Mike's Trainer Thread

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.
User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:13 pm

Shcamz wrote:Just ordered your book Mike! Really looking forward to using it along with the bibles and Cambridge packets.


Great to hear! Wish you the best -- reach out if you need me - mk

User avatar
sanibella
Posts: 430
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:29 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby sanibella » Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:35 pm

Wow, thank you so much for your thorough answer! Wasn't expecting that level of care, though I should've know better. I'm glad you enjoyed the question and can assure you I enjoyed the answer just as much.

manchas
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:28 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby manchas » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:16 pm

Hi Mike....Strengthen q's are my weakness and your exhortation in the Trainer to always look for the gap between the support and the conclusion helped me a lot in choosing answers that strengthened the reasoning between evidence and conclusion, as opposed to just strengthening the conclusion. I just did an LR set from June 2009 exam and struggled on #22 from the first LR section with this whole approach in mind ( Focus on the reasoning between the elements, not just the conclusion)

In #22, the question was about paleohumans leaving Siberia and the invention of clovis points. I struggled between A and B and thinking (A) too easily strengthened the conclusion and instead went for (B), dreaming up some extended story to justify (B) - telling myself, well the since the bridge was gone before the Clovis points were made, the early humans must've invented them in Siberia.

This is how I broke down the argument:
Concl: Contrary to pop belief, the points were not invented in NA.
Why?
Support: 1.because we found a bunch in Siberia
2. we know that after the last ice age, a group of older humans left Siberia and crossed the bridge, which no longer exists, into NA.

Can you tell me how I could have improved my process or what errors I made along the way? Thanks so much.

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:13 pm

manchas wrote:Hi Mike....Strengthen q's are my weakness and your exhortation in the Trainer to always look for the gap between the support and the conclusion helped me a lot in choosing answers that strengthened the reasoning between evidence and conclusion, as opposed to just strengthening the conclusion. I just did an LR set from June 2009 exam and struggled on #22 from the first LR section with this whole approach in mind ( Focus on the reasoning between the elements, not just the conclusion)

In #22, the question was about paleohumans leaving Siberia and the invention of clovis points. I struggled between A and B and thinking (A) too easily strengthened the conclusion and instead went for (B), dreaming up some extended story to justify (B) - telling myself, well the since the bridge was gone before the Clovis points were made, the early humans must've invented them in Siberia.

This is how I broke down the argument:
Concl: Contrary to pop belief, the points were not invented in NA.
Why?
Support: 1.because we found a bunch in Siberia
2. we know that after the last ice age, a group of older humans left Siberia and crossed the bridge, which no longer exists, into NA.

Can you tell me how I could have improved my process or what errors I made along the way? Thanks so much.

Hey --

So the advice that comes to mind when I try this question is to make sure you --

Empathize, then Criticize

The terminology isn't exactly correct, but the rhyme is so good that I can't let it go (say it to yourself 10 times and you won't be able to get it out of your head) --

What I mean by that is -- in evaluating the conclusion-support relationship, do your best to-

First -- try to empathize with the author and understand the argument from the author's perspective -- what is the connection he/she is trying to make between the support and the point?

Second -- know that your job is to then see why the support may not actually justify the point.

All this should be done before evaluating the answers.

So, for this question, the author's point is that the Clovis point was not invented in North America.

What's his/her support?

That they have found Clovis points in Siberia, and people from Siberia came to North America.

So what's the story/reasoning in the author's head?

It seems that, in using this support to justify this conclusion, what the author is thinking is that -

The Clovis point was used in Siberia, then the knowledge for it was brought to North America when people from Siberia moved to North America. Thus the Clovis point was not invented in North America.

Okay, that’s what the author is thinking. Seems reasonable, but now our job is to focus on why this reasoning may not guarantee the conclusion. And the main reason it doesn't is because bringing something over has nothing to do, directly, with inventing it.

Just because someone brings some sort of kimchi-flavored pasta to my house (please don't try this) doesn't mean that perhaps I didn't come up with that very concept myself.

What would be useful in evaluating this is timing -- if you knew that I made my first kimchi pasta in 2008, and this person brought it over in 2011, or if you knew I started making kimchi pasta right after the person brought it over for the first time, this would help determine whether the conclusion does indeed lead to that support.

That's why (A) is relevant and correct - if the Siberian ones are older, it supports the author's story/reasoning and makes it less likely that the Clovis point was invented in N.A.

What consequence does (B) have relative to the author's story/reasoning? Well, what it seems to indicate was that there wasn't a direct link between the Clovis points found in Siberia and those found in N.America (because (B) takes away from us the evidence of a relevant connection between these areas).

Notice, if you thinking about this answer in terms of the author’s reasoning, this would actually hurt a part of the story he/she had in mind, because it doesn't make it more likely that the tech was carried over from Siberia to N.A..

Additionally, if you are focused on needing to know something about timing to determine invention (which has to do with who did something first) you might notice that (B) doesn't help us get a clear sense of whether it happened in Siberia first or N.A. first (and thus can't help us say it wasn't invented in N.A.). Thus, (A) strenghthens and (B) doesn’t.

Hope that all makes sense, helps clear things up a bit, and adds a bit more depth to the advice about focusing on the support-conclusion relationship --

Fun q -- please let me know if you have any follow-up --

Mike

User avatar
Shcamz
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby Shcamz » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:11 pm

Hey Mike,

I PM'd you this, but thought it might help others too if I posted it here.

First off, I can't tell you enough how brilliantly you have written the Trainer. I feel as if you are actually talking to me in a classroom setting, it is phenomenal. I'm truly lucky to have come across TLS Forums and learn about your book.

I have just under 4 months till the October exam and while I know you did not design the Trainer to work with the Cambridge packets, how would you go about implementing them when going through your book for both LR and LG 1-39 PT questions? Also what do you think about saving PTs 41+ for all of September and using SuperPrep tests A, B, and C to analyze my progress at the end of June, middle of July, and middle of August? In September I would do one test a day and review it extensively.

I'm also not too worried about finishing all my studying by October as I will be applying for Fall of 2017; so I could push back my test date to December.

Not sure if this matters, but I scored a 157 as my diagnostic after the first few chapters of your book. My target range was 165+, but now I would really love to dip into the 170s.

Thanks!
-Shcamz

manchas
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:28 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby manchas » Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:57 pm

Thanks for the speedy response Mike. I guess I just let that land bridge detail cloud out the main support for the argument - which was just that they found some Clovis points in Siberia. It's sometimes difficult for me to tell what is 'background noise" in an argument and what I should focus on.

Thanks again!

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:30 pm

Shcamz wrote:Hey Mike,

I PM'd you this, but thought it might help others too if I posted it here.

First off, I can't tell you enough how brilliantly you have written the Trainer. I feel as if you are actually talking to me in a classroom setting, it is phenomenal. I'm truly lucky to have come across TLS Forums and learn about your book.

I have just under 4 months till the October exam and while I know you did not design the Trainer to work with the Cambridge packets, how would you go about implementing them when going through your book for both LR and LG 1-39 PT questions? Also what do you think about saving PTs 41+ for all of September and using SuperPrep tests A, B, and C to analyze my progress at the end of June, middle of July, and middle of August? In September I would do one test a day and review it extensively.

I'm also not too worried about finishing all my studying by October as I will be applying for Fall of 2017; so I could push back my test date to December.

Not sure if this matters, but I scored a 157 as my diagnostic after the first few chapters of your book. My target range was 165+, but now I would really love to dip into the 170s.

Thanks!
-Shcamz



Hye Shcamz,

Thanks for the note and great to hear that you are finding the Trainer useful --

I think you are right that it might be helpful to others for me to post some general advice about how to incorporate the trainer w/the cambridge packets (btw, i’m a giant fan of cambridge and grateful it exists) --

What I would suggest is that you start with either the D.I.Y. schedule or a set 12 or 16 week study schedule (all available on the trainer website) and adapt it to your specific needs.

The Trainer schedules are designed to help you combine the work you do in my book with the drilling and PT’s you want to do outside of it --

You’ll notice that the schedules split up the drilling into three cycles (the first cycle corresponds to the relevant lessons in the book, the second comes as you are finishing the book, and the final is for after you are done with the book). So, you can take whatever problems you plan on drilling and just split it into three groupings (the DIY schedule has instructions/worksheets to help you with this).

You are planning to take more PT’s than I suggest (more on that later), so you may want to adjust your study schedule accordingly.

You can use this chart - viewtopic.php?p=7449633#p7449633 - to see how Trainer categories relate to Cambridge categories.

Here are a few other suggestions as well -- please keep in mind that there are many different ways to study effectively for this exam, and we all learn so differently anyway, so please feel free (of course) to ignore any of my tips, and I promise I won’t be offended in any way :) --

- In general, I do not believe that you need to do so many practice problems to perform at your best. I’ve seen students use just 10 tests to improve a ton, and there are countless stories on TLS of students going through every published exam and not improving even a little bit. It depends on how much you learn from each experience, whether you are able to change and develop good habits or whether you are just reinforcing bad ones, and so on.

- It’s important to maximize the learning you get out of each and every problem and each and every practice test. Every LSAT is extremely similar to every other LSAT, and if you can truly master one you can master them all. So, you want to make sure that the quantity of work that you are doing does not detract from the quality of it.

- In general, I believe drilling is more valuable than practice tests for developing effective skills and habits. So, I think that a nice overly-simplified way to think about the two is that you use drilling to get better and better, roughly up the final level you want to be at, then switch over to PT’s to get yourself consistent/ready for test day. There are many stories on TLS of students making great improvements by just taking PT after PT, so you have every justification necessary to ignore my advice, but I would recommend that if you are going to do a large volume of practice work, you put more of that extra time into drilling.

- Keep in mind that you may have to retake. Hopefully you won’t, and you certainly shouldn’t plan on it, but it can happen to anyone (and no big deal considering that schools only care about your highest score), and you don’t want to put yourself at a disadvantage if it happens to you. It is most definitely a disadvantage to try and study again for the test after you’ve already exhausted all the fresh material available. So, that’s another reason why you might want to consider not using all the available tests on your first go-around.

- It is less than ideal to only drill problems from older exams. The LSAT has remained extremely consistent over time, but the test has evolved a bit -- there are certain types of problems/reasoning issues that were more prevalent earlier on than they are now, the style of the questions is just a bit different, etc. The differences are not so great that you can’t use older q’s to practice, but, if you only use older questions to drill, you may end up wasting energy, or being surprised by some of the newer questions, and so on. So, I think it can be to your advantage to scattter at least a few of the more recent exams into your drill work, so that when you get into your PT’s you don’t have to deal with any unnecessary “switch-over” issues.

- This is a purely subjective opinion, but, to me, those Superprep tests are just a bit weirder than the average LSAT, so I think they are great for near the end of your prep (when you want to account for everything that can possibly happen) but not necessary the best for assessment early on in your pre (a weird game may make you think you are weaker at games than you actually are, etc.). Again, this is just my highly unvalidated opinion and the differences between all tests is, as I said, very small, so if you want to use those tests early on that is, of course, totally fine.

- Finally, it can be very useful to reuse/retry questions, especially if you use them in different ways. For example, the set trainer schedules are often designed so that you use one or more of the more recent exams as diagnostic tests earlier on in your prep, and then use these very same problems again as your warmup when you get into your drill work. It can be immensely satisfying to struggle with a seemingly impossible problem on a PT, learn about that question type and develop a strategy for it, and then see the problem again in your drill work, and this time it doesn’t seem difficult at all. You literally get to see and experience how what you are learning is making you a better test taker, then you can take that confidence into the rest of your drill set.

Oh boy, the length of that definitely got away from me -- but I hope that was helpful -- please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any follow up or need anything else -- MK
Last edited by The LSAT Trainer on Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Shcamz
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby Shcamz » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:43 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Shcamz wrote:Hey Mike,

I PM'd you this, but thought it might help others too if I posted it here.

First off, I can't tell you enough how brilliantly you have written the Trainer. I feel as if you are actually talking to me in a classroom setting, it is phenomenal. I'm truly lucky to have come across TLS Forums and learn about your book.

I have just under 4 months till the October exam and while I know you did not design the Trainer to work with the Cambridge packets, how would you go about implementing them when going through your book for both LR and LG 1-39 PT questions? Also what do you think about saving PTs 41+ for all of September and using SuperPrep tests A, B, and C to analyze my progress at the end of June, middle of July, and middle of August? In September I would do one test a day and review it extensively.

I'm also not too worried about finishing all my studying by October as I will be applying for Fall of 2017; so I could push back my test date to December.

Not sure if this matters, but I scored a 157 as my diagnostic after the first few chapters of your book. My target range was 165+, but now I would really love to dip into the 170s.

Thanks!
-Shcamz



Hye Shcamz,

Thanks for the note and great to hear that you are finding the Trainer useful --

I think you are right that it might be helpful to others for me to post some general advice about how to incorporate the trainer w/the cambridge packets (btw, i’m a giant fan of cambridge and grateful it exists) --

What I would suggest is that you start with either the D.I.Y. schedule or a set 12 or 16 week study schedule (all available on the trainer website) and adapt it to your specific needs.

The Trainer schedules are designed to help you combine the work you do in my book with the drilling and PT’s you want to do outside of it --

You’ll notice that the schedules split up the drilling into three cycles (the first cycle corresponds to the relevant lessons in the book, the second comes as you are finishing the book, and the final is for after you are done with the book). So, you can take whatever problems you plan on drilling and just split it into three groupings (the DIY schedule has instructions/worksheets to help you with this).

You are planning to take more PT’s than I suggest (more on that later), so you may want to adjust your study schedule accordingly.

You can use this chart - viewtopic.php?p=7449633#p7449633 - to see how Trainer categories relate to Cambridge categories.

Here are a few other suggestions as well -- please keep in mind that there are many different ways to study effectively for this exam, and we all learn so differently anyway, so please feel free (of course) to ignore any of my tips, and I promise I won’t be offended in any way :) --

- In general, I do not believe that you need to do so many practice problems to perform at your best. I’ve seen students use just 10 tests to improve 30 points, and there are countless stories on TLS of students going through every published exam and not improving an inch. It depends on how much you learn from each experience, whether you are able to change and develop good habits or whether you are just reinforcing bad ones, and so on.

- It’s important to maximize the learning you get out of each and every problem and each and every practice test. Every LSAT is extremely similar to every other LSAT, and if you can truly master one you can master them all. So, you want to make sure that the quantity of work that you are doing does not detract from the quality of it.

- In general, I believe drilling is more valuable than practice tests for developing effective skills and habits. So, I think that a nice overly-simplified way to think about the two is that you use drilling to get better and better, roughly up the final level you want to be at, then switch over to PT’s to get yourself consistent/ready for test day. There are many stories on TLS of students making great improvements by just taking PT after PT, so you have every justification necessary to ignore my advice, but I would recommend that if you are going to do a large volume of practice work, you put more of that extra time into drilling.

- Keep in mind that you may have to retake. Hopefully you won’t, and you certainly shouldn’t plan on it, but it can happen to anyone (and no big deal considering that schools only care about your highest score), and you don’t want to put yourself at a disadvantage if it happens to you. It is most definitely a disadvantage to try and study again for the test after you’ve already exhausted all the fresh material available. So, that’s another reason why you might want to consider not using all the available tests on your first go-around.

- It is less than ideal to only drill problems from older exams. The LSAT has remained extremely consistent over time, but the test has evolved a bit -- there are certain types of problems/reasoning issues that were more prevalent earlier on than they are now, the style of the questions is just a bit different, etc. The differences are not so great that you can’t use older q’s to practice, but, if you only use older questions to drill, you may end up wasting energy, or being surprised by some of the newer questions, and so on. So, I think it can be to your advantage to scattter at least a few of the more recent exams into your drill work, so that when you get into your PT’s you don’t have to deal with any unnecessary “switch-over” issues.

- This is a purely subjective opinion, but, to me, those Superprep tests are just a bit weirder than the average LSAT, so I think they are great for near the end of your prep (when you want to account for everything that can possibly happen) but not necessary the best for assessment early on in your pre (a weird game may make you think you are weaker at games than you actually are, etc.). Again, this is just my highly unvalidated opinion and the differences between all tests is, as I said, very small, so if you want to use those tests early on that is, of course, totally fine.

- Finally, it can be very useful to reuse/retry questions, especially if you use them in different ways. For example, the set trainer schedules are often designed so that you use one or more of the more recent exams as diagnostic tests earlier on in your prep, and then use these very same problems again as your warmup when you get into your drill work. It can be immensely satisfying to struggle with a seemingly impossible problem on a PT, learn about that question type and develop a strategy for it, and then see the problem again in your drill work, and this time it doesn’t seem difficult at all. You literally get to see and experience how what you are learning is making you a better test taker, then you can take that confidence into the rest of your drill set.

Oh boy, the length of that definitely got away from me -- but I hope that was helpful -- please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any follow up or need anything else -- MK


Wow! Thank you for the very through response. I didn't quite think about exhausting all the materials in the event that I do not attain my target score. I'll have to take that into consideration. I will most certainly use your pointers, thanks again!

sara1993
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:10 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby sara1993 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:11 pm

Hi Mike,

I recently bought my copy of The LSAT Trainer and I absolutely love it. It's very easy to read as it feels like reading a lecture (if that makes sense), rather than a dense textbook.
I took the LSAT last December and was very disappointed as I only got a 158... This was after scoring consistently in the 166-170 range on my PTs. However I'm studying again and plan to re-write this year in October, which gives me approximately 14 weeks. I've decided to revamp my study methods (I previously used Kaplan), which is why I purchased the Trainer along with PowerScore for LG and LR. I love all the free resources on your website but I'm having trouble figuring out how to modify the study schedule to effectively include powerscore. Should I use the Trainer schedule for a 2 month study plan, and then use the bibles in the last month? Or would you suggest integrating the techniques using the 3 month schedule? In that case, do you have any recommendations for when I should start including the other textbooks into my study plan? I want to get the most out of the Trainer so I don't want the schedule to be rushed, but I do agree with your suggestion at the beginning of the book that we combine different strategies to see which one works best for us.

Thanks so much for your time and help!

hunt godlink
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:39 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby hunt godlink » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:48 am

Hey Mike,

I'm not sure if you have gotten a chance to see it yet but I sent you a message about a week ago regarding my personal situation. I am about to start studying for the LSAT again. If you could give me a bit of guidance when you have the time, that would be awesome! Thanks again.

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:33 pm

sara1993 wrote:Hi Mike,

I recently bought my copy of The LSAT Trainer and I absolutely love it. It's very easy to read as it feels like reading a lecture (if that makes sense), rather than a dense textbook.
I took the LSAT last December and was very disappointed as I only got a 158... This was after scoring consistently in the 166-170 range on my PTs. However I'm studying again and plan to re-write this year in October, which gives me approximately 14 weeks. I've decided to revamp my study methods (I previously used Kaplan), which is why I purchased the Trainer along with PowerScore for LG and LR. I love all the free resources on your website but I'm having trouble figuring out how to modify the study schedule to effectively include powerscore. Should I use the Trainer schedule for a 2 month study plan, and then use the bibles in the last month? Or would you suggest integrating the techniques using the 3 month schedule? In that case, do you have any recommendations for when I should start including the other textbooks into my study plan? I want to get the most out of the Trainer so I don't want the schedule to be rushed, but I do agree with your suggestion at the beginning of the book that we combine different strategies to see which one works best for us.

Thanks so much for your time and help!


Hi Sara,

Nice to meet you online and it’s great to hear that you are enjoying the trainer --

I know that a lot of students are thinking the same thing you are / planning the same thing you are -- here are some thoughts I hope you find helpful --

One caveat is that as I’ve mentioned elsewhere I personally know very little about the Powerscore books -- pretty much only just general stuff I’ve heard from my students. So, if anyone else has thoughts on how to effectively integrate the two, please don’t hesitate to chime in -- I’d love to hear your suggestions (and I’m sure others would as well) --

The trainer schedule are built off of my view that the most effective prep cycle involves learning, then drilling, then pt’ing (with plenty of overlap and review thrown in). All so the trainer schedules assign book work first, then help you layer in drill work on top of that, then assign you a large grouping of PT’s toward the end of your prep. Again, it’s my opinion that for most students, this process and order is the most efficient and effective way to improve --

So, if you want to layer in some work from the PS books, I suggest you build in some extra time and integrate it into the learning phase (first ⅓ or so, roughly) of the schedule -- more specifically, perhaps one thing you can do is take the 12 week schedule and adapt it to give yourself an extra few weeks up front to get through the PS books --

For LR, the trainer starts with a general overview, then gets into specific q types starting in lesson 16 -- what I suggest is that you either study corresponding PS lessons along with the trainer lessons (for example, you study Flaw q’s in the trainer, then study then in the PS books) or that you studying the PS LR after you finish the bulk of the Trainer LR (that is, after lesson 34), but before you get into the bulk of your drilling.

For LG, the trainer splits up the instruction into diagramming, then problem-solving techniques. My suggestion would be to study the PS LG strategies in between those two batches of LG lessons (after lesson 15, before lesson 26), or right after both (more specifically, after lesson 29). A benefit of studying the PS in-between is that the problem-solving techniques I discuss in 26-29 are universal -- so, for example, if you decide you want to use certain PS LG notations instead of trainer notations, you can still get maximum benefit out of that second batch of lessons. A benefit of waiting until after both is that it might then be very convenient for you to drill LG using the PS organizational scheme -- (that is, you learn LG in the trainer first, then start drilling LG game types as you learn them one at a time in the Powerscore book).

And you should always feel comfortable with changing things up/remaining flexible as things go along --

Hope that all made sense, and hope that helps give you some direction -- if you have any follow-up, please let me know -- good luck and take care --

Mike

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:35 pm

hunt godlink wrote:Hey Mike,

I'm not sure if you have gotten a chance to see it yet but I sent you a message about a week ago regarding my personal situation. I am about to start studying for the LSAT again. If you could give me a bit of guidance when you have the time, that would be awesome! Thanks again.


That's quite a name! Just sent you a response -- hope it helps -- MK

sara1993
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:10 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby sara1993 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:03 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
sara1993 wrote:Hi Mike,

I recently bought my copy of The LSAT Trainer and I absolutely love it. It's very easy to read as it feels like reading a lecture (if that makes sense), rather than a dense textbook.
I took the LSAT last December and was very disappointed as I only got a 158... This was after scoring consistently in the 166-170 range on my PTs. However I'm studying again and plan to re-write this year in October, which gives me approximately 14 weeks. I've decided to revamp my study methods (I previously used Kaplan), which is why I purchased the Trainer along with PowerScore for LG and LR. I love all the free resources on your website but I'm having trouble figuring out how to modify the study schedule to effectively include powerscore. Should I use the Trainer schedule for a 2 month study plan, and then use the bibles in the last month? Or would you suggest integrating the techniques using the 3 month schedule? In that case, do you have any recommendations for when I should start including the other textbooks into my study plan? I want to get the most out of the Trainer so I don't want the schedule to be rushed, but I do agree with your suggestion at the beginning of the book that we combine different strategies to see which one works best for us.

Thanks so much for your time and help!


Hi Sara,

Nice to meet you online and it’s great to hear that you are enjoying the trainer --

I know that a lot of students are thinking the same thing you are / planning the same thing you are -- here are some thoughts I hope you find helpful --

One caveat is that as I’ve mentioned elsewhere I personally know very little about the Powerscore books -- pretty much only just general stuff I’ve heard from my students. So, if anyone else has thoughts on how to effectively integrate the two, please don’t hesitate to chime in -- I’d love to hear your suggestions (and I’m sure others would as well) --

The trainer schedule are built off of my view that the most effective prep cycle involves learning, then drilling, then pt’ing (with plenty of overlap and review thrown in). All so the trainer schedules assign book work first, then help you layer in drill work on top of that, then assign you a large grouping of PT’s toward the end of your prep. Again, it’s my opinion that for most students, this process and order is the most efficient and effective way to improve --

So, if you want to layer in some work from the PS books, I suggest you build in some extra time and integrate it into the learning phase (first ⅓ or so, roughly) of the schedule -- more specifically, perhaps one thing you can do is take the 12 week schedule and adapt it to give yourself an extra few weeks up front to get through the PS books --

For LR, the trainer starts with a general overview, then gets into specific q types starting in lesson 16 -- what I suggest is that you either study corresponding PS lessons along with the trainer lessons (for example, you study Flaw q’s in the trainer, then study then in the PS books) or that you studying the PS LR after you finish the bulk of the Trainer LR (that is, after lesson 34), but before you get into the bulk of your drilling.

For LG, the trainer splits up the instruction into diagramming, then problem-solving techniques. My suggestion would be to study the PS LG strategies in between those two batches of LG lessons (after lesson 15, before lesson 26), or right after both (more specifically, after lesson 29). A benefit of studying the PS in-between is that the problem-solving techniques I discuss in 26-29 are universal -- so, for example, if you decide you want to use certain PS LG notations instead of trainer notations, you can still get maximum benefit out of that second batch of lessons. A benefit of waiting until after both is that it might then be very convenient for you to drill LG using the PS organizational scheme -- (that is, you learn LG in the trainer first, then start drilling LG game types as you learn them one at a time in the Powerscore book).

And you should always feel comfortable with changing things up/remaining flexible as things go along --

Hope that all made sense, and hope that helps give you some direction -- if you have any follow-up, please let me know -- good luck and take care --

Mike


Thank you so much! Getting through three massive texts plus the PTs is already a daunting enough task without having to figure out how to organize yourself as well.
One more question is that since I already studied for the test once, I've gone though a lot of the past PTs (definitely 52-71 that are in the study guide). I recognize a lot of questions, but not necessarily the answers so do you think that it is still valuable material for me? Or do you recommend starting fresh, perhaps with PTs 30 and on and maybe review of the most recent ones towards the end so I can get more accurate questions (such as comparative passages in RC)?
Thanks again for your time and insight.

Hi-So - ArshavinFan
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:51 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby Hi-So - ArshavinFan » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:08 pm

Hello Mike,

Hope all is well. I have a question about Drill One , Question D in Lesson 20 (review & Assess)
In this drill, you state that I is a weakener. However, I thoroughly confused by this. The conclusion state that in general, one type of surgery is faster than another based on studies of some sort (the condensed version of the argument here lol) However, I state something about the "most simple" type of surgeries being quicker. My questions are:

1) "Most simple" to general is a big assumption in my opinion and there is nowhere in the stimulus that i believe permits me to even somewhat equate the two terms. Why in your opinion does this weaken the reasoning in the argument? Thanks!

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:48 pm

Hi-So - ArshavinFan wrote:Hello Mike,

Hope all is well. I have a question about Drill One , Question D in Lesson 20 (review & Assess)
In this drill, you state that I is a weakener. However, I thoroughly confused by this. The conclusion state that in general, one type of surgery is faster than another based on studies of some sort (the condensed version of the argument here lol) However, I state something about the "most simple" type of surgeries being quicker. My questions are:

1) "Most simple" to general is a big assumption in my opinion and there is nowhere in the stimulus that i believe permits me to even somewhat equate the two terms. Why in your opinion does this weaken the reasoning in the argument? Thanks!


Hey - hope all is well with you! - great q -

You’ll notice that the drill assignment is phrased, “Find at least one answer that weakens the argument,” and the reason I did that was because both F and I are very soft weakeners -- less impactful than what you would expect to see for the right answer for a “Most Weakens” q (more like a tempting wrong answer for a Weakens EXCEPT, but arguably even softer than those) -- so while I think the two answers are very useful for thinking about particular issues (such as the difference between weakening an argument vs weakening a conclusion), I think if we disagree about the significance of their impact it won’t matter much for your test day performance --

This argument compares surgeries done traditionally vs robotically. The author claims that since, on average, robotic surgeries take less time than traditional surgeries, it must be true that in general it is faster to do these surgeries robotically than it is to do them using traditional means.

The reasoning issue has to do with length of time vs pace.

To illustrate why length of time can’t justify a conclusion about pace, imagine two people -- one runs to his street corner in 30 seconds, and another runs to his street corner in 10 seconds. You can’t infer anything about how fast each person is running relative to the other, because we don’t have a sense of how much distance each had to run.

So with the argument in question -- the author -- in using only support about length of time to guarantee a conclusion about pace -- is failing to consider that the differences in time may be due to differences in the types of surgeries / taking for granted that the surgeries done both ways are equatable/comparable.

A weaken answer does not have to destroy the argument -- rather it should expose a flaw in the author’s reasoning and give suspicion that the author took too much for granted assuming the support guaranteed the conclusion.

So what we ought to look for in weaken answers for this case is that they either expose the fact that times were for different types of surgeries, or that for equatable surgeries the reality isn’t consistent with the author’s reasoning.

Answer (F) exposes the fact that the differences could be due to the types of surgeries -- notice, it does not destroy the argument (perhaps the complexity of a surgery doesn’t impact pace, or complex surgeries are so rare they don’t matter much for overall average) but it does expose the fact that the author, in his reasoning, assumed an absolute link that might not be so absolute.

Answer (I) tells us that in a particular situation where the robotics and traditional were on a level playing field -- that is, being compared for more equatable work -- the result was the opposite of what the author stated as generally being true-- traditional surgery was faster. Again, it does not destroy the argument -- but it does expose the fact that the author, in his reasoning, assumed an absolute link that might not be so absolute.

To illustrate this issue just a bit further -- imagine the following hypothetical:

You just got hired to be the manager of a pizza restaurant. The restaurant has two delivery people -- Al and Brenda. The records indicate that Al takes an average of 30 minutes per delivery, and Brenda an average of 45. So, you initially conclude that Al must be faster at delivering pizzas.

That night you study a bit for the LSAT, and it gets you thinking about how your conclusion might not be a guaranteed truth. Maybe Al has a junkier car that can’t make longer trips, or maybe Brenda is assigned certain neighborhoods that are farther away, etc. -- you realize you can’t reach a definite conclusion about average speed without more information about the situations being equatable.

And so you decide that you ought to see what their average times are when you judge them on a level playing-field distance wise -- so you separate out deliveries within a certain distance -- say 10 miles (the equivalent of answer I in the drill) -- and you find that for these Brenda’s average time is better than Al’s.

This wouldn’t be enough for you to conclude that Al definitely isn’t faster than Brenda, but it would expose the fault in taking for granted that average time guarantees a conclusion about average speed, and make you consider that perhaps the difference in average time is due to something other than pace.

Sorry for the length (too much coffee) but that is my thinking behind it -- hope that addresses your concerns, and hope the studying is going well -- Mike
Last edited by The LSAT Trainer on Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:52 pm

sara1993 wrote:
Thank you so much! Getting through three massive texts plus the PTs is already a daunting enough task without having to figure out how to organize yourself as well.
One more question is that since I already studied for the test once, I've gone though a lot of the past PTs (definitely 52-71 that are in the study guide). I recognize a lot of questions, but not necessarily the answers so do you think that it is still valuable material for me? Or do you recommend starting fresh, perhaps with PTs 30 and on and maybe review of the most recent ones towards the end so I can get more accurate questions (such as comparative passages in RC)?
Thanks again for your time and insight.


Sure thing - glad to be of use -

I definitely agree with you that you want to save the newer fresh tests you have available for your final PT work, in large part because newer exams will be slightly more indicative of what you will see on test day than older ones --

I also do definitely believe that you can get a ton of value out of reusing questions -- more specifically, I think they can be very useful for gauging/increasing your mastery, and for gauging/increasing the completeness of your understanding.

Mastery

I think studying one PT very carefully can be far more valuable than burning through a bunch of PT’s without careful consideration --

Imagine this extreme hypothetical -- you use just one LSAT and you take weeks to dissect it and study it as carefully as you possibly can -- you treat it like the Rosetta Stone -- and you make sure that you understand every issue behind every single question -- the key concerns of the test writers, how each wrong answer was designed and what sort of thinking could make the wrong ones tempting, exactly what your ideal processes could have been, as well as what your secondary methods should have been for each situation, and so on.

Again, you give everything you have to understanding the 100 questions on one LSAT exam as well as you possibly can -- if you can actually do this, here are a couple of outcomes I would expect for you --

1) You will almost certainly be better at the LSAT, and should expect that your score will show an increase on future PT’s.

2) If you were to break down your future exams to the same level of review, and were able to do so correctly, what you would find is that every LSAT you broke down would be remarkably similar to every other LSAT you broke down -- they test the same things, in slightly varied ways, again and again, test after test. Knowing this, and knowing thus that you can prepare for everything they can throw at you, can of course give you tremendous confidence, and of course it will reaffirm the benefit of solving the same problems again and again to try to gain a deeper and deeper level of mastery.

I'm not suggestion it's necessary for you to go to such extremes, but I hope the above illustrates the potential value, when it comes to mastery, of reusing/resolving.

Completeness

Nearly every test taker suffers at least a little bit of fear about the prospect of having to face something on test day that they haven’t considered, or haven’t prepared for enough. Probably the most common and visceral example of this is the fear of running into a Logic Game that you can’t picture or that you aren’t prepared for.

You can give yourself a tremendous advantage by developing a sense of complete mastery over certain issues -- for example, if you feel you have automatic and intuitive methods for notating every common LG rule, or practiced and consistent systems for attacking every single type of RC question -- you can be a lot less nervous about the unknown, and consequently a lot more aggressive about taking positive actions that will help you get questions right.

To that end, surveying or reviewing problems you’ve already solved can be extremely valuable for gauging the completeness of your understanding and for exposing areas of weakness.

To illustrate --

If you wanted to make sure you are as automatic with diagramming LG rules as you ought to be --

You can go through a giant batch of Logic Games you’ve already tried, just looking at the given scenarios and rules and making sure, in your mind, that you would be comfortable diagramming every single rule you run into. Keep a running list of any rules that you aren’t sure you would know how to diagram. If you run through, say, ten consecutive published exams and can’t find a single rule you don’t know how to diagram -- that’s a pretty strong sign that you are now awesome enough at notating rules -- if the exercise helps you identify a few rule types for which you weren’t that comfortable with your notations, that gives you a clear path to improvement, and you’ll know that once you get those squared away you will be all good.

Similarly, if you wanted to gauge your RC question methods --

You could go through a bunch of RC you’ve already tried in the past, just focusing in on all the question stems, and seeing if you can picture, based off that question stem, what type of task you are being asked to perform, what type of answer you ought to look for, when you ought to return to the passage to find relevant info, and so on. If you feel really comfortable visualizing this, it’s a great sign that you have developed a complete set of strategies for how to approach various types of RC q’s. Otherwise you can take note of the questions that leave you thinking “What am I supposed to do/look for here?,” and you will know that once you’ve addressed the questions you’ve noted this part of your skill set will be complete.

In you were to use a question again and again, the optimal order of usage would probably be --

1) seeing it in a PT (because “freshness” is arguably most important for PT’s)
2) seeing it in a drill
3) using it for some of the survey sort of work mentioned above.

So, if you have previous tests you’ve used for PT’s, you may want to consider using them for drills next (though of course it’s also very important to try to drill as many fresh q’s as possible), and if you have q’s you’ve already drilled a ton, you may be able to extract the final value out of them by using them for some of the survey/mastery work.

HTH - take care - Mike

Hi-So - ArshavinFan
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:51 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby Hi-So - ArshavinFan » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:03 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Hi-So - ArshavinFan wrote:Hello Mike,

Hope all is well. I have a question about Drill One , Question D in Lesson 20 (review & Assess)
In this drill, you state that I is a weakener. However, I thoroughly confused by this. The conclusion state that in general, one type of surgery is faster than another based on studies of some sort (the condensed version of the argument here lol) However, I state something about the "most simple" type of surgeries being quicker. My questions are:

1) "Most simple" to general is a big assumption in my opinion and there is nowhere in the stimulus that i believe permits me to even somewhat equate the two terms. Why in your opinion does this weaken the reasoning in the argument? Thanks!


Hey - hope all is well with you! - great q -

You’ll notice that the drill assignment is phrased, “Find at least one answer that weakens the argument,” and the reason I did that was because both F and I are very soft weakeners -- less impactful than what you would expect to see for the right answer for a “Most Weakens” q (more like a tempting wrong answer for a Weakens EXCEPT, but arguably even softer than those) -- so while I think the two answers are very useful for thinking about particular issues (such as the difference between weakening an argument vs weakening a conclusion), I think if we disagree about the significance of their impact it won’t matter much for your test day performance --

This argument compares surgeries done traditionally vs robotically. The author claims that since, on average, robotic surgeries take less time than traditional surgeries, it must be true that in general it is faster to do these surgeries robotically than it is to do them using traditional means.

The reasoning issue has to do with length of time vs pace.

To illustrate why length of time can’t justify a conclusion about pace, imagine two people -- one runs to his street corner in 30 seconds, and another runs to his street corner in 10 seconds. You can’t infer anything about how fast each person is running relative to the other, because we don’t have a sense of how much distance each had to run.

So with the argument in question -- the author -- in using only support about length of time to guarantee a conclusion about pace -- is failing to consider that the differences in time may be due to differences in the types of surgeries / taking for granted that the surgeries done both ways are equatable/comparable.

A weaken answer does not have to destroy the argument -- rather it should expose a flaw in the author’s reasoning and give suspicion that the author took too much for granted assuming the support guaranteed the conclusion.

So what we ought to look for in weaken answers for this case is that they either expose the fact that times were for different types of surgeries, or that for equatable surgeries the reality isn’t consistent with the author’s reasoning.

Answer (F) exposes the fact that the differences could be due to the types of surgeries -- notice, it does not destroy the argument (perhaps the complexity of a surgery doesn’t impact pace, or complex surgeries are so rare they don’t matter much for overall average) but it does expose the fact that the author, in his reasoning, assumed an absolute link that might not be so absolute.

Answer (I) tells us that in a particular situation where the robotics and traditional were on a level playing field -- that is, being compared for more equatable work -- the result was the opposite of what the author stated as generally being true-- traditional surgery was faster. Again, it does not destroy the argument -- but it does expose the fact that the author, in his reasoning, assumed an absolute link that might not be so absolute.

To illustrate this issue just a bit further -- imagine the following hypothetical:

You just got hired to be the manager of a pizza restaurant. The restaurant has two delivery people -- Al and Brenda. The records indicate that Al takes an average of 30 minutes per delivery, and Brenda an average of 45. So, you initially conclude that Al must be faster at delivering pizzas.

That night you study a bit for the LSAT, and it gets you thinking about how your conclusion might not be a guaranteed truth. Maybe Al has a junkier car that can’t make longer trips, or maybe Brenda is assigned certain neighborhoods that are farther away, etc. -- you realize you can’t reach a definite conclusion about average speed without more information about the situations being equatable.

And so you decide that you ought to see what their average times are when you judge them on a level playing-field distance wise -- so you separate out deliveries within a certain distance -- say 10 miles (the equivalent of answer I in the drill) -- and you find that for these Brenda’s average time is better than Al’s.

This wouldn’t be enough for you to conclude that Al definitely isn’t faster than Brenda, but it would expose the fault in taking for granted that average time guarantees a conclusion about average speed, and make you consider that perhaps the difference in average time is due to something other than pace.

Sorry for the length (too much coffee) but that is my thinking behind it -- hope that addresses your concerns, and hope the studying is going well -- Mike



I just want to say something before I comment above:

1) Weaken/Strengthen questions are the only questions left in LR on which i truly "struggle" on, and if it wasn't for you, i wouldn't be at the point where I can even debate the answer I with you. I really wish you would post more of the drills from Review and Assess all over the book, as I feel that in about 15 minutes, I understood W/S in a way that was intuitive and effective. And that's saying a lot, because these questions used to kill me (I blame PowerScore and some dipshit LSAT tutors on Wyzant for telling me in to w/s the conclusion lol....but i digress). You explanation also for Q 20 in the later drill in this chapter (the weaken question concerning high school dropouts was the problem that FINALLY helped me understand what weakening/strengthening is truly about ( i honestly feel that if they called the problems Weakening/strengthening the assumption, more people would get it right, but hey, that's the fun in knowing/prepping for the exam I suppose.

Now on with my counter-rebuttal (i wonder if there even is such a thing, or if that is the proper term for my part in this argument):

Now I agree with you that using length of time (I feel like you're a soccer fan, because only FIFA players use the term "pace" stateside) to support a conclusion about pace is a flaw (took me a while to agree with you, but I do .. :D ) but I don't believe it would EVER be an answer choice for any questions concerning "generality" on any LSAT exam. And my belief for that is YOUR explanation for q20 in the drill on pg 292 of the Trainer (1st edition)

I honestly think the BIGGER flaw here is the move from the a small subset/or just a subset to generate a wide/all-encompassing conclusion (1+1 not equal 3 flaw). You see it in Q20, and you also see in its "elementary" phase in a earlier PrepTest (The question of Cops being shitting detectives because their case solving rate is lower than everybody else)

Now, I will concede one thing, with the cops question, i believe an Answer choice like I would work, simply because it addresses the fact that there could be a difference in the cases being worked on. But for the surgery problem, I don't believe it would. Because the term "Average" is used, I believe that bringing up the "most simple" would require an assumption that these were not part of the average, and the bigger assumption, is that the most simple are representative of "general' surgical operations. To me, in this situation, the most simple is equivalent only to "some", and I've never seen a "some" answer be correct when taking about a conclusion which proclaims a "general" case. I also going off your reasoning in Q20, where your down to A & B, but due to the fact that the conclusion is about the "general" case, you eliminate B, based off the fact that some is a poor strengthener (and i believe poor weakener) in an argument about general situations.

What do you think?

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:29 pm

Hi-So - ArshavinFan wrote:
I just want to say something before I comment above:

1) Weaken/Strengthen questions are the only questions left in LR on which i truly "struggle" on, and if it wasn't for you, i wouldn't be at the point where I can even debate the answer I with you. I really wish you would post more of the drills from Review and Assess all over the book, as I feel that in about 15 minutes, I understood W/S in a way that was intuitive and effective. And that's saying a lot, because these questions used to kill me (I blame PowerScore and some dipshit LSAT tutors on Wyzant for telling me in to w/s the conclusion lol....but i digress). You explanation also for Q 20 in the later drill in this chapter (the weaken question concerning high school dropouts was the problem that FINALLY helped me understand what weakening/strengthening is truly about ( i honestly feel that if they called the problems Weakening/strengthening the assumption, more people would get it right, but hey, that's the fun in knowing/prepping for the exam I suppose.

Now on with my counter-rebuttal (i wonder if there even is such a thing, or if that is the proper term for my part in this argument):

Now I agree with you that using length of time (I feel like you're a soccer fan, because only FIFA players use the term "pace" stateside) to support a conclusion about pace is a flaw (took me a while to agree with you, but I do .. :D ) but I don't believe it would EVER be an answer choice for any questions concerning "generality" on any LSAT exam. And my belief for that is YOUR explanation for q20 in the drill on pg 292 of the Trainer (1st edition)

I honestly think the BIGGER flaw here is the move from the a small subset/or just a subset to generate a wide/all-encompassing conclusion (1+1 not equal 3 flaw). You see it in Q20, and you also see in its "elementary" phase in a earlier PrepTest (The question of Cops being shitting detectives because their case solving rate is lower than everybody else)

Now, I will concede one thing, with the cops question, i believe an Answer choice like I would work, simply because it addresses the fact that there could be a difference in the cases being worked on. But for the surgery problem, I don't believe it would. Because the term "Average" is used, I believe that bringing up the "most simple" would require an assumption that these were not part of the average, and the bigger assumption, is that the most simple are representative of "general' surgical operations. To me, in this situation, the most simple is equivalent only to "some", and I've never seen a "some" answer be correct when taking about a conclusion which proclaims a "general" case. I also going off your reasoning in Q20, where your down to A & B, but due to the fact that the conclusion is about the "general" case, you eliminate B, based off the fact that some is a poor strengthener (and i believe poor weakener) in an argument about general situations.

What do you think?


Using my own words against me -- I love that!

I really appreciate your post, and what it shows about how carefully you are studying for the exam -- (more importantly) I’m also very happy to hear that you are seeing improvement from using my book -- you ask some tough q’s, so I’m going to warn you ahead of time that this might be a long response --

As I mentioned in my previous post, I agree that (I) is an answer that would be too soft/not impactful enough to be the right answer to a Most Weaken question, but I also believe it does indeed weaken the argument. (*I realize that this statement might open up a whole new bag of worms that isn’t directly related to your q’s, so I’ve written an addendum about it at the end of this message.) I also want to reiterate that because this is such a subtle issue, I’m fine agreeing to disagree. Please don’t take that as a sign that I don’t care ;) -- if I thought it was something more important to your overall outcome, I would press harder for agreement. I’m also more than happy to continue going back and forth about this as much as you’d like --

I definitely see and appreciate the connection made to answer (B) for q 20 on p 292, but I see these two arguments in question as being very different -- though both arguments reach general conclusions, they do so in different ways, and that’s why an answer that gives a “some” amount weakens in one instance but not the other.

For Q 20, the author states a principle, discusses one specific situation, then reaches a generalized conclusion.

Here’s an overly-simplified argument that uses similar reasoning:

One shouldn’t consume foods that are poisonous. X is a fruit that is poisonous. Therefore it is clear that in general one ought be very careful about eating fruit.

The fundamental reasoning flaw is in going from a specific instance to a generality, and so we need an answer that helps address that issue.

(B) does not. In fact, (B) doesn’t, for sure, tell us anything beyond what we already know (the info about the antihistamine is enough to infer B).

Again, for this problem, the conclusion is a generality and the support is not, and so we needed something that would help ensure generality. That’s why the “most” in (A) is so important.

For the drill on Page 286, the support is itself a generality -- in fact, if you were to substitute “on average” for “in general,” which I imagine you are okay with, the argument essentially becomes:

P: On average, robotics take less time than traditional.

C: Therefore, on average, robotic surgeries are faster than traditional.

(you could also use “in general” for both statements as well -- you get the idea) --

Again, notice that the problem for this particular argument doesn’t have to do with jumping to a general conclusion from more narrow support -- what it has to do with is jumping to a conclusion about speed from information about time.

Now, here’s a key -- if you think about the definition of speed (or pace or rate), it is amount of work done (or distance traveled etc.) divided by time.

If we can think of the work done by physicians as W, the equation for speed would be: W/T.

The argument states that since the time for one method is in general shorter than the time for another, we can conclude (that is, it must be true) that the speed for one method must in general be faster than that for the other. To put it into a formula:

Tr = average time for robotic
Tt = average time for traditional
Sr = average speed for robotic
St = average speed for traditional
Wr = work done by robotic
Wt = work done by traditional

S = W/T

Author’s claim:

Since Tt < Tr, it must be true that Wr/Tr < Wt/Tt.

Notice, mathematically speaking, that what the author is failing to think about in using this support to reach this conclusion is the impact of the W’s -- the work done -- that’s his/her specific mistake -- and the flaw doesn’t have to do with not thinking something “general” about work -- it has to do with absolutely not considering it.

So, any answer that exposes what he/she failed to consider, and opens up the idea that perhaps the average time was not based on doing equitable work, exposes the weakness in this reasoning, and both F and I do this. F shows that Wr and Wt might be different, and I shows that when the work is factored in, speed and time might not be equitable. These answers do not need to destroy the argument, and they don’t -- they do need to expose an assumption the author had no justification making, and they do indeed do that.

I understand that you find another see another fault as being more significant -- that the argument just spoke of just a few factors--skills/access to equipment -- and not other things, perhaps -- that’s fine you see that as the primary flaw, but regardless, hopefully you see what I discussed was also a flaw, and that (I) exposes it.



That may very well be the nerdiest explanation I have ever given -- I hope that was helpful in addressing your concerns, and again, if you have follow up, just let me know --

Mike

(For the *: I really like to push the envelope when it comes to the challenges I present to students in the book, especially in the hard drills -- basically what I do is try to figure out as best I can how they are trying to test you on something, and then I try to mimic it, but sometimes on a level that is just a little bit more challenging than what you should expect on test day. So-- to give a more obvious example of how I do this--if I research a certain type of LG question and see that the toughest versions of them require a string of five inferences of a certain type from you, I might create a challenge q that requires you to string together seven or eight similar sorts of inferences.

When it comes to Strengthen/Weaken q’s, I think it’s important to push the envelope w/how much answers actually strengthen or weaken --

I want to note that the reason I focus on this is not because the test writers try to trick you with answers that only weaken or strengthen a tiny bit -- the right answers are always answers that, in my opinion, strengthen or weaken significantly.

Rather, I focus on pushing the envelope with this for two other main reasons --

1) How much an answer strengthens or weakens is not something that can be judged on an objective scale -- we may all agree that certain support is more important than other evidence, but there is no set method, logically speaking, for determining “how strong” an impact one answer has relative to another.

So the test writers can’t use “strength of impact” as a determinant of right and wrong -- this is a very important bit of understanding that ought to play into our strategies.

As I discuss at length in the book, the way the test writers deal with this issue is by always having just one answer that actually strengthens or weakens the reasoning, and by having four answers that are absolutely wrong -- four answers that either do not relate to the reasoning issues, or clearly do not play the role they are being asked to play (strengthens instead of weakens, for example). And therein lies the key to getting every single one of these questions correct -- your focus ought to be on selecting or eliminating answers based on them being relevant to the reasoning issues, and on them playing the role in question, rather than focusing on how much an answer strengthens or weakens. So, in creating and including an answer like (I), what I’m hoping to do is encourage you to focus on relating the answer just to the reasoning and the intended role, as opposed to how much it weakens, and I do that by making the answer weaken far less than we would like it to.

2) The pressure and importance of this exam naturally increases our natural tendency to doubt ourselves -- and when we are nervous on S/W questions, it is a very natural, common, and sometimes unavoidable human inclination to doubt the correct answer to a Strengthen question because, in thinking about how it relates to the conclusion, you naturally see a bunch of reasons why perhaps the argument is flawed despite that support ("This can't strengthen! This argument is still so flawed!) Similarly, it’s natural to doubt a correct Weaken answer because you see ways the argument could work despite it.

However, this sort of thinking isn’t very helpful because a Strengthen answer does not have to make an argument perfect nor does a Weaken answer have to destroy an argument.

I believe a good way to combat these instincts is to develop the habit of not thinking about how much an answer strengthens or weakens -- if you constantly practice arriving at the one answer that relates to the reasoning and plays the given role, and do your best to not gauge answers too much on the “level” of their impact, you’ll be less likely to reach for those understandable but harmful instincts under pressure.

Probably too much info -- but figured some might be wondering - MK)

Hi-So - ArshavinFan
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:51 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby Hi-So - ArshavinFan » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:21 am

Hey Mike,

Wow! After 1 1/2 years of struggling beyond measure on these questions, I have finally seen the LIGHT.

I just want to say 1 thing. That tidbit you have about the way to Stregthen/Weaken in reasning is to directly address the flaw in reasoning is amazing, but the fact that you say it doesnt matter its impact as long as it adresses the flaw is GOLD ( I honestly think you should include this in future editions of the trainer)

THe reason why I feel you should is that, The other companies answers sheets I've used (Manhattan and Kaplan and Powerscore) all talked about answers which strengthen more than others, even though they Explicitly stated that only 1 s/w. I'm sure how you can see how this would throw someone off. So for a very long time now, Ive been looking for answer choices based on word choice, usage instead of content and structure (which goes back to your line in the book of how the best takers only think about relevant things, while the rest of takers don't.) I honestly feel that yor strength is getting students look at the relevant parts and fully explaining WHY these parts are relevant in a quicker time frame than most others, and I know im beyond thankful for it.

Further, you helped helped me a ton with that math comparison! Haha. The way I see LR anyway is as some form of abstract calculus anyway, so it helps me a ton to see it in mathematical form.

2) I hope you get to the point where you start your online course companion to the Trainer. Would be cool to see you in videos and such.

Thanks!

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:39 pm

Hi-So - ArshavinFan wrote:Hey Mike,

Wow! After 1 1/2 years of struggling beyond measure on these questions, I have finally seen the LIGHT.

I just want to say 1 thing. That tidbit you have about the way to Stregthen/Weaken in reasning is to directly address the flaw in reasoning is amazing, but the fact that you say it doesnt matter its impact as long as it adresses the flaw is GOLD ( I honestly think you should include this in future editions of the trainer)

THe reason why I feel you should is that, The other companies answers sheets I've used (Manhattan and Kaplan and Powerscore) all talked about answers which strengthen more than others, even though they Explicitly stated that only 1 s/w. I'm sure how you can see how this would throw someone off. So for a very long time now, Ive been looking for answer choices based on word choice, usage instead of content and structure (which goes back to your line in the book of how the best takers only think about relevant things, while the rest of takers don't.) I honestly feel that yor strength is getting students look at the relevant parts and fully explaining WHY these parts are relevant in a quicker time frame than most others, and I know im beyond thankful for it.

Further, you helped helped me a ton with that math comparison! Haha. The way I see LR anyway is as some form of abstract calculus anyway, so it helps me a ton to see it in mathematical form.

2) I hope you get to the point where you start your online course companion to the Trainer. Would be cool to see you in videos and such.

Thanks!


It's awesome to hear that you've found my work helpful -- absolutely makes my day -- thank you so much for the note --

No trainer course in the foreseeable future, but I am working on two more videos that I'll be putting up on youtube over the summer, so please look out for those --

MK

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:39 pm

Thoughts for those who feel stuck

Hi everyone --

I’ve seen a few posts on tls and reddit recently from students who
a) feel like they have hit a plateau
b) feel frustrated about their pace of improvement
c) are wondering if they have any more improvement left in them

And some thoughts came to mind that I figured might be helpful, so I’ve written them below --

First, just a quick story --

When I was a kid, I had a b&w apple ii, and I was obsessed with a game called montezuma’s revenge. The game involved collecting different types of keys that opened different types of doors, and one of the biggest challenges was that certain keys that looked exactly the same actually opened different doors, and so I had to memorize which keys opened which doors based on where particular keys or doors were located.

At some point, I went over to a friend’s house and got a chance to play the game on a color screen -- and what I found out was that the keys that looked identical on my screen were actually different colors, and they matched the colors of the doors they were supposed to open -- memorizing which key went to which door was not meant to be a challenge of the game, and my b&w screen had made things harder than they needed to be.

When it comes to a standardized test such as the LSAT, one of the toughest things to know is whether you’ve covered all the bases you are supposed to cover in your prep -- when you don’t, it can be like playing the video-game in black and white--you deny yourself certain tools that can make problems markedly easier to solve.

So with that said, here are a few different checklists that you can use to make sure that you haven’t accidentally put yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage.

Checklist 1: What You Need To Do: Learning, Drilling, PT’s, and Review

Some students have been able to get remarkable scores just by taking tons of PT’s, or just by taking a class or reading a book, but for the vast majority of students, the optimal prep schedule includes a combination of learning (from books, classes, whatever), drilling, and PT’s, with tons of careful review along the way. If you haven’t focused on one or more of those areas yet, perhaps you don’t need to, put you may want to give it a shot.

Checklist 2: What You Need To Have: Understanding, Strategies, Skills, and Habits

Generally speaking, a person who is capable of scoring at a very high level has --
1) an understanding of the exam -- how the reasoning issues work, what the questions are asking for, etc.
2) effective strategies -- for how to read passages, how to diagram, how to approach different types of q’s, etc.
3) effective skills -- and we can define skill as the ability apply understanding and strategies correctly
4) good habits -- and these habits will determine how consistently you utilize the right skills at the right time.

If you think 1 and 2 are holding you back, look for ways to improve your learning process, and if you think 3 and 4 are holding you back, it’s probably best to focus on drilling and pt’s (again, always along with careful review).

Checklist 3: Skill Sets in More Detail: Reading, Reasoning, Mental Discipline


Here’s where things get a bit less obvious --

You can organize all of the challenges presented on the LSAT into three buckets: the LSAT tests your reading ability, your reasoning ability, and your mental discipline. It does so in very specific and very consistent ways.

Most students naturally know to think about the test in terms of reasoning challenges, so they will make sure to study causation and conditional logic and so on. They will make sure to understanding the underlying reasoning issues in a given argument, how the rules of a game were meant to go together, etc.

Not nearly as many students pay as much attention to the reading challenges and the challenges of mental discipline-- they don’t keep a running list of phrases or words that cause them trouble, they don’t pay as much attention as they should to why they solved a certain Logic Games question less efficiently than they could have, and so on. If you are a student who has been focusing almost exclusively on reasoning issues for months and feel like you’ve hit a plateau, there is a very good chance that your reasoning skills are now absolutely strong enough for high level success, and it’s these other issues that are holding you back.

Here are a few suggestions for those who feel they may have been neglecting reasoning issues, reading issues, or issues of mental discipline:

To Check Your Reasoning Skills --
- For Logical Reasoning: try to see if you can organize the questions you missed/found difficult per the underlying reasoning (causation, part-to-whole, etc.). In reviewing your eliminating process, try to make it a habit to see which of the wrong answers are wrong because they are not relevant to the reasoning in the given stimulus (as opposed to being wrong for not properly addressing the task in the question stem).
- For Logic Games: evaluate your LG performance in terms of your ability to think about assignment, think about order, think about grouping, think about the distinction between what must be and what could be, and to think about the impact of conditional information.
- For Reading Comp: In evaluating your performances, think carefully about the reasoning the author uses to make his or her points, and make sure you can understand it clearly. Separate out and consider distinct the RC questions that ask you to use your reasoning ability (inference, strengthen or weaken, etc.). Perhaps more importantly, take note of any RC questions for which you ran into trouble because you relied too much on your reasoning skills when in fact the problems were designed to gauge your reading ability.

To Check Your Reading Skills --

-For LG: Keep notes on the wording issues--in the scenarios, the rules, the question stems, and the answer choices--that trip you up or cause you to doubt yourself. It helps to know that the test writers are extremely consistent with the wording they use for Logic Games.
-For LR: You can evaluate your reading performance by making sure you read everything correctly (duh), and thinking very carefully and critically about what you chose to prioritize in your read and how you chose to organize that which you chose to focus on--and of course the most important organizational structure to know/prioritize is that of an argument. Your ability focus in on an argument and organize it correctly is absolutely critical to your LR success. And if you have zeroed in on the right argument in the right way, then it becomes much easier to see which words you ought to focus on during the process of eliminating wrong answers (evaluating what words/phrases you focused on as you eliminated and selected answers should be an important part of your review process as well).
- For RC: In reviewing your performance after the fact, when you know for sure what the author’s intentions were and how you were supposed to read the reasoning structure, review carefully the exact wording used in the passage and practice visualizing the structure in terms of the interplay of words such as “therefore,” “however,” “because,” “believes,” and so on. And of course make sure that you understood the exact meaning of the words used in the passage, the question stems and the answer choices correctly, or as correctly as you can be expected to. Keeping a running list of question stems that tripped you up in the heat of the moment (what the hell are they asking me for?!?!) can be especially helpful.

To Check Your Mental Discipline

You can think of mental discipline as the ability to stay on task -- there are two parts critical to success here--
1) you want to have a very clear and correct understanding of the various tasks presented and
2) you want to be very good at sticking to those tasks.

Make sure you have a very clear understanding of what you are being asked to do for every single type of Logical Reasoning question, Logic Games question, and Reading Comp question. And make sure you designate and practice strategies for each of these different types of questions--the methods you employ for an LG question that gives you a conditional and asks what could be true should be very different from those that you employ for an unconditional must be true q, for example, and if you haven’t considered these different types of questions carefully, or if you haven’t gotten enough experience at applying different strategies to different question types, you will be less efficient on test day -- you will waste time and energy thinking about things that won’t lead you to success.

And it also helps to give yourself some extra practice at those challenges that require the most mental discipline--such as tough Inference or //-reasoning LR questions that really punish those who can’t stay focused on the most crucial elements.


Whew! That’s all that comes to mind -- sorry for the length -- again, if you are feeling stuck or frustrated with your improvement, or if you are retaking and thinking about how to approach things differently this time around, I hope you found at least one or two points here helpful -- MK

ebb44
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:51 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby ebb44 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:52 pm

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your "Thoughts for those who feel stuck" post yesterday. I have decided to start studying again after disappointing results from my last real test. I completed 7sage's course and taken almost 30 PTs and deliberately reviewed each one. After so much studying I'm sure what else is left for me to do, but your last post gave me a few ideas. I would appreciate if you could take a look at some of the thoughts and questions I have below and let me know what you think.

Checklist 1
I focused a ton on each of these, but maybe the least on review. Is this what you would recommend? On the other hand, maybe I need to do more learning to help me discover new tools that I was missing as you mentioned at the beginning of your last past. Or maybe it's more PTs because even though I did many, I did significantly worse on my 2 real LSATs than PTs and maybe I just need to be more comfortable with the test. Or perhaps I need more drills to attack the types of problems that give me the most trouble. As you can see, I'm not sure which approach to take.

Checklist 2
1) an understanding of the exam -- how the reasoning issues work, what the questions are asking for, etc.
2) effective strategies -- for how to read passages, how to diagram, how to approach different types of q’s, etc.
3) effective skills -- and we can define skill as the ability apply understanding and strategies correctly
4) good habits -- and these habits will determine how consistently you utilize the right skills at the right time.


I'm pretty comfortable with #1. #2 applies to RC but probably not the others. I need to work on 3-4 the most.

Checklist 3
I stopped studying after the test last December, so I will need to evaluate myself more carefully in the detailed areas you pointed out when I resume. I will start studying once your book comes in the mail.

User avatar
SirArthurDayne
Posts: 2684
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 10:51 pm

Post removed.

Postby SirArthurDayne » Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:54 pm

Post removed.
Last edited by SirArthurDayne on Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:31 pm

ebb44 wrote:Hi Mike,

Thank you for your "Thoughts for those who feel stuck" post yesterday. I have decided to start studying again after disappointing results from my last real test. I completed 7sage's course and taken almost 30 PTs and deliberately reviewed each one. After so much studying I'm sure what else is left for me to do, but your last post gave me a few ideas. I would appreciate if you could take a look at some of the thoughts and questions I have below and let me know what you think.

Checklist 1
I focused a ton on each of these, but maybe the least on review. Is this what you would recommend? On the other hand, maybe I need to do more learning to help me discover new tools that I was missing as you mentioned at the beginning of your last past. Or maybe it's more PTs because even though I did many, I did significantly worse on my 2 real LSATs than PTs and maybe I just need to be more comfortable with the test. Or perhaps I need more drills to attack the types of problems that give me the most trouble. As you can see, I'm not sure which approach to take.

Checklist 2
1) an understanding of the exam -- how the reasoning issues work, what the questions are asking for, etc.
2) effective strategies -- for how to read passages, how to diagram, how to approach different types of q’s, etc.
3) effective skills -- and we can define skill as the ability apply understanding and strategies correctly
4) good habits -- and these habits will determine how consistently you utilize the right skills at the right time.


I'm pretty comfortable with #1. #2 applies to RC but probably not the others. I need to work on 3-4 the most.

Checklist 3
I stopped studying after the test last December, so I will need to evaluate myself more carefully in the detailed areas you pointed out when I resume. I will start studying once your book comes in the mail.



Hey --

Appreciate the post --

From what you wrote, it seems that what would be most effective for now is for you to develop a system for assessing, in a more specific and practical way, your progress and your strengths and weaknesses -- and then you can better see for yourself what you need to focus on most this time around, and you can also make adjustments along the way per what you are finding to be effective or not.

I suggest, if you think it might be useful, that you take a day or two to think in a macro sort of way about all that you need for success on test day, and how + or - you feel about each area of study. Create a "big board" of LSAT prep - you may want to use notecards or giant pieces of paper (or you might be interested in kenban boards, if you haven't tried them already) --

Start by, without going back through your notes / prep material etc., listing out all the lr q types, lg game situations, and rc q types / general reading strategies, and for each, write out your basic strategies, the most important things to understand, and how you feel about each topic in terms of understanding/strategies/skills/habits -- for example, if you use notecards, maybe you make a notecard for each LR q type, write down strategies on one side, key understanding on another, then take note of the q types where you don't feel your strategies or habits are as strong as they need to be, etc.

Next, finish out your big board by going back over your notes/study material you've already used -- take note of the q types you've forgotten about, issues you've never really developed strategies for, etc. -- again, see if you can incorporate a system where you think of each issue in terms of understanding, strategies, skills, and habits.

As you study through the trainer and as you do more drilling and pt work and review (and I know you also asked about review -- there is a ton of advice about how to review in the early chapters of the trainer so please check those out) -- keep returning to your board, perhaps once in a while adding issues, game types etc. you hadn't thought about before, but, more importantly, checking off the areas in which you are getting stronger and stronger. As you get toward the end of your prep, your big board can help you pinpoint those last remaining weaknesses and help you go into the test knowing you are totally prepared --

So, it may be that per your situation or how you like to study the above isn't going to be helpful, but that's what came to mind -- if you think it might be useful, see how that works out for you, and if you have any follow up just let me know --

MK

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:54 pm

SirArthurDayne wrote:Hey Mike, can you discuss what you think is the best way to divide up one's study time between the sections over the course of a week. I study about 3-4 hours on Weekdays and 6-7 hours on the Weekends. I usually go M and T for RC, W and TR for LR, F and S for LGs, and Sundays as a catch up day. Would you say it is more effective to study a little bit of each section each day or to split them up by days, similar to what I'm doing. I'm currently in the drilling stage of my prep and I hope to be transitioning to full length PTs in about month.


Thanks.


Hey --

I think what you are doing can definitely work totally fine (you know yourself best), but if you think switching things up might help you be more effective, here are some suggestions based on what I've seen with other students --

1) Seven days a week seems rough -- I personally constantly forget, and get reminded again, about how beneficial taking a quick break from things can be for my brain -- so, if you want to take some days off, you certainly shouldn't feel guilty about it.

2) Just two days per subject might not be enough (depending on how you use your sessions) to delve deeply into drilling a topic -- I could see cramming enough into a couple of days to do so, but I think most students would benefit from spreading it out more.

3) At the same time, I also think it's fine to overlap your studies, so that, for example, as you finishing up your LR prep you are also doing LG -- for me personally, one benefit of such overlap is that it helps me overcome my own natural tendency to procrastinate --

If I have two things to get done, I will generally prefer one over the other, and if I don't feel like doing the main activity, I will "procrastinate" by doing the other one --

If however, I just force myself to do one thing all day, I will more likely procrastinate by watching youtube videos, etc. --

Sounds like you have a bit more self-discipline than I do, but just a thought.

4) Most students should spend more time on LR than on the other 2 q types -- could be that you aren't b/c you are strongest at LR, but otherwise LR is the most important Q type to drill.

5) Lastly, and this is somewhat related to my previous post -- I think it helps to think of your prep planning as the combining of three factors -- the amount of time you want to spend, what you want to do in that time (drill, read a lesson, etc.), and what you want to accomplish (develop better habits for //-reasoning q's, etc.) --

What you accomplish is ultimately what is most important -- knowing you studied X number of hours or drilled X # of questions won't make you feel nearly as good as knowing that you are very good at solving every single type of problem --

So as much as possible (I know it's not sometimes easy to see how in real life), I suggest you try to direct your prep with what you want to accomplish -- every time you sit down to study, have very specific goals in mind, then, after your study session, evaluate how you did relative to those goals -- and when you find you are awesome at a certain q type don't force yourself to do more of them than necessary, and if you are struggling with another q type, don't be afraid to adjust your study schedule.

I hope that gives you some helpful ideas -- wish you the best -- Mike


Return to “Free Help and Advice from Professionals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest