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

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

Postby appind » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:21 pm

in 69.lr2.17 the credited answer choice doesn't account for the "probably" in the stim. how is "most helps to justify" different than justify questions?
what's the intuitive/logical reasoning behind a statement of the form "if X, then Y" helping justify a stimulus of the form "X is likely; therefore, Y"?

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:09 pm

appind wrote:in 69.lr2.17 the credited answer choice doesn't account for the "probably" in the stim. how is "most helps to justify" different than justify questions?
what's the intuitive/logical reasoning behind a statement of the form "if X, then Y" helping justify a stimulus of the form "X is likely; therefore, Y"?


"Most helps to justify" differs from "justifies" in that you're looking for the best answer out of the ones presented. There may not be a perfect answer choice available that definitively justifies the conclusion, but there is one that comes the closest.

This seems to be a good example of that distinction. Answer choice D is assuming that Einstein definitely adjusted his theory, whereas we just know he "quite probably" did. It is likely, but not guaranteed. However, it comes closer to describing the logic behind the conclusion than any other answer choice, so it "most justifies" it.

A is way off, we're not talking about the theory discovering the phenomenon.
B is off because the stimulus never mentions having to have the phenomenon in mind, so there's no evidence for that
C is way off, we're not talking about the theory being "well-supported," just whether or not this phenomenon supports it
E is off because we're not discussing whether the theory predicted the phenomenon, but whether the latter supports the former

You could try and argue that D is just as off as the other answers, but at the very least, D and B are the only ones that attempt to justify the same conclusion as the stimulus. And between those two, B describes something that doesn't occur in the stimulus, while D refers something that is mentioned, even if the logical force was too strong.

As for your second question, if I'm understanding it correctly, there is none. X -> Y cannot prove Y simply with the condition that X is likely. X will have to be guaranteed.

Good job on picking up on that nuance in this question. In similar situations, eliminate any answers that attempt to justify a different conclusion than the one from the stimulus, and pick the best answer from the ones remaining.

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

Postby appind » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:43 pm

Blueprint Mithun wrote:
appind wrote:in 69.lr2.17 the credited answer choice doesn't account for the "probably" in the stim. how is "most helps to justify" different than justify questions?
what's the intuitive/logical reasoning behind a statement of the form "if X, then Y" helping justify a stimulus of the form "X is likely; therefore, Y"?


As for your second question, if I'm understanding it correctly, there is none. X -> Y cannot prove Y simply with the condition that X is likely. X will have to be guaranteed.


the second question is that it doesn't seem intuitive that X->Y will somehow help justify the conclusion Y when X is not guaranteed and only likely. when X is likely it clearly doesn't prove Y. but what's the rationale for thinking that "X is likely" when combined with "X->Y" somehow even helps prove Y. since statements such as "X is likely" and "X->Y" have logical meaning, and there is no logical operation/arithmetic that lets one combine these two statements in any form. so how is one to reason in logical language that these statements when combined somehow help the conclusion Y?

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

Postby kcho10 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:26 pm

Hi Mithun,

This is a reading comp question from pt 17 section 4, passage 1, Q#2.

I narrowed it down to (B) and (E), and I was wondering what makes (B) better than (E)?

line 17 says that Their Eyes was not totally ignored by book reviewers upon its publication, and the end of the second paragraph seems to suggest that most critics were unable to appreciate Hurston's delineation of life of an ordinary Black woman in a Black community, which led to the novel going out of print (by the way is it right to assume that it led to the novel going out of print?) isn't it possible that even though it wasn't ignored at the time of publication, it was neglected because of the delineation of life later on?

Couldn't that very same statement (last second of paragraph 2) support (E) also? It does say that MOST critics' expectations led to the the book being marginalized...doesn't that suggest that they did not respond positively? I get that we would have to assume that not appreciating the delineation of life implies not responding positively, but isn't that a similar stretch to what (B) is making? I hope this makes sense, and thank you in advance

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Re: How to write assumptions for +, - or N, S?

Postby lmcsjkt1225 » Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:04 pm

BlueprintJason wrote:
lmcsjkt1225 wrote:Hello.
I am having hard time with writing down assumption when doing +, - , necessary and sufficient questions.
after recognizing conclusion I am suppose to write down assumption and use it to do operation questions.
but I am not good with it. is there some few tips to write better assumption? what do I have to do?

-online BP student (was recommended to ask question from Sam Fox)


Hey thanks for writing!

Ok, first off, it's quite alright to write down the assumption while you are doing untimed practice and learning your way around these questions. However, just to be clear, you don't have time on the actual test to write down the assumption as you go along.

That being said, you should always have in mind what the flaw of the argument is before you start trying to operate on it. This is because the thing that strengthens, weakens, is necessary to, or sufficient to prove the conclusion, it will almost always relate to the flaw.

In terms of getting better at spotting the assumption (or flaw), I would focus on two things:

1) The common flaws in the BP course.

2) The problem with the link between the support and the conclusion. In a valid argument, if the premises are true then the conclusion MUST be. Therefore, when an argument has a flaw, then there is a possible way that the premises could be true and the conclusion could end up FALSE. If you can think of a possible way that that could happen, then you have found something the argument has overlooked or assumed: that's the FLAW.

HTH, let me know if you need me to clarify!



Hello. I did not see this message until now. I am still prepping and I have trained myself to draw assumption by putting since after the conclusion. for example. In the BP text book lesson 1, shows assumption: which stated premise "Randi Sue was recently promoted from milker to curd packer.
Conclusion: therefore, Randi Sue is now making more money.
My assumption would be : "Randi sue is now making more money SINCE the promotion includes a raise.
and then I use this assumption find plausible answers that does not go against my assumption which would be +.
and as for -,I just put any new factor that seems to be plausible.

I know BP has been emphasizing with using flaw but this method is really confusing! . because when I do flaw question, no matter what conclusion say i always THINK that it has a problem.
with this, i either use BP flaw types to find the answer OR if the conclusion does not violate BP list of flaws then I just anticipate flaw in my own words and use it to see whether the answer is attacking premise or conclusion. if it is about premise i see that as wrong and vice versa.

this works well. but I am still confuse when try to adopt identify the flaw and find the answer through that. i think this takes me more time for me.
since i have to know conclusion is valid or invalid then depends on that i have to recognize flaw or not. this is much more longer step to me.

can you teach me the proper BP method of approaching operation questions? specifically doing all types of operation since it seems you are using same tactic for all of it.

but since operation questions types can be valid, then the method of finding flaw really throws me off.

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flaw and assumption

Postby lmcsjkt1225 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:12 am

I have a question regarding with DEC. 2008 question 21 flaw question.
I dont understand why B is wrong and D is right.
I have paraphrased my flaw as : Boris does not provided how and what made 95' relevant to george's issue.
I chose B because it was attractive since I was focused for Boris not providing proper explanation that would answer george's answer.
but maybe it is wrong because b answer described as it did not answer why ballroom dancing was so unpopular rather than why and what made people taking ballroom dancing lessons.

Generally.....
when I do assumptions, operation questions I start with by combining the conclusion with the premise (evidence).
When I do this way, this does works. however, as i think previous post mentioned, this does take time.
so my method is i write down assumption by combining and then when i do strengthen question i rely on the assumption i wrote and look for answer that matches up with the assumption. and as for weakening question, i write another assumption which i put weaken assumption. usually something opposite or input new factor.
** of course if the conclusion causation i dont use this method. i use BP method thing.
as I have read previous msg, i knew but i get harder time and confusion when i try to use method of looking for flaw (like when i approach doing a flaw question) and use it to fix it up (strengthen) or use it to attack it (weaken)
however, this is a bit confusing because i am not sure whether it's safe to do + , or - with flaw question approach.

Last but not least is when doing sufficient question and necessary questions.
again, i write assumption by combining the conclusion and evidence and when i do necessary question, i just use the assumption to look for the answer. and i know i can test the answer out but yet this is tough because i dont feel the difference to recognize the impact whether answer fails or not.
my method is useful to eliminate obvious out of scope answers but i get to stick with 2 answers that is so close. this is why i am suppose to use the test (negation) yet sometimes i dont see it.
negation test- i put this is not true because.... and answer statement.
what should i do?

and as for sufficient if it is not diagrammed then again i just write assumption with combination and then i just assume my assumption is missing piece and try to plug in by looking for the answer that is close to my assumption.
do you think this is right approach?

example: DEC. 08, section 3 question 25 (necessary question)
my assumption was : "Chef thinks he can skip the step since any mussel available at seafood market is clean.
so i chose E which was right.
which describes mussels that chef was using was from seafood market. if this is not true then conclusion fail since chef assumes all seafood market mussels does not contain sand.
and for some time i had hard time with A since it also describes not used to clean (by negating this also means clean out, but i recognize it was connecting with cornmeal which was off).

example DEC. 08' , section 2 question 10 (sufficient question)
I chose D because my assumption was " since neither tragedy and comedy does not classified because they both dont require to change. which was D. after all, comedy and tragedy requires moral qualities of character to change while if romance lit or satirical lit. does not require change then conclusion would become valid. assumption of reason that will explain why it will not be classified.
do you think this is safe approach? if not, what am i doing wrong? i mean i do get right answers though...

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:23 pm

kcho10 wrote:Hi Mithun,

This is a reading comp question from pt 17 section 4, passage 1, Q#2.

I narrowed it down to (B) and (E), and I was wondering what makes (B) better than (E)?

line 17 says that Their Eyes was not totally ignored by book reviewers upon its publication, and the end of the second paragraph seems to suggest that most critics were unable to appreciate Hurston's delineation of life of an ordinary Black woman in a Black community, which led to the novel going out of print (by the way is it right to assume that it led to the novel going out of print?) isn't it possible that even though it wasn't ignored at the time of publication, it was neglected because of the delineation of life later on?

Couldn't that very same statement (last second of paragraph 2) support (E) also? It does say that MOST critics' expectations led to the the book being marginalized...doesn't that suggest that they did not respond positively? I get that we would have to assume that not appreciating the delineation of life implies not responding positively, but isn't that a similar stretch to what (B) is making? I hope this makes sense, and thank you in advance


If you continue to read from line 17, you'll notice the passage also says that the book "received a mixture of positive and negative reviews from [reviewers]..." We never get a definitive answer as to what percentage of people liked it and what percentage didn't like it. We know it got mixed reviews, and while the passage dwells on the reasons as to why it wasn't appreciated by the Black literary community, nowhere does it suggest that the majority of early reviewers disliked it.

The last sentence of paragraph 2 claims that "most critics...were unable to appreciate" Hurston's style, but there's a difference between that and whether early reviewers responded positively. We're talking about critics of the time as a whole now, not just the reviewers, and even if they couldn't appreciate part of the book's style, they may have still responded positively.

Thus, there's no real support for (e). The word "most" is too strong a quantifier.

It is not right to assume that critics' inability to appreciate her style led to its going out of print. The two facts are correlated, but we'd need a word that specifically indicates causality to make that connection, like thus, or therefore. At Blueprint, we always remind students to watch for words that indicate causality, and to be wary of interpreting correlations as cause-and-effect.

(b) is supported by the sentences we just discussed in the beginning of paragraph 2. The book was "not ignored" and "received mixed reviews," so it wasn't completely neglected. The rest of the paragraph explains that it was audiences' "expectations of Black literature" (36-37) that contributed to the book's descent into obscurity. So it is safe to say that complete neglect from reviewers is not what led to this.

Hope that helps!

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Re: How to write assumptions for +, - or N, S?

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:27 pm

lmcsjkt1225 wrote:
BlueprintJason wrote:
lmcsjkt1225 wrote:Hello.
I am having hard time with writing down assumption when doing +, - , necessary and sufficient questions.
after recognizing conclusion I am suppose to write down assumption and use it to do operation questions.
but I am not good with it. is there some few tips to write better assumption? what do I have to do?

-online BP student (was recommended to ask question from Sam Fox)


Hey thanks for writing!

Ok, first off, it's quite alright to write down the assumption while you are doing untimed practice and learning your way around these questions. However, just to be clear, you don't have time on the actual test to write down the assumption as you go along.

That being said, you should always have in mind what the flaw of the argument is before you start trying to operate on it. This is because the thing that strengthens, weakens, is necessary to, or sufficient to prove the conclusion, it will almost always relate to the flaw.

In terms of getting better at spotting the assumption (or flaw), I would focus on two things:

1) The common flaws in the BP course.

2) The problem with the link between the support and the conclusion. In a valid argument, if the premises are true then the conclusion MUST be. Therefore, when an argument has a flaw, then there is a possible way that the premises could be true and the conclusion could end up FALSE. If you can think of a possible way that that could happen, then you have found something the argument has overlooked or assumed: that's the FLAW.

HTH, let me know if you need me to clarify!



Hello. I did not see this message until now. I am still prepping and I have trained myself to draw assumption by putting since after the conclusion. for example. In the BP text book lesson 1, shows assumption: which stated premise "Randi Sue was recently promoted from milker to curd packer.
Conclusion: therefore, Randi Sue is now making more money.
My assumption would be : "Randi sue is now making more money SINCE the promotion includes a raise.
and then I use this assumption find plausible answers that does not go against my assumption which would be +.
and as for -,I just put any new factor that seems to be plausible.

I know BP has been emphasizing with using flaw but this method is really confusing! . because when I do flaw question, no matter what conclusion say i always THINK that it has a problem.
with this, i either use BP flaw types to find the answer OR if the conclusion does not violate BP list of flaws then I just anticipate flaw in my own words and use it to see whether the answer is attacking premise or conclusion. if it is about premise i see that as wrong and vice versa.

this works well. but I am still confuse when try to adopt identify the flaw and find the answer through that. i think this takes me more time for me.
since i have to know conclusion is valid or invalid then depends on that i have to recognize flaw or not. this is much more longer step to me.

can you teach me the proper BP method of approaching operation questions? specifically doing all types of operation since it seems you are using same tactic for all of it.

but since operation questions types can be valid, then the method of finding flaw really throws me off.


Hi. So Jason was the one who answered your initial question, but I'll do my best to pick up where he left off.

It seems like you understand assumptions. Going back to the BP book example with good ole Randi Sue, the assumption would only be the part following the word "since." "The promotion includes a raise" is the entire assumption. "Randi Sue is now making more money" is the conclusion. It seems like you probably understand this already, but just to be clear, those are two separate parts of the argument.

In this example, it's easy to figure out the missing assumption, but in a lot of Strengthen/Weaken and Suff/Nec. questions, it isn't going to be so obvious. We encourage you to identify the flaw in these arguments, because that's generally easier to see than the specific assumption that is missing.

Another way to think about "identifying the flaw" is: what is missing from or wrong in the argument? In this case, whether or not Randi Sue's promotion includes a raise is the missing link. Now, whether we are answering a +, -, S or N question, the answer will almost definitely relate to this missing link.

You don't actually have to spend time figuring out whether or not the argument is valid. Assume that something is missing in these arguments already. S/W questions are a lot like Flaw questions with an extra step. You should identify what's missing in the argument and look for answers that would relate to that. Pick the answer that makes it more or less valid, depending on whether it's a Strengthen or Weaken question.

Sufficient questions are asking you to bridge the gap between the premises and conclusion, and they are always technically invalid. There's something missing that, if introduced, would fix the argument and make it valid. If you can identify what the flaw is, e.g. missing info from a survey, a contradictory statement, etc., then the correct answer should be easier to find, since it will undo that flaw.

Necessary questions are a slightly different case, but you should still be on the lookout for any missing links in the argument. I'd consult lesson 12 if you're confused, otherwise, you can ask me any specific questions here.

You said that "when I do flaw question, no matter what conclusion say i always THINK that it has a problem." This is the correct way of thinking; every Flaw stimulus is an invalid argument. Try to carry that same perspective when you attack these operation questions.

lmcsjkt1225
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby lmcsjkt1225 » Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:29 pm

Hello.
Thank you for your reply.
with your comment, I was able to make great improvement with operation question types. its crazy how i am able to do sufficient question without diagramming it!
HOWEVER, I have some question regarding with the necessary question.
I realized that when I do necessary question harder it gets, it gets harder to understand the stimulus. because of this reason, usually i cant really find the flaw.
thing is, even though i find flaw, how do i find answer that is necessary?
so the question is
1) when i read answers, should i focus answer that uses conclusion words? * sometimes i choose wrong answer and after i review i realize the answer is wrong because it focus only to premise and nothing to do with conclusion.
2) how do i use flaw when reading the answer? i understand using flaw to - or + or even sufficient but for necessary question i dont know how to approach using a flaw.
3) do you recommend me to use negation test? because when i use the negation test, my understanding gets crumble. at one point i see why the answer has to be that answer yet, after negation test, i choose the wrong answer.
4) what is best way to approach necessary question?

for example on oct 2015 prep test 76 section 1 question 18 (1st LR) (for my oct test the section might be differ way how lsac presents the preptest )
i recognized that the the conclusion was "should not be trusted". and the evidence was "maternity room staff were more likely to remember..." while reviewing and reason why i got it wrong. BUT i think because i tried to do your method where dont draw assumption just read answers after recognizing flaw and combining evidence +conclusion in mentally and chose answer E. i thought evidence was "medical patients have an instinctual ability to predict changes..."
and since conclusion said "should not be trusted the wording E used was attractive: "not a widely held belief.

with this kind of issue, i cant really find answer clearly.

ALSO I have question regarding RC. I am having really hard time with this section!

1) I sometimes get it right on MP and PP (primary purpose) questions but sometimes i get it wrong because author's voice that creates author's conclusion and i get confuse between passage conclusion and author's conclusion.
so the question is should i just focus with what i underlined? which one should i emphasis with? author's conclusion or passage conclusion?

2) inference question is usually what i am always gets it wrong! something based on parallel (most analogous or author quote from this statement , or even what author agree with.
these types of question is hard because the answer is not directly from the passage but it is what reader understood and what reader can infer from. thus when i choose answer, i either choose completely wrong answer if i dont understand it well OR i choose the answer that is really close.
> i heard from some people how i need to use LR approach which can be helpful, but i just dont get it.

3) is there some sort best way to approach RC? i have learned all the RC secondary structures and primary structure but this makes me take lots of time and i usually get 3 minutes to answer 7 questions.
what can i do to improve RC? if i improve RC i know my score will improve drastically!

i got all wrong on passage 2 and 4 on oct 2015 prep test 76

-andrew

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:21 pm

Hey everyone, just an announcement about Blueprint's online services. We're making a change to the pricing for our online course package. You can read about it on our blog:

http://blueprintlsat.com/lsatblog/lsat/ ... than-ever/

Thanks!

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:14 pm

Following up from that last announcement, next week, from 8 AM on Monday, 2/8 to Friday, 2/12 at 5 PM, you can get your first month of online access for free with the code BEMINE at checkout. Students will still have to pay the $200 materials fee, but thats $179 in savings. Not bad, eh?

Check out our online course in detail here: http://blueprintlsat.com/lsat/online/overview

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

Postby splitterfromhell » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:49 pm

Does the LSAT ever put answer choices of "confuses a sufficient condition for what is necessary" and "confuses a necessary condition for what is sufficient" on the same question?

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

Postby appind » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:27 pm

splitterfromhell wrote:Does the LSAT ever put answer choices of "confuses a sufficient condition for what is necessary" and "confuses a necessary condition for what is sufficient" on the same question?


Not from bp, but i'd guess it can as long as both of these choices are wrong. But lsat can't if one of these is credited as then the other one can be correct too.

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:44 pm

splitterfromhell wrote:Does the LSAT ever put answer choices of "confuses a sufficient condition for what is necessary" and "confuses a necessary condition for what is sufficient" on the same question?


Yes, though I unfortunately don't have a specific example available to show you. I've had plenty of students whose eyes would glaze over at the sight of these answer choices - despite being such important basic concepts on the test, the sufficient/necessary distinction gives plenty of people trouble well into their test prep.

If you're confused about S/N condtions, think about how this concept applies to Assumption questions. Remember that a sufficient assumption guarantees a conclusion. It completes the puzzle, so to speak, by providing a link strong enough to make the conclusion inevitable. A necessary assumption doesn't have to guarantee anything - it is any statement that has to be true for the conclusion to be possible. If you were to negate it, your conclusion would fall apart.

The same ideas apply to conditional statements. In the basic statement "If I train everyday, I'll become strong," training everyday is sufficient because it guarantees strength. Being strong doesn't lead to anything else; however, if you do not become strong, you definitely didn't train everyday. This is the contrapositive, which always illustrates the function of necessary conditions.

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:48 pm

By the way everyone, our Spring course near UCLA just started this past Saturday. If you're interested, check out the following link: http://blueprintlsat.com/lsat/classroom ... s-westwood

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:41 am

I received a PM from someone self-studying for the test. The answers I gave should be helpful to any and all test-takers, so I thought I'd post them here.

The original poster said the following:
As stated in my post my goal is 170+ and I'm set on doing self study. What was your approach to your 175? As I stated, I'm taking an approach where I'm practicing logic games by type (simply because that is my weakest section). 3 new logic games per day and 3 repeats/older games that i've worked on before, 10 different LR questions organized by type( although I've found assumption, flaw, and weaken to be my weakest LR types), and finally whole RC sections with two days of review of that section.

Something I've found to be slightly troubling is just how long it takes for me to review my LR questions, but maybe it's because I'm still working on finding my "rhythm" or pattern to solving the question types. Perhaps it's something that improves over time. I appreciate your response on my post and any additional feedback that given is equally appreciated!


Here's my response:

Hey,

Once I had learned all the material, I spent a while doing full sections. I started pushing myself to do multiple sections in a row, building up to doing 4 and then 5 section preptests. But you definitely shouldn't rush into PTing. That stage is for building endurance, i.e. performance under stress, simulating real conditions.

It's really important to look for any patterns in the types of questions you're struggling with, and that goes for all sections. With games, don't rush making inferences, and when you redo old ones, make sure you're getting them all before moving on to the questions. The more you familiarize yourself with them, the easier it'll become to spot them in the future. If there are any specific game types you struggle with, do more of those. And if you're in a situation where you're not sure if you should make scenarios/hypotheticals, scan the questions. If there are lots of conditional questions, which give you a variable to plug in, you probably shouldn't bother. If there are a fair number of absolute questions (MBT, MBF, etc.), then it may save you time to do so.

With LR, I wouldn't worry about how long it takes you to review - if anything, that's a positive. LR questions are usually fairly short, but there's a lot to learn from them. Once you start to carefully review them over and over, you'll start to see similar wrong answers, and notice nuances that would've passed you by in the past. I think you should do more than 10/day, at least 25 would be better. Definitely focus on your q.type weaknesses, but don't forget to mix it up and do a section now and then. The randomized nature of an LR section, along with the progressively increasing difficulty, are important things to get used to. You have switch mindsets frequently on LR, and treat each question as an independent venture, unlike the other sections.

Even if you're not totally satisfied with your answer on an LR question, you need to learn to shake that feeling of uneasiness off and move on to the next one. Many students don't learn to master the psychological aspects of test-taking, and that holds them back. The cumulative stress can build and will impede your focus.

With RC, don't spend too much, if any, time annotating the passage. Make sure you're understanding the content as you read, but focus on identifying the key elements: main point, author's attitude, and major perspectives. These are the things you will most likely be asked about, and looking at passages with these elements as a framework can make them much simpler. Don't get hung up on details - for detail-oriented questions, it's more important to know where to look than to remember the facts offhand.

Keep at it - self-study can feel intimidating at times. If you plateau at a score, look at where you're missing points and go back and see if you can't improve your approach to those types of questions. There's always the option of getting a tutor for a handful of lessons. Once you get to a high level, discussing the test with someone else at a similar level can open doors for you. Good luck!

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

Postby New_Spice180 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:32 pm

So I'm coming to you all for advice because I'm running into problems with Necessary Assumption/Assumption questions. I've been drilling assumption questions for a couple weeks now and I felt like I got the hang of them, until I arrived at the end of my Kaplan Mastery packet...I did around 20 or so of them and I got spanked...

As I stated in another post, I found that long conditional/causal chains definitely trip me up, but it's also the density and complexity of the more difficult Assumption questions... Additionally, I found that I"m a bit frustrated to have been drilling so many questions of this nature and haven't been able to tackle the harder ones.

What are some of you all's tactics to tackling Assumption Questions? Conditional and Casual chains in Assumption questions? What helps you see the gap more easily/ methods for prefacing that aid in finding the gap? Any help is most definitely appreciated.

Moreover, would you all recommend me giving Assumption Questions a break and going over another question type (even though I would really like to have Assumption questions down before moving on)?

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:26 pm

New_Spice180 wrote:So I'm coming to you all for advice because I'm running into problems with Necessary Assumption/Assumption questions. I've been drilling assumption questions for a couple weeks now and I felt like I got the hang of them, until I arrived at the end of my Kaplan Mastery packet...I did around 20 or so of them and I got spanked...

As I stated in another post, I found that long conditional/causal chains definitely trip me up, but it's also the density and complexity of the more difficult Assumption questions... Additionally, I found that I"m a bit frustrated to have been drilling so many questions of this nature and haven't been able to tackle the harder ones.

What are some of you all's tactics to tackling Assumption Questions? Conditional and Casual chains in Assumption questions? What helps you see the gap more easily/ methods for prefacing that aid in finding the gap? Any help is most definitely appreciated.

Moreover, would you all recommend me giving Assumption Questions a break and going over another question type (even though I would really like to have Assumption questions down before moving on)?



Assumption questions are among the hardest LR-question types. At Blueprint, we don't get to them until around 70% into the course, because it helps immensely to have a strong understanding of Flaw and Strengthen/Weaken questions as a foundation.

First off, "Assumption questions" actually refer to two distinct but related question types: Sufficient Assumption and Necessary Assumption questions. I'm not sure if the prep you've done thus far has done a good job of distinguishing between the two - when I self-studied, my first LR book treated them as the same thing, which I later learned was a huge oversight - so I'll elucidate just to be sure.

An assumption is essentially an unstated premise. All logical arguments need to have premises that are strong and relevant enough to support their conclusion. Assumptions are sometimes described as a "missing link" that completes an argument, but this description really applies more to sufficient than necessary assumptions.

A sufficient assumption is a missing premise that, if added to the argument, would guarantee the conclusion. It essentially turns an incomplete argument into a foolproof, logical one. For example:

Premise: I am a very relaxed and coolheaded person.
Conclusion: Dogs love me.

Clearly, there's something missing in this argument - the link between my personality and what dogs love. Essentially, I just analyzed the flaw in the argument, which is lack of the aforementioned link. Remember how I mentioned Flaw questions as being an important foundation for these? That's because Flaw questions train us to identify premises and conclusions, and analyze deficiencies in arguments, which should be your first steps in approaching an assumption question as well.

A sufficient assumption would bridge this gap and make us 100% sure that dogs love me. There are multiple possibilities for an SA here, including:

Dogs love all relaxed people.
Dogs love all coolheaded people.
Dogs love all people who are both coolheaded and relaxed.

Notice how strong these statements are? Remember, a conclusion requires premises of equal or greater strength to support it. The following statements are not strong enough to guarantee the conclusion:

Dogs love most relaxed people.
Dogs love most people.

Since the burden of proof is so high for sufficient assumptions, they tend to be stronger statements. This is isn't always the case, of course, as it really depends on the strength of the conclusion and context of the argument. The key to approaching these is to:

1) identify premises and conclusions
2) analyze what is missing from the premises that would guarantee the conclusion, paying close attention to the strength of the latter
3) anticipate an answer that would bridge that gap
4) search for a compatible answer

If the argument consists of conditional statements, then diagramming can make the process a lot simpler. You mentioned that longer conditional chains trip you up. If you could mention a specific example or two, I'd be happy to break that question down for you.

The way to tell whether an assumption question is Sufficient or Necessary is by the phrasing of the question prompt. It's worth memorizing these so that you don't second-guess yourself on the test.

Sufficient prompts look like these:
The conclusion logically follows if which of the following is assumed?
Which one of the following, if assumed, would allow the conclusion to be properly drawn/would guarantee the conclusion?

Note the phrases "if assumed," "properly drawn," and "follows logically." If the prompt seems to suggest that the argument needs to be completed, it's a Sufficient question.

On to Necessary questions. A necessary assumption is a statement that NEEDS to be true in order for the conclusion to be possible. The word "possible" is key here; a NA doesn't have to complete the argument, its simply something that has to be true for the conclusion to have even the smallest chance of being true. Going back to our dog-love example above, the following would be necessary assumptions:

Premise: I am a very relaxed and coolheaded person.
Conclusion: Dogs love me.

Necessary Assumptions: Dogs sometimes love people.
I am capable of being loved.
At least some coolheaded people are loved.

None of these statements bring us any closer to the conclusion. But if they were false, the conclusion "dogs love me" couldn't possibly be true. To quote the Blueprint textbook: "If a necessary assumption of an argument is denied or taken away, the argument is rendered invalid." If we were to negate those three statements, they would all invalidate the conclusion, which is how we know for certain that they are necessary assumptions.

Dogs never love people.
I am not capable of being loved.
No coolheaded people are loved.

The approach for Necessary questions is fairly similar to Sufficient questions in that you're still analyzing an argument and looking for any logical jumps. However, you're looking for an assumption that was already made, something that is implicit in the logic of the argument. Once you've narrowed it down to a few answer choices, use the negation test - if the negated form of the answer invalidates the conclusion, it is correct.

That post was a lot longer than I originally intended it to be! I'd be happy to field any follow-up questions.

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

Postby proteinshake » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:12 pm

I'm not starting my prep until the summer, but do you know of any good leisure reading material that would help (even if a little bit) with Science or Fine Arts RC passages? or good leisure reading that would help with RC in general? Thanks! :mrgreen:

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:43 pm

proteinshake wrote:I'm not starting my prep until the summer, but do you know of any good leisure reading material that would help (even if a little bit) with Science or Fine Arts RC passages? or good leisure reading that would help with RC in general? Thanks! :mrgreen:


Hi! I actually just posted about a giveaway we're doing for our new Reading Comprehension book. If you're interested, please check out this topic and follow the instructions:

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=261947

Otherwise, good question. RC passages and are short and succinct, so you'll get the most practice out of reading things that are similar. Magazine articles are the best non-LSAT resource out there, in my opinion, especially ones on the shorter side (300-500 words). When you approach an RC passage, you should be on the lookout for the following things: main point, author's attitude, major perspectives on the issue, and the overall structure of the argument. So practice identifying those same 4 elements as you read articles, being sure to review them once you've finished the article.

For Science, I'd recommend Scientific American. I used it myself while prepping, and found that the analytical approach of a lot of their pieces made me more comfortable with science passages. Fine Arts/Lit passages tend to focus on thematic analysis and contextual analysis (historical and societal) of works. I'd suggest professional book reviews (stay away from Goodreads and the like). NY Times Book Review is a solid resource. Sparknotes has well written analyses as well, and though they differ in form from RC passages, they might help acquaint you with that mode of that.

And if you're engaging with any art, whether it be fiction, visual art, dance, or music, do a bunch of Google searches and read up on criticism and commentary for that work. It's always more rewarding to engage with criticism when you have your own perspective on the piece of art. Part of doing well on RC is learning how to engage with the writing and stay attentive even when it seems dry, so gaining an appreciation for the style of writing definitely helps.
Last edited by Blueprint Mithun on Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:52 pm

Hey all,

Blueprint is doing a giveaway of our brand new Reading Comprehension guide! We've reserved 25 copies exclusively for TLS users. All you have to do post in the topic that I've linked below, and send me a PM with some information. Shipping is free too.

You can learn more here: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=261947


Some info about the book: http://blueprintlsat.com/lsat/books/rea ... prehension

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:30 pm

Bumping this topic. Even if you haven't seen any activity in a while, I'll always be monitoring it, so don't feel hesitant to ask a question, anyone!

For anyone who's on LinkedIn, we started an LSAT help group a while back where I post study advice and various LSAT related items. There are some really good posts about speed and timing practice on there. I'm about to get back to posting on there regularly, so please join if you'd like more LSAT advice.

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/6983429

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

Postby New_Spice180 » Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:56 pm

Hey is there anyone who could shed some light on an LR question from PT 5, Section 1 #12. The answer is D, but this question certainly does not lend itself to D at all even after review it doesn't make sense to me how "fairly evenly" allows the conclusion to be drawn. At best the correct answer appears to be a repetition of the background information given in the first sentence.

Thanks

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

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:21 pm

New_Spice180 wrote:Hey is there anyone who could shed some light on an LR question from PT 5, Section 1 #12. The answer is D, but this question certainly does not lend itself to D at all even after review it doesn't make sense to me how "fairly evenly" allows the conclusion to be drawn. At best the correct answer appears to be a repetition of the background information given in the first sentence.

Thanks


Sure! The question reads:

Impact craters caused by meteorites smashing into Earth have been found all around the globe, but they have been found in the greatest density in geologically stable regions. This relatively greater abundance of securely identified craters in geologically stable regions must be explained by the lower rates of destructive geophysical processes in those regions.

The conclusion is properly drawn if which one of the following is assumed?

This is a sufficient assumption question, so we need to guarantee the validity of the argument's conclusion, which is in bold.

If you think about the stimulus, something's clearly missing. We know that impact craters are most common in geologically stable regions, that's a given premise. The conclusion then states that the abundance of these craters in these region must be due to the relative scarcity of destructive geophysical process, like earthquakes, etc.

How could those two things - craters formed by meteorites, and earthquakes - be related? Well, destructive geological processes could distort the land so much that they remove all traces of craters. This is most likely the speaker's line of thinking.

However, her degree of certainty is extremely high, evidenced by the phrase "must be due to." How can the speaker be so sure that this is the reason that there are fewer craters in those regions?

(D) states that actual meteorite craters have been evenly scattered over the Earth's surface. This rules out the possibility that those regions had fewer craters because of random chance, i.e. because meteorites just happened to strike those areas less often. By ruling out that possibility, we strengthen the possibility that the original conclusion is true. Remember that in cause and effect relationships, eliminating a potential cause, strengthens all other possible causes.

I can see why this question gave you trouble. To be honest, it's not a very good sufficient assumption question. D is definitely the best answer here, but I'm not convinced that it totally guarantees the conclusion. It eliminates one alternate cause, but there could still be others in addition to our original conclusion. This would be better as a strengthen or necessary assumption question. My guess is that because this is preptest 5, which was given almost 25 years ago (!), some of the particulars differ from our modern LSATs. This doesn't happen very often, but it's one of the reasons that practicing the very early preptests can lead to some mishaps.

Hope that helps!

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

Postby New_Spice180 » Wed May 11, 2016 8:39 am

Blueprint Mithun wrote:
New_Spice180 wrote:Hey is there anyone who could shed some light on an LR question from PT 5, Section 1 #12. The answer is D, but this question certainly does not lend itself to D at all even after review it doesn't make sense to me how "fairly evenly" allows the conclusion to be drawn. At best the correct answer appears to be a repetition of the background information given in the first sentence.

Thanks


Sure! The question reads:

Impact craters caused by meteorites smashing into Earth have been found all around the globe, but they have been found in the greatest density in geologically stable regions. This relatively greater abundance of securely identified craters in geologically stable regions must be explained by the lower rates of destructive geophysical processes in those regions.

The conclusion is properly drawn if which one of the following is assumed?

This is a sufficient assumption question, so we need to guarantee the validity of the argument's conclusion, which is in bold.

If you think about the stimulus, something's clearly missing. We know that impact craters are most common in geologically stable regions, that's a given premise. The conclusion then states that the abundance of these craters in these region must be due to the relative scarcity of destructive geophysical process, like earthquakes, etc.

How could those two things - craters formed by meteorites, and earthquakes - be related? Well, destructive geological processes could distort the land so much that they remove all traces of craters. This is most likely the speaker's line of thinking.

However, her degree of certainty is extremely high, evidenced by the phrase "must be due to." How can the speaker be so sure that this is the reason that there are fewer craters in those regions?

(D) states that actual meteorite craters have been evenly scattered over the Earth's surface. This rules out the possibility that those regions had fewer craters because of random chance, i.e. because meteorites just happened to strike those areas less often. By ruling out that possibility, we strengthen the possibility that the original conclusion is true. Remember that in cause and effect relationships, eliminating a potential cause, strengthens all other possible causes.

I can see why this question gave you trouble. To be honest, it's not a very good sufficient assumption question. D is definitely the best answer here, but I'm not convinced that it totally guarantees the conclusion. It eliminates one alternate cause, but there could still be others in addition to our original conclusion. This would be better as a strengthen or necessary assumption question. My guess is that because this is preptest 5, which was given almost 25 years ago (!), some of the particulars differ from our modern LSATs. This doesn't happen very often, but it's one of the reasons that practicing the very early preptests can lead to some mishaps.

Hope that helps!


That clarifies a lot on this question, other explanations were much to verbose and not effective. Thanks so much. So answer D is correct because D defends the cause effect relationship that is "Lower rates of destructive geological processes in those regions-------->greater abundance of securely identified craters?" And we need to know that it isn't because of the fact that that particular region was gifted with more meteorites...(I had to repeat it just to make sure I understood it myself).

Additionally, I took your advice on moving on to different question types and something just clicked for me during Strengthen/Weaken questions. I'm more able to quickly isolate the argument and it's essential pieces and anticipate gaps. Although necessary and sufficient assumptions are still going to need some work, I see myself actually liking (I've officially become an LSAT geek) this question type. I just find myself tripping over what I need to make a sufficient condition work consistently.


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