Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

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chimera
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby chimera » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:25 pm

Could someone explain the answer to PT68, Section 2, Question 10?

It is a logical reasoning questions regarding cat allergens. I eliminated C because the stimulus implied (to me) that all cats produce all the proteins, and that the allergic reaction is caused by an individual's response to whatever specific protein they are allergic to (i.e. "...which particular proteins are responsible varies from person to person.") I don't understand how cats having different proteins from breed to breed, cat to cat, is more implied than my line of reasoning.

Thanks!

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:24 am

mymrh1 wrote:Hi Christine,

Could you help me with PrepTest 45 - LR » Section #4- Q18?

I have some problem understanding the relationship between the premise, "decentralization always permits more realistic planning", and the correct answer choice.

The correct answer seems like the inverse to me. I believe the premise: decentralization ---> permits more realistic planning (I believe "always" indicates a necessary condition).

Thanks!


I think I see the problem mymrh1!

Okay, so I think you are reading the stimulus (not really a 'premise', as this is an inference question) as:

    Autonomous --> realistic planning
    Contrapositive: NOT realistic planning --> NOT autonomous

Read this way, it sure would look like (A) was an inverse, especially if you read it as:
    NOT Autonomous --> NOT realistic

Herein lies the danger of overformalizing a stimulus that really isn't about conditional logic formal constructions. Let's return to the original stimulus information for a moment.

We're told that the autonomous function always permits "more realistic planning". More than what?! This is essentially saying that autonomous function permits planning that is MORE realistic than it would have been otherwise...i.e., more realistic than it would have been without the autonomous function. Huh, okay, so what this is *really* saying is that there's a spectrum of 'realistic planning', and autonomous function is *higher* on that spectrum than 'non-autonomous function' would be.

Now, let's look at (A). This is saying that non-autonomous function is 'not maximally realistic'. In other words, it's not at 100% on the realistic planning spectrum. And that has to be true, because we know that non-autonomous function is LOWER on that spectrum than 'autonomous function' is. So there's no way it could possibly be at 100%!

Imagine if I told you that when I eat breakfast, I have more energy. More energy than when? I must mean that I have more energy than those days that I don't eat breakfast. So, you can totally conclude that on days that I *don't* eat breakfast, I have less than my maximum possible energy level. Why? Because I'd have MORE energy if I had eaten breakfast, so I can't possibly be at the max!

When comparison words pop up in conditionals, things can get a little more interesting than your average, run of the mill conditionals. It's a good signal to slow down, and avoid leaping right into formalizations and contrapositives. Take stock of what the sentence is REALLY saying with the comparison!

Tons and tons and tons of sentences can be thought of as a version of conditionals, but a lot of the time it's not actually useful to formalize them! You want to be in control of conditional notation when it's useful, but don't use it as a panacea for any and every sentence that uses strong language like "always".

What do you think?

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:05 am

chimera wrote:Could someone explain the answer to PT68, Section 2, Question 10?

It is a logical reasoning questions regarding cat allergens. I eliminated C because the stimulus implied (to me) that all cats produce all the proteins, and that the allergic reaction is caused by an individual's response to whatever specific protein they are allergic to (i.e. "...which particular proteins are responsible varies from person to person.") I don't understand how cats having different proteins from breed to breed, cat to cat, is more implied than my line of reasoning.

Thanks!


Interesting question, chimera!

I'm curious where in the stimulus you see support for the idea that all cats produce all proteins?

Let's sort out some of the information in the stimulus:
    1) allergy to cat = allergy to some protein in saliva/skin
    2) different people are allergic to different proteins
    3) all cats shed skin/saliva around
    4) all cats are capable of causing an allergic reaction, at least to someone
    5) there are cats that cause reactions in some allergic people and yet not in others

This last item on the list is the really critical one.

Let's talk about a particular cat, Spot, to make it more concrete. Now, we have Mary and Joe, both of whom are allergic to cats. Spot causes Mary to have an allergic reaction, but not Joe. But Joe must have an allergic reaction to some other cat somewhere, otherwise why would we be labeling him as "allergic to cats"? So, Joe has a reaction to some cats but not others.

If all cats had the exact same proteins in their skin and saliva, how could Joe be allergic to some other cat, but not be allergic to Spot? In fact, if all cats had the exact same proteins, then anyone who was allergic to one cat would, by definition be allergic to all cats.

So, that can't possibly be true - there must be at least some differentiation among cats with respect to the skin/saliva proteins, in order for some cats to cause allergic reactions in SOME cat allergic people but NOT others.

Does that help clear things up a bit? I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this!

akechi
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby akechi » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:10 pm

Hi Christine,

I am revisiting Necessary Assumption questions and wanted to ask a question about a specific sub-type of N/A questions. My question is about conditional premises / conclusions that occur in Necessary Assumption questions.

Here are a few questions to serve as references: PT20-S4-Q1 (Popularity of comedians), PT23-S3-Q9 (Walking rather than driving), and PT10-S4-Q8 (Useful chemicals from plants).

Conditionalality in Necessary Assumption questions:
I have been noticing a trend / pattern whenever I see conditional key-players in N/A questions. If we are given a conditional premise or conclusion the correct answer choice will usually either:

1. Uphold the possibility of the occurrence of the sufficient trigger.
2. Show that the sufficient condition does in fact guarantee the necessary condition / show that the negation of the conditional cannot happen.

Is this an okay way to categorize conditionals in N/A questions?

I don't want to waste your time with an in-depth breakdown of the stimuli of each question, so here is the quick and dirty of the relevant portions:

In PT23-S3-Q9, the conclusion is set up as a standard conditional if P -> Q. The correct answer ( E ) is necessary because it directly states that there are people who drive instead of walking all the time, thereby establishing that the suggestion offered in the stimulus is still applicable / possible. If people never drove and walked all the time, then the suggestion would no longer be a possibility, because people are already walking all the time and a reduction of pollution has not occurred.

This is a case where pattern 1 leads us to the correct answer.

In PT20-S4-Q1, the conditional is given to us as a premise. When people fail to do X, it forms the basis for Y. Therefore, current popularity of Y is hardly surprising. In order to arrive at the conclusion, we need to assume that X in fact does occur, at least sometimes, otherwise, we could not use the given premise as support for the conclusion. This is a very simplified version of the core, and may not perfectly capture the essence of it, but this is the method I used to arrive at the correct answer fairly quickly.

In PT10-S4-Q8, the conclusion is given as a semi-weird conditional:
If we want to ensure that we still have useful chemicals from plants for future use,
Then we must make more serious efforts to preserve our natural resources.

The correct AC says that triggering the sufficient condition will not lead to a contradiction, or can we roughly translate answer choice ( E ) to saying that ~(A -> B) is NOT the case (i.e. denying that negation of the conditional)?

Is there something that I am missing or mis-applying in my analysis?

h3jk5h
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby h3jk5h » Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:41 am

Wow, I'm glad I found this thread.

I really enjoy reading Christine's posts regarding macro-level LSAT nuances, such as improving self-awareness.

I'm going to write a little confession here for my own benefit.

This entire LSAT process is not just about developing skill-sets and good habits, it's also about being absolutely honest with yourself about your shortcomings. In order to win this war, I must first win battles against my inner demons.

Some of my inner dialogues during LSAT prep:

"I got this question right, YES! I don't want to expend more time and effort into a question I already got right, I'm not exactly sure why answer choice B is wrong, but whatever, I already got it right based on good instincts, moving on." SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS

"I got this question wrong because the LSAT makers made that deceptive answer choice to fool me like what they try do all the time, so it's not entirely my fault." EGO PROTECTION

"57/72 on Level 2 Necessary Assumption Packets. I'm done. I don't even want to review this, this is too embarrassing. I've always been an exceptional test-taker in my undergrad, what is happening to me... This is so frustrating. This is so shameful." SELF-SABOTAGE

"I misread the stimulus again! I'm so prone to silly errors! Arhhh!" FRUSTRATION

"I still can't understand the argument core of the stimulus after 10 minutes of starring at it during review. I refuse to move on to the next question so I can review it later with a fresh perspective. I refuse to let go!" RELUCTANCE

"Will I ever achieve my target score? Is hard work sufficient? What's my 'ceiling'?" SELF-DOUBT


I definitely need to approach the LSAT with a tranquil mind and a patient outlook, and not allow my emotions to get in my way. It takes mental maturity and self-understanding, which I severely lack. It's so much easier to go into self-denial rather than mere acceptance.

The LSAT is teaching me something about life.

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WaltGrace83
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby WaltGrace83 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:00 pm

I made a thread but there was not a real consensus on this issue so I'll ask a true expert. Does "many" = "some" and does "some" = "many?" If I negate "some," I get "none." If I negate "many," do I similarly get "none?"

Thanks!

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:33 am

WaltGrace83 wrote:I made a thread but there was not a real consensus on this issue so I'll ask a true expert. Does "many" = "some" and does "some" = "many?" If I negate "some," I get "none." If I negate "many," do I similarly get "none?"

Thanks!



I figured you'd ask this question eventually. :)

There are two answers to this question, one infinitely more important than the other.

    1) Technically, "some" = "at least one" while "many" = "at least two". This distinction was tested on exactly one question: Preptest 1, Section 4, Question 21.

    Let me repeat that: Preptest 1

    2) It's not something that you should be concerned with. The likelihood of the LSAT ever testing this explicitly again is infinitesimally small. They likely decided that the distinction was either not very useful or not very interesting, since they have never made use of it since Preptest 1.

Clearly, the second answer is the one that really matters here. :idea:

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby WaltGrace83 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:58 am

Christine (MLSAT) wrote:
WaltGrace83 wrote:I made a thread but there was not a real consensus on this issue so I'll ask a true expert. Does "many" = "some" and does "some" = "many?" If I negate "some," I get "none." If I negate "many," do I similarly get "none?"

Thanks!



I figured you'd ask this question eventually. :)

There are two answers to this question, one infinitely more important than the other.

    1) Technically, "some" = "at least one" while "many" = "at least two". This distinction was tested on exactly one question: Preptest 1, Section 4, Question 21.

    Let me repeat that: Preptest 1

    2) It's not something that you should be concerned with. The likelihood of the LSAT ever testing this explicitly again is infinitesimally small. They likely decided that the distinction was either not very useful or not very interesting, since they have never made use of it since Preptest 1.

Clearly, the second answer is the one that really matters here. :idea:



Thanks. So from now on I will just negate "many" to "none." I ask because someone responded to my post on the greasy apples question and I realized that I have never had to really think about this issue before , that is negating "many."

By the way, that was a SUPER weird question because I was thinking to myself, "If the "many" in (E) is true than the "some" (D) also HAS TO BE true." It seems really odd that they would make such a distinction so, yea, I can see what you are saying there.

Thanks!

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby evolution » Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:40 pm

Just like how strong words such as 'every' and 'all' should raise red flags for necessary assumption questions, could words such as 'sometimes' raise red flags for weaken/strengthen questions that are looking for the answer choice that MOST weakens/strengthens?

For example, PT 46.2.22

Laser printer drums are easily damaged...

I thought of the core to be like this:

P: Nick drums on laser printers produce a blemish on paper
C: We can trace which printer was used by matching the the blemish with the nick

I got the question right, but I'm a little skeptical of my process of how I eliminated (D).

I thought that (D) could weaken the argument because if the blemishes were concealed, then it would be nearly impossible to match the "blemished" paper back to the printer. But since (D) stated that only 'sometimes' the blemishes are concealed, I eliminated it because it was a 'weak weakener'. Is this enough to get rid of (D), or is there another reason why (D) is wrong?

Thanks!

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:49 pm

akechi wrote:Hi Christine,

I am revisiting Necessary Assumption questions and wanted to ask a question about a specific sub-type of N/A questions. My question is about conditional premises / conclusions that occur in Necessary Assumption questions.

Here are a few questions to serve as references: PT20-S4-Q1 (Popularity of comedians), PT23-S3-Q9 (Walking rather than driving), and PT10-S4-Q8 (Useful chemicals from plants).

Conditionalality in Necessary Assumption questions:
I have been noticing a trend / pattern whenever I see conditional key-players in N/A questions. If we are given a conditional premise or conclusion the correct answer choice will usually either:

1. Uphold the possibility of the occurrence of the sufficient trigger.
2. Show that the sufficient condition does in fact guarantee the necessary condition / show that the negation of the conditional cannot happen.

Is this an okay way to categorize conditionals in N/A questions?

I don't want to waste your time with an in-depth breakdown of the stimuli of each question, so here is the quick and dirty of the relevant portions:

In PT23-S3-Q9, the conclusion is set up as a standard conditional if P -> Q. The correct answer ( E ) is necessary because it directly states that there are people who drive instead of walking all the time, thereby establishing that the suggestion offered in the stimulus is still applicable / possible. If people never drove and walked all the time, then the suggestion would no longer be a possibility, because people are already walking all the time and a reduction of pollution has not occurred.

This is a case where pattern 1 leads us to the correct answer.

In PT20-S4-Q1, the conditional is given to us as a premise. When people fail to do X, it forms the basis for Y. Therefore, current popularity of Y is hardly surprising. In order to arrive at the conclusion, we need to assume that X in fact does occur, at least sometimes, otherwise, we could not use the given premise as support for the conclusion. This is a very simplified version of the core, and may not perfectly capture the essence of it, but this is the method I used to arrive at the correct answer fairly quickly.

In PT10-S4-Q8, the conclusion is given as a semi-weird conditional:
If we want to ensure that we still have useful chemicals from plants for future use,
Then we must make more serious efforts to preserve our natural resources.

The correct AC says that triggering the sufficient condition will not lead to a contradiction, or can we roughly translate answer choice ( E ) to saying that ~(A -> B) is NOT the case (i.e. denying that negation of the conditional)?

Is there something that I am missing or mis-applying in my analysis?


Some really interesting thoughts, here akechi! There are definitely some patterns that replay again and again in arguments with conditionals in them, but I'd caution you not to be too aggressive in limiting the categories.

Let's talk about PT20-S4-Q1 first. This is a classic situation with a premise-conditional and a conclusion-fact. This happens all the time! On a fundamental level, in order to connect that premise-conditional to the conclusion-fact, we need a starter fact that trips the conditional-premise so that we land on the result of that conditional as a fact!

For example, if we had:
    PREMISE: If I go dancing Friday, then I'll be tired on Saturday
    CONCLUSION: I will be tired on Saturday

Then I'd need to actually trigger that conditional! I must be assuming that I WILL go dancing Friday! You can and should get very comfortable with this premise-conditional, conclusion-fact structure.

Now, PT23-S3-Q9 is a bit different. This particular question is probably most efficiently attacked just by getting a solid understanding of what they are talking about, without resorting fully to conditional logic relationships, but it does harbor a not-uncommon structure. We have a premise-conditional AND a conclusion-conditional. Usually we see this pattern in Sufficient Assumption questions, but this is a Necessary Assumption question, and that change the game a bit.

In either case, we want to support a conditional conclusion, and we're given some conditionals that help us get part of the way there, leaving one or more gaps. In a Sufficient Assumption question, we'd only have one gap, and filling it would render the argument valid. Consider if we had
    PREMISE: If A, then B
    If B, then C
    If D, then E

    CONCLUSION: If A, then E
Our missing piece is If C, then D.
Image

But imagine if we had this argument instead:
    PREMISE: If B, then C
    CONCLUSION: If A, then D

We still need to get from A to D for this argument to be valid. But now we have TWO gaps: If A, then B AND if C, then D. This question *couldn't* be a Sufficient Assumption question, because there's more than one gap - just filling one of them wouldn't get the entire job done, because we need to do both. So, for a Necessary Assumption question, either connection would be a good answer.

For PT23-S3-Q9, the correct answer is essentially the If A, then B type. One key that really helps unravel this one is fully understanding the premise-conditional. It's not just talking about choosing walking, it's really talking about SWITCHING from driving to walking. It would be clearer if it had been written as "If a person switches from walking to driving..... In order to make the If A, then B type connection here, we need to assume that [if people walk whenever feasible], there will then be people [switching from driving to walking].

Notice that we could have attacked the If C, then D side of this argument as well - there's a disconnect between [one less vehicle for every person switching the choice] and [pollution GREATLY reduced]. So, this argument is actually assuming there will be enough of those switches to result in a significant reduction in pollution. But, since we're looking for a Necessary Assumption only, we don't need to worry about this still-unfilled gap.

The premise-conditional & conclusion-conditional Necessary Assumption structure tends to be a lot more difficult to see intuitively than the premise-conditional & fact-conclusion structure.

Now, lastly, PT10-S4-Q8. This is honestly just a weird question. I don't mean to dismiss it, and you should certainly spend time with the reasoning here, but this is not a classic or standard pattern for a core or question. In essence, your analysis is correct that he has to be assuming his own conditional is not itself a catch-22. If we NEED to preserve the plants forever in order to use them as chemicals, and if using them as chemicals would destroy our ability to preserve them, then we're never going to be able to actually use them as chemicals.

It's sort of like saying "If you want to be happy, you need to become a millionaire." For that plan to work, I must be assuming that the whatever it takes to become a millionaire won't automatically make me unhappy.

This kind of catch-22 doesn't show up all that often, so, while it's super interesting, I wouldn't lock it away as a critical repeated conditional pattern.

I'm so glad that you are continuing to look deeper into the analysis of these questions for patterns and common structures. I'm curious to hear what you think of all this!

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:33 pm

evolution wrote:Just like how strong words such as 'every' and 'all' should raise red flags for necessary assumption questions, could words such as 'sometimes' raise red flags for weaken/strengthen questions that are looking for the answer choice that MOST weakens/strengthens?

For example, PT 46.2.22

Laser printer drums are easily damaged...

I thought of the core to be like this:

P: Nick drums on laser printers produce a blemish on paper
C: We can trace which printer was used by matching the the blemish with the nick

I got the question right, but I'm a little skeptical of my process of how I eliminated (D).

I thought that (D) could weaken the argument because if the blemishes were concealed, then it would be nearly impossible to match the "blemished" paper back to the printer. But since (D) stated that only 'sometimes' the blemishes are concealed, I eliminated it because it was a 'weak weakener'. Is this enough to get rid of (D), or is there another reason why (D) is wrong?

Thanks!


Great question, evolution!

While you're right that 'sometimes' is weaker than 'often', that's a really dangerous way to think about the answer choices. There are myriad weakeners that use 'sometimes', and tons of incorrect answers that use 'all' or 'most' or 'often'. Even if we changed the 'sometimes' to 'often' in (D), it would still not be a great weakener. The real difference between (C) and (D) lies in the specifics of the thing that sometimes happens.

Let's look at the thing in (D) that might sometimes make our life more difficult: sometimes, the characters on a particular page might obscure the blemish, meaning that we can't even begin to track down the printer. But let's take a careful look at our conclusion - did it say "whenever there's a suspicious document, we can totes trace it to its printer"? No! It said something a tad more careful: "in matching a blemish on a page with a nick on a drum". This conclusion is really saying that WHEN we match a blemish to a nick, we can trace the document to the printer. Since the conclusion only applies to situations where we can match a blemish to a nick, bringing up a situation where we can't even see the blemish doesn't damage the conclusion at all! The conclusion wouldn't apply to that situation!

Now, let's take a look at (C) - here, the thing that makes our life more difficult is that even after we've seen the blemish, determined it's size and shape, and tracked down a perfectly matching drum.....we still can't be sure that's the right drum. Rats.

Because the content of (D) takes us out of the scope of the conclusion entirely, the strength of language here cannot matter. Even if (D) has used the word 'often', and (C) had used the word 'sometimes', (C) would still be correct.

You were wise to be wary of the over-reliance on the signaling of the keywords 'often' and 'sometimes' - when we allow ourselves to disengage from the complete meaning of an answer choice, and lean too heavily on keywords, we leave ourselves vulnerable to traps of unexpected syntax.

What do you think? I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this!

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:03 pm

h3jk5h wrote:Wow, I'm glad I found this thread.

I really enjoy reading Christine's posts regarding macro-level LSAT nuances, such as improving self-awareness.

I'm going to write a little confession here for my own benefit.

This entire LSAT process is not just about developing skill-sets and good habits, it's also about being absolutely honest with yourself about your shortcomings. In order to win this war, I must first win battles against my inner demons.

Some of my inner dialogues during LSAT prep:

"I got this question right, YES! I don't want to expend more time and effort into a question I already got right, I'm not exactly sure why answer choice B is wrong, but whatever, I already got it right based on good instincts, moving on." SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS

"I got this question wrong because the LSAT makers made that deceptive answer choice to fool me like what they try do all the time, so it's not entirely my fault." EGO PROTECTION

"57/72 on Level 2 Necessary Assumption Packets. I'm done. I don't even want to review this, this is too embarrassing. I've always been an exceptional test-taker in my undergrad, what is happening to me... This is so frustrating. This is so shameful." SELF-SABOTAGE

"I misread the stimulus again! I'm so prone to silly errors! Arhhh!" FRUSTRATION

"I still can't understand the argument core of the stimulus after 10 minutes of starring at it during review. I refuse to move on to the next question so I can review it later with a fresh perspective. I refuse to let go!" RELUCTANCE

"Will I ever achieve my target score? Is hard work sufficient? What's my 'ceiling'?" SELF-DOUBT


I definitely need to approach the LSAT with a tranquil mind and a patient outlook, and not allow my emotions to get in my way. It takes mental maturity and self-understanding, which I severely lack. It's so much easier to go into self-denial rather than mere acceptance.

The LSAT is teaching me something about life.


What a wonderful post, h3jk5h, and awesome set of realizations!

Here's the good news - the very fact that you are able to start seeing a number of these things means that you actually have more self-awareness than you might have thought. The most critical foundational element for improvement on the LSAT is the willingness to turn the camera around and take an honest look at your own thought processes. You're already starting to do that.

I think the most destructive, and most common one, that we face in studying LSAT is the one that you labeled "short-sightedness" -- that one is driven, I find, mostly by our need to feel that we've accomplished something, to get the reward, the pat on the back, and have that reinforcement that we are doing well at this task.

It pops up more insidiously when we review our incorrect answers. When you see out someone else's explanation for why the right answer is right and your answer is wrong, and you find yourself saying "okay, fine, I guess I see why A is right, sure", you've just short-circuited the learning process. We have a shocking ability to convince ourselves of whatever we want - when we know the correct answer, we'll jump through all kinds of hoops, mentally, to make ourselves believe that we get it. Once again, the reward is the sense of accomplishment, the feeling of having covered some ground. But we're just fabricating false understanding to get the carrot.

It's an incredibly dangerous thing, as it cuts you off from true understanding. Genuine engagement with the material requires that we give ourselves permission to say "Nope, still don't freaking get it" - and that is surprisingly difficult to do. And even then, it must be with the mindset of "I don't get this, and I'm going to keep wearing this down until it becomes clear to me" and not the defeatist mindset of "I don't get this, I'll never get it" or the combative mindset of "I don't get this, the LSAT is arbitrary and mean".

Keep with the self-introspection! :)

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby MattM » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:49 pm

What are the major differences between the MLSAT 3rd edition LR Guide and the new 4th edition?…..I purchased the third edition and may consider buying the fourth depending on how much is different. I would be interested in knowing the similarities and differences between the two books

Are the practice problems it gives you the same as the third ed or different?

Thanks!

MattM
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby MattM » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:41 pm

Sorry for all the questions, but what do the online study resources include?….Im thinking of when would be the best time to put those into my study but want to be careful as to when I do so since there is only a year of access ( I'm planning on Sept or Dec LSAT of this year but may sit out a cycle if I need to and take the LSAT in 2015 to improve my chances of better schools depending on what offers I receive )

Thanks!

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Manhattan LSAT Noah
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:13 pm

MattM wrote:Sorry for all the questions, but what do the online study resources include?….Im thinking of when would be the best time to put those into my study but want to be careful as to when I do so since there is only a year of access ( I'm planning on Sept or Dec LSAT of this year but may sit out a cycle if I need to and take the LSAT in 2015 to improve my chances of better schools depending on what offers I receive )

Thanks!

Hi Matt,

No worries. Other than a bit of house-cleaning, LR 3rd edition is pretty much the same as the 4th. So, if you have the 3rd, or if some guy in a trench coat offers you a cheap copy, go right ahead and use it. If a few typos are going to distract you, then grab the 4th instead.

The 4th edition RC got a major overhaul though--so for that one, reject that shady guy's offer and go and get the newer edition.

The online resources include the first session of LSAT Interact and then a bunch of downloads, including a bunch of online drills. You should be fine within those 6 months, because the first session of LSAT Interact should be done pretty early in your prep and the downloads can be downloaded well ahead of when your access will expire.

Welcome aboard!

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Manhattan LSAT Noah
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:17 pm

Also, I meant to post this solution to PT72 G4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n--2YUE ... e=youtu.be

Christine probably wouldn't feel comfortable posting it since she's the star!

TrunksFan1
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby TrunksFan1 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:08 am

Hello MLSAT, I wish I had thought of taking a course with you guys earlier in the summer. I am looking at the current calendars for the NYC area, and it seems that the most recent courses will drift in to September, during which time I will be back at Uni. I found only one live course being offered near my college at some point in the fall, and I am very eager to put the money down.

While browsing your website, I noticed that MLSAT students would have access to all of the previously administered LSATs. I loved everything else I read about MLSAT, but That is a HUGE selling point for me. How long would a student have access to these practice exams upon completion of one of your LSAT courses?

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:53 am

TrunksFan1 wrote:Hello MLSAT, I wish I had thought of taking a course with you guys earlier in the summer. I am looking at the current calendars for the NYC area, and it seems that the most recent courses will drift in to September, during which time I will be back at Uni. I found only one live course being offered near my college at some point in the fall, and I am very eager to put the money down.

While browsing your website, I noticed that MLSAT students would have access to all of the previously administered LSATs. I loved everything else I read about MLSAT, but That is a HUGE selling point for me. How long would a student have access to these practice exams upon completion of one of your LSAT courses?



Thanks for asking, TrunksFan1!

You're right that our courses for the September exam tend to end in September, and this is actually true for even the courses that began earlier in the summer. We find that it's generally best to have the structure and cohesion of the course until within 2 weeks or so of the exam to ensure maximum focus and a solid path! However, that does pose a practical problem for someone in your situation!

Another thing to consider, if the schedule of the live classes doesn't end up working out for you, is the online live classes - they are the exact same curriculum and structure as our in-person classes, they are simply taught in the Blackboard online learning environment (shared whiteboard, shared audio discussion). It feels a bit different than sitting in a physical classroom, but it's an engaging experience regardless!

As for your question, students have access to all of their online resources for 9 months from the last day of class, so you have *plenty* of time to take advantage of not only the released PrepTests, but all of the useful online materials, including LSAT Interact lessons, class-on-demand recordings, targeted labs, etc.

Please let me know if you have any other questions about any of those materials. We look forward to seeing you in class in the fall!

TrunksFan1
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby TrunksFan1 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:29 pm

Thank You! Regarding the practice tests, would we be able to print these tests at your facilities?

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:15 pm

TrunksFan1 wrote:Thank You! Regarding the practice tests, would we be able to print these tests at your facilities?


I'm afraid we don't offer printing services at the center - if we did, I think we'd have to set aside a printer that would do nothing but print LSATs all day long, every day!! If you don't have a printer, you can easily print documents like the LSATs at a local copy/print shop. That's probably the easiest solution!

I should also point out, though, that when you enroll, you get two (physical) books in additional to the LR, RC, and LG strategy guides: 10 Real LSATs Grouped by Question Type, and 15 Real Recent LSATs. The former is all the PTs in the 40s, categorized for drilling by question type. The latter is PTs 56-70, printed as full length exams (complete with an "experimental" section that we pulled from an early LSAT).

You may find, because you have those two books, that you don't need to print out as many exams as you might have expected. :)

TrunksFan1
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby TrunksFan1 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:13 pm

Thank you for the information Christine! That seems like a fair compromise to me! Looking forward to signing with MLSAT.

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flash21
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby flash21 » Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:56 pm

Hey Manhattan ,

I was wondering whether or not you guys invalidate all questions on LG sections. My current strategy is on could be true questions, if I come across the right answer whether that is A or E, I'll select it and move on, because if it could be true then its correct. But for must be true I'll go through all of the answer choices to make sure it isn't just a could be true.

Hope this makes sense and look forward to getting your thoughts.

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:47 pm

flash21 wrote:Hey Manhattan ,

I was wondering whether or not you guys invalidate all questions on LG sections. My current strategy is on could be true questions, if I come across the right answer whether that is A or E, I'll select it and move on, because if it could be true then its correct. But for must be true I'll go through all of the answer choices to make sure it isn't just a could be true.

Hope this makes sense and look forward to getting your thoughts.



Interesting question, flash21!

I actually have sort of the opposite reaction to CBTs and MBTs. When you look at a MBT question, you're right that if A *could* be true, that doesn't necessarily make it the right answer. But if you go through all 5 answer choices, and come up with 2 or 3 that *could* be true, what do you do then? How do you figure out which of those three is the MUST be true?

I actually think you might need to shift your mindset a bit on these.

MUST BE TRUE questions
Sometimes, the MBT answer is something we've already got in our master diagram, and that's always nice when that happens. But if it doesn't, we're going to have to test out answer choices. Testing whether the answer choice could work is essentially useless, as that doesn't tell me whether it MUST be true.

But if only one of the answer choices MUST be true, that means that it's possible for each of the other answer choices to be false - essentially, those answer choices COULD BE FALSE. So, if I try to make an answer choice false, and I can get away with it somehow, then it could be false. But if I make it false, and the game blows up in my face no matter what I do, then that answer choice was a must be true.

Imagine that J must be in slot 3 in a game, but we hadn't made that inference. If that's true, then if we attempt to put J on any other slot, the game should break. So, the most efficient process for proving a MBT is to try to make it false - the answer that breaks the game when you do, no matter how you do it, is your must-be-true!

So, here, as soon as we find the MBT, we can stop (as long as we're confident we've done it correctly). Only one answer is going to blow up the game in all circumstances when we break it.

COULD BE TRUE questions
Could be true questions are a slightly different beast, primarily because of how we process definitive and ambiguous information. It's hard to prove that something simply MIGHT be true, most of the time.

Now, just like with MBTs, there are times when the 'could-be-ness' of an particular answer choice is obvious from the diagram you've made, and there's just no debate. (For instance, A/B could go in 1/2 either order, while C, D, E, and F are locked in to slots 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively. An answer choice that says "A is immediately before C" is quite clearly a could be true.) Or, occasionally, you'll see that one of the answers was clearly possible from some prior hypo that you have. In those situations, the right answer has leapt out, and since only once CAN be true, that has to be the only answer.

But when you don't have those foundations to build on, proving that something is a possibility is actually quite difficult. What I usually see students do is something like this: "Well, if I put X here, then I guess I could put Y here......and hm....I think that would mean that Z had to go in one of these two places.....but that's okay, right? Hm.....OH, and Q would have to go over here....but....that's okay too, isn't it? Hm.....I think this would be okay......unless I'm forgetting something.....am I forgetting something? ......Hm.....did I make all the inferences?.....nothing's jumping out at me......seems like it could work...."

The above takes as long as that sounds, and it's extraordinarily inefficient. Our brains prefer certainty, and proving that something is a mere possibility is kind of difficult for us to accept. We keep wondering if we got all the inferences, or if we missed a rule, etc. The far more efficient path is to once again, consider the characteristics of the incorrect answers. If only one could be true, all the rest MUST BE FALSE. And that means that they are rule violators - a concrete thing I can hold onto!

So, if (A) appears to be possible, I don't try to prove it to myself - that just takes too long, and I'm still skeptical even after playing it all the way out. Instead, I say "Meh, looks alright, let's come back to it." Ideally, then I'll hit (B), begin to play it out mentally and see quickly that it breaks a rule. All the wrong answers will *generally* speaking make their rule violations obvious within a move or two. Once I've efficiently identified that B-E all violate rules in an indisputable way, then I can confidently pick (A), without worrying if I missed an inference along the way.

So, on CBTs, I always check every answer choice, because I'm more interested in ELIMINATING rule violators than I am interested in convincing myself of a mere possibility.


Things that MUST BE are easier to see than things that simply COULD BE (most of the time)
The upshot of all of this is that I'm generally looking for the concrete answers - whether those are the correct or incorrect answers. For MBT, I'm looking for the correct answer, the only I'm locked into having, and if I try to avoid it, the game breaks. For CBT, I'm looking for the WRONG answers, the must-be-FALSEs that violate rules. If I have a 'could-be-false' question, then again, I'm looking for the WRONG answers (the must-be-trues). And if I even see a 'must be false' question, I'm looking for the correct answer, the one single rule violator on the table.

As a result, if there's only supposed to be a single MBT or MBF, I might stop when I reach it if I'm feeling very crunched for time (though I check all answers if I have time, for safety's sake). But for CBT/CBF questions, since I am focused on eliminating WRONG answers, I always check all the answers (if I'm not using prior work).

Inefficient choices on how to organize our efforts on the questions themselves is a major source of time drag for students on games, I find. Even if you are doing the most amazing diagrams ever, making snappy inferences, etc, you can take entirely too long on any game by moving through the questions inefficiently.

What do you think?

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby flash21 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:14 pm

Christine (MLSAT) wrote:
flash21 wrote:Hey Manhattan ,

I was wondering whether or not you guys invalidate all questions on LG sections. My current strategy is on could be true questions, if I come across the right answer whether that is A or E, I'll select it and move on, because if it could be true then its correct. But for must be true I'll go through all of the answer choices to make sure it isn't just a could be true.

Hope this makes sense and look forward to getting your thoughts.



Interesting question, flash21!

I actually have sort of the opposite reaction to CBTs and MBTs. When you look at a MBT question, you're right that if A *could* be true, that doesn't necessarily make it the right answer. But if you go through all 5 answer choices, and come up with 2 or 3 that *could* be true, what do you do then? How do you figure out which of those three is the MUST be true?

I actually think you might need to shift your mindset a bit on these.

MUST BE TRUE questions
Sometimes, the MBT answer is something we've already got in our master diagram, and that's always nice when that happens. But if it doesn't, we're going to have to test out answer choices. Testing whether the answer choice could work is essentially useless, as that doesn't tell me whether it MUST be true.

But if only one of the answer choices MUST be true, that means that it's possible for each of the other answer choices to be false - essentially, those answer choices COULD BE FALSE. So, if I try to make an answer choice false, and I can get away with it somehow, then it could be false. But if I make it false, and the game blows up in my face no matter what I do, then that answer choice was a must be true.

Imagine that J must be in slot 3 in a game, but we hadn't made that inference. If that's true, then if we attempt to put J on any other slot, the game should break. So, the most efficient process for proving a MBT is to try to make it false - the answer that breaks the game when you do, no matter how you do it, is your must-be-true!

So, here, as soon as we find the MBT, we can stop (as long as we're confident we've done it correctly). Only one answer is going to blow up the game in all circumstances when we break it.

COULD BE TRUE questions
Could be true questions are a slightly different beast, primarily because of how we process definitive and ambiguous information. It's hard to prove that something simply MIGHT be true, most of the time.

Now, just like with MBTs, there are times when the 'could-be-ness' of an particular answer choice is obvious from the diagram you've made, and there's just no debate. (For instance, A/B could go in 1/2 either order, while C, D, E, and F are locked in to slots 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively. An answer choice that says "A is immediately before C" is quite clearly a could be true.) Or, occasionally, you'll see that one of the answers was clearly possible from some prior hypo that you have. In those situations, the right answer has leapt out, and since only once CAN be true, that has to be the only answer.

But when you don't have those foundations to build on, proving that something is a possibility is actually quite difficult. What I usually see students do is something like this: "Well, if I put X here, then I guess I could put Y here......and hm....I think that would mean that Z had to go in one of these two places.....but that's okay, right? Hm.....OH, and Q would have to go over here....but....that's okay too, isn't it? Hm.....I think this would be okay......unless I'm forgetting something.....am I forgetting something? ......Hm.....did I make all the inferences?.....nothing's jumping out at me......seems like it could work...."

The above takes as long as that sounds, and it's extraordinarily inefficient. Our brains prefer certainty, and proving that something is a mere possibility is kind of difficult for us to accept. We keep wondering if we got all the inferences, or if we missed a rule, etc. The far more efficient path is to once again, consider the characteristics of the incorrect answers. If only one could be true, all the rest MUST BE FALSE. And that means that they are rule violators - a concrete thing I can hold onto!

So, if (A) appears to be possible, I don't try to prove it to myself - that just takes too long, and I'm still skeptical even after playing it all the way out. Instead, I say "Meh, looks alright, let's come back to it." Ideally, then I'll hit (B), begin to play it out mentally and see quickly that it breaks a rule. All the wrong answers will *generally* speaking make their rule violations obvious within a move or two. Once I've efficiently identified that B-E all violate rules in an indisputable way, then I can confidently pick (A), without worrying if I missed an inference along the way.

So, on CBTs, I always check every answer choice, because I'm more interested in ELIMINATING rule violators than I am interested in convincing myself of a mere possibility.


Things that MUST BE are easier to see than things that simply COULD BE (most of the time)
The upshot of all of this is that I'm generally looking for the concrete answers - whether those are the correct or incorrect answers. For MBT, I'm looking for the correct answer, the only I'm locked into having, and if I try to avoid it, the game breaks. For CBT, I'm looking for the WRONG answers, the must-be-FALSEs that violate rules. If I have a 'could-be-false' question, then again, I'm looking for the WRONG answers (the must-be-trues). And if I even see a 'must be false' question, I'm looking for the correct answer, the one single rule violator on the table.

As a result, if there's only supposed to be a single MBT or MBF, I might stop when I reach it if I'm feeling very crunched for time (though I check all answers if I have time, for safety's sake). But for CBT/CBF questions, since I am focused on eliminating WRONG answers, I always check all the answers (if I'm not using prior work).

Inefficient choices on how to organize our efforts on the questions themselves is a major source of time drag for students on games, I find. Even if you are doing the most amazing diagrams ever, making snappy inferences, etc, you can take entirely too long on any game by moving through the questions inefficiently.

What do you think?


Christine!

Thanks. I always feel a bit unsure about selecting an answer choice on LG without checking all of them, so I think I'll do what you've suggested, which is hunt out the WRONG answer choices instead. I guess I'm just trying to find that fine line between knowing when its smart to just pick one and move on and when checking all of the choices is the best move. LG is unique in that sometimes you can NOT check all the answer choices and be pretty sure you're right, which is where my uncertainty comes from. LR and RC - I'd never think to just read one or two of the choices and pick it.

I guess you mentioned if youre feeling crunched for time, you'll not check them all and move on. What about CBT questions that you've placed the variable down in the spot and ran through your rules making sure they are all "checked off" (which is essentially what I've been doing for CBT's) and then selecting the answer?

If you believe its mostly best to check them all, I'll do it - the only reason I ask is because of the prior mentioned points about how LG is unique on the LSAT in this respect, but also I always feel this time pressure, even when drilling that influences my decision not to check the bad answer choices. It make me wonder if I'm being insistent on not checking all of the answer choices because I desperately want to get the game done as fast as possible, but I find sometimes I'm doing this at my own detriment.

Thanks!

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:24 am

Hmmm, I think you might want to re-read my post just a tad more carefully. :)

I look for the wrong answers specifically on CBTs (and CBFs), specifically because it is easier to prove the concrete. In those situations the wrong answers are concrete (MBF or MBT), while the correct answer is just a possibility. I find that even when you put the variable in and run through all the rules and it appears to be possible, you're still left with a nagging doubt about whether you might have missed an inference that would kill it, or if it really is possible. But the wrong answers are clear and definitive rule violators (for MBF). For this reason, I find that NOT checking every answer on a CBT is dangerous, unless that CBT is clear and obvious from the master diagram, or clearly exists in a prior hypo.

But on MBTs, I hunt for the RIGHT answer. This is the situation where if you are crunched for time finding the right answer is good enough, because if every way that you try to avoid the MBT, the game breaks, then you know for certain that it must be true!

But even with MBTs, I do advise checking all the answers if at all possible, as people often *do* catch their own errors that way. It is a trade off with speed, and you'll simply have to decide how often that trade off works better for you. You should always be doing deep analysis of your performance on games after the fact, so you should know if you are consistently missing questions because you did not check every answer on MBTs!

Does that make sense?


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