Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

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CocoSunshine
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby CocoSunshine » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:02 am

I was reviewing PT43, S2, Q18 on your great forum (http://www.manhattanlsat.com/forums/q18 ... 67c7badbc8) and got a general question:

Can we see a definition (A is B) as a conditional statement? Since A guarantees B, I assume yes. Then can we view a definition as a bi-conditional? I think so because, since A is different from others by definition, there should be a one-to-one relation between A and B, which forms a bi-conditional statement.

There is already some discussion in the original thread. Would like to have your input as well. Thanks in advance.

HeirCroc
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby HeirCroc » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:21 pm

Christine,

Thanks for the great help as always. You essentially explained my reasoning but made it much more explicit. I think it is a very interesting question/AC because I'd never seen a justified term-shift, or at least not one that initially jumped out at me as 'look, that's probably illegitimate'. Furthermore, I'd never explicitly considered the specific-to-general dynamic before, but on some level I intuitively grasped it/saw it when I was reviewing, so it was easy for me to relate to what you were saying. But you cleared it up greatly.

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:36 am

MattM wrote:Hello,

I'm having a difficult time seeing my RC scores improve and I feel pretty solid on both LG and LR so I was considering purchasing the RC strategy guide to help me improve there as Im missing 8-10 questions there.

In addition to strategies and tips how many full length LSAT passages are contained in the book to help me practice?

Thanks!


Thanks for asking, MattM, and sorry that I didn't get to your question until now!

I'm looking into the exact number that are included, but while I'm obtaining that information, I just wanted to stress to you that all of the included LSAT passages are 'embedded' in the practice/guidance of the chapters. The book was not designed to have copious amounts of unguided practice, so each passage that is included is often in the midst of advice and a directed exercise, and followed by extensive explanation/more guidance. In essence, you should think of the RC book as a "working book", where you'll be reading about a tactic/strategy, then applying it directly in a guided setting. Many of those exercises are LSAT passages, but some are created exercises meant to develop certain 'micro-skills' that you will then combine together on full passages.

You should absolutely plan to supplement the experience of the RC book with application to more passages in full RC sections from PrepTests.

I'll get back to you soon with an estimate on how many full length passages are embedded in the book!

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flash21
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby flash21 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:27 am

Hi guys I'm taking in December. When should I start pts?

HeirCroc
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby HeirCroc » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:36 am

PT 23 Section 3 Question 10.

I understand what B (TCR) is saying and why it is correct. But there's a few things bothering me about this question. First, doesn't B assume more walkers = less congestion? As I type this, I'm realizing that if this stimulus applies to every road and driver in the world, it obviously totally sensible to say less drivers (if we assume that whenever it is feasible to walk = a lot of people walking more) means less congestion.

Still, it seems like if C is true it would strengthen the argument that a walker = less pollution, regardless of which type of car is not on the road. Is this AC wrong because it is merely a 'premise booster'?

thanks for your time

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:01 pm

Christine (MLSAT) wrote:
MattM wrote:Hello,

I'm having a difficult time seeing my RC scores improve and I feel pretty solid on both LG and LR so I was considering purchasing the RC strategy guide to help me improve there as Im missing 8-10 questions there.

In addition to strategies and tips how many full length LSAT passages are contained in the book to help me practice?

Thanks!


Thanks for asking, MattM, and sorry that I didn't get to your question until now!

I'm looking into the exact number that are included, but while I'm obtaining that information, I just wanted to stress to you that all of the included LSAT passages are 'embedded' in the practice/guidance of the chapters. The book was not designed to have copious amounts of unguided practice, so each passage that is included is often in the midst of advice and a directed exercise, and followed by extensive explanation/more guidance. In essence, you should think of the RC book as a "working book", where you'll be reading about a tactic/strategy, then applying it directly in a guided setting. Many of those exercises are LSAT passages, but some are created exercises meant to develop certain 'micro-skills' that you will then combine together on full passages.

You should absolutely plan to supplement the experience of the RC book with application to more passages in full RC sections from PrepTests.

I'll get back to you soon with an estimate on how many full length passages are embedded in the book!


It looks like there are roughly 25 RC passages that are included in exercises throughout the book. Some of these are edited a bit for the purpose of a particularly exercise, and some of them have twisted questions instead of or in addition to the regular questions, again for the purpose of particular exercises.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions about the RC book!

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:30 pm

flash21 wrote:Hi guys I'm taking in December. When should I start pts?


I generally advise people that they should ALWAYS being "doing pts", it's just that the relative frequency of those PTs changes over time. During the beginning phases of your prep, for instance, you might only take a PT every once in a while as a 'check in' on certain progress, and a reminder of what the overall feel of a full-length really is.

As you start building up a broader and broader foundational base of comprehension from both targeting by question type and deep/thorough review, you'll want to start increasing the frequency with which you both 1) do full timed sections and 2) full PTs. The goal at this point is primarily to get control of your time management, and practice executing good process even under the pressure of the clock. This is actually more fruitfully accomplished with timed sections, but PTs have their place in this phase as well.

As you get closer to the exam, you'll want to build up your endurance/stamina. The LSAT is long, and full of terrors, and you'll want to be ready to be as mentally sharp at the end of the 5th section as you were at the beginning, even with the nerves and test day weirdnesses.

So, you see, ideally you never really "begin" PTing, because it's always an element of your practice, we just shift its prioritization. You also never *stop* drilling, and you most assuredly never stop REVIEWING!

All that being said, what you should do is lay out the calendar and work backwards from Test Day, marking out where it would make sense to take PTs. One reasonable plan would be to take 2 PTs a week for the month of November, 1 PT a week for the month of October, and 1 every 2 weeks for the rest of August/September. You'll have to tweak this schedule to make the most sense for you though (and I'm happy to help you with that).

For example, the above plan has you completing about 15 exams as full lengths. If you have already decided that you'd like to do all the 50s, 60s, and 70s as full lengths, you will have more preptests than are scheduled. I wouldn't try to cram them into the schedule if you don't really have time for them all. One general rule is that you should NEVER, under any circumstances, take more PTs than you have adequate time to perform deep and thorough review for (alongside any other drilling and timed-section work you've scheduled for yourself).

Instead, what you might do is use some of those exams as "experimentals". If you take all the November exams as SIX section exams instead of 5 section, AND you use modern tests as experimentals, that would mean that you'll complete 12 PTs in the month of November instead of just 8. (I.e., in one week instead of doing PT 61 and 62, you'll do PT61+1/2 of PT63, then PT62+1/2 of PT63). This type of plan also has the benefit of making your experimentals really matter, as you'll score the full exam as soon as you've completed all the sections.

At any rate, there are lots of tweaks you can make, but the most important things are 1) don't put off beginning taking full lengths until right before the exam and 2) whenever you begin, don't start just doing preptest after preptest without significant reflection and analysis.

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Fri Aug 22, 2014 3:35 pm

CocoSunshine wrote:I was reviewing PT43, S2, Q18 on your great forum (http://www.manhattanlsat.com/forums/q18 ... 67c7badbc8) and got a general question:

Can we see a definition (A is B) as a conditional statement? Since A guarantees B, I assume yes. Then can we view a definition as a bi-conditional? I think so because, since A is different from others by definition, there should be a one-to-one relation between A and B, which forms a bi-conditional statement.

There is already some discussion in the original thread. Would like to have your input as well. Thanks in advance.


This is a fascinating question, CocoSunshine.

I think that this raises something that is critical to understand about the LSAT. While the LSAT does employ a great deal of precision the use of language, it does not reduce all language down simple mathematical translations of words. The LSAT does rely on how we actually use language most of the time. There are a few notable exceptions to this: I would argue that the real-life usage of the word "some" often implies "not all" in real life, and clearly the LSAT uses a more strict definition of the term where we can never assume "not all" without an additional indicator.

Imagine if I told you that some of my cats were striped. If you found out later that in fact, ALL of my cats were striped, you'd probably think I was being weird to say "some". There are other real-life situation where "some", in context, would not imply anything about the whole. If I were trying to determine who had cats in my apartment building, and I found out that my neighbors had a cat, I might then say "well, I know that some of the neighbors have cats", and you'd accept that it's still possible that all of them do. In that context, it's clear we don't have any information about the rest yet, but "some" is a totally valid thing to say. So, in real life, "some" has two different implications, depending on the context. The LSAT has eliminated this ambiguity, and uses "some" only in the way that does not imply "not all".

Another example of this ambiguity-elimination is in the use of the word "or". When the waiter asks you if you'd like soup or salad with your lunch special, you know that he does not mean "or both". However, when I say that I can do the project if I have enough time or enough money, having both time and money would be awesome too. Once again, the LSAT has restricted the use of "or" to mean the latter, so we can trust that "or" always implies "or both".

But the LSAT has NOT applied the same control to the verb "to be". There are times when the "to be" verb implies essentially a conditional relationship. ("Plants are lacking a nervous system" could be expressed If plant --> no nervous system). However, we employ the "to be" verb in definitions, exactly as you point out. For instance, "An earring is a piece of jewelry worn on the lobe or edge of the ear" tells me that if something is an earring, then it has those characteristics, but it also tells me that if something has those characteristics, it is properly called "an earring".

Let's look at a pair of sentences:
    Sculpture is art!
    Sculpture is the art of making two- or three-dimensional representative or abstract forms, especially by carving stone or wood or by casting metal or plaster.

The first one is quite clearly NOT a definition or bi-conditional. But the second one gives a robust, and presumably complete definition of what sculpture is. This would allow us to properly conclude that if we knew someone was creating 3D representational forms by carving stone, that that person was engaging in "sculpture".

The key usage distinction here is that a bi-conditional relationship only occurs when it's reasonable to think you are getting that complete definition.

In this question, the use of the phrase "nothing but" helps imply that we are getting that complete definition, but once again, this is not a math translation. If I say "Joe's books are nothing but trash", that does not create an expectation that "trash" is the complete definition, nor have we created a bi-conditional (I imagine there are a great many things that are "trash" that are NOT Joe's books.)

The tl;dr upshot here is that, yes, complete definitions do give us bi-conditionals, but the word "is" is not a guarantee that you've actually been given a complete definition.

In the question that you raise (PT43-2-18), we have to accept that we've been given such a definition in the stimulus in order for the correct answer to work. Could the LSAT have been slightly more clear/explicit, and given us a straight-up conditional signifier? Sure. But reading the language to give you a complete definition of propaganda is certainly not unreasonable. Even more importantly, there's no reasonable way to read anything in the stimulus that allows for any other answer choice to work.

The moral of the story, overall, is that the LSAT may use language in a way that goes against your personal preferences, but is nevertheless acceptable usage. If four answers are clearly unworkable with any reasonable interpretation, and one answer only works if you read the language in a certain, albeit reasonable, way - then they've done their job.

Would love to hear your further thoughts on this!

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:58 pm

HeirCroc wrote:PT 23 Section 3 Question 10.

I understand what B (TCR) is saying and why it is correct. But there's a few things bothering me about this question. First, doesn't B assume more walkers = less congestion? As I type this, I'm realizing that if this stimulus applies to every road and driver in the world, it obviously totally sensible to say less drivers (if we assume that whenever it is feasible to walk = a lot of people walking more) means less congestion.

Still, it seems like if C is true it would strengthen the argument that a walker = less pollution, regardless of which type of car is not on the road. Is this AC wrong because it is merely a 'premise booster'?

thanks for your time


Interesting points that you raise, HeirCroc.

First, I think you're right that on average, fewer drivers has to mean less congestion, simply by definition. However, it's not an unreasonable point to make that it may not be true in every case. For instance, imagine a county where so few cars were on the road at any given time that no one ever had to alter their driving in any way due to even minimal "congestion". In that particular county, fewer drivers would not have any impact on the "congestion".

But remember that a strengthener does have to guarantee the conclusion. It also doesn't need to strengthen the conclusion in every.single.possible scenario. If we were looking at an argument like this:

    PREMISE: I saw Patty in coming out of the gym on Tuesday
    CONCLUSION: She must have been wearing sneakers

A valid strengthener would be "If Patty has a zumba class, she is very likely to wear sneakers in and out of the gym." This doesn't guarantee the conclusion, and we don't know if Patty had a zumba class on Tuesday. But it still makes the conclusion a bit more likely to be valid than it would be otherwise. In some situations (zumba class), the conclusion is now more likely, and in others (no zumba class) there is absolutely no change. On average, we've increased the chances of the conclusion being true by increasing the chance in even just some of the potential situations.

**[Note that this is very different from a situation where the answer choice made the conclusion more likely in some situations, and yet less likely in other situations. That's not a valid strengthener OR weakener, as it could go either way and we don't know which is more likely.]

Okay, so now let's look at (C). You're orbiting the right ideas when you say that it's a premise booster. I think your confusion may stem from not having been careful in identifying the true argument core. The argument is NOT that "a walker = less pollution". We are flat out told that switching from driving to walking means less pollution (by way of having one less car on the road).

There are actually a few assumptions occurring in this argument, but the main leap to focus on here is that the author then argues that fewer drivers will greatly reduce pollution. From the the premise, I know that would reduce pollution, but greatly? How much would that need to be? Will we reduce it quite that much?

(B) steps in to add an additional whole category of pollution reduction to the column of "awesome things that walkers do" - and the more pollution reduction we have attributed to walkers, the more likely is the conclusion that "pollution will be greatly reduced."

However, (C) doesn't make it more or less likely that pollution will be greatly reduced. This just tells me that different walkers have different impacts - maybe they all cancel each other out, leaving a mediocre reduction in pollution. Or, maybe most of the walkers will be the great contributors, making it more likely that pollution will be greatly reduced. Or perhaps most of the walkers will be minimal contributors - making it less likely that the pollution will be greatly reduced.

I think if you had tapped on the breaks and carefully identified the argument core, noting in particular that the conclusion tells you that one new walker = less pollution, you would have had less trouble with this question!

Please let me know what you think!

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby HeirCroc » Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:44 pm

Christine,

thanks again for the help. I'll reply more thoroughly as soon as I can (currently reviewing a PT). Actually, I have a question from this PT! PT 66 LR 1 question 18.

Normally main conclusions are very easy for me, which is probably the case for most people who have the basic ability to identify argument components. This question was different though; I had never seen a stimulus like this with a seemingly unsupported conclusion (the last sentence of the stimulus), which I can only assume is a red herring planted by the LSAC.
During the question what happened was I originally chose TCR, but when I saw E, I reconsidered. I thought 'well, this is an opinion.. I guess it is a conclusion in the argument'. Under the pressure of time and probably due in great part to never having seen/noticed this dynamic in an argument, I convinced myself the other aspects of the argument supported E. But I see now nothing supports this statement. But it also doesn't really seem to be support for the conclusion!
I guess what I am interested to know is how you would characterize this statement. I pin it merely as an unsupported, stray opinion that is connected in subject matter to the argument, but is not pertinent to the argument logically. For the LSAC it seems to serve as a red herring.

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:45 pm

HeirCroc wrote:Christine,

thanks again for the help. I'll reply more thoroughly as soon as I can (currently reviewing a PT). Actually, I have a question from this PT! PT 66 LR 1 question 18.

Normally main conclusions are very easy for me, which is probably the case for most people who have the basic ability to identify argument components. This question was different though; I had never seen a stimulus like this with a seemingly unsupported conclusion (the last sentence of the stimulus), which I can only assume is a red herring planted by the LSAC.
During the question what happened was I originally chose TCR, but when I saw E, I reconsidered. I thought 'well, this is an opinion.. I guess it is a conclusion in the argument'. Under the pressure of time and probably due in great part to never having seen/noticed this dynamic in an argument, I convinced myself the other aspects of the argument supported E. But I see now nothing supports this statement. But it also doesn't really seem to be support for the conclusion!
I guess what I am interested to know is how you would characterize this statement. I pin it merely as an unsupported, stray opinion that is connected in subject matter to the argument, but is not pertinent to the argument logically. For the LSAC it seems to serve as a red herring.


Awesome question, HeirCroc!

So, I have to point out, first of all, that this is a Q18 - right in the hot zone! So, it's no surprise that it's a bit of a doozy. If they are going to stick a main conclusion question in the hot zone, you can bet your ass they are going to obscure the conclusion a fair bit.

This brings up a wonderful fundamental issue w/r/t breaking down argument cores. What is a conclusion exactly? You might say "it's an opinion", but that's meh, because we use opinions all the time as premises. What defines a premise? If I say "Mary is super cool", is that a premise or a conclusion? Well, it depends! In the argument "Mary is super cool because she has blonde hair", it's a conclusion. But in the argument "Mary is super cool, therefore she will be made Queen of planet Zircon", it's a premise.

The definition of a conclusion is "something that is supported by something else (namely, a premise)". And the definition of a premise is "something that supports something else (namely, a conclusion)."

So, as you've already realized, that last sentence isn't a conclusion. It FEELS like one, because we think of conclusions in a fuzzy "it's a strong opinion" way. But you're 100% correct that there's exactly zero support anywhere else in the stimulus for that comment. I would, however, disagree that it doesn't support the conclusion.

The more obvious premise tells us that this new system would give the government "too much power". The last sentence picks up on this idea, and makes a new connection: people (society) don't trust (accept?) of governments with "too much power". The more obvious premise lays the foundation, then this final sentence takes it the next step toward the conclusion. I'd lay out the core like this:

    PREMISE:
    1) No-money system = gives gov't too much power
    2) People don't trust gov'ts w/ too much power

    CONCLUSION: Society won't accept no-money system

Now, notice that I pretty much ignored the word "rightly" in that last sentence. Our desire to see this sentence as a conclusion comes primarily from the word "rightly". In fact, this sentence could have been written as two: 1) People don't trust gov'ts w/ too much power and 2) Those people are RIGHT to do so. Now, this second, embedded idea does not support the conclusion, but the first one does.

The second idea (that people are RIGHT to distrust those gov'ts), is simply this curmudgeon of an author, muttering to himself. That's the part that is completely a red herring. If something truly does not support anything in the argument core, and isn't supported BY anything in the argument core, then it's just fluff and muttering.

I'm curious, though, about the fact that (E) was the one that gave you trouble here. If you were going to get stuck on the final sentence, I would have thought (B) would have been the culprit. (B) gives us a very good rephrasing of that final sentence.

While we both now know that final sentence isn't the conclusion, (E) has bigger issues. This answer shifts scope to suggest that no government "will be ABLE to OPERATE" a no-money system. Nothing in the argument every said this. The closest that we come to it is the actual conclusion, but that says simply that society "will never willingly accept" a no-money system. This answer would require us to make an unsupported leap that the only way that a government could possibly be able to operate a system would be with the willing acceptance of the society.

Surely countless real-life example abound of governments successfully (at least for a time) operating various systems without the willing acceptance of society!

Remember, a hot zone main point question is going to do a lot of work to obscure the argument structure, but the conclusion still has to match in meaning the explicitly stated conclusion sentence. This argument is dense because we spend a long time discussing the counterpoint (tech feasibility), and bury the conclusion in the middle of the stimulus. Also, only some of the answers are going to be wrong because they focus on the wrong PART of the argument (here, (B) and (C)). Others will simply be out of scope, and contain information never said in any part of the stimulus (here, (D) and (E)).

Curious to here more of your thoughts on this, as well as on PT23-3-10, when you take another look at it!

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby HeirCroc » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:37 am

Christine,

Thanks as always. Your analysis on this one really opened up my eyes in viewing this question, and perhaps more importantly made me aware of a very interesting fact about arguments: there can be separate ideas in each statement (e.g., your phrasing of the final sentence of the stimulus as two sentences), one which operates in one way relative to the argument and the other in another way. This is key to seeing why the last sentence supports the conclusion. Also, it looks like it was D that I chose, not E. I can see that, like E, it says 'need' when the stimulus says 'willingly accept'.

Thanks, and I will get back to the earlier question I posed, but first I gotta finish reviewing more backed up material!

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby flash21 » Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:26 pm

Hey Christine,

I had a question about inconsistency.

I for example, in the past few days have written a timed PT and a LR section.

In both the timed PT and LR section, I've gotten basically on par with my best LR scores, but then the OTHER LR section will be literally one of my worst I've had in months (this happened both times the last few times I did LR).

For example, one LR section I had on this PT was 22/26, then the next was 17/25! I haven't gotten that low for so many months. The timed section I did was very similar. I got 23 correct (I forget out of what) and then I got 18 on the next section I did I got only 18 correct. 18 and 17 are both some of the worst sections I've had for a long time so it kind of worries me. Any tips for helping diagnose and address this? Honestly didnt feel THAT big of a difference between the two LR sections in difficulty - and the 7sage grader apparently ranked them as equal difficulty LR sections.

This was section 2 LR i did bad on, while, the section 3 LR I did much better on. First section was reading comp, last games (which I did the best I've ever done on, -0!).

EDIT:: also I felt a little bit distracted while writing portions of both LR sections, but this wasnt by anything in particular. As dumb as this sounds, I had a stupid song stuck in my head that literally wouldnt stop for some reason. I know this sounds like the ultimate excuse ever but I just want to make sure you have all relevant info.. still though, I didnt think I should have done that bad. If I did as good as I normally would on LR I could have acheived a 165-166 instead of a 161.

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Adrian Monk » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:25 am

Hey Christine!, just wondering, do u have a list where you classify the games from pt's into the mnahattan game types like 3d ordering/mismatchordering etc? i just want to drill games by type and having such a list and knowing which games are which types will help me a lot. thank you so much!

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby HeirCroc » Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:29 pm

Christine,

Just wanted to quickly thank you and Manhattan (before I ask you yet another question..) for doing this thread. Your explanations have helped a lot.

PT 69 LR 1 Question 3.

My process during this question was: mark A as maybe, notice D points out the 'assuming a correlation is causation' flaw, but then I remembered that the stimulus said these people developed cancer recently, so I eliminated TCR. I then thought 'well, A points out these groups may not be similar in an important respect'. I can see now why A isn't great--it says ALL other respects, which is extreme. Still, though, this problem is hard for me to wrap my head around because of the 'developed cancer recently' aspect of the cancer group relative to TCR.

I checked the manhattan forums, and I get everything the explanations there are saying, but none of them mention the fact that these individuals with cancer developed it recently. Isn't it true that if they developed cancer 'recently' this probably means prior to 5 years ago, which suggests that the argument's premise-conclusion connection is untouched: the enzymes were lower in these people and they ate yogurt, couldn't process galactose, then got cancer. I can see I'm making an assumption here--that 'recently' means they didn't have cancer prior to 5 years ago--but this is how I interpreted the argument and the relationship of TCR to the argument. Can you show me where I'm going wrong?

Is this the vagueness of the word 'recently' the crux of why A passes muster?

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:35 pm

Sorry about my absence, everyone! Unfortunately, I've been dealing with a family situation over the last two weeks that's kept me away a bit more than I would have liked.

flash21 wrote:Hey Christine,
I had a question about inconsistency.

I for example, in the past few days have written a timed PT and a LR section.

In both the timed PT and LR section, I've gotten basically on par with my best LR scores, but then the OTHER LR section will be literally one of my worst I've had in months (this happened both times the last few times I did LR).

For example, one LR section I had on this PT was 22/26, then the next was 17/25! I haven't gotten that low for so many months. The timed section I did was very similar. I got 23 correct (I forget out of what) and then I got 18 on the next section I did I got only 18 correct. 18 and 17 are both some of the worst sections I've had for a long time so it kind of worries me. Any tips for helping diagnose and address this? Honestly didnt feel THAT big of a difference between the two LR sections in difficulty - and the 7sage grader apparently ranked them as equal difficulty LR sections.

This was section 2 LR i did bad on, while, the section 3 LR I did much better on. First section was reading comp, last games (which I did the best I've ever done on, -0!).

EDIT:: also I felt a little bit distracted while writing portions of both LR sections, but this wasnt by anything in particular. As dumb as this sounds, I had a stupid song stuck in my head that literally wouldnt stop for some reason. I know this sounds like the ultimate excuse ever but I just want to make sure you have all relevant info.. still though, I didnt think I should have done that bad. If I did as good as I normally would on LR I could have acheived a 165-166 instead of a 161.


Honestly, this sounds like exactly what you say it is - you were distracted!

Sometimes we get distracted for the strangest of reasons. We're slightly fatigued, our body is processing that snack bar we had in a weird way, our ear itches, we hit a stimulus about the composition of the spleen, and it reminds us of sophomore year biology class, and that cute guy that was sitting next to us the whole year, and ..... whoa, nevermind.

Anyway, the point is, this can happen to anyone, and it can happen even if a section is no more difficult than another. Working on STAYING FOCUSED is not easy, but it's absolutely necessary. If you have a song stuck in your head, you need to be able to let it go. A common concept in meditation is that trying to chase thoughts away just encourages them (kind of like saying, whatever you do DON'T THINK OF A PINK ELEPHANT!). Instead, do two things: 1) think about simply letting the distracting though drift away from you, instead of trying to force it away and 2) proactively fill your mind with the LSAT work in front of you.

It's a lot easier to stay focused when you know what you are supposed to be focused on. Keeping a clear eye on your task, at every moment, makes this infinitely easier. For example, on assumption family questions, you're never simply reading the stimulus, you are HUNTING for the argument core. You have a driving purpose that should take up all the space in your mind. You should be so hungry to find the core, it should be so LOUD, that it simply drowns out the song stuck in your head.

Essentially, you need to take a good hard look at your process, and make sure that you have a strong, clear, driving purpose at every step of it. Any place where your purpose becomes murky or indistinct is a weak spot in your focus armor.

Additionally, it's also possible that, by sheer chance, more of your weaknesses showed up in one section than another. Sometime that is a personal weakness for you may not be objectively harder (and on the flip, something that is a personal strength of yours might be objectively more difficult). Note that these weaknesses are often not tied to a particular question type - instead they are often particularly logical structures, or certain wording issues. The only way to ferret out those things is through deep analysis of the questions you missed (as well as any that gave you pause, even if you ultimately got them correct). Knowing that you missed a question isn't useful unless you can take a hard look at what your thought process was that lead you astray - this is where you can begin to understand your own habits and tendencies. There's always a pattern to our mistakes - always. Finding it may be quite challenging, but it's there.

Let me know if you have more questions on either focus or on finding your mistake patterns.

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:15 am

HeirCroc wrote:Christine,

Just wanted to quickly thank you and Manhattan (before I ask you yet another question..) for doing this thread. Your explanations have helped a lot.

PT 69 LR 1 Question 3.

My process during this question was: mark A as maybe, notice D points out the 'assuming a correlation is causation' flaw, but then I remembered that the stimulus said these people developed cancer recently, so I eliminated TCR. I then thought 'well, A points out these groups may not be similar in an important respect'. I can see now why A isn't great--it says ALL other respects, which is extreme. Still, though, this problem is hard for me to wrap my head around because of the 'developed cancer recently' aspect of the cancer group relative to TCR.

I checked the manhattan forums, and I get everything the explanations there are saying, but none of them mention the fact that these individuals with cancer developed it recently. Isn't it true that if they developed cancer 'recently' this probably means prior to 5 years ago, which suggests that the argument's premise-conclusion connection is untouched: the enzymes were lower in these people and they ate yogurt, couldn't process galactose, then got cancer. I can see I'm making an assumption here--that 'recently' means they didn't have cancer prior to 5 years ago--but this is how I interpreted the argument and the relationship of TCR to the argument. Can you show me where I'm going wrong?

Is this the vagueness of the word 'recently' the crux of why A passes muster?


Hey HeirCroc!

I think it's entirely appropriate to interpret recently to mean 'sometime within the last 5 years'. In fact, it's entirely possible that these people were all developed cancer within the last few months.

Where I think you went wrong was in assuming we knew when the enzyme decreased. The study was presumably done "recently" as well - it had to be done after they developed the cancer. So, the study would only have shown that at that time those people had decreased enzyme levels. There's no indication in the stimulus that we have evidence that these people had decreased enzyme levels before they got the cancer.

So, what we know is that they ate a bunch of yogurt in the last five years. Recently, they developed cancer. At that point, a study was done and we found out they had decreased enzyme levels. Which came first? No one knows!

In short, "recently" is vague, but we can rely on it to mean within the last 5 years. What we can't do is assume that we have information from before the study about the people's enzyme levels!

What do you think?

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chimera
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby chimera » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:15 pm

Could someone shed some light on 71.1.20? I ruled out C because I figured "Hey it's never implied in the stimulus or this AC that these types of sales make up a majority (or anything more than a tiny fraction) of this particular farmer's revenue, so this doesn't really resolve the paradox." I can sort-of see why it's the credited response, it just isn't that clear to me.

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:33 pm

chimera wrote:Could someone shed some light on 71.1.20? I ruled out C because I figured "Hey it's never implied in the stimulus or this AC that these types of sales make up a majority (or anything more than a tiny fraction) of this particular farmer's revenue, so this doesn't really resolve the paradox." I can sort-of see why it's the credited response, it just isn't that clear to me.


This is a great issue that you raise!

Notice the wording of the question itself: which answer would "help most to resolve" - this is standard for paradox questions. You're not necessarily looking for a thing that ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEES the paradox is resolved, you're just looking for something that would help.

You're right that if the mutton/sheepskin/other products only made up a teensy fraction of the family income, and the wool sales made up the vast majority, this wouldn't help much. But without information either way, this certainly *helps* to explain things.

Fundamentally, the weirdness of this situation can be boiled down to this:
Wool sales income rose substantially AND YET no increase in prosperity.

Weird. But, all things considered, this could be explained by two essential things - either the family's costs increased in a way that could have eaten up that increase, or incomes from other sources decreased in a way that could have eaten up that increase.

(C) raises the second one. Now, to know for sure that this DID explain everything, we'd need to know exactly how much the wool income increased and exactly how much the incomes from other things decreased, or by what percentage they each increased AND what percentage each was of the total income of the family, etc, etc, etc. Fortunately, we don't actually have to guarantee that this resolves it perfectly. :p

Notice how similar this job is to strengthen and weaken questions - answers there just have to make the conclusion more or less likely. They don't have to guarantee the conclusion or completely destroy the conclusion.

Out of curiosity, what answer did you end up picking?

Adrian Monk
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Adrian Monk » Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:02 pm

Hey Christine, this is how powerscore classifies games types for all practice tests,
http://www.powerscore.com/gamesbible/ls ... ification/

this is a good list, but since i am only familar with just the way manhattan classfies games like basic ordering, relative ordering, 3d etc.. do you know if manhattan also has has a list like this? would u really appreciate if you could help me! thanks!

alexroark
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby alexroark » Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:09 pm

Would you guys mind also taking a look at PT 18 section 2 question 8. I read all the explanations for it on the manhattan lr forum on your website but did not see anyone mention the whole-to-part/part-to-whole flaw. Is that not happening in this question?

I thought that might have been the flaw to attack here.
The stimulus is saying:

Homicide rate increased by 50%
Usually the weapon used was a knife
Most deaths are b/c of unpremeditated assaults within family
unpremeditated assaults within the family would not result in deaths if it were not for knives
Govt's fault for not regulating knives

We are going from homicide rates in general, to a smaller subset of homicides that occur within the family. The unwarranted assumption being made is that because homicides in general are bc of knives, that homicides occurring within the family must also involve knives (what is true of the whole is true of the part). So I looked for an answer choice that matched my pre-phrase of saying that hey maybe knives aren't involved in household homicides. That is why I almost selected A until I realized it was out of scope bc we are dealing with murders that are not premeditated (those tricky bastards). Eventually I did end up selecting the correct answer in answer choice E.

If most homicides involve a knife and most homicides occur within the family then the only thing we can conclude is that some homicides within the family involve a knife. Right? So it could be true that most homicides within the family do not involve knives, in fact maybe only a very very small percentage of unpremeditated domestic assaults involve knives. I feel like if you don't realize that knives don't have to be prevalent in unpremeditated domestic assaults, then you would have a hard time selecting E on account that it would seem to challenge a stated premise in the stimulus which is not the right way to weaken an argument on the LSAT.

Does any of this make sense? What are your thoughts on this one? A(once i realized the scope) C and D were very easy for me to eliminate. Got a little hung up on B in terms of how it affects the argument. But even if these assaults were underreported that would still have no effect on the argument right?

Am I over thinking this?

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Motivator9
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Motivator9 » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:08 pm

Hey Manhattan experts,

I was wondering if you take a second to look at a question that is used in you LR book to demonstrate causal flaws that occur on the LSAT and how to tackle them. I believe the explanation in the book makes a mistake, one that I will try my best to demonstrate in my post. The question is PT 14, S 4, Q 18. I looked over the explanations on the forums and my question was not answered.

The argument talks about the whistling and minor accidents on small airplanes.

Conclusion: if passengers hear the pilot start to whistle, they should take take safety precautions.

WHY: according to government official last year, 75 percent of voice recorder takes taken from small airplanes involved in minor accidents record the whistling of the pilot 15 minutes prior to the accident.

Reasoning issues:

This is a terrible argument. One could point to minor issues, such as whether or not the voice recorders were on all of the airplanes that were involved in such accidents, but the major gap here is the causation issue. We don't know that the whistling ensured that the accidents were going to occur. Maybe it was the case, as your book suggests, that when the pilots get bored, they start whistling and get into accidents. That, however, would not mean that hearing whistling means that there will be an accident.

The correct answer choice here appears to be D. In the book, you guys write: "imagine that 75% of pilots just happen to always whistle while they fly. If that's the case, the author could'nt make the case that hearing whistling increases the likelihood of being in an accident." I agree, we do need D, but dont we need additional information as well!

Consider this:

1. 75% of time pilots whistle (per your hypo). Here, 75% of all flights involve the pilot whistling. What does this tell us? Absolutely nothing if we don't know what proportion of this are flights that resulted in minor accidents. Let's say all 75% percent of flights where the pilot whistles results in minor accidents. If that's the case, the author's conclusion is looking good. If only 1% of the 75% involves minor accidents, then that hurts the argument. However, all D tells us is what percentage we have whistling.

2. 50% of time pilots whistle. Here, we know that in half of all flights, the pilots whistle. Okay, so what. We still don't know anything about how many of these flights where the author whistles result in a minor accident. Let's say all of them do, that would be beneficial to the author. On the other hand let's say only 1% of this 50% percent are cases where there is a small accident, this would weaken the argument. However, we can't infer either of these choices through D alone.

3. 25% of time pilots whistle. Here we know that only in a quarter of all small airplane flights are pilots whistling. How does that help us? It dosent at all. It could be that all such cases occur when there is a minor accident. That is, all 25 percent of such flight's where the pilots whistle result in minor accident It's true than we would still have a stronger correlation here, but my point is that D, by itself, is insufficient.

Sorry for the redundancy but I really believe the LSAT made a mistake here. I know you probably might be thinking that D is still the best answer we have. However, the same issue arises in E, and it's just as good or just as bad as D, however way you want to look at it.

In the book, you guys write: "this answer choice is about the percentages of small airplane flights that involve minor accidents. Whether this percentage is .1% or 90%, it dosent impact the relationship between whistling and the likelihood of getting in an accident."

I would respectfully have to disagree.

Let me give you a similar hypo for E. Please bear with me.

1. 1% of flights result in minor accidents - Here, if we had 1000 flights, only 10 resulted in accidents. We can't make any kind of inference because we don't know the overall number of flights where the pilots whistled and there was an accident. If the pilot whistled in 1 percent of all flights, but it was that one percent where we had accidents, than the author's point is strengthened ( here there would be 7.5 cases where we had whistling and an accident, per the original premise). However, without the additional piece of evidence it's useless.

2. 99% of flights result in minor accidents - Here, if we had 1000 flights, 990 would have resulted in minor accidents. If we knew that 990 flights resulted in accidents, and of these 75 % (per the original premise) involved whistling, that would mean we had 742.5/1000 cases where there was whistling and a minor accident. That means 74% of the time when there was whistling there was an accident. This strengthens the argument without having the extra piece of information that we needed in the first example (knowing how many of the cases where we had whistling resulted in accidents).

THE POINT: My point here is not that the examples I gave strengthen the argument or provided more correlation to the causal claim; my point is that if we go based off why D is right, than E is just as good of an answer, IF NOT BETTER, due to the 99% example I just gave.

I hope you are still reading by now and that you understand my frustration with this problem. Can you please try to provide some clarity to this question. Isn't it inherently flawed by way of it's answer choices? How can D by itself be the correct answer choices if it requires more information, just as E does?

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flash21
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby flash21 » Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:18 pm

Hey Christine, I was hoping you'd help me lay out a PT schedule. I've got PT's 47 up to the most current. I'm guessing from your past forum posts, you wouldn't recommend using ALL of these as PT's, so I guess you could let me know where you think I should break them into timed sections? I know you're an advocate of quality over quantity and you said you believe timed sections may be just as effective in helping with timing, so I'll see what your thoughts are.

This is for December btw.

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:24 pm

alexroark wrote:Would you guys mind also taking a look at PT 18 section 2 question 8. I read all the explanations for it on the manhattan lr forum on your website but did not see anyone mention the whole-to-part/part-to-whole flaw. Is that not happening in this question?

I thought that might have been the flaw to attack here.
The stimulus is saying:

Homicide rate increased by 50%
Usually the weapon used was a knife
Most deaths are b/c of unpremeditated assaults within family
unpremeditated assaults within the family would not result in deaths if it were not for knives
Govt's fault for not regulating knives

We are going from homicide rates in general, to a smaller subset of homicides that occur within the family. The unwarranted assumption being made is that because homicides in general are bc of knives, that homicides occurring within the family must also involve knives (what is true of the whole is true of the part). So I looked for an answer choice that matched my pre-phrase of saying that hey maybe knives aren't involved in household homicides. That is why I almost selected A until I realized it was out of scope bc we are dealing with murders that are not premeditated (those tricky bastards). Eventually I did end up selecting the correct answer in answer choice E.

If most homicides involve a knife and most homicides occur within the family then the only thing we can conclude is that some homicides within the family involve a knife. Right? So it could be true that most homicides within the family do not involve knives, in fact maybe only a very very small percentage of unpremeditated domestic assaults involve knives. I feel like if you don't realize that knives don't have to be prevalent in unpremeditated domestic assaults, then you would have a hard time selecting E on account that it would seem to challenge a stated premise in the stimulus which is not the right way to weaken an argument on the LSAT.

Does any of this make sense? What are your thoughts on this one? A(once i realized the scope) C and D were very easy for me to eliminate. Got a little hung up on B in terms of how it affects the argument. But even if these assaults were underreported that would still have no effect on the argument right?

Am I over thinking this?



Yes and no. :p

Because the author specifically calls out the subset of domestic assault deaths as the category where 'if it weren't for the knives, these deaths wouldn't have happened', it seems that the author is saying that this subset is predominantly knife-deaths. So, I'm not sure the most/most overlap issue really applies here.

First, let's be clear about what what we're blaming on the government. The author isn't blaming them for the entirety of the homicides, but rather only for the domestic-assault deaths (that could have been prevented if knives weren't so available).

Now, I think it's good to notice that the author is playing a little loose with the categories and language around "knives". First we find out the most homicides are done with "a knife" - what kind? Dunno. Then we find out that lethal knives are sold openly and legally - what kind? Dunno. Apparently the author claims the domestic assault deaths wouldn't have been deaths if it hadn't been for knives - what kind? Dunno. Then we blame the gov't for allowing "lethal weapons" - are we talking about the same knives? Hmm. Dunno.

(E) is a two-pronged attack: one criticism if we're talking about household knives, and a separate criticism is we're talking about weapons.

The first prong is simpler; if we're talking about household knives (in the entire argument), then the criticism is simply that the availability/prevalence of these knives is unchanged, and therefore cannot be responsible for any change
in any part of the homicide rate.

The second prong is a bit more annoying.

These knives referred to are "weapons", and are not actually available in households. Since we're trying to blame the government for the domestic-assault deaths, if those deaths couldn't have been caused by the "weapons" in question, then it's silly to blame the government for allowing the "weapons".

But what does this mean for that statement about the domestic-assault deaths, and how they wouldn't have happened? There are two ways to read this:
    1) All that loose language about the knife categories may mean that the domestic-assault deaths wouldn't have happened if not for 'non-weapon knives'. If that's true, then the author is trying to blame the government for a different knife category than the knife category actually responsible for the domestic-assault deaths.

    2) If the author really meant that the domestic-assault deaths wouldn't have happened if it weren't for weapon-knives, then the fact that weapon-knives aren't in households means the author was wrong about that.

Because #2 would be undermining what appears to be a premise, I dislike this reading. I think the fuzziness of the knife categories (#1) is a better call. But the language could have been far more precise in creating that situation. Honestly, if they had replaced the word "such" with "lethal", I would have ZERO problem with this answer. Then the ambiguity of the knife categories would be indefensible. One word would have fixed it....

So, fun fact: did you know that PrepTest 18 was released out of order? It's actually from far earlier than you might think that it was - 1992. They held onto it and released it years later, so it's number is out of sync with the test date. It was actually administered between PrepTests 6 and 7. So, you could think of it as PrepTest 6.5. Just sayin'. :P

I actually think they were going for ambiguity with respect to the knife categories, and just slipped on the language a tad. It makes the answer a bit irritating, and slightly imperfect, but it's not a big enough snafu to enable any other answer choice to even attempt a coup here. All the other answers are definitively incorrect.

Would love to hear more of your thoughts on this!

Adrian Monk
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby Adrian Monk » Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:49 am

Hey Christine, this is how powerscore classifies games types for all practice tests,
http://www.powerscore.com/gamesbible/ls ... ification/

this is a good list, but since i am only familar with just the way manhattan classfies games like basic ordering, relative ordering, 3d etc.. do you know if manhattan also has has a list like this? would u really appreciate if you could help me! thanks!


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