Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

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somethingElse
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Broncos15
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Broncos15 » Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:13 pm

Hey,



What drilling advice do you have? Now that Cambridge LSAT has stopped using them because of the new PDF restrictions


My debate is to buy some of the Cambridge packets within the next two days even though I'm not taking the LSAT until June 2016 at the earliest...or if i should just wait to purchase LSAT material when I decide to take the test ( currently on an indefinite timeline as mentioned in previous posts as I woudl like to get some WE)

I'm not sure if you have any solutions so I can drill when I resume prep. ( i prefer the self study route since I scored well in prior practice 168-172 ish, so I think I just need to fine hone skills i already have when i go back to studying)

I found drilling helped me study versus doing practice individual sections from a PT since in the drilling packets the questions are pulled from random tests it's not as easy for me to "memorize" the answers.

I currently have the vast majority if not all PT's 1-74 , LR by type from PT 1-38 , and one other LR packet by type ( I believe it had 10 PT's worth of questions)

Thanks!

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BlueprintJason
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BlueprintJason » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:22 pm

somethingelse55 wrote:Hey Jason,

Really appreciate your reply up above! I think you've kind of already answered this in a way, but I just want to make sure, if you don't mind:

So I'm working on fine tuning the way that I read those kinds of questions' stimuli (Str, Weak, NA, SA, Flaw). It used to be that I would read them all somewhat differently...For NA and SA I would explicitly look for a gap in the reasoning - what the argument is assuming. For Flaw, I would just try to figure out what the problem with the argument is. And for str and weaken, I would just make sure I understood what the argument is saying fully and especially what exactly the conclusion is.

But what I've gathered from your advice, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I should actually probably be reading these all the way that I read NA and SA, with the components from the other two mixed in. What I mean by that is, the "foundation" I should be using when reading any of these types of Qs is first figuring out the gap between the premises and conclusion, what the argument is assuming to be true, etc. And that in itself is the problem with the argument. And also, II will want to pay close attention to what exactly the conclusion is.

So from there, using that foundation, lets say I've identified the gap. After that, my approach will change depending on the question type. For Flaw, I'll just explain the gap in general terms. For strengthen, I will prephrase a way in which that gap could be partially fixed. For weaken, a way in which the gap can be mentioned/exploited. For NA, I find a way to fill the gap in a way in which were that gap not filled in that way, the argument would fail. For SA, I fill the gap completely and make the argument valid.

There also seem to be common themes with the incorrect ACs for each of these. For Flaw, they will describe something that the argument does not actually do, or something that the argument does but it not necessarily a problem. A lot of the time, this second type of incorrect AC hinges on exactly what the conclusion states. For strengthen and weaken, the incorrect ACs will either do the opposite of the expected task, or will not be relevant to the exact conclusion stated. For NA, they will be too strong to be necessary (either by possibly being sufficient or otherwise), be out of scope, or sometimes they even seem to hurt the argument if true. SA, they are all pretty much just too weak to guarantee the argument's validity or are out of scope.

Currently, in order of my comfort/confidence in these question types, I would rank them as NA > SA > F >>> Weak * Str. However, I'll note that I can answer any of the easier types of these Qs with near 100% accuracy, its just the tough ones I'm referring to. I have a feeling (hope?) that if I just change the way I'm reading these to the way I outlined above (or altered according to your suggestions) I will firm up the weaknesses. It also just might be that the answer choices for Str and Weak can be so "out there" relative to the other question types as well. But I am noticing that if I focus on the exact conclusion that helps a ton.

TLDR: Should I read Str, Weak, Flaw, NA, and SA with the same "lens?" Or should the way I read these stimuli be different depending on the Question type (prior to pre-phrasing what TCR might look like)?


Hey Somethingelse,

You are welcome!

I think your third paragraph is right. All flawed argument based question involve starting with 1) ID Con, 2) ID Premise, 3) ID flaw. Then you look for what you need in the ACs based on your job in the question.

Par 4: bingo!

Par 5: It is really good to notice common correct and incorrect AC themes for each type. This helps with speed and avoiding traps.I think the description you wrote out is very good, and I think you are going to go far in mastering these types by focusing on those things. One little caveat though, every once in a while with Str/Wk I find an AC that I feel like may also slightly weaken/strengthen. This is VERY rare though (like maybe 5 total lol). So another thing to look out for if you are stuck is that you can help/hurt an argument more if it the AC uses stronger language. For these rare outliers, they've basically all been things where the wrong answer choice may ever so slightly weaken/strengthen the link between prem and conclusion, but it is miniscule and a very remote possibility whereas the correct AC will clearly do a lot of help/harm bc of the ACs strength. This is not something to really focus on, but if you ever get stuck, keep it in mind because it might help you get to the correct answer in the .1% of really nasty questions of this type.

Str/Wk is the weirdest Q-type on the exam (IMO). I think it's seriously something I was able to master because I literally drilled them incessantly and repeated anything/everything that gave me trouble until I just "knew it" cold and was able to handle anything they through at me. When you ID a q-type you are less comfortable with at this stage (and it's great that you did), you want to allocate the majority of your time to fixing that issue until it is your strength. For me, I was bad at weaken questions at the beginning. I practiced them until I was getting 10/10, and then my raw score for LR was already close to where I needed it to be. It was then easy to just work on the harder question types and drill timed sections, because the challenges at that point (once accuracy is no longer the question) have more to do with strategy of taking the exam rather than question-type specific competencies.

Yes focusing on the conclusion is so so important in LR (and RC!). You have to know what any author is trying to prove before you can assess whether their evidence provides sufficient support or not.

Good luck and keep drilling! Let me know if you have any more issues.

J

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BlueprintJason
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BlueprintJason » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:34 pm

Broncos15 wrote:Hey,



What drilling advice do you have? Now that Cambridge LSAT has stopped using them because of the new PDF restrictions


My debate is to buy some of the Cambridge packets within the next two days even though I'm not taking the LSAT until June 2016 at the earliest...or if i should just wait to purchase LSAT material when I decide to take the test ( currently on an indefinite timeline as mentioned in previous posts as I woudl like to get some WE)

I'm not sure if you have any solutions so I can drill when I resume prep. ( i prefer the self study route since I scored well in prior practice 168-172 ish, so I think I just need to fine hone skills i already have when i go back to studying)

I found drilling helped me study versus doing practice individual sections from a PT since in the drilling packets the questions are pulled from random tests it's not as easy for me to "memorize" the answers.

I currently have the vast majority if not all PT's 1-74 , LR by type from PT 1-38 , and one other LR packet by type ( I believe it had 10 PT's worth of questions)

Thanks!


The new PDF restrictions suck really bad. It's so silly because it's just going to rapidly increase the incentive for people to pirate them illegally and they'll probably lose more money in the end. When you could download the PDFs, you had less incentive to try to steal them online. I'm not saying you should do this (you shouldn't), but people are now going to do it more and more in my opinion.

I just don't know what to do here. At Blueprint, we offer question sets online to our students on their student account. Can you buy paper/book copies of these now, or is it completely shut down? If you can buy them, maybe just take the books to the copier and get clean copies made in case you need to redo things (if this is allowed? who knows with all the new restrictions). Or you can do what I did and become friends with one of those giant pink erasers (FML).

I can't really advise on when you should buy those items. That's a judgment call I can't really make for you. I think drilling question type packets is incredibly valuable, interpret that how you will.

Honestly, with drilling, it's only valuable once you know the best way to approach the question type. I would use whatever resources you are using to mater the process of getting to the correct answer, drill untimed until you can get everything right all the time, and then move to timed drilling. Then it's just a matter of ripping timed sections (and eventually full PTs) and review until you can't anymore bc it's two days before the test.

Yeah, I think drilling question types is incredibly helpful when mastering the type of question, but you do have to be able to move on to full sections so that you can take as many timed sections as possible. Part of the issue in LR is that you are always shifting gears. Unlike RC and LG, you aren't doing the same thing for 6-10 minutes and then moving on to a new discrete task. Instead, you are dealing with a hypo and doing a specific task to it, and then immediately after it jumping to a completely different situation with a (often) completely different job. So yeah, drill until you can crush all types individually, but make sure you account for enough time to get the section drilling down just as well, because they really are different (though obv interrelated) test-taking tasks.

HTH, let me know if you need clarification.

You definitely have a lot of materials. Now it's just a matter of if you'll practice enough and REVIEW enough to reach your full potential. Good luck!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby mcat4life87 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:47 pm

Hi Jason,

I have some questions about how to classify certain logic games and how to set up profiling games, as well as a question about game #3 of the real LG section on Dec. 2012 exam.

First, it seems blueprint classifies Tiered Ordering where you are ordering two sets of variables as a different game type than combo games. But aren't they actually the same kind of game, it's just that you have a little more information about who goes in each group? Take for example the red and green truck game; why isn't that considered a combo game where you are grouping and ordering a set of Rs and Gs, as well as ordering the trucks? You don't know how many Rs and Gs you have, so in one sense you are grouping particular colors into that top row. Same thing with the car wash game; the top row for kind of wash is in one sense a group of washes, and you play the numbers for how many times each wash could go. Is this wasted thought? Do these distinctions really matter?

Second, for profiling games, why don't we create a grid listing all of the options at the top of a setup. For example, for the car option game in Lesson 10, doesn't it make more sense to list out power, leather, and sun roof at the top, and then check mark each option for a particular car or X out each option for a particular car? The way it's done in the video seems disorganized because you're not keeping the options in the same order in each car, which makes it more difficult to see when rules are being violated.

Finally, for the web site and voicemail game on the Dec 2012 exam, it's classified as a characteristic grid game. But isn't it easier to do the game as an Ordering game with 1 day 2 day and 3 days as your base, and treating the types of messages as 6 players to be ordered? That way you can actually visualize the greater than and less than rules that drive the game.

Thanks for your advice!

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BlueprintJason
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BlueprintJason » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:10 pm

mcat4life87 wrote:Hi Jason,

I have some questions about how to classify certain logic games and how to set up profiling games, as well as a question about game #3 of the real LG section on Dec. 2012 exam.

First, it seems blueprint classifies Tiered Ordering where you are ordering two sets of variables as a different game type than combo games. But aren't they actually the same kind of game, it's just that you have a little more information about who goes in each group? Take for example the red and green truck game; why isn't that considered a combo game where you are grouping and ordering a set of Rs and Gs, as well as ordering the trucks? You don't know how many Rs and Gs you have, so in one sense you are grouping particular colors into that top row. Same thing with the car wash game; the top row for kind of wash is in one sense a group of washes, and you play the numbers for how many times each wash could go. Is this wasted thought? Do these distinctions really matter?

Second, for profiling games, why don't we create a grid listing all of the options at the top of a setup. For example, for the car option game in Lesson 10, doesn't it make more sense to list out power, leather, and sun roof at the top, and then check mark each option for a particular car or X out each option for a particular car? The way it's done in the video seems disorganized because you're not keeping the options in the same order in each car, which makes it more difficult to see when rules are being violated.

Finally, for the web site and voicemail game on the Dec 2012 exam, it's classified as a characteristic grid game. But isn't it easier to do the game as an Ordering game with 1 day 2 day and 3 days as your base, and treating the types of messages as 6 players to be ordered? That way you can actually visualize the greater than and less than rules that drive the game.

Thanks for your advice!



Hey mcat,

I need a few clarifications to help you. But I'll weave that into answering what I can.

1) Combo vs. Tiered. This is a different game type FOR SURE.

Combo is when there is a grouping element AND an ordering element. Tiered games have a secondary variable set. I understand there is only a slight difference here, but let me illustrate through a couple of examples. The difference is mainly in how you set it up and what exactly you need to keep track of.

Let's say in Tiered Game you have 5 runners A, B, C, D, and E. They are wearing either Spandex (S) or Kilts (K), because duh.
I'm going to order them 1 to 5. The thing is, even though you can think of the type of clothing they are wearing as a "group" wearing that clothing, there is no need to represent is as a group on the game board. You simply keep track of it through a secondary variable on another level. So my set up is:
S/T_ _ _ _ _
Run_ _ _ _ _
1 2 3 4 5

Here, you are going to get rules about the color of a certain slot and the runnner in a certain slot. Thinking about it in terms of "Team Spandex" or "Team Kilt" doesn't really help you. It's just a secondary attribute that you just need to monitor separately.

Now, the corollary on the COMBO world is something like this:

There are now 6 runners: A, B, C, D, E, and F. They are on two teams of three runners: Y and Z (I'm getting really creative here). The two teams will race one another in three head-to-head races with a different runner running each race (you get the idea).

The set up here needs to capture what TEAM they are on to be most efficient. The Team isn't a secondary attribute, it defines the entire game and how it works. You'll have rules about who has to be on what team, who has to be separate or together, and the normal ordering rules. But the set up needs to be different:
Y: _ _ _
Z: _ _ _
1 2 3

If you were to keep up with the team as a secondary variable by making another tier, this would be really cumbersome with a lot more slots and confusing about who is racing whom, etc. Contrast this with the last example with the runners' clothing. There, you wouldn't make two levels of ordering. You would have a bunch of random empty slots and it would not really be functional.

As to the Red and Green truck game and the car wash game, can you give me a PT number or tell me where it is in the course material? I know what you are talking about, but I would like to look back at it and reference it specifically, and I can't do it off the top of my head without knowing exactly where it is. Thanks!

However, generally speaking, although it doesn't make sense to set up a tiered game like a combo game (i think you might be able to see it from just the example I made above), you do want to keep up with the numbers--especially if there are distribution rules. So yeah, it has a grouping aspect to it, but the grouping element isn't what you base your setup on.

As to profiling, I think the grid method is very inefficient (for this game type specifically). This is because when you list the groups out, you can make deductions as you move along that are specific to that setup type that are much less clear (or even possible to see) on a grid type thing. This has to do with the fact that in profiling there are an undetermined number of slots, etc. This is of course my opinion, but the system works very well, and students that come to me that use the grid system are typically very inefficient games solvers (this might be a sampling bias, but it has been very pronounced in what I've seen. Not saying it isn't possible to use effectively, I just don't think it is the best way).

Again, give me the specific page number in the materials and PT number and I'll give you a more detailed explanation. I've taught that game a bunch but do need to be able to look at it.

As to Dec 2012 (use PT number, section number, question number next time, bc it's easier for me to find, thanks!), I'm not really sure what you mean here sorry. The targets are not in any order. The website target or voicemail target can happen whenever. The only question is what the value is going to be for that target. You only do ordering if there are rules that imply that there is an order such as: I's W target must be an earlier day of the week than S's V target. Otherwise there isn't anything to order here. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you? Sorry if that is the case. My set up looks like this:
W V
I _ _
S _ _
T _ _

Then I write the number into the slot for the number of days for that target. I just put W on the left and V on the right for each company arbitrarily to keep track. The greater an less than elements just allow you to make deductions about what can't go where. If you did ordering I'm not sure what it would look like? Maybe you can type out what you had in mind?

HTH!

Jason

mcat4life87
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby mcat4life87 » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:10 am

Thanks for your response, jason. I see what you are saying re: Tiered Ordering vs. Combo. My one issue is that in Combo games you often get rules about a player going on a specific team, and then a rule about how that player must go at the same time as another player, which in a sense makes the combination of those rules mean something very similar to "a characteristic of a player". A more pointed example of what I'm talking about might be if we take your example Combo game and add to the game a rule that tells us exactly which 3 players are on Team Y and exactly which 3 players are on Team Z. Would that still be a Combo game and definitely not Tiered Ordering? The setup for that game would be

Y:_ _ _
Z:_ _ _
1 2 3


If we take the kilt/spandex example Tiered Ordering game but now added 3 more types of clothing that the runners could wear and say that each type of clothing is worn exactly once, it suddenly seems more like a Combo game even though technically we're still keeping track of a trait for each runner. Say we have kilt, spandex, wool, linen, polyester. The setup I think would be:

K/S/W/L/P (or just C for clothing type): _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _

These two game seem to be doing the exact same thing to me, even though one was initially a Combo game and one was initially a Tiered Ordering game. In the Y/Z race game, 3 different variable will be put in the top row and ordered, and 3 different variables will be put in the bottom row and ordered. Similarly, in the clothing/race game, 5 different variables will be put in the top row and ordered, and 5 different variables will be put in the bottom row and ordered. In the first game, if we know which 3 players are on each team, a rule like "A finishes in the same rank as D", seems conceptually exactly the same as a rule in the second game "A wears a Kilt".


For the Dec. 2012 voicemail and web message game, I was thinking of a setup like follows:

__ __ __
1d 2d 3d

Then we'd treat the 6 types of messages as 6 players (we'd abbreviate them using two letters to keep track of the company and the message type.) This way, you can quickly visualize a condition like "None of the messages have a 2 day response time" -- this would force certain messages into the 3d slot (because they have to have another message with a lower response time) and so on. I see why the characteristic grid setup kind of works, but the problem there is you can't visually represent when one message is longer than another. With an ordering setup, you can basically use the traditional ordering chain rules to chain every single player together, with the twist that certain players can go in the same slot as another if they can have equal message response time.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby nicolewells » Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:53 am

mod edit: SPAM

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BlueprintJason
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BlueprintJason » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:40 pm

mcat4life87 wrote:Thanks for your response, jason. I see what you are saying re: Tiered Ordering vs. Combo. My one issue is that in Combo games you often get rules about a player going on a specific team, and then a rule about how that player must go at the same time as another player, which in a sense makes the combination of those rules mean something very similar to "a characteristic of a player". A more pointed example of what I'm talking about might be if we take your example Combo game and add to the game a rule that tells us exactly which 3 players are on Team Y and exactly which 3 players are on Team Z. Would that still be a Combo game and definitely not Tiered Ordering? The setup for that game would be

Y:_ _ _
Z:_ _ _
1 2 3


If we take the kilt/spandex example Tiered Ordering game but now added 3 more types of clothing that the runners could wear and say that each type of clothing is worn exactly once, it suddenly seems more like a Combo game even though technically we're still keeping track of a trait for each runner. Say we have kilt, spandex, wool, linen, polyester. The setup I think would be:

K/S/W/L/P (or just C for clothing type): _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _

These two game seem to be doing the exact same thing to me, even though one was initially a Combo game and one was initially a Tiered Ordering game. In the Y/Z race game, 3 different variable will be put in the top row and ordered, and 3 different variables will be put in the bottom row and ordered. Similarly, in the clothing/race game, 5 different variables will be put in the top row and ordered, and 5 different variables will be put in the bottom row and ordered. In the first game, if we know which 3 players are on each team, a rule like "A finishes in the same rank as D", seems conceptually exactly the same as a rule in the second game "A wears a Kilt".


For the Dec. 2012 voicemail and web message game, I was thinking of a setup like follows:

__ __ __
1d 2d 3d

Then we'd treat the 6 types of messages as 6 players (we'd abbreviate them using two letters to keep track of the company and the message type.) This way, you can quickly visualize a condition like "None of the messages have a 2 day response time" -- this would force certain messages into the 3d slot (because they have to have another message with a lower response time) and so on. I see why the characteristic grid setup kind of works, but the problem there is you can't visually represent when one message is longer than another. With an ordering setup, you can basically use the traditional ordering chain rules to chain every single player together, with the twist that certain players can go in the same slot as another if they can have equal message response time.


As to the first paragraph, I would still do it as a combo game. Whenever I see rules like the one you are describing, I just write the variable(s) out to the right of the group that they are in so that I can see visually who is assigned. It's much easier to keep track of that way.

So let's say in your example I knew A and B had to be in Y, then my board would look like:

Y: _ _ _ A B
Z: _ _ _

That way, there is no mistaking that A and B have to be on the top level. A lot better than having to look at additional rules.

As to your next example, in this case, what usually happens when the secondary characteristic on the top level is one-to-one is that each of the pieces of clothing goes once, so you end up basically with two separate ordering boards that are stacked on top. Yes, this works out the same way as a combo because both sets of variables are 1-1, but this is atypical. Usually, a secondary characteristic is not 1-1. Now, when the top level is 1-1, you are basically working under the same principles as a combo game, yes. But the difference is that the variables are exclusive--the players can't invade the top level and the clothing can't invade the bottom. Hence, there's no grouping element to take care of since you already know which variables are in the clothing "group" and which are in the people "group." In a true combo game, this wouldn't be so simple because the variables could go on the top or bottom layer. There's no team clothing or team player to worry about in your example. It's just tiered ordering that happens to be one to one on both layers. It's pretty rare, but if it happens, you just have to keep track of two ordering boards and keep in mind of any players that have to be with a specific clothing (since there could be rules like that). I handle that by making a vertical block, so if I knew player A wore spandex, I would write:

S
A

Since clothing is on top and player is on bottom in my setup.

Does that clarify the difference? It's really more one of semantics when both layers are 1-1, but it's important to understand the additional grouping element present in the combo game that is not necessarily sorted out (which isn't the case in tiered).

As to your voicemail set up, I don't think it is as effective as the one I described in my last post. It will work, I suppose, but I think it's faster and easier for me to see the connection between I's own V and C target as a grouping connection. There are only three options, so not a lot to keep track of in the greater than/less than department. Your setup ends up working like an overbooked ordering where you have three more slots to figure out where they will go. My setup has taken care of the setup and hence has less information to deal with. It's also really quick once you split the game out into scenarios off of the options deductions you can make.

Try it both ways. If you really just can't click with my way, well then so be it. That happens sometimes, and some students just see certain situations better in a specific way. I just think mine is simpler/faster. But, if you are already smoking games sections -0 an under time, then you should definitely do what's comfortable!

Let me know if you need me to clarify anything or if you want me to write out my solution for the V/C target game.

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appind
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby appind » Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:02 am

Hey,

69.lr1.18 is there a reason why (B) doesn't violate the principle in the stimulus?

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flash21
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby flash21 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:50 pm

as someone who is missing 6 on reading comp on a good day, and typically missing 7-8, how should I spend the next few weeks studying for reading comp? right now I am doing a combo of cambridge reading comp single passages working on manhattan's reading comp strategy, but I'm not sure if I would simply be better off doing full sections of RC and reviewing

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Blueprint Mithun
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:00 pm

appind wrote:Hey,

69.lr1.18 is there a reason why (B) doesn't violate the principle in the stimulus?


Hey, my name is Mithun and I'll be taking over for Jason as the Blueprint presence on this board in the future.

The principle in question essentially says, "Only restrict action or interfere with results to prevent negative effects on others."

(B) reads, "The scientist who invented this technology is not the only one who should be allowed to profit from it. After all, there is no evidence that allowing others to profit from this technology will reduce the scientist's own profits."

We are looking for a situation inconsistent with the principle. For example, one in which society attempts to restrict actions that carry no risk of negative effects on others. In (B), something is actually being left unrestricted, specifically because it will not cause any harm. Rather than place a restriction on who can profit on the technology, the profits are left open to all, because this won't harm the scientist (or anyone else).

I can see how you might have interpreted (B) as implying that society WAS interfering by allowing others to profit from the technology. In that case, (B) would work as an answer. I'm not a huge fan of the way this answer is phrased. Was that why it gave you trouble?

For comparison, the correct answer choice (E) describes a situation in which a restriction (banning products with harmful substances) is proposed on the grounds that it leads to self-harm. However, the principle states that actions can only be restricted to prevent negative effects on others, not on oneself. So on that technicality, (E) is inconsistent with the principle.

Hope that helps!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:34 pm

flash21 wrote:as someone who is missing 6 on reading comp on a good day, and typically missing 7-8, how should I spend the next few weeks studying for reading comp? right now I am doing a combo of cambridge reading comp single passages working on manhattan's reading comp strategy, but I'm not sure if I would simply be better off doing full sections of RC and reviewing


Reading Comp was my weakest section leading up to the test as well, so I can feel your pain. I was scoring around -5/-6 in the weeks before the test, so I forced myself to do two sections a day in addition to my usual practice, and I was able to bring that up to a -2/-3. RC is largely a battle of concentration, and after doing that many sections, the passages started to feel much shorter and more manageable.

A lot of that has to do with how you approach reading the passages, however. Are you being an active reader? Do you take a second after each paragraph/chunk to quickly recap what you've just read? Doing so can really help you understand the big picture behind the passages better. It also improves your knowledge of the flow of the passage, and where different details that you might later have to search for are located. Are you consciously looking out for author attitude and different perspectives/POVs on the issue?

If you know your weaknesses, try to work on those. If it's a specific subject, read a few magazine articles in that subject per day to get a better feel for their internal logic. I read articles from Nature and Scientific American to get re-accustomed to science writing after 4 years of mostly humanities in college. I've seen plenty of people dismiss this method, and while nothing really beats doing actual RC passages for practice, it's a good way of mixing it up.

If your weakness is a certain question type, like author attitude or organization questions, be on the lookout for those aspects as you read passages for the first time. The biggest and most common mistake I've seen students make is that they read too quickly, rushing through the passage, forcing themselves to backtrack constantly while answering the questions. The more important cues you can pick up on during a first reading, the more time you'll save. And the better you understand the passage, the more likely you are to do well on big picture questions. Detail-oriented questions can always be answered quickly if you know where to look for them.

After you read a passage, you should know the answers to the following questions:
- what is the main point?
- what is the author's attitude on the topic? (if there was one)
- how many major perspectives were there on the issue? who/what are they?
And a bonus one, if you can manage it: how did the passage flow? (e.g. it started off with exposition, introduced two major sides to the issue, gave support for one, then the other)

I don't mean that you should stop and articulate your full answers to each of these questions, but they are the essentials that you should be thinking about as you read and even before you get to any questions. If you practice working on these with every passage you do, you should see much more improvement than by blindly doing practice sections.

So to answer your question, I think spending most of your RC time doing practice passages and reviewing would be your best bet. But as always, make sure you study smart(ly)!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby flash21 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:57 pm

hey great response, thank you.

I do all of those things, and that is the reason I've improved a lot, I used to miss 10-13 on reading comp (I know..) .

You've made some great points. I think I'll continue to add in a few sections like you did.

It just sucks because sometimes I review and I just think some of the questions are so ridiculously hard that I almost know if I ran across that difficulty of a question I'd probably miss it again. sigh

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby appind » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:33 pm

Blueprint Mithun wrote:
appind wrote:Hey,

69.lr1.18 is there a reason why (B) doesn't violate the principle in the stimulus?


Hey, my name is Mithun and I'll be taking over for Jason as the Blueprint presence on this board in the future.

The principle in question essentially says, "Only restrict action or interfere with results to prevent negative effects on others."

(B) reads, "The scientist who invented this technology is not the only one who should be allowed to profit from it. After all, there is no evidence that allowing others to profit from this technology will reduce the scientist's own profits."

We are looking for a situation inconsistent with the principle. For example, one in which society attempts to restrict actions that carry no risk of negative effects on others. In (B), something is actually being left unrestricted, specifically because it will not cause any harm. Rather than place a restriction on who can profit on the technology, the profits are left open to all, because this won't harm the scientist (or anyone else).

I can see how you might have interpreted (B) as implying that society WAS interfering by allowing others to profit from the technology. In that case, (B) would work as an answer. I'm not a huge fan of the way this answer is phrased. Was that why it gave you trouble?

For comparison, the correct answer choice (E) describes a situation in which a restriction (banning products with harmful substances) is proposed on the grounds that it leads to self-harm. However, the principle states that actions can only be restricted to prevent negative effects on others, not on oneself. So on that technicality, (E) is inconsistent with the principle.

Hope that helps!


That society was interfering and scientist action is being restricted is how I looked at it and there doesn't seem to be any solid reason why that way of looking will be incorrect. Lsat makers can't have such ambiguity as a reason for making an AC correct or incorrect. so could it be that the choice is not inconsistent with stim not because it conforms to the principle but because it doesn't violate by simply falling outside of the realm of the principle as there is no clarity in the answer choice about how the principle aplies to it.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:56 pm

flash21 wrote:hey great response, thank you.

I do all of those things, and that is the reason I've improved a lot, I used to miss 10-13 on reading comp (I know..) .

You've made some great points. I think I'll continue to add in a few sections like you did.

It just sucks because sometimes I review and I just think some of the questions are so ridiculously hard that I almost know if I ran across that difficulty of a question I'd probably miss it again. sigh


Glad I could help! As for those super hard questions, don't let them bring you down. It's important to keep optimistic during a test taking situation and not get bogged down by the outliers that most people invariably get wrong. That's why it's so hard to get a 180 - even the most adept LSAT takers are more than likely to mess up on a few stumpers here and there. Think of those questions as a concession - thankfully it's not like they're worth more than the easier questions.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:01 pm

By the way, for anyone interested in taking the Blueprint classroom course in their local area, we have an ongoing flash sale until 5PM tomorrow. If you use the coupon BACK2SCHOOL at checkout, you'll get $400 off the live course.

Blueprint administers live courses all over the country. If you have any questions about our course or locations, check out the following link: http://blueprintlsat.com/lsat/classroom/overview

Thanks!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby kcho10 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:31 am

Hey Mithun,
I'm not sure if you've already answered this question...but how did you study for the test in general terms? I'm signed up for the October test but I am seriously reconsidering pushing it back to november...yet again. I am really hoping to get a good score (170+). I started off doing individual questions untimed and worked my way up to timed sections. I usually get around 2-4 wrong on LR, usually 0 wrong on LG, and RC kills me every time lol. (I'm scoring in the low-mid 160s at the moment) I am definitely hoping to take my LR and RC to the next level. Do you think it's possible for me to bring my score up to AT LEAST a 170 by the November test, and how would you suggest that I approach my studies? (Ideally, I would love to get a 180) Also, how many full length prep tests would you recommend, and do you have any specific advice when it comes to HOW to review the PTs? I have literally all day because I'm completely investing my time on the LSAT for the time being, and I'm willing to put in as many hours it takes.

I saw on YouTube this guy who got a perfect score on his LSAT...he got a 180, and he raised his score from the 160s to a 180 in 3 weeks. He suggested taking 3 PTs in a day! I tried to do this, but I only was able to take two a day. I tried this for about a week and my score hasn't really improved. I'm not sure whether this method is just not right for me, or if it's because I've only done it for a week, but at the same time thats still about 14 PTs that I've taken....How can you tell if the reason for lack of improvement is because you haven't done it long enough, or if the method simply isn't working? I've studied for quite some time now..and I'm beginning to wonder if I've simply just reached my limit


Also, I think it's really awesome that you're doing this for everyone, so thank you!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby flash21 » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:31 pm

hi,

just wanted an extra opinion. As of right now I only have pt 75 left. When would be best I take it in your opinion? My gut tells me Thursday so it won't be too far removed from Saturday but also provides a few days to review.

Would really appreciate your insight and what I should do from now until Saturday.

Thanks a lot. Last PT was 74 and got a 164.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:33 pm

kcho10 wrote:Hey Mithun,
I'm not sure if you've already answered this question...but how did you study for the test in general terms? I'm signed up for the October test but I am seriously reconsidering pushing it back to november...yet again. I am really hoping to get a good score (170+). I started off doing individual questions untimed and worked my way up to timed sections. I usually get around 2-4 wrong on LR, usually 0 wrong on LG, and RC kills me every time lol. (I'm scoring in the low-mid 160s at the moment) I am definitely hoping to take my LR and RC to the next level. Do you think it's possible for me to bring my score up to AT LEAST a 170 by the November test, and how would you suggest that I approach my studies? (Ideally, I would love to get a 180) Also, how many full length prep tests would you recommend, and do you have any specific advice when it comes to HOW to review the PTs? I have literally all day because I'm completely investing my time on the LSAT for the time being, and I'm willing to put in as many hours it takes.

I saw on YouTube this guy who got a perfect score on his LSAT...he got a 180, and he raised his score from the 160s to a 180 in 3 weeks. He suggested taking 3 PTs in a day! I tried to do this, but I only was able to take two a day. I tried this for about a week and my score hasn't really improved. I'm not sure whether this method is just not right for me, or if it's because I've only done it for a week, but at the same time thats still about 14 PTs that I've taken....How can you tell if the reason for lack of improvement is because you haven't done it long enough, or if the method simply isn't working? I've studied for quite some time now..and I'm beginning to wonder if I've simply just reached my limit


Also, I think it's really awesome that you're doing this for everyone, so thank you!



First off, thanks! I'm glad that my LSAT knowledge can be helpful to people out there!

Next, taking 3 preptests a day is INSANITY. Maybe it really did work for that one guy, but that would burn most people out. It's tempting to try and cram in as much studying as is humanly possible, especially if, as in your case, you have time to spare, but that doesn't mean all that studying is going to be useful. If you're exhausted and working past your limits, it's very unlikely that you're going to actually learn something new. At the height of my own studying, the most I did was 4, MAYBE 5 preptests a week.

Personally, I self-studied for the LSAT. When I had finished covering all of the material on the test, I did lots of individual sections for practice, first untimed and then timed. The most important thing to utilize while studying is careful review. Get as much as you can out of your reviewing. For LR, this means tallying which question types you got wrong to try and find any weaknesses. If a question totally stumped you, go online and try to find some discussion on it. Make sure you know WHY each wrong answer choice was wrong. For LG and RC, passages and games that totally stumped you should be saved. You should come back and do those passages/games again once they've faded from your memory a little, to see if you've really learned from them.

After I did lots of individual sections, I started doing more and more sections in a row, to test my endurance. Eventually, for my last month of prep, I was doing a full preptest every other day. On my off days, I would review my PTS carefully and do a few individual sections. I also made sure to do at least one Reading Comp section every single day, since that was my weakness. It sounds like RC is your weakness, too, given that you're getting perfect scores on LG and doing quite well on LR. The more RC sections I did, the more manageable the passages and questions became.

At this point, you'll probably get the most out of doing consistent full PTs, lots of RC practice, and honing in on your weaknesses in LR. Don't give up. I doubt you've reached your limit, it tends to feel like that each time you hit a new plateau. If you need some advice on improving on RC, I can explain some basic tenets of the Blueprint method that might help. What is your current approach to RC like? What gives you trouble?

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:36 pm

flash21 wrote:hi,

just wanted an extra opinion. As of right now I only have pt 75 left. When would be best I take it in your opinion? My gut tells me Thursday so it won't be too far removed from Saturday but also provides a few days to review.

Would really appreciate your insight and what I should do from now until Saturday.

Thanks a lot. Last PT was 74 and got a 164.


Ah, I'm sorry, I should have gotten to this much sooner! Anyway, I hope you're taking the day off. I'd recommend doing a few simple LR questions and maybe a basic ordering game in the morning before the test, just to get warmed up. Don't worry about your answers, just work on them to get your head in the zone. Good luck!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby kcho10 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 10:53 am

Blueprint Mithun wrote:
kcho10 wrote:Hey Mithun,
I'm not sure if you've already answered this question...but how did you study for the test in general terms? I'm signed up for the October test but I am seriously reconsidering pushing it back to november...yet again. I am really hoping to get a good score (170+). I started off doing individual questions untimed and worked my way up to timed sections. I usually get around 2-4 wrong on LR, usually 0 wrong on LG, and RC kills me every time lol. (I'm scoring in the low-mid 160s at the moment) I am definitely hoping to take my LR and RC to the next level. Do you think it's possible for me to bring my score up to AT LEAST a 170 by the November test, and how would you suggest that I approach my studies? (Ideally, I would love to get a 180) Also, how many full length prep tests would you recommend, and do you have any specific advice when it comes to HOW to review the PTs? I have literally all day because I'm completely investing my time on the LSAT for the time being, and I'm willing to put in as many hours it takes.

I saw on YouTube this guy who got a perfect score on his LSAT...he got a 180, and he raised his score from the 160s to a 180 in 3 weeks. He suggested taking 3 PTs in a day! I tried to do this, but I only was able to take two a day. I tried this for about a week and my score hasn't really improved. I'm not sure whether this method is just not right for me, or if it's because I've only done it for a week, but at the same time thats still about 14 PTs that I've taken....How can you tell if the reason for lack of improvement is because you haven't done it long enough, or if the method simply isn't working? I've studied for quite some time now..and I'm beginning to wonder if I've simply just reached my limit


Also, I think it's really awesome that you're doing this for everyone, so thank you!



First off, thanks! I'm glad that my LSAT knowledge can be helpful to people out there!

Next, taking 3 preptests a day is INSANITY. Maybe it really did work for that one guy, but that would burn most people out. It's tempting to try and cram in as much studying as is humanly possible, especially if, as in your case, you have time to spare, but that doesn't mean all that studying is going to be useful. If you're exhausted and working past your limits, it's very unlikely that you're going to actually learn something new. At the height of my own studying, the most I did was 4, MAYBE 5 preptests a week.

Personally, I self-studied for the LSAT. When I had finished covering all of the material on the test, I did lots of individual sections for practice, first untimed and then timed. The most important thing to utilize while studying is careful review. Get as much as you can out of your reviewing. For LR, this means tallying which question types you got wrong to try and find any weaknesses. If a question totally stumped you, go online and try to find some discussion on it. Make sure you know WHY each wrong answer choice was wrong. For LG and RC, passages and games that totally stumped you should be saved. You should come back and do those passages/games again once they've faded from your memory a little, to see if you've really learned from them.

After I did lots of individual sections, I started doing more and more sections in a row, to test my endurance. Eventually, for my last month of prep, I was doing a full preptest every other day. On my off days, I would review my PTS carefully and do a few individual sections. I also made sure to do at least one Reading Comp section every single day, since that was my weakness. It sounds like RC is your weakness, too, given that you're getting perfect scores on LG and doing quite well on LR. The more RC sections I did, the more manageable the passages and questions became.

At this point, you'll probably get the most out of doing consistent full PTs, lots of RC practice, and honing in on your weaknesses in LR. Don't give up. I doubt you've reached your limit, it tends to feel like that each time you hit a new plateau. If you need some advice on improving on RC, I can explain some basic tenets of the Blueprint method that might help. What is your current approach to RC like? What gives you trouble?


Hi Mithun. After a lot of consideration I decided to move back my test one last time to December. I feel like your strategy is probably much better suited for me than the one I saw on YouTube, because I could definitely tell my focus and stamina started fading after a few days. I've also been self prepping, so I'm glad to hear you've been able to get a good score on your own.

Yes, Reading Comp is definitely by far my worst section, and I think it's the only thing that's keeping me from getting above a 170. Would you still recommend that i keep taking preptests now, even though my RC section is not anywhere near the other sections? For RC, I'm usually missing about 10+, and I usually only finish 3 passages. Also, please keep in mind that I only have about 10-15 PTs left. Would it still be a good idea to keep doing those preptests now, or would you suggest that I do timed sections to perfect RC first to avoid 'wasting' the reading comp sections of those newer tests?

So I've been doing RC for just a few weeks now...would you say I should have been making significant improvement by now? I heard from a lot of people that RC is the hardest section to improve on, and that it takes the most time. That being said, I was able to make a lot of improvement on LR and LG in that time, so I'm not sure whether or not my studies so far in RC have been meaningful up until this point. I would say that timing is definitely a huge issue for me because I only finish 3 passages, and even with time, my accuracy isn't that great, and I usually miss 1-2 questions per passage. The questions that ALWAYS get me are inference questions...I'm not sure what they are called for Blueprint, but they basically ask about what the author/some other speaker suggests, or simply what can be inferred from the passage. In my practice, I actually started to do JUST those questions in the passage, so I could focus on really getting the method down. Also, I struggle with those 'except' questions (Idk if you remember, but I actually posted a topic on this and you gave me advice. I can actually tell I'm improving for that question type!)

The last timed section I took, I still only finished 3 sections, but for 2 of the sections I got all of them right, but I completely bombed the 3rd (like 4-5 wrong) Do you think this is a stamina issue, or was it just because the later passages are harder? This was the very last passage of the section.

As far as my approach, I initially started off with reading the passage as fast as possible, while also 'bookmarking' important parts of the passage. My accuracy and timing was good for the first few easy passages, but when it came to the harder ones, I was getting nearly all of them wrong. So I decided to slow it down and try to take my time with passages, so that I could answer questions faster and more accurately. I started taking a lot of notes in the margins. I feel like it's been helping me to predict what questions they will ask, but I'm not sure. I can definitely tell that my focus and retention of the material has improved after doing this. The problem though, is that my accuracy has only gone up a little bit since then and my timing is HORRIBLE. It would take me at least 5 minutes to complete a passage-- MAYBE 4 and a half if I was really fast. And then the questions would take another 4 minutes or so. I almost always get the more general questions right (main idea, purpose, etc) but some of the detail/inference questions trip me up (I would usually get stuck between two answer choices...sometimes but rarely I cant even find the corresponding part in the passage, and it seems like they're asking for a very minor detail to me)

At the moment I'm doing a lot of untimed passages, trying to predict what the passages will ask me and trying to predict the right answer without referring back to the passage and looking at the answer choices. Do you think I'm on the right track? If you have any additional advice/tips (esp for recognizing the trends), that would be greatly appreciated. I'm really hoping to get at least only 5 wrong on test day, hopefully a perfect score. Thank you so much!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:47 pm

kcho10 wrote:
Blueprint Mithun wrote:
kcho10 wrote:Hey Mithun,
I'm not sure if you've already answered this question...but how did you study for the test in general terms? I'm signed up for the October test but I am seriously reconsidering pushing it back to november...yet again. I am really hoping to get a good score (170+). I started off doing individual questions untimed and worked my way up to timed sections. I usually get around 2-4 wrong on LR, usually 0 wrong on LG, and RC kills me every time lol. (I'm scoring in the low-mid 160s at the moment) I am definitely hoping to take my LR and RC to the next level. Do you think it's possible for me to bring my score up to AT LEAST a 170 by the November test, and how would you suggest that I approach my studies? (Ideally, I would love to get a 180) Also, how many full length prep tests would you recommend, and do you have any specific advice when it comes to HOW to review the PTs? I have literally all day because I'm completely investing my time on the LSAT for the time being, and I'm willing to put in as many hours it takes.

I saw on YouTube this guy who got a perfect score on his LSAT...he got a 180, and he raised his score from the 160s to a 180 in 3 weeks. He suggested taking 3 PTs in a day! I tried to do this, but I only was able to take two a day. I tried this for about a week and my score hasn't really improved. I'm not sure whether this method is just not right for me, or if it's because I've only done it for a week, but at the same time thats still about 14 PTs that I've taken....How can you tell if the reason for lack of improvement is because you haven't done it long enough, or if the method simply isn't working? I've studied for quite some time now..and I'm beginning to wonder if I've simply just reached my limit


Also, I think it's really awesome that you're doing this for everyone, so thank you!



First off, thanks! I'm glad that my LSAT knowledge can be helpful to people out there!

Next, taking 3 preptests a day is INSANITY. Maybe it really did work for that one guy, but that would burn most people out. It's tempting to try and cram in as much studying as is humanly possible, especially if, as in your case, you have time to spare, but that doesn't mean all that studying is going to be useful. If you're exhausted and working past your limits, it's very unlikely that you're going to actually learn something new. At the height of my own studying, the most I did was 4, MAYBE 5 preptests a week.

Personally, I self-studied for the LSAT. When I had finished covering all of the material on the test, I did lots of individual sections for practice, first untimed and then timed. The most important thing to utilize while studying is careful review. Get as much as you can out of your reviewing. For LR, this means tallying which question types you got wrong to try and find any weaknesses. If a question totally stumped you, go online and try to find some discussion on it. Make sure you know WHY each wrong answer choice was wrong. For LG and RC, passages and games that totally stumped you should be saved. You should come back and do those passages/games again once they've faded from your memory a little, to see if you've really learned from them.

After I did lots of individual sections, I started doing more and more sections in a row, to test my endurance. Eventually, for my last month of prep, I was doing a full preptest every other day. On my off days, I would review my PTS carefully and do a few individual sections. I also made sure to do at least one Reading Comp section every single day, since that was my weakness. It sounds like RC is your weakness, too, given that you're getting perfect scores on LG and doing quite well on LR. The more RC sections I did, the more manageable the passages and questions became.

At this point, you'll probably get the most out of doing consistent full PTs, lots of RC practice, and honing in on your weaknesses in LR. Don't give up. I doubt you've reached your limit, it tends to feel like that each time you hit a new plateau. If you need some advice on improving on RC, I can explain some basic tenets of the Blueprint method that might help. What is your current approach to RC like? What gives you trouble?


Hi Mithun. After a lot of consideration I decided to move back my test one last time to December. I feel like your strategy is probably much better suited for me than the one I saw on YouTube, because I could definitely tell my focus and stamina started fading after a few days. I've also been self prepping, so I'm glad to hear you've been able to get a good score on your own.

Yes, Reading Comp is definitely by far my worst section, and I think it's the only thing that's keeping me from getting above a 170. Would you still recommend that i keep taking preptests now, even though my RC section is not anywhere near the other sections? For RC, I'm usually missing about 10+, and I usually only finish 3 passages. Also, please keep in mind that I only have about 10-15 PTs left. Would it still be a good idea to keep doing those preptests now, or would you suggest that I do timed sections to perfect RC first to avoid 'wasting' the reading comp sections of those newer tests?

So I've been doing RC for just a few weeks now...would you say I should have been making significant improvement by now? I heard from a lot of people that RC is the hardest section to improve on, and that it takes the most time. That being said, I was able to make a lot of improvement on LR and LG in that time, so I'm not sure whether or not my studies so far in RC have been meaningful up until this point. I would say that timing is definitely a huge issue for me because I only finish 3 passages, and even with time, my accuracy isn't that great, and I usually miss 1-2 questions per passage. The questions that ALWAYS get me are inference questions...I'm not sure what they are called for Blueprint, but they basically ask about what the author/some other speaker suggests, or simply what can be inferred from the passage. In my practice, I actually started to do JUST those questions in the passage, so I could focus on really getting the method down. Also, I struggle with those 'except' questions (Idk if you remember, but I actually posted a topic on this and you gave me advice. I can actually tell I'm improving for that question type!)

The last timed section I took, I still only finished 3 sections, but for 2 of the sections I got all of them right, but I completely bombed the 3rd (like 4-5 wrong) Do you think this is a stamina issue, or was it just because the later passages are harder? This was the very last passage of the section.

As far as my approach, I initially started off with reading the passage as fast as possible, while also 'bookmarking' important parts of the passage. My accuracy and timing was good for the first few easy passages, but when it came to the harder ones, I was getting nearly all of them wrong. So I decided to slow it down and try to take my time with passages, so that I could answer questions faster and more accurately. I started taking a lot of notes in the margins. I feel like it's been helping me to predict what questions they will ask, but I'm not sure. I can definitely tell that my focus and retention of the material has improved after doing this. The problem though, is that my accuracy has only gone up a little bit since then and my timing is HORRIBLE. It would take me at least 5 minutes to complete a passage-- MAYBE 4 and a half if I was really fast. And then the questions would take another 4 minutes or so. I almost always get the more general questions right (main idea, purpose, etc) but some of the detail/inference questions trip me up (I would usually get stuck between two answer choices...sometimes but rarely I cant even find the corresponding part in the passage, and it seems like they're asking for a very minor detail to me)

At the moment I'm doing a lot of untimed passages, trying to predict what the passages will ask me and trying to predict the right answer without referring back to the passage and looking at the answer choices. Do you think I'm on the right track? If you have any additional advice/tips (esp for recognizing the trends), that would be greatly appreciated. I'm really hoping to get at least only 5 wrong on test day, hopefully a perfect score. Thank you so much!



Hey there. Judging from what you've just said, I think you should re-evaluate your entire approach to Reading Comp. First off, to answer your question about saving the next 10-15 PTs, I think you should save to do them timed in single sessions. Since you want to hone in on RC, I'd recommend reusing old PTs and sections, starting with the ones you haven't done in the longest.

Timing is almost invariably the biggest hurdle with RC. Given four passages, the student has an average of 8 minutes and 45 seconds per passage, which isn't a ton of time to digest 3-4 paragraphs and answer 5-8 questions. A lot of people do say RC is the hardest to improve on, because improving your overall reading skills takes a lot of time and effort. However, that's not really necessary here. An easier way to improve is to focus on the test itself. The question is, how do you become a better LSAT Reading Comp taker?

At Blueprint, we stress that a good test taker anticipates certain elements WHILE they are reading a passage for the first time, not afterwards. The main elements to look out for are (1) major viewpoints/perspectives, (2) the author's attitude, and (3) the main point/thesis of the passage.

(1) There can be anywhere from 1 to 3 major viewpoints in a passage. This refers to the number of perspectives on the argument at hand. A passage on dinosaur extinction, for example, may have one side arguing that a meteor caused it, while another claims it was a chemical imbalance. A third perspective, if one exists, might suggest that it was some combination of both. It's important to be aware of these because you are likely to see questions that ask you to about specific people's opinions, so be sure to differentiation between them.

You mentioned Inference questions as being especially tricky. These questions are a little bit different in that they often ask you to take a small leap, whereas most RC questions want you to stay rooted in specific textual evidence. Inference questions ask you to take what you know about a speaker or author and make a reasonable claim based on it. So the answer might not be 100% verifiable based on the passage's text alone, but it should be reasonable based on what you know about the speaker in question.

(2) Regardless of how many perspectives there are, you have to watch for where the author's opinion as well. First off, does the author have a personal opinion on the matter? Watch out for words that indicate a preference, like "fortunately," or sentences where the author voices agreement or disagreement. If the author does have an opinion, which viewpoint does he/she agree with? The last question to ask yourself is, how strongly does the author feel about the topic?

(3) The main point is almost always the first question. You should be able to formulate what the MP is before even looking at that question. Essentially, the main point is the thesis, the overall conclusion about the topic that the passage makes. If the author of the passage has a certain bias, then the main point should reflect that bias. If the author is neutral, the MP should be neutral as well. In many passages, the closest explicit analogue to the main point appears at the end of the first or second paragraph, though it may appear near the end of a passage as well.

This is more or less what the Blueprint method preaches. Practice reading slowly and carefully, and consciously looking out for these 3 factors. Don't worry about timing at first, just get used to this approach.

You mentioned that you've been taking lots of notes in the margins. At BP, we encourage students to mark up and tag their passages, but I personally think this should be done sparingly. The truth is, these passages are not that long, and once you've learned their tricks and done a bunch of practice, you should be able to retain most or all of the important info in your brain while answering the questions. This excludes details, but you don't have to remember those, you should know where to find them in the passage immediately. Underlining and taking lots of notes ultimately eats up your valuable time, and you don't have the extra minutes to fumble around rereading notes.

Role-tagging, however, can be useful. By this I mean writing a few words next to a paragraph about what that paragraph did for the argument. Did it present side A's viewpoints? Did it counter side B's? Did it introduce a new viewpoint? These are the kind of simple, unobtrusive tags that can help you locate details faster, cutting down on your time spent without distracting you with superfluous information.

The most common mistake students make is to rush. People are anxious to get to the questions, so they rush through the passage at the expense of understanding it well. If you feel yourself getting lost during a passage, stop and reread the last few lines. Make sure you know what's going. Again, it's not important to remember or necessarily understand every minute detail, but you should have a sense of what they're talking about and where they might be going with the argument.

Ultimately, it's all about efficiency. Read carefully, and review those 3 things after you finish the passage but before you've tackled any questions. They will help you answer at least some of the questions. Eventually, this process should become second nature.

kcho10
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:11 pm

Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby kcho10 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:10 pm

Blueprint Mithun wrote:
kcho10 wrote:
Blueprint Mithun wrote:
kcho10 wrote:Hey Mithun,
I'm not sure if you've already answered this question...but how did you study for the test in general terms? I'm signed up for the October test but I am seriously reconsidering pushing it back to november...yet again. I am really hoping to get a good score (170+). I started off doing individual questions untimed and worked my way up to timed sections. I usually get around 2-4 wrong on LR, usually 0 wrong on LG, and RC kills me every time lol. (I'm scoring in the low-mid 160s at the moment) I am definitely hoping to take my LR and RC to the next level. Do you think it's possible for me to bring my score up to AT LEAST a 170 by the November test, and how would you suggest that I approach my studies? (Ideally, I would love to get a 180) Also, how many full length prep tests would you recommend, and do you have any specific advice when it comes to HOW to review the PTs? I have literally all day because I'm completely investing my time on the LSAT for the time being, and I'm willing to put in as many hours it takes.

I saw on YouTube this guy who got a perfect score on his LSAT...he got a 180, and he raised his score from the 160s to a 180 in 3 weeks. He suggested taking 3 PTs in a day! I tried to do this, but I only was able to take two a day. I tried this for about a week and my score hasn't really improved. I'm not sure whether this method is just not right for me, or if it's because I've only done it for a week, but at the same time thats still about 14 PTs that I've taken....How can you tell if the reason for lack of improvement is because you haven't done it long enough, or if the method simply isn't working? I've studied for quite some time now..and I'm beginning to wonder if I've simply just reached my limit


Also, I think it's really awesome that you're doing this for everyone, so thank you!



First off, thanks! I'm glad that my LSAT knowledge can be helpful to people out there!

Next, taking 3 preptests a day is INSANITY. Maybe it really did work for that one guy, but that would burn most people out. It's tempting to try and cram in as much studying as is humanly possible, especially if, as in your case, you have time to spare, but that doesn't mean all that studying is going to be useful. If you're exhausted and working past your limits, it's very unlikely that you're going to actually learn something new. At the height of my own studying, the most I did was 4, MAYBE 5 preptests a week.

Personally, I self-studied for the LSAT. When I had finished covering all of the material on the test, I did lots of individual sections for practice, first untimed and then timed. The most important thing to utilize while studying is careful review. Get as much as you can out of your reviewing. For LR, this means tallying which question types you got wrong to try and find any weaknesses. If a question totally stumped you, go online and try to find some discussion on it. Make sure you know WHY each wrong answer choice was wrong. For LG and RC, passages and games that totally stumped you should be saved. You should come back and do those passages/games again once they've faded from your memory a little, to see if you've really learned from them.

After I did lots of individual sections, I started doing more and more sections in a row, to test my endurance. Eventually, for my last month of prep, I was doing a full preptest every other day. On my off days, I would review my PTS carefully and do a few individual sections. I also made sure to do at least one Reading Comp section every single day, since that was my weakness. It sounds like RC is your weakness, too, given that you're getting perfect scores on LG and doing quite well on LR. The more RC sections I did, the more manageable the passages and questions became.

At this point, you'll probably get the most out of doing consistent full PTs, lots of RC practice, and honing in on your weaknesses in LR. Don't give up. I doubt you've reached your limit, it tends to feel like that each time you hit a new plateau. If you need some advice on improving on RC, I can explain some basic tenets of the Blueprint method that might help. What is your current approach to RC like? What gives you trouble?


Hi Mithun. After a lot of consideration I decided to move back my test one last time to December. I feel like your strategy is probably much better suited for me than the one I saw on YouTube, because I could definitely tell my focus and stamina started fading after a few days. I've also been self prepping, so I'm glad to hear you've been able to get a good score on your own.

Yes, Reading Comp is definitely by far my worst section, and I think it's the only thing that's keeping me from getting above a 170. Would you still recommend that i keep taking preptests now, even though my RC section is not anywhere near the other sections? For RC, I'm usually missing about 10+, and I usually only finish 3 passages. Also, please keep in mind that I only have about 10-15 PTs left. Would it still be a good idea to keep doing those preptests now, or would you suggest that I do timed sections to perfect RC first to avoid 'wasting' the reading comp sections of those newer tests?

So I've been doing RC for just a few weeks now...would you say I should have been making significant improvement by now? I heard from a lot of people that RC is the hardest section to improve on, and that it takes the most time. That being said, I was able to make a lot of improvement on LR and LG in that time, so I'm not sure whether or not my studies so far in RC have been meaningful up until this point. I would say that timing is definitely a huge issue for me because I only finish 3 passages, and even with time, my accuracy isn't that great, and I usually miss 1-2 questions per passage. The questions that ALWAYS get me are inference questions...I'm not sure what they are called for Blueprint, but they basically ask about what the author/some other speaker suggests, or simply what can be inferred from the passage. In my practice, I actually started to do JUST those questions in the passage, so I could focus on really getting the method down. Also, I struggle with those 'except' questions (Idk if you remember, but I actually posted a topic on this and you gave me advice. I can actually tell I'm improving for that question type!)

The last timed section I took, I still only finished 3 sections, but for 2 of the sections I got all of them right, but I completely bombed the 3rd (like 4-5 wrong) Do you think this is a stamina issue, or was it just because the later passages are harder? This was the very last passage of the section.

As far as my approach, I initially started off with reading the passage as fast as possible, while also 'bookmarking' important parts of the passage. My accuracy and timing was good for the first few easy passages, but when it came to the harder ones, I was getting nearly all of them wrong. So I decided to slow it down and try to take my time with passages, so that I could answer questions faster and more accurately. I started taking a lot of notes in the margins. I feel like it's been helping me to predict what questions they will ask, but I'm not sure. I can definitely tell that my focus and retention of the material has improved after doing this. The problem though, is that my accuracy has only gone up a little bit since then and my timing is HORRIBLE. It would take me at least 5 minutes to complete a passage-- MAYBE 4 and a half if I was really fast. And then the questions would take another 4 minutes or so. I almost always get the more general questions right (main idea, purpose, etc) but some of the detail/inference questions trip me up (I would usually get stuck between two answer choices...sometimes but rarely I cant even find the corresponding part in the passage, and it seems like they're asking for a very minor detail to me)

At the moment I'm doing a lot of untimed passages, trying to predict what the passages will ask me and trying to predict the right answer without referring back to the passage and looking at the answer choices. Do you think I'm on the right track? If you have any additional advice/tips (esp for recognizing the trends), that would be greatly appreciated. I'm really hoping to get at least only 5 wrong on test day, hopefully a perfect score. Thank you so much!



Hey there. Judging from what you've just said, I think you should re-evaluate your entire approach to Reading Comp. First off, to answer your question about saving the next 10-15 PTs, I think you should save to do them timed in single sessions. Since you want to hone in on RC, I'd recommend reusing old PTs and sections, starting with the ones you haven't done in the longest.

Timing is almost invariably the biggest hurdle with RC. Given four passages, the student has an average of 8 minutes and 45 seconds per passage, which isn't a ton of time to digest 3-4 paragraphs and answer 5-8 questions. A lot of people do say RC is the hardest to improve on, because improving your overall reading skills takes a lot of time and effort. However, that's not really necessary here. An easier way to improve is to focus on the test itself. The question is, how do you become a better LSAT Reading Comp taker?

At Blueprint, we stress that a good test taker anticipates certain elements WHILE they are reading a passage for the first time, not afterwards. The main elements to look out for are (1) major viewpoints/perspectives, (2) the author's attitude, and (3) the main point/thesis of the passage.

(1) There can be anywhere from 1 to 3 major viewpoints in a passage. This refers to the number of perspectives on the argument at hand. A passage on dinosaur extinction, for example, may have one side arguing that a meteor caused it, while another claims it was a chemical imbalance. A third perspective, if one exists, might suggest that it was some combination of both. It's important to be aware of these because you are likely to see questions that ask you to about specific people's opinions, so be sure to differentiation between them.

You mentioned Inference questions as being especially tricky. These questions are a little bit different in that they often ask you to take a small leap, whereas most RC questions want you to stay rooted in specific textual evidence. Inference questions ask you to take what you know about a speaker or author and make a reasonable claim based on it. So the answer might not be 100% verifiable based on the passage's text alone, but it should be reasonable based on what you know about the speaker in question.

(2) Regardless of how many perspectives there are, you have to watch for where the author's opinion as well. First off, does the author have a personal opinion on the matter? Watch out for words that indicate a preference, like "fortunately," or sentences where the author voices agreement or disagreement. If the author does have an opinion, which viewpoint does he/she agree with? The last question to ask yourself is, how strongly does the author feel about the topic?

(3) The main point is almost always the first question. You should be able to formulate what the MP is before even looking at that question. Essentially, the main point is the thesis, the overall conclusion about the topic that the passage makes. If the author of the passage has a certain bias, then the main point should reflect that bias. If the author is neutral, the MP should be neutral as well. In many passages, the closest explicit analogue to the main point appears at the end of the first or second paragraph, though it may appear near the end of a passage as well.

This is more or less what the Blueprint method preaches. Practice reading slowly and carefully, and consciously looking out for these 3 factors. Don't worry about timing at first, just get used to this approach.

You mentioned that you've been taking lots of notes in the margins. At BP, we encourage students to mark up and tag their passages, but I personally think this should be done sparingly. The truth is, these passages are not that long, and once you've learned their tricks and done a bunch of practice, you should be able to retain most or all of the important info in your brain while answering the questions. This excludes details, but you don't have to remember those, you should know where to find them in the passage immediately. Underlining and taking lots of notes ultimately eats up your valuable time, and you don't have the extra minutes to fumble around rereading notes.

Role-tagging, however, can be useful. By this I mean writing a few words next to a paragraph about what that paragraph did for the argument. Did it present side A's viewpoints? Did it counter side B's? Did it introduce a new viewpoint? These are the kind of simple, unobtrusive tags that can help you locate details faster, cutting down on your time spent without distracting you with superfluous information.

The most common mistake students make is to rush. People are anxious to get to the questions, so they rush through the passage at the expense of understanding it well. If you feel yourself getting lost during a passage, stop and reread the last few lines. Make sure you know what's going. Again, it's not important to remember or necessarily understand every minute detail, but you should have a sense of what they're talking about and where they might be going with the argument.

Ultimately, it's all about efficiency. Read carefully, and review those 3 things after you finish the passage but before you've tackled any questions. They will help you answer at least some of the questions. Eventually, this process should become second nature.



Wow, thank you for the thorough advice. I tried this method out for a few days and I can tell I've been having a more consistent approach to the section. I hope this will help me improve my score in the long run too. Do you have any specific advice for how to review passages once I've finished them?

Also, in your studies, how did you maintain your other sections? I find it hard to juggle focusing on new skills while also trying to keep/improve the skills I learned for LR and LG. Would just taking a couple practice tests each week do the trick?

User avatar
Blueprint Mithun
Posts: 431
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:54 pm

Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:22 am

kcho10 wrote:
Blueprint Mithun wrote:
kcho10 wrote:
Blueprint Mithun wrote:
kcho10 wrote:Hey Mithun,
I'm not sure if you've already answered this question...but how did you study for the test in general terms? I'm signed up for the October test but I am seriously reconsidering pushing it back to november...yet again. I am really hoping to get a good score (170+). I started off doing individual questions untimed and worked my way up to timed sections. I usually get around 2-4 wrong on LR, usually 0 wrong on LG, and RC kills me every time lol. (I'm scoring in the low-mid 160s at the moment) I am definitely hoping to take my LR and RC to the next level. Do you think it's possible for me to bring my score up to AT LEAST a 170 by the November test, and how would you suggest that I approach my studies? (Ideally, I would love to get a 180) Also, how many full length prep tests would you recommend, and do you have any specific advice when it comes to HOW to review the PTs? I have literally all day because I'm completely investing my time on the LSAT for the time being, and I'm willing to put in as many hours it takes.

I saw on YouTube this guy who got a perfect score on his LSAT...he got a 180, and he raised his score from the 160s to a 180 in 3 weeks. He suggested taking 3 PTs in a day! I tried to do this, but I only was able to take two a day. I tried this for about a week and my score hasn't really improved. I'm not sure whether this method is just not right for me, or if it's because I've only done it for a week, but at the same time thats still about 14 PTs that I've taken....How can you tell if the reason for lack of improvement is because you haven't done it long enough, or if the method simply isn't working? I've studied for quite some time now..and I'm beginning to wonder if I've simply just reached my limit


Also, I think it's really awesome that you're doing this for everyone, so thank you!



First off, thanks! I'm glad that my LSAT knowledge can be helpful to people out there!

Next, taking 3 preptests a day is INSANITY. Maybe it really did work for that one guy, but that would burn most people out. It's tempting to try and cram in as much studying as is humanly possible, especially if, as in your case, you have time to spare, but that doesn't mean all that studying is going to be useful. If you're exhausted and working past your limits, it's very unlikely that you're going to actually learn something new. At the height of my own studying, the most I did was 4, MAYBE 5 preptests a week.

Personally, I self-studied for the LSAT. When I had finished covering all of the material on the test, I did lots of individual sections for practice, first untimed and then timed. The most important thing to utilize while studying is careful review. Get as much as you can out of your reviewing. For LR, this means tallying which question types you got wrong to try and find any weaknesses. If a question totally stumped you, go online and try to find some discussion on it. Make sure you know WHY each wrong answer choice was wrong. For LG and RC, passages and games that totally stumped you should be saved. You should come back and do those passages/games again once they've faded from your memory a little, to see if you've really learned from them.

After I did lots of individual sections, I started doing more and more sections in a row, to test my endurance. Eventually, for my last month of prep, I was doing a full preptest every other day. On my off days, I would review my PTS carefully and do a few individual sections. I also made sure to do at least one Reading Comp section every single day, since that was my weakness. It sounds like RC is your weakness, too, given that you're getting perfect scores on LG and doing quite well on LR. The more RC sections I did, the more manageable the passages and questions became.

At this point, you'll probably get the most out of doing consistent full PTs, lots of RC practice, and honing in on your weaknesses in LR. Don't give up. I doubt you've reached your limit, it tends to feel like that each time you hit a new plateau. If you need some advice on improving on RC, I can explain some basic tenets of the Blueprint method that might help. What is your current approach to RC like? What gives you trouble?


Hi Mithun. After a lot of consideration I decided to move back my test one last time to December. I feel like your strategy is probably much better suited for me than the one I saw on YouTube, because I could definitely tell my focus and stamina started fading after a few days. I've also been self prepping, so I'm glad to hear you've been able to get a good score on your own.

Yes, Reading Comp is definitely by far my worst section, and I think it's the only thing that's keeping me from getting above a 170. Would you still recommend that i keep taking preptests now, even though my RC section is not anywhere near the other sections? For RC, I'm usually missing about 10+, and I usually only finish 3 passages. Also, please keep in mind that I only have about 10-15 PTs left. Would it still be a good idea to keep doing those preptests now, or would you suggest that I do timed sections to perfect RC first to avoid 'wasting' the reading comp sections of those newer tests?

So I've been doing RC for just a few weeks now...would you say I should have been making significant improvement by now? I heard from a lot of people that RC is the hardest section to improve on, and that it takes the most time. That being said, I was able to make a lot of improvement on LR and LG in that time, so I'm not sure whether or not my studies so far in RC have been meaningful up until this point. I would say that timing is definitely a huge issue for me because I only finish 3 passages, and even with time, my accuracy isn't that great, and I usually miss 1-2 questions per passage. The questions that ALWAYS get me are inference questions...I'm not sure what they are called for Blueprint, but they basically ask about what the author/some other speaker suggests, or simply what can be inferred from the passage. In my practice, I actually started to do JUST those questions in the passage, so I could focus on really getting the method down. Also, I struggle with those 'except' questions (Idk if you remember, but I actually posted a topic on this and you gave me advice. I can actually tell I'm improving for that question type!)

The last timed section I took, I still only finished 3 sections, but for 2 of the sections I got all of them right, but I completely bombed the 3rd (like 4-5 wrong) Do you think this is a stamina issue, or was it just because the later passages are harder? This was the very last passage of the section.

As far as my approach, I initially started off with reading the passage as fast as possible, while also 'bookmarking' important parts of the passage. My accuracy and timing was good for the first few easy passages, but when it came to the harder ones, I was getting nearly all of them wrong. So I decided to slow it down and try to take my time with passages, so that I could answer questions faster and more accurately. I started taking a lot of notes in the margins. I feel like it's been helping me to predict what questions they will ask, but I'm not sure. I can definitely tell that my focus and retention of the material has improved after doing this. The problem though, is that my accuracy has only gone up a little bit since then and my timing is HORRIBLE. It would take me at least 5 minutes to complete a passage-- MAYBE 4 and a half if I was really fast. And then the questions would take another 4 minutes or so. I almost always get the more general questions right (main idea, purpose, etc) but some of the detail/inference questions trip me up (I would usually get stuck between two answer choices...sometimes but rarely I cant even find the corresponding part in the passage, and it seems like they're asking for a very minor detail to me)

At the moment I'm doing a lot of untimed passages, trying to predict what the passages will ask me and trying to predict the right answer without referring back to the passage and looking at the answer choices. Do you think I'm on the right track? If you have any additional advice/tips (esp for recognizing the trends), that would be greatly appreciated. I'm really hoping to get at least only 5 wrong on test day, hopefully a perfect score. Thank you so much!



Hey there. Judging from what you've just said, I think you should re-evaluate your entire approach to Reading Comp. First off, to answer your question about saving the next 10-15 PTs, I think you should save to do them timed in single sessions. Since you want to hone in on RC, I'd recommend reusing old PTs and sections, starting with the ones you haven't done in the longest.

Timing is almost invariably the biggest hurdle with RC. Given four passages, the student has an average of 8 minutes and 45 seconds per passage, which isn't a ton of time to digest 3-4 paragraphs and answer 5-8 questions. A lot of people do say RC is the hardest to improve on, because improving your overall reading skills takes a lot of time and effort. However, that's not really necessary here. An easier way to improve is to focus on the test itself. The question is, how do you become a better LSAT Reading Comp taker?

At Blueprint, we stress that a good test taker anticipates certain elements WHILE they are reading a passage for the first time, not afterwards. The main elements to look out for are (1) major viewpoints/perspectives, (2) the author's attitude, and (3) the main point/thesis of the passage.

(1) There can be anywhere from 1 to 3 major viewpoints in a passage. This refers to the number of perspectives on the argument at hand. A passage on dinosaur extinction, for example, may have one side arguing that a meteor caused it, while another claims it was a chemical imbalance. A third perspective, if one exists, might suggest that it was some combination of both. It's important to be aware of these because you are likely to see questions that ask you to about specific people's opinions, so be sure to differentiation between them.

You mentioned Inference questions as being especially tricky. These questions are a little bit different in that they often ask you to take a small leap, whereas most RC questions want you to stay rooted in specific textual evidence. Inference questions ask you to take what you know about a speaker or author and make a reasonable claim based on it. So the answer might not be 100% verifiable based on the passage's text alone, but it should be reasonable based on what you know about the speaker in question.

(2) Regardless of how many perspectives there are, you have to watch for where the author's opinion as well. First off, does the author have a personal opinion on the matter? Watch out for words that indicate a preference, like "fortunately," or sentences where the author voices agreement or disagreement. If the author does have an opinion, which viewpoint does he/she agree with? The last question to ask yourself is, how strongly does the author feel about the topic?

(3) The main point is almost always the first question. You should be able to formulate what the MP is before even looking at that question. Essentially, the main point is the thesis, the overall conclusion about the topic that the passage makes. If the author of the passage has a certain bias, then the main point should reflect that bias. If the author is neutral, the MP should be neutral as well. In many passages, the closest explicit analogue to the main point appears at the end of the first or second paragraph, though it may appear near the end of a passage as well.

This is more or less what the Blueprint method preaches. Practice reading slowly and carefully, and consciously looking out for these 3 factors. Don't worry about timing at first, just get used to this approach.

You mentioned that you've been taking lots of notes in the margins. At BP, we encourage students to mark up and tag their passages, but I personally think this should be done sparingly. The truth is, these passages are not that long, and once you've learned their tricks and done a bunch of practice, you should be able to retain most or all of the important info in your brain while answering the questions. This excludes details, but you don't have to remember those, you should know where to find them in the passage immediately. Underlining and taking lots of notes ultimately eats up your valuable time, and you don't have the extra minutes to fumble around rereading notes.

Role-tagging, however, can be useful. By this I mean writing a few words next to a paragraph about what that paragraph did for the argument. Did it present side A's viewpoints? Did it counter side B's? Did it introduce a new viewpoint? These are the kind of simple, unobtrusive tags that can help you locate details faster, cutting down on your time spent without distracting you with superfluous information.

The most common mistake students make is to rush. People are anxious to get to the questions, so they rush through the passage at the expense of understanding it well. If you feel yourself getting lost during a passage, stop and reread the last few lines. Make sure you know what's going. Again, it's not important to remember or necessarily understand every minute detail, but you should have a sense of what they're talking about and where they might be going with the argument.

Ultimately, it's all about efficiency. Read carefully, and review those 3 things after you finish the passage but before you've tackled any questions. They will help you answer at least some of the questions. Eventually, this process should become second nature.



Wow, thank you for the thorough advice. I tried this method out for a few days and I can tell I've been having a more consistent approach to the section. I hope this will help me improve my score in the long run too. Do you have any specific advice for how to review passages once I've finished them?

Also, in your studies, how did you maintain your other sections? I find it hard to juggle focusing on new skills while also trying to keep/improve the skills I learned for LR and LG. Would just taking a couple practice tests each week do the trick?



Awesome, keep at it. If you find yourself falling off again, return to the fundamentals of this approach.

As for how to review passages, try and pick up on anything significant you might have missed on your first time through. Think back to the core Blueprint ideas: main point, author attitude, perspectives. Ask yourself why you missed or misunderstood this element.

Always hone in on questions that you got wrong. Review each answer choice, and be sure you have a clear reason as to why each of the four wrong answers is incorrect. This is really the ultimate review skill, and should be applied to logical reasoning as well. There are plenty of questions out there where multiple answer choices are nearly the same, save for a few modifiers or details here and there. Careful reading and review will help make you more discerning of these in the future.

As for your second question. I think a few practice tests a week might do the trick. If you're reviewing your mistakes carefully, and keeping track of any particular question or game types that give you trouble, you should be able to maintain your skills. Reviewing your notes for just 10 or 15 minutes now and then might do you a lot of good (don't overdo it, though). If you see yourself slipping, doing an extra section now and then might also help.


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