Mike's Trainer Thread

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sashafierce
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby sashafierce » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:05 pm

Yayy! My copy of The LSAT Trainer is finally here! Ready, Set, Gooooooooo. :D

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:34 pm

sashafierce wrote:Yayy! My copy of The LSAT Trainer is finally here! Ready, Set, Gooooooooo. :D


Awesome -- can't wait to see what you think of it (what do you think about beyonce's new cut btw?) --

Good luck with your prep, and please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need anything --

Mike

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sashafierce
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby sashafierce » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:53 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
sashafierce wrote:Yayy! My copy of The LSAT Trainer is finally here! Ready, Set, Gooooooooo. :D


Awesome -- can't wait to see what you think of it (what do you think about beyonce's new cut btw?) --

Good luck with your prep, and please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need anything --

Mike


I love her new hair style! At first I was like wth but it grew on me..(even though its only been 2 days) it makes her look younger.

Its a daunting task to read 500+ words after doing Manhattan LSAT and Powerscore (all 3 books). But based on the reviews I believe that its worth it.

Will keep you posted as I go along :D

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Dr. Dre
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Dr. Dre » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:31 am

YOU FINALLY GOT AN AVATAR 8)

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flash21
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby flash21 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:12 am

Really loving this book. SA's used to give me such a hard time, and they just seem so much simpler now. The way mike explains things in this book really clicks with me for some reason. Talented teacher no doubt!

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Louis1127
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Louis1127 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:32 pm

Hey Mike,

I will tackle the LSAT in a few months (long story, I absolutely must work about 30 hrs a week this semester in addition to classes, but will be able to finally quit my job and study for the LSAT from Jan '14 and on). I took a diagnostic a few weeks ago (completely cold for the record), and let's just say it wasn't exactly up to TLS standards :oops:

My question is, do you think the trainer is conducive to students who are in my situation (not just relatively low diags, but also the following characteristics):

1. LG I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and did astonishingly terrible. (I know that TLS consensus is that LG is by far the most learnable but still, my performance still kind of shocked me).
2. LR I also did very poorly on, I do remember something that I think is very notable: that I thought that all of the answers were saying the same thing. I think I fell into the trap you hinted at when you said previously in this thread:

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Nicolena. wrote:
On the flip side, when it comes to what lower scorers think about -- two things are consistently true --

1) a lot of them would think about flaws in overly abstract or technical ways, using terms they clearly didn't completely understand.



Mike


3. RC was actually my best section (but still not good).

My study plan (before stumbling upon this thread) was to use PS and MLSAT supplemented with Cambridge drilling and finally full-length PTS once I understood the underlying logic and concepts of the questions (how ever long that takes). I want to get your take on how the book is for folks in my situation, as it seems alot of folks are using this AFTER they have used other books (such as PS and MLSAT) and thus HAVE that understanding of the concepts that I referred to earlier. Obviously this is not a time-sensitive matter. Thanks. --Louie

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby 0913djp » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:36 pm

Just bought the book on Amazon after weeks of debating it. I have read all the other Logic Reasoning resources so I'm hoping LSAT Trainer can get me over the metaphorical hump of LR and take me into the high 160's. I'll have the book hopefully by next weekend. Am I starting too late? I am only going to need it for LR purposes.

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:55 am

Dr. Dre wrote:YOU FINALLY GOT AN AVATAR 8)


Yeah -- I got this sudden urge to switch to Mike D'Antoni at the last minute, but then realized how utterly stupid that would be.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:07 am

0913djp wrote:Just bought the book on Amazon after weeks of debating it. I have read all the other Logic Reasoning resources so I'm hoping LSAT Trainer can get me over the metaphorical hump of LR and take me into the high 160's. I'll have the book hopefully by next weekend. Am I starting too late? I am only going to need it for LR purposes.


Not sure if you are asking me or others, but I think you have more than enough time. However, I definitely want to encourage you to not rush through the book -- think about it like an exercise routine that you are using to get in shape -- it's effective, and it's going to get you ready for the test, but you're not doing yourself a favor by rushing through it -- the time you spend in it doing the work is what will make you better (don't skip the drills, and give yourself time to repeat them as needed) --

Thanks for taking the leap, and please let me know if you have any questions or need any help along the way --

Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:54 am

Louis1127 wrote:Hey Mike,

I will tackle the LSAT in a few months (long story, I absolutely must work about 30 hrs a week this semester in addition to classes, but will be able to finally quit my job and study for the LSAT from Jan '14 and on). I took a diagnostic a few weeks ago (completely cold for the record), and let's just say it wasn't exactly up to TLS standards :oops:

My question is, do you think the trainer is conducive to students who are in my situation (not just relatively low diags, but also the following characteristics):

1. LG I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and did astonishingly terrible. (I know that TLS consensus is that LG is by far the most learnable but still, my performance still kind of shocked me).
2. LR I also did very poorly on, I do remember something that I think is very notable: that I thought that all of the answers were saying the same thing. I think I fell into the trap you hinted at when you said previously in this thread:

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Nicolena. wrote:
On the flip side, when it comes to what lower scorers think about -- two things are consistently true --

1) a lot of them would think about flaws in overly abstract or technical ways, using terms they clearly didn't completely understand.



Mike


3. RC was actually my best section (but still not good).

My study plan (before stumbling upon this thread) was to use PS and MLSAT supplemented with Cambridge drilling and finally full-length PTS once I understood the underlying logic and concepts of the questions (how ever long that takes). I want to get your take on how the book is for folks in my situation, as it seems alot of folks are using this AFTER they have used other books (such as PS and MLSAT) and thus HAVE that understanding of the concepts that I referred to earlier. Obviously this is not a time-sensitive matter. Thanks. --Louie


Hi Louie --

Nice to meet you online --

I'm excited that you are interested in the trainer, and also impressed that you are so organized in terms of planning ahead for your study time (I know I wouldn't have been)--

In terms of using my book in conjunction with others, my suggestion would be to start with the trainer, and then to layer the other books on top of that --

It is true that currently a lot of students are going to the trainer after the other two books, but i think that's in large part due to the fact that those books are more accepted and mine is new --

Here are a couple of strong reasons to start with the trainer:

1) The Trainer really is designed to be a comprehensive self-study system --I've tried to think of everything that you need to do to prepare for the exam (there are various free study schedules on my website that help you integrate problem drills and pt's into your trainer work), and designed a complete learning system that centers around the study guide. As part of that, within the book I spend a lot of time talking about how to study for the test, how to think about the test, how to use your drills and practice tests, etc.

The other book sets you mentioned are not designed to be comprehensive self-study systems -- at least as far as the manhattan books go (and I'm pretty sure this is true of the ps books as well), they were designed first and foremost as class supplements, and they also happen to be sold to people who use them to self-study. The other books will give you lessons and strategies, but they won't help guide your studies as much.

2) The trainer starts off general and fundamental, and gets into specific question types and whatnot fairly deep in -- the other books pretty much start in right away with teaching you how to categorize and solve individual question types -- so, just in terms of chronology, I think it makes sense to begin with the trainer.

Also, I don't think you need any sort of prep before getting into the trainer -- I think it's fairly easy to read and understand, and it will give you all the basic information that you need to know.

Others may have other suggestions (students always seem to know best) but those are my two cents --

btw, i'm sure you know this, but you can download five (soon to be eight) chapters of my book on the trainer website -- this includes the first chapter -- if you haven't done so already, you should take a look at that whenever you get a chance and it should give you a much clearer idea of whether it makes more sense for you to start with the trainer, or with another book.

Whatever you decide is best for you, I'll be around and always happy to help in any way I can --

Best of luck with your prep -- look forward to seeing you back here in Jan --

Mike

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Louis1127
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Louis1127 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:11 am

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Louis1127 wrote:Hey Mike,

I will tackle the LSAT in a few months (long story, I absolutely must work about 30 hrs a week this semester in addition to classes, but will be able to finally quit my job and study for the LSAT from Jan '14 and on). I took a diagnostic a few weeks ago (completely cold for the record), and let's just say it wasn't exactly up to TLS standards :oops:

My question is, do you think the trainer is conducive to students who are in my situation (not just relatively low diags, but also the following characteristics):

1. LG I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and did astonishingly terrible. (I know that TLS consensus is that LG is by far the most learnable but still, my performance still kind of shocked me).
2. LR I also did very poorly on, I do remember something that I think is very notable: that I thought that all of the answers were saying the same thing. I think I fell into the trap you hinted at when you said previously in this thread:

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Nicolena. wrote:
On the flip side, when it comes to what lower scorers think about -- two things are consistently true --

1) a lot of them would think about flaws in overly abstract or technical ways, using terms they clearly didn't completely understand.



Mike


3. RC was actually my best section (but still not good).

My study plan (before stumbling upon this thread) was to use PS and MLSAT supplemented with Cambridge drilling and finally full-length PTS once I understood the underlying logic and concepts of the questions (how ever long that takes). I want to get your take on how the book is for folks in my situation, as it seems alot of folks are using this AFTER they have used other books (such as PS and MLSAT) and thus HAVE that understanding of the concepts that I referred to earlier. Obviously this is not a time-sensitive matter. Thanks. --Louie


Hi Louie --

Nice to meet you online --

I'm excited that you are interested in the trainer, and also impressed that you are so organized in terms of planning ahead for your study time (I know I wouldn't have been)--

In terms of using my book in conjunction with others, my suggestion would be to start with the trainer, and then to layer the other books on top of that --

It is true that currently a lot of students are going to the trainer after the other two books, but i think that's in large part due to the fact that those books are more accepted and mine is new --

Here are a couple of strong reasons to start with the trainer:

1) The Trainer really is designed to be a comprehensive self-study system --I've tried to think of everything that you need to do to prepare for the exam (there are various free study schedules on my website that help you integrate problem drills and pt's into your trainer work), and designed a complete learning system that centers around the study guide. As part of that, within the book I spend a lot of time talking about how to study for the test, how to think about the test, how to use your drills and practice tests, etc.

The other book sets you mentioned are not designed to be comprehensive self-study systems -- at least as far as the manhattan books go (and I'm pretty sure this is true of the ps books as well), they were designed first and foremost as class supplements, and they also happen to be sold to people who use them to self-study. The other books will give you lessons and strategies, but they won't help guide your studies as much.

2) The trainer starts off general and fundamental, and gets into specific question types and whatnot fairly deep in -- the other books pretty much start in right away with teaching you how to categorize and solve individual question types -- so, just in terms of chronology, I think it makes sense to begin with the trainer.

Also, I don't think you need any sort of prep before getting into the trainer -- I think it's fairly easy to read and understand, and it will give you all the basic information that you need to know.

Others may have other suggestions (students always seem to know best) but those are my two cents --

btw, i'm sure you know this, but you can download five (soon to be eight) chapters of my book on the trainer website -- this includes the first chapter -- if you haven't done so already, you should take a look at that whenever you get a chance and it should give you a much clearer idea of whether it makes more sense for you to start with the trainer, or with another book.

Whatever you decide is best for you, I'll be around and always happy to help in any way I can --

Best of luck with your prep -- look forward to seeing you back here in Jan --

Mike


Thanks, Mike. I think I am going to get the Trainer and go through it before PS and MLSAT. January can't get here soon enough. Maybe we can reconnect then in some way. Until then, thanks and good luck!

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby All Star » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:58 am

Hello Everyone,

I'm now just finishing up with my LSAT course, and it looks like I still need some additional improvement in LR and RC (with RC, especially timing- related issues)

I just took a PT yesterday and scored -14 combined on LR and -10 on RC. In RC, I had to guess on the entire 4th passage because of time and got each one wrong! Do you think that this book will help improve my timing and strategies on RC and help raise my LR? Has this book worked for anyone else having issues in these areas?

Thanks!

Dynasty091
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Dynasty091 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:06 pm

All Star wrote:Hello Everyone,

I'm now just finishing up with my LSAT course, and it looks like I still need some additional improvement in LR and RC (with RC, especially timing- related issues)

I just took a PT yesterday and scored -14 combined on LR and -10 on RC. In RC, I had to guess on the entire 4th passage because of time and got each one wrong! Do you think that this book will help improve my timing and strategies on RC and help raise my LR? Has this book worked for anyone else having issues in these areas?

Thanks!


LR, imo is the book's biggest strength. Before I went through the Trainer I was getting only 12-13 questions correct on a timed PT. Afterwards I started getting 19-23 right per section. RC is still a work of progress for me but I think it's more on a lack of practice.

scandk
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby scandk » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:24 pm

Dynasty091 wrote:LR, imo is the book's biggest strength. Before I went through the Trainer I was getting only 12-13 questions correct on a timed PT. Afterwards I started getting 19-23 right per section. RC is still a work of progress for me but I think it's more on a lack of practice.


Wow, that's a huge jump. Congrats man.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby ManoftheHour » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:38 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
ManoftheHour wrote:Yo Mike

Is there a major difference between these two?


http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Logical ... +reasoning

http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Logical ... +reasoning

Some of us in another thread were wondering.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=214494


Yo -- I left Manhattan before they put out those 3rd editions, but I'm fairly certain there were no substantive changes made -- as far as I know (I haven't looked at a recent RC), the LG one was the only one that was significantly rewritten from the 2nd to the 3rd --

Weren't you Jason Terry? - I love that guy.


Yeah. Now I'm just a jet. But no one's getting the joke. Going to be changing it back soon.

Thanks for your reply. My LSAT Trainer book just shipped yesterday. Can't wait to start.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:40 pm

ManoftheHour wrote:
The LSAT Trainer wrote:
ManoftheHour wrote:Yo Mike

Is there a major difference between these two?


http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Logical ... +reasoning

http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Logical ... +reasoning

Some of us in another thread were wondering.

http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 6&t=214494


Yo -- I left Manhattan before they put out those 3rd editions, but I'm fairly certain there were no substantive changes made -- as far as I know (I haven't looked at a recent RC), the LG one was the only one that was significantly rewritten from the 2nd to the 3rd --

Weren't you Jason Terry? - I love that guy.


Yeah. Now I'm just a jet. But no one's getting the joke. Going to be changing it back soon.

Thanks for your reply. My LSAT Trainer book just shipped yesterday. Can't wait to start.


I got the joke (did you get mine about d'antoni?) --

I can't wait for you to start. Let me know if you need anything.

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neprep
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby neprep » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:18 pm

Hi Mike! Thanks again for committing to this AMA and then actually maintaining that commitment even as TLS users hound you on the regular.

I really wanted to shore up my understanding of necessary and sufficient assumptions — I am fairly comfortable with textbook (or should I say LSAT Trainer) distinction between the two, but I wanted to confirm a speculation. On a question that asks about an assumption, is it possible that depending on whether it's after a necessary or a sufficient assumption, the credited AC changes? That is to say, given the very same stimulus and AC, if I were to go in and change it from a SA to a NA question, the answer could change?

Because I didn't want to try to find a question I think illustrates the above (confirmation bias) and because I didn't want to task you with it either, I made up a question based on something I was reading today. I designed it so that SA is (D) and NA is (E), so if I changed the stem either could be the correct AC. Obviously this entire question could be flawed, since it's neither LSAC-vetted nor pretested, but in such a case, I believe there's still some pedagogical value in understanding why it's flawed, and on what assumptions the argument truly depends. (Shouldn't take you more than 45 seconds to crush this, right? :wink: )

Clay tablets dating back to 2600 BC Babylon with
recipes for medicinal substances form the earliest
pieces of evidence of the practice of apothecary,
which involved the formulation of substances
believed to be of therapeutic value. If this were not
enough to establish that much of modern medical
treatment owes its methods to ancient civilization,
papyrus dating back to 1500 BC Egypt containing written
recipes for over 700 drugs surely confirms such a thesis.

The reasoning presented above [rests on which one
of the following assumptions? / can be properly drawn
if which one of the following is assumed?]

(A) The practice of apothecary did not exist prior
to 2500 BC.
(B) The clay tablets from Babylon contained
recipes similar to those found in the papyrus
from Egypt.
(C) Some drugs described in the clay tablets and
the papyrus are still in use by much of modern
medical science.
(D) There are no drugs used in modern medical
treatment that are not in some way derivative
of those described in either the clay tablets or
the papyrus.
(E) The drugs described in either the clay tablets or the
papyrus share with the drugs used in modern
medical treatment a similar general purpose.

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:02 pm

neprep wrote:Hi Mike! Thanks again for committing to this AMA and then actually maintaining that commitment even as TLS users hound you on the regular.

I really wanted to shore up my understanding of necessary and sufficient assumptions — I am fairly comfortable with textbook (or should I say LSAT Trainer) distinction between the the two, but I wanted to confirm a speculation. On a question that asks about an assumption, is it possible that depending on whether it's after a necessary or a sufficient assumption, the credited AC changes? That is to say, given the very same stimulus and AC, if I were to go in and change it from a SA to a NA question, the answer could change?

Because I didn't want to try to find a question I think illustrates the above (confirmation bias) and because I didn't want to task you with it either, I made up a question based on something I was reading today. I designed it so that SA is (D) and NA is (E), so if I changed the stem either could be the correct AC. Obviously this entire question could be flawed, since it's neither LSAC-vetted nor pretested, but in such a case, I believe there's still some pedagogical value in understanding why it's flawed, and on what assumptions the argument truly depends. (Shouldn't take you more than 45 seconds to crush this, right? :wink: )

Clay tablets dating back to 2600 BC Babylon with
recipes for medicinal substances form the earliest
pieces of evidence of the practice of apothecary,
which involved the formulation of substances
believed to be of therapeutic value. If this were not
enough to establish that much of modern medical
treatment owes its methods to ancient civilization,
papyrus dating back to 1500 BC Egypt containing written
recipes for over 700 drugs surely confirms such a thesis.

The reasoning presented above [rests on which one
of the following assumptions? / can be properly drawn
if which one of the following is assumed?]

(A) The practice of apothecary did not exist prior
to 2500 BC.
(B) The clay tablets from Babylon contained
recipes similar to those found in the papyrus
from Egypt.
(C) Some drugs described in the clay tablets and
the papyrus are still in use by much of modern
medical science.
(D) There are no drugs used in modern medical
treatment that are not in some way derivative
of those described in either the clay tablets or
the papyrus.
(E) The drugs described in the clay tablets and
papyrus share with the drugs used in modern
medical treatment a similar general purpose.


Hi -- not only could the credited answer be different, I think it's very very rare that you'll find an answer that would be correct for both a sufficient and necessary assumption question. Furthermore, the harder the question, the more likely the answers stray from any sort of common ground (that is, right answers to tough nec assumption q's sometimes don't seem strong enough to help the argument, and answers to tough suff assumption questions can be unattractive because they don't seem necessary).

If you don't mind, I'll spend my time answering your general q's rather than the LR you made up (it's very hard to make up a realistic LSAT LR q -- I know I can't do it).

Obviously, I go into this in a lot more detail in the book, but I think the following two tips can be really helpful for not getting tripped up on these --

1) Think of your LR process in two distinct steps -- the step in which you evaluate the stimulus (which typically has an argument) and the step in which you "fit" the answers in between your understanding of the stimulus and your understanding of the very specific task that the question stem presents. This may not seem like a big deal, but I think people cause themselves all sorts of trouble (knowingly or unknowingly) by mixing the two steps together (and by underestimating the importance of understanding the task specifically) -- for example, some people, if they see an obvious flaw, expect that flaw to be directly discussed in the answer for whatever type of question they get, and are attracted to any answer choice that seems to do this -- however, there are certain questions that naturally lend themselves to right answers that address issues in unexpected ways (such as nec assumption q's). if you employ two clear steps, you see the obvious flaw, then you think about how the answers relate to the task and that flaw -- again, this may seem like a small thing, but it puts you in better position, I think, to make fewer mistakes. Remember, the test writers aren't casual with their wording, especially in question stems -- throughout your studies, you want to get better and better at having a laser-focus on the very specific task questions present.

2) I know this may seem crazy but I encourage you to maybe give it a shot -- don't think of necessary and sufficient assumption questions as being related at all --block out any and all things you know about how they relate to one another - think of them as being as different as weaken and suff assumption q's are.
Take out the word "assumption" and these tasks have very little to do with one another. In my opinion, there is very little benefit to seeing the connection between the two, and a whole lot of danger in confusing them for one another (that's why, you may have noticed, I actually talk about the two different question types in two different chapters, to put some distance between them).

A necessary assumption is something that needs to be true if the premise is to be used to justify the conclusion. Sometimes these answers help the argument a lot, sometimes they are predictable, but neither of these characteristics should be your focus. Again, all you want to think about is what needs to be true.

A sufficient assumption is something that guarantees that the premise will lead to the conclusion. That's a very tall order. Again, sometimes these are predictable, and sometimes they are not, sometimes they will feel necessary, and sometimes they will feel like they go above and beyond -- the best thing to do is to not think about that stuff at all -- have a laser focus on "does this guarantee that the premise leads to the conclusion" and try your best not to think of anything else.

One final related note, remember than there is a much rarer third type of assumption question, which I call basic assumption -- these ask for an assumption that is neither necessary nor sufficient ("Which of the following does the argument assume?"). For these questions, you should expect the answer to be fairly predictable and more directly related to the issue that you see in the argument. As I discuss in the book, you basically want to think of these as you would flaw questions, then reword the flaw as an assumption.

One final final point I want to make is that it's one thing to know what to do, and another to actually do it (the latter being the more significant defining characteristic of top scorers) -- a great exercise for turning your strategies/understanding into habits is to, for each question type, make a 3X5 notecard where you list your specific job, the steps you want to take to solve the question, and maybe one or two things you want to remind yourself of. Keep it as short as possible (and maybe work to shorten what you write throughout your studies). Do some deliberate mixed review where you look at the question type, then the 3X5 card, then solve q's. This might screw up your time (so don't think of it as a real, scored section), but it can really help you get better at jumping from one question type to another.

I realize I strayed a bit, as I tend to do, especially in the late afternoon, but I think it's all at least somewhat related to your question ;) - hope that all helps, and please reach out if you need anything else --

Mike

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neprep
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby neprep » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:07 am

.
Last edited by neprep on Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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neprep
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby neprep » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:08 am


If you don't mind, I'll spend my time answering your general q's rather than the LR you made up (it's very hard to make up a realistic LSAT LR q -- I know I can't do it).


Haha that's totally fine! I realize now that my question was general enough that I didn't need to make up a question. Yes, it's very hard. LSAC should should publish a stimulus and ask for stems and ACs, the best one being published on its Web site or something (Like the New Yorker cartoon caption submission).

Obviously, I go into this in a lot more detail in the book, but I think the following two tips can be really helpful for not getting tripped up on these --

1) Think of your LR process in two distinct steps -- the step in which you evaluate the stimulus (which typically has an argument) and the step in which you "fit" the answers in between your understanding of the stimulus and your understanding of the very specific task that the question stem presents. This may not seem like a big deal, but I think people cause themselves all sorts of trouble (knowingly or unknowingly) by mixing the two steps together (and by underestimating the importance of understanding the task specifically) -- for example, some people, if they see an obvious flaw, expect that flaw to be directly discussed in the answer for whatever type of question they get, and are attracted to any answer choice that seems to do this -- however, there are certain questions that naturally lend themselves to right answers that address issues in unexpected ways (such as nec assumption q's). If you employ two clear steps, you see the obvious flaw, then you think about how the answers relate to the task and that flaw -- again, this may seem like a small thing, but it puts you in better position, I think, to make fewer mistakes. Remember, the test writers aren't casual with their wording, especially in question stems -- throughout your studies, you want to get better and better at having a laser-focus on the very specific task questions present.


I noticed that you recommend this approach generally, but in doing so, do you dismiss other suggestions that one should try to pre-phrase an answer? I feel like in some question types, like ID'ing the main conclusion, it helps to have an idea of what kind of answer I'm looking for; and I guess this adds a third step in between the two steps you mentioned. But with necessary assumption questions, I agree with you (who could have predicted the answer to the rattle snake age question? haha). So would you say that on different question types the "distinct steps" in the LR process change slightly?

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:10 pm

neprep wrote:

If you don't mind, I'll spend my time answering your general q's rather than the LR you made up (it's very hard to make up a realistic LSAT LR q -- I know I can't do it).


Haha that's totally fine! I realize now that my question was general enough that I didn't need to make up a question. Yes, it's very hard. LSAC should should publish a stimulus and ask for stems and ACs, the best one being published on its Web site or something (Like the New Yorker cartoon caption submission).

Obviously, I go into this in a lot more detail in the book, but I think the following two tips can be really helpful for not getting tripped up on these --

1) Think of your LR process in two distinct steps -- the step in which you evaluate the stimulus (which typically has an argument) and the step in which you "fit" the answers in between your understanding of the stimulus and your understanding of the very specific task that the question stem presents. This may not seem like a big deal, but I think people cause themselves all sorts of trouble (knowingly or unknowingly) by mixing the two steps together (and by underestimating the importance of understanding the task specifically) -- for example, some people, if they see an obvious flaw, expect that flaw to be directly discussed in the answer for whatever type of question they get, and are attracted to any answer choice that seems to do this -- however, there are certain questions that naturally lend themselves to right answers that address issues in unexpected ways (such as nec assumption q's). If you employ two clear steps, you see the obvious flaw, then you think about how the answers relate to the task and that flaw -- again, this may seem like a small thing, but it puts you in better position, I think, to make fewer mistakes. Remember, the test writers aren't casual with their wording, especially in question stems -- throughout your studies, you want to get better and better at having a laser-focus on the very specific task questions present.


I noticed that you recommend this approach generally, but in doing so, do you dismiss other suggestions that one should try to pre-phrase an answer? I feel like in some question types, like ID'ing the main conclusion, it helps to have an idea of what kind of answer I'm looking for; and I guess this adds a third step in between the two steps you mentioned. But with necessary assumption questions, I agree with you (who could have predicted the answer to the rattle snake age question? haha). So would you say that on different question types the "distinct steps" in the LR process change slightly?


Your process and expectations should absolutely change per the type of question, and I discuss that in quite a bit of detail in the book --

(BTW -- did u bring up rattlesnakes b/c you heard me teach it in a recording somewhere? I used to love teaching that q.)

In terms of pre-phrasing specifically (I don't really love the term "pre-phrasing" -- you should anticipate the substance of the answer, but not the way it will be phrased), one basic way to differentiate between question types is in terms of which ones ask about the stimulus in a direct fashion, and which ones ask you to react to the stimulus in some way.

For questions that ask about the stimulus directly (ID Flaw, Method of Reasoning, ID Conclusion, for example), you should expect to know a lot about the right answer. BTW, to me, one sign of being really good at LSAT reasoning is that you can pretty much predict the substance of the answer for almost all ID Flaw q's.

For questions that ask you to react to the stimulus (Nec Assumption, Strengthen, Match the Reasoning, etc) you still want to have a very strong understanding of the stimulus, and you're going to use that to relate the answers to the stimulus, but you shouldn't expect yourself to predict the substance of the right answer. As you mentioned, for something like a Nec Assumption q, there are countless answers that could be correct.

HTH, and let me know if you need anything else -- Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby neprep » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:16 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:Your process and expectations should absolutely change per the type of question, and I discuss that in quite a bit of detail in the book --

(BTW -- did u bring up rattlesnakes b/c you heard me teach it in a recording somewhere? I used to love teaching that q.)

In terms of pre-phrasing specifically (I don't really love the term "pre-phrasing" -- you should anticipate the substance of the answer, but not the way it will be phrased), one basic way to differentiate between question types is in terms of which ones ask about the stimulus in a direct fashion, and which ones ask you to react to the stimulus in some way.



Thanks! I think I really understand why you don't recommend prephrasing for some question types but this has solidified it for me. The LSAC phrases answers in such a delightfully overwrought and strained manner (no really, I actually chuckle every time they take a simple idea and obscure it with awkward diction) that one has little chance of success at coming up with the prephrase. It's almost as though instead of saying "0" they'll say "cosine 90 degrees."

Oh, and re: snake question: No, I haven't heard you explain it, but it's one of my absolute favorites. Another question that's alluring is the dioxin and fish one, where you have to weaken an argument that is already weakening a causal argument. Fun stuff :)

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Kimikho » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:01 pm

My copy is finally here! stupid free amazon shipping

I have two questions:
1.) Why the fish on the cover? I think it's pretty spiffy, but just curious.

2.) (this is the real question) In the flaw drill solution, #7 (page 91), the answer provided is that the drill "fails to consider that these scientists could be wrong." While I see that that's a flaw, to me it seems like analyzing the "facts" provided, and I thought that we were suppose to look only at the structure and assume the facts given are accurate. This has been an issue of mine in the past too :/.

Thanks! It's been a great book so far. I sent in a comment through your website and I'm definitely going to write a review when I'm done :).

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:44 pm

scoobers wrote:My copy is finally here! stupid free amazon shipping

I have two questions:
1.) Why the fish on the cover? I think it's pretty spiffy, but just curious.

2.) (this is the real question) In the flaw drill solution, #7 (page 91), the answer provided is that the drill "fails to consider that these scientists could be wrong." While I see that that's a flaw, to me it seems like analyzing the "facts" provided, and I thought that we were suppose to look only at the structure and assume the facts given are accurate. This has been an issue of mine in the past too :/.

Thanks! It's been a great book so far. I sent in a comment through your website and I'm definitely going to write a review when I'm done :).


Hi there! I saw your email and was about to write back but I'll just write here (do you like the riddle about the surgeon on 22 btw?) Glad you are liking the book. I know you know yourself best, but please don't zip through it! Think of it like a piece of exercise equipment -- the more you use it, the better you will get --

In terms of your q's --

The fish --

I've always been driven to try and do things others say I can't, and in large part I've written the book because I want to help students who have that very same characteristic -- I think the fish represents that somewhat (though maybe not -- I've had a lot of people ask about it!) --

And, hopefully it's fun to look at the various fish on the inside cover once in a while -- you'll need the break after some of those drills --

More importantly --

You should absolutely take all premises to be fact. And, if the question had stated instead "Scientists have now proven that...." then I wouldn't think twice about the validity of what they've proven.

However, the only fact that premise in #7 gives us is that the scientists believe -- that's a very different thing, and notice, in reaching the conclusion, the argument takes this belief and assumes it to be a fact.

Just to push the point with an obvious illustration -- if an argument states "The four year old believes Santa is real," as a premise, it is absolutely true the four year old believes this, but it does not have to be true that Santa is real. If a premise states, "Santa is real," you should believe he is real.

Pretty much every time you see a jump from a belief to a conclusion of fact, or a conclusion that assumes that belief to be a fact, this jump will be the key flaw in the argument, and the answer will almost always address it in some way.

Hope that helps --

Best of luck with the book, glad you like the fish, and let me know if you need anything else -- Mike

Journey180
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Journey180 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:37 pm

Hey Mike,

Question: In the Manhattan book, it has an example that reads, " Sally owns more cookbooks than Finn. Therefore, Sally is a better cook than Finn." Then, the Manhattan book explains that " Fin is a cooking school instructor and the books Sally owns were written by Finn" is a possible answer to a weaken question regarding the said argument. Manhattan also says this is, however, not a necessary assumption. My question, and it would really help to get an answer on it because there are other implications in my studies, is: would the negation and thus rendering of the weakener to "Fin is not a cooking school instructor or did not write the books Sally owns" then turn it into a necessary assumption? I'm asking because I'm thinking of possible applications of the negation test...perhaps in reverse-negations? Like find something that hurts the argument then negate it and that automatically becomes a necessary assumption.


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