then drill that q type) —
All that is a very complicated way of saying that I’ve done my built to naturally build in the review and organization and such you seek into the schedule, and so following it should help you feel you are getting enough help with all of that.
Whew! Sorry for the length but I hope that helps — if you have any follow-up q’s just let me know —
Wish you the best with everything – Mike