Did you know meditation may increase your LSAT score?
I was as surprised as you might be, but I came across a study reporting that students who received meditation training improved their GRE scores significantly.
Why might this have occurred?
Well, meditation typically requires training the mind to focus on something specific. Of course, developing this ability can help you learn to prevent your mind from wandering.
If you’re able to develop the ability to concentrate while meditating, and you’re more aware of your thoughts, you’re probably more likely to be able to stay focused in other settings, like during the LSAT.
This is obviously useful during any standardized test, especially if you find the topic boring and the test is strictly timed!
(I’ve seen a variety of articles suggesting it can help reduce test anxiety / stress as well. Details below.)
Here’s an excerpt from an NYTimes article describing the study, “How Meditation Might Boost Your Test Scores“:
After two weeks, the students were re-evaluated for mind-wandering and working memory capacity and given another version of the G.R.E. reading comprehension section.
The nutrition group’s results did not change.
The group that took mindfulness training, however, mind-wandered less and performed better on tests of working memory capacity and reading comprehension. For example, before the training, their average G.R.E. verbal score was 460. Two weeks later, it was 520.
After seeing this article, I started looking into mindfulness (a particular type of meditation) and tried it out.
I’ve now been meditating on a daily basis for 20-25 minutes at a time for a few months and plan to continue. I believe I’ve derived a variety of benefits from it, not simply limited to LSAT-related abilities.
It’s a lot simpler than you might think. Basically, I sit in a quiet, dark room, close my eyes, and focus on my breathing for a while. During this time, I try to be more aware of what I am thinking and feeling than I am under ordinary circumstances.
(When pressed for time, I’ll meditate for 5-10 minutes instead of longer periods. I believe even this is sufficient to provide benefits.)
If you’re interested in trying this, the best resource I’ve come across on the topic is a book (published online for free) called Mindfulness in Plain English (Amazon).
Don’t be put off by references to Buddhism in the introduction if it’s not your thing. Once the book actually gets into the substance (Chapter 1), the text is remarkably secular.
If you don’t want to read an entire book, you can check out this article providing a far more concise guide to the basics. Also see this overview focusing on benefits associated with meditation.
If you plan to try this, though, I’d still recommend reading sections of Mindfulness in Plain English. It’s great.
Here’s more information for those interested in the link between meditation and reducing LSAT / standardized test anxiety. While the article doesn’t talk specifically about the LSAT or other standardized tests, it still provides a great framework for thinking about stress reduction, as well as other reasons to consider meditation.
P.S. Here are two “quality” mindfulness books I highly recommend:
Great for anyone just starting out:
Excellent for those who already meditate or just want the concepts:
The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety
I’ve read both of them a lot over the years, and they’ve been really helpful. Definitely give them a shot.
P.P.S. Guided meditations (including mp3s and the HeadSpace app) can help a lot. Search YouTube and you’ll find an endless supply of videos to guide you through the process.
Have you ever meditated? Do you think it can help improve your LSAT score? Is meditation worth doing for other reasons?
Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments!