Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:46 pm

flash21 wrote:Hi Christine,

Anyway- -- my question is about how often I should be PT'ing. I wrote in December got a 157, truly bombed reading comp (-11) so I'll be working on that a lot. Had a bit of anxiety on games too, missed the first three questions of LG on some very easy questions, -8 ultimately. LR went as usual which was -6 on both. Was also in the midst of undergraduate exams. There! You heard all my excuses. Anyway I'm digressing a bit but honestly I want you to know what factors were going on. Additionally, I was unable to study for the LSAT as much as I wanted to in the few weeks leading up and could definitely see the difference in my LSAT scores - the reason being I was in the midst of exams for undergraduate which took up a ton of my time unfortunately.

you helped me quite a lot on my last write which was the first time I wrote and I think you said one should always be PT'ing? Unless I'm thinking of someone else. But if I don't get into law school this year (I live in Canada), I'll re-write the LSAT as I'm all done undergraduate now. So I've got a little over 5 months, and I've only been drilling as of now, really focusing my efforts on reviewing thoroughly, I feel like thats where I could have done better along with drilling RC waaaaaay more.

Sorry for the rant, but would really appreciate the help.

PS, congratulations on your marriage!!


Thank you flash21!

So, I'm not good at recalling my exact words, but the idea that you're 'always PTing' sounds like something I might say - but there's a very important additional bit of info! I believe that one should always have full-length exams as a part of their lineup, but there are significant changes throughout a study schedule in 1) frequence and 2) treatment.

With you 5 months out from the October exam, it will be important to maintain a study schedule that keeps you on track, but doesn't burn you out. So, the first question I have is: when will you find out if you got into a law school this year? I ask because it's important that you allow yourself to have breaks, to avoid burnout, and the answer to that question might help you decide when it would be smart to schedule those breaks.

Putting that aside, I see LSAT work as existing in three phases: comprehension, efficiency, and endurance. These phases are not linear and exclusive though - it's not like "well, I'm totally done working on comprehension, time to move on to efficiency!" It's more that in the early stages, you have to work a hell of a lot more on comprehension than anything else - it's hard to work on efficiency when you have absolutely no idea what you should be doing in the first place! And when you're mostly focused on comprehension, a lot of the work you do is going to be drilling - one question at a time, small sets focused on a certain question type, allowing yourself to work through things with no clock for a bit, etc. Full length PTs don't do a lot for comprehension - yes, you can learn a ton from deep and thorough review of that full length exam, but it's not the most effective way to build comprehension. (Also, comprehension work doesn't ever really go away - even in the late stages when you are mostly focused on efficiency and endurance, there's still comprehension work to be done (deep and meaningful review!!), it just no longer takes center stage.)

However, that doesn't mean that full-length PTs have no place in the early, comprehension-focused time! You should have a PT on the schedule every few weeks. The danger of NOT doing this is that we get a bit tunnel-visioned in the deep, exploratory work of drilling. Making sure that you knock out an exam every once in a while keeps your mind trained on the endgoal, and keeps you remembering what the point of all that deep-dive comprehension work is.

After you've built up a solid foundational base of comprehension, you'll start thinking more about how to do all that awesome 'full-comprehension' work in the most efficient/effective manner. Timing yourself becomes critical, and full-length PTs should also become more frequent, but they still may not be the absolute centerpiece of your workload. Timed passages/games and timed full sections may allow you to focus on specific timing/efficiency issues more clearly.

When you get into the end-game, you should still be working to deepen your comprehension where it needs it, and you should be continuing to clean up your efficiency, but the real challenge at that point is holding onto the good comprehension and great efficiency over the course of the entire exam. At this point, full-length PTs are the absolute centerpiece of prep - alongside deep and meaningful review of each one.

So, that's a very long answer to your question! TL;DR - yes, you should always be PTing, but the frequency of (and weight you give) full-length PTs should increase over the course of your study schedule!

Would love to hear your further thoughts on this!

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flash21
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby flash21 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:38 pm

Hi Christine - just to answer your question above about when I could hear if I got into law school or not - it could be as late as august, however, I'm thinking atleast sometime in may / june.

Okay - so I'll probably take a PT sometime next week and do one every few weeks as you've recommended which sounds like a good idea. I've been focusing on drilling / review so far, no sections yet - I've read over a few key posts of jeffort's about review and plan on reviewing much better now and actively searching for weaknesses to eliminate.

Appreciate the in depth response.

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appind
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby appind » Sat May 09, 2015 1:48 pm

regarding the invalid inference for wkn question discussion in the june thread, i posted an issue with a corresponding str question. interested to hear your thoughts on it.

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Tue May 12, 2015 2:01 pm

appind wrote:regarding the invalid inference for wkn question discussion in the june thread, i posted an issue with a corresponding str question. interested to hear your thoughts on it.


Thanks for posting your question here, appind! Sometimes the June thread goes by a little fast for me to see every question!

You were asking whether a "some" statement could, in the right circumstances, be a potential strengthener for an argument, right? The answer is yes!

Let's say that my argument is assuming that all cats have stripes. An answer choice that said that "some cats have stripes" would absolutely strengthen that argument - it at least shows that it is possible for cats to have stripes! That makes it every so slightly more likely that it is true that all cats have stripes. This is, admittedly, not a terribly good strengthener, but fortunately, we don't generally care how strong the strengthener is!

For an example of this, take a look at PT37-2-20. It's a strengthen-except question, and answer choice (A) does this same thing. The fact that (A) is talking about horses is not specifically relevant - we can paraphrase it to say, essentially "Some animals store oxygenated blood in their spleens." The fact that SOME animals do this makes it a teeny bit more likely that seals do it - at the very least, we've shown that this crazy idea is possible. That helps, even if only a tiny bit.

As with our weakeners, though you have to be very careful that the 'some' or 'most' statement in question has the right elements in play! (And, with 'most' statements, that those elements are in the right order!)

What do you think?

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appind
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby appind » Thu May 14, 2015 12:41 pm

56.LR1.6 seems to have the credited choice that is not necessarily a required assumption. Is this is an imperfect or wrong question?

the credited choice doesn't seem necessary for the conclusion. it doesn't account for the proportionality of potassium-sodium. even after negating the credited choice one can still deduce a valid conclusion for proportions that work in favor of fresh fruit. e.g. the fresh fruits may have much lower sodium and not necessarily higher potassium than canned ones, such as 10 g potassium 1g sodium in fresh vs 20g potassium 10000000g sodium in canned.

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Mon May 18, 2015 3:35 pm

appind wrote:if some can strengthen a conclusion of stronger logical force, such as all, than 'some' like in your cat stripe example, then why can't 55.1.23 A strengthen? Here we have corroboration of such a conclusion through some professors' non-business courses.



Great questions!!

Let's take 55-1-23 first. This is actually a pretty different example than my cat argument above! In the cat argument, the author assumes that all cats have stripes. It might look something like this:

    PREMISE: Fluffy is a cat
    CONCLUSION: Therefore, Fluffy has stripes.

The author is assuming that all cats have stripes, without giving any examples of a cat that does. Here, the introduction of even one cat with stripes bolsters the argument a tad. However, what if we had an argument that looks like this:

    PREMISE: Fluffy is a cat with stripes.
    CONCLUSION: Therefore, most cats have stripes.

This argument is doing something totally different. In this example, adding in another cat with stripes wouldn't help the argument at all - we already knew that some cats have stripes. Introducing another cat with stripes is just reiterating that some cats have stripes - that doesn't help. The author here is assuming that most cats are like Fluffy, or that Fluffy accurately represents most cats. If a new piece of information is going to move the ball down the field, it's going to have to do something more than just say that SOME cats have stripes - because that's information we already had.

The same essential thing is happening in 55-1-23. We already know from the premises that some people will print things out. (A) doesn't add anything substantively different - it's a different group, but it's still just saying that some people will print things out. We already knew that! We need something that actually adds some new information, logically.

As I said before, you have to have the right kind of "some" statement to be able to either strengthen OR weaken - it's neither an auto-kill nor an auto-accept!

appind wrote:by the same token, if 56.1.8 were a str question and 'some' strengthened, then "some/several boulders that have been moved 100+ miles from their birthplace have been moved by southward moving glaciers" or "most boulders that have been moved any distance from their birthplace have been moved by southward moving glaciers" would str too.


Let's just remind ourselves what the core of 56-1-8 is:
    PREMISE: This boulder is 100s of miles from birthplace
    There were lots of south-moving glaciers in this area

    CONCLUSION: This boulder was probably dropped here by a glacier

Now, your example: "most boulders that have been moved any distance from their birthplace have been moved by southward moving glaciers" That would totally strengthen! I know this boulder is in the category "boulders that have been moved from birthplace", and this statement would tell me that MOST of those are moved by south-glaciers. Awesome!

Now, your other example has an additional issue: "some/several boulders that have been moved 100+ miles from their birthplace have been moved by southward moving glaciers" Here, because the conclusion strength is only a probably conclusion, a "some" statement is not going to be enough.

HOWEVER!! If this argument were slightly different - if the conclusion were a definite statement instead of a 'probably', then your example would be AWESOME! Remember what I said back in the June thread:
Christine (MLSAT) wrote:If we changed the conclusion to say "this boulder was definitely deposited by a glacier", then a valid weakener would be "some boulders get moved 100s of miles by things other than glaciers." What wouldn't be a valid weakener would be "Some boulders moved by glaciers are moved less than 100 miles."


For these 'some' statements to weaken, we had to change the conclusion to be definitive. The same thing applies for the 'some' statements that would strengthen.

To sum up: For a 'some' statement to be relevant, a number of things have to be true - the conclusion is going to be definitive (the assumption is extreme - more vulnerable to attack and receptive to support); the one of the elements in the 'some' statement needs to match the information from the premise; we need to not ALREADY have the essential 'some' information in the premises.

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

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Mon May 18, 2015 3:50 pm

appind wrote:56.LR1.6 seems to have the credited choice that is not necessarily a required assumption. Is this is an imperfect or wrong question?

the credited choice doesn't seem necessary for the conclusion. it doesn't account for the proportionality of potassium-sodium. even after negating the credited choice one can still deduce a valid conclusion for proportions that work in favor of fresh fruit. e.g. the fresh fruits may have much lower sodium and not necessarily higher potassium than canned ones, such as 10 g potassium 1g sodium in fresh vs 20g potassium 10000000g sodium in canned.


This is a super interesting question, appind.

Your reasoning would be absolutely rock solid if the conclusion had been written like this:
"To maintain cardiac health, these people should eat fresh fruits/veggies rather than canned/frozen."

See what's missing? The conclusion is slightly more specific than that - it said 'to maintain cardiac health without lowering sodium consumption'!

Your scenario has the fresh fruit with much lower sodium and equal potassium. If that were the case, it would be possible to 'maintain cardiac health', but it would NOT be possible to 'maintain cardiac health without lowering sodium consumption'. By definition, they would be lowering their sodium consumption in the switch, thus violating the conclusion!

Because the conclusion is so particular, this argument has to assume the sodium isn't lowered in the switch. Once we assume that sodium is NOT lowered, then we would need potassium to be higher to maintain cardiac health! So this argument is assuming two things, independently: 1) sodium isn't lower in fresh fruit/veggies and 2) potassium is higher in fresh fruit/veggies.

It's really easy to miss that one little phrase - and it makes a huge impact on the argument!

Thoughts?

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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby appind » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:38 pm

I noticed an issue in these examples, so i have modified some of them below.

    PREMISE: Fluffy is a cat
    CONCLUSION: Therefore, Fluffy has stripes.
here i see that author is assuming that all cats have stripes, so an example of even one cat with stripes bolsters the argument.

    PREMISE: Fluffy is a cat
    CONCLUSION: Therefore, Fluffy likely has stripes.
in this example the assumption is that most cats have stripes, and I think here too introduction of even one cat with stripes bolsters the argument a tad, yes?
so it doesn't seem that 'some' can't strengthen a most. it seems it can.

    PREMISE: Fluffy is a cat with stripes.
    CONCLUSION: Therefore, most cats have stripes.
here in this second form of argument, i see that adding one more cat with stripes wouldn't strengthen as logical equivalent of "some cats have stripes" is a premise in the argument.

but if the argument looked like this,
    PREMISE: Fluffy is a cat with stripes.
    CONCLUSION: Therefore, all cats have stripes.
then too adding one more cat with stripes wouldn't strengthen. so here is a case where 'some' wouldn't strengthen both the 'most' and 'all' cases for a reason that is not related to 'most' or 'all' in the argument. would information that shows "most cats have stripes" strengthen this argument?

Christine (MLSAT) wrote:To sum up: For a 'some' statement to be relevant, a number of things have to be true - the conclusion is going to be definitive (the assumption is extreme - more vulnerable to attack and receptive to support); the one of the elements in the 'some' statement needs to match the information from the premise; we need to not ALREADY have the essential 'some' information in the premises.

it seems the modified examples above may show that 'some' can be relevant without the conclusion being definitive like the "CONCLUSION: Therefore, Fluffy likely has stripes." example.
don't only the last two elements in this list for 'some' to be relevant matter for strengthening and not the first?

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ltowns1
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby ltowns1 » Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:30 am

Hey is there anybody that still answers questions up here?

sonnee
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Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A

Postby sonnee » Wed May 04, 2016 12:12 am

haha! noone answer it
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