Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:41 pm

Fianna13 wrote:
jgutella wrote:Question:

We now have two identifiable, public LSAT experts on this forum. Who should I trust more when it comes to LSAT advice: you, or Mike Kim?


Why do you assume their advices would be mutually exclusive? More than likely they would offer you similar general study advices. As for specific techniques, you really should try to see which ones work for you personally.

Or this.

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:42 pm

Nova wrote:
jgutella wrote:Question:

We now have two identifiable, public LSAT experts on this forum. Who should I trust more when it comes to LSAT advice: you, or Mike Kim?

trust them both

learn and apply different strategies and do what works best for you

Or this!

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:34 pm

Hot Tip: 68.2.24

Flaw Types and Reading Every Answer Choice

Today, we're going to build on the conversation SpiritofFire started yesterday about answer choices (I KNOW. IT'S ALMOST LIKE WE'RE WORKING OUT OF A COMPLETE, COHERENT SYSTEM OR SOMETHING).

Again, we start with our Four-Fold Path™ (not really ™, but as you know, it's important for test prep people to ™ things, and I didn't want to miss out on the fun).

1. This question asks that we analyze the argument for weakness, and then say what the weakness is.

2. The right answer will correctly identify something that the argument has assumed to be true.

3. If the argument displays typically flawed reasoning, then we can expect language that describes a typical flaw [for more on typical LSAT flaws, check out the free series of video lessons on YouTube starting with this one here, about Cause].

4. We'll probably see a wrong answer that correctly identifies a common flaw of reasoning, just one that was not committed in the argument at hand.

Here, the arguer claims that crying reduces emotional stress, because crying removes lots of hormones that are present in times of stress. This argument gives us a typical error in reasoning; I call it the Causal Flaw (BECAUSE. Just because.) When I say it's typical, all I mean is that it happens a lot. All the time, you'll find an argument that shows two things go together, then just assumes that one of those things causes the other.

In this case, the author has shown us that these hormones in the tears are present with stress. Then, by claiming that removing those hormones reduces stress, she has implicitly—and illicitly, and feloniously! (?)—assumed that those hormones cause the stress.

So I go into answer choices looking for something that identifies the causal error this arguer has committed. And I see (C) and it's got the word "causally" in it like six times, plus it's really dense and hard to read, and that seems about right for a Question 24, so I'm all "Yes!" but then, I keep skimming, JUST TO BE SURE, and I see (E) and that's also about cause and yet it's much more clearly-written and I'm pretty sure what it's saying is actually right, so now I need to read these two and think about them for just a sec. [So, again, this is the way I deal with answer choices; it starts with knowing—through practice!—what the right answer should look like. Then it's mostly just skimming until I find the answer that says what I want.]

So, on sober reflection, (E) is surely right; it says exactly what we said above when diagnosing the error of this argument. But what about that attractive (C) answer?

Let's unpack it, just for fun profit sh*ts and giggles™:

(C) says that we've forgotten to consider that just because A causes B, that doesn't mean that B can't also cause A. Now, this would be a bad thing to have done; it's just that our argument didn't do it. An example would be the relationship between public schools and local home prices; high prices pay for good schools, but at the same time, good schools help drive prices up [feelings about this redacted for brevity]. In this argument, we made no claim about mutual causation, so (C) just doesn't apply to what we're actually dealing with.

And now, being finished with that causes me to be done with this post.

OR DOES IT?

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:52 pm

Got this question in a PM, and figured that the asker wasn't the only person to have the question.

Private Messenger wrote:Hi Dave,

Quick question: can you explain what this answer choice means exactly? They show up, albeit very rarely, typically on flaw questions. Thanks!

"relies on an assumption that is tantamount to assuming that the conclusion is true"


That language describes what I call Circular Reasoning; it's an error that is almost never actually committed within an LSAT argument, though you do run into answer choices like that sometimes (you see them ALL THE TIME on older tests, but not so often nowadays). A slightly more common version of the same idea is expressed with this language: "...presupposes what it sets out to prove."

Circular Reasoning—where it is committed—is just saying the same thing twice, like this:

Obviously, a college education is a requirement for success in today's economic climate. Thus, it's clear that—no matter how talented, witty, or sexually attractive one is—without an education from a collegiate institution, one will find economic attainment consistently out-of-reach.

This argument just goes in a circle; you can't be successful without college because you can't be successful without college.

Fun, right?

As always, let me know if you'd like to talk more about this,

d

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby CocoSunshine » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:37 am

Hi Dave,

Thanks for posting these tips! However, could you use older PTs to illustrate them? Just want to save the newer ones for PTing.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dr Clifford Huxtable » Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:50 pm

Hey Dave,

I was wondering if you had any tips for retakers who have used up all of their PTs and how much of an affect this has, since I am assuming by the time you reached your 180 you must have looked at every exam countless times. Luckily most of the newer PTs I've only gone through once but how approximate of a gauge do your think those exams can be for your abilities on a fresh exam.

Thanks,

P.S. I've got a blackbelt in TKD I might be willing to trade. I've also got some shiny Muay Thai Shorts and a slightly used Jiu Jitsu Gi that I'd give for the 177.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:31 pm

Dr Clifford Huxtable wrote:Hey Dave,

I was wondering if you had any tips for retakers who have used up all of their PTs and how much of an affect this has, since I am assuming by the time you reached your 180 you must have looked at every exam countless times. Luckily most of the newer PTs I've only gone through once but how approximate of a gauge do your think those exams can be for your abilities on a fresh exam.


Based on my experience with my students, I think that taking tests that you've already seen before is likely to be quite indicative of your current ability. Sure, you may remember some features of some of the material, but those sorts of recollections are generally as prone to misleading you as to helping you (consider many times you thought to yourself, "I remember this! I HATED this question. Now, was (C) the right answer and I picked (E), or was it the other way around? YEGADS! I STILL HATE THIS QUESTION!").

One thing I'd like to do, if I can, is shift your focus a bit, toward viewing PrepTests as learning vehicles, rather than just progression meters. I mean, it really doesn't matter to your life at all how many questions you got right on any practice test. Really. In absolute earnest truth, you could miss every single question on a practice exam, and still come out of that experience a better LSAT-taker, if you use those questions to understand what the test wants from you and how the test writers like to phrase right answers.

So, knowing that results of tests you've taken before cannot be perfect indicators of your current ability (though still believing, as I do, that they are good indicators), let us use those performances not as score-markers (so, try not to think "I got a 169 on that re-test, which means I should have gotten a 167 if it were a fresh test"). Instead, let's use those performances as experience points.

Success is not measured in scaled scores; it's measured by how many of the questions you understand. So, yeah, maybe you got a 161 or whatever on a re-test, but what's really meaningful about the experience is that you know why the right answers are correct for over 80% of the questions now. That's the kind of knowledge that you can be certain is reliable; it's the knowledge on which your score will depend.

Dr Clifford Huxtable wrote:P.S. I've got a blackbelt in TKD I might be willing to trade. I've also got some shiny Muay Thai Shorts and a slightly used Jiu Jitsu Gi that I'd give for the 177.


Hm. You drive a hard bargain, Dr. Huxtable. Throw in a sweater and I'm in.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dr Clifford Huxtable » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:50 pm

Dave Hall wrote:
Dr Clifford Huxtable wrote: Hm. You drive a hard bargain, Dr. Huxtable. Throw in a sweater and I'm in.


Pfff. No way. Deal's off.

Thanks for your reply.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:18 pm

Hot Tip: 45.1.18

Today, our Hotness is Oldness, chosen particularly for CocoSunshine. Because with a name like that, I can see that I do NOT want to piss her off.

You guys probably know by now how I feel about flaw types on the LSAT [I LOVE THEM AND WISH I COULD GET MORE PHYSICAL WITH THEM], so it'll come as no surprise to you that we're back on that topic.

In this question, we've again been asked to weaken the argument; we don't have to disprove the conclusion (although we might); we just have to make it a little less likely to be true.

The right answer will work by attacking the place where the argument is already weak; it will deny one of the assumptions implicit to the argument.

We can expect the right answer to employ that "middle" language we talked about before; words like "many" and "most" are delicious here.

We can expect a wrong answer that makes the argument better. This might even be an attractive answer, because it might deal strongly and directly with the argument in a way other choices don't seem to. Just keep in mind that we need to hurt the conclusion.

OK, in this instance, we've claimed that humans had an early aesthetic sense, because they polished their flints (here, this language is not intended as a euphemism, I don't think) way more than they needed to for hunting.

This presents us with a beautiful example of what I refer to as a False Choice. It's what happens when the test writers argue by enumeration; "It's not thing X, so it must be thing F". This type of argument presents us with the unproved assumption that X and F are the only two options; it's a false choice.

Here, we've assumed that if they weren't using the flints for hunting, then they must have been using them aesthetically. Well, maybe. But maybe there's some other use for flints. Maybe the hunting/aesthetic option is a false choice.

Now, check out (D). I love it because it does its job so perfectly in line with my expectations; it neatly punctures the False Choice presented by the argument, telling us that there are other uses for flints. If that's true, it doesn't disprove the argument—and remember that it doesn't have to—but it certainly makes it weaker. If (D) is true, that means that just because we've ruled out hunting doesn't mean that aesthetics is all that's left. Plus, did you see the "often" right back there? Perfect stuff for us.

Finally, notice bad answer (C) I warned you about; THEY WERE FOR RELIGIOUS DISPLAYS, you might think loudly to yourself, THIS DEALS POWERFULLY WITH THE TEXT OF THIS ARGUMENT. And you'd be right about that; (C) deals strongly with the actual argument. But if (C) is true, then that means it's more likely that humans had an aesthetic sense; they were, after all, polishing things to put them on display. See? This is the kind of treachery we must be wary of!

OK, I'm headed to Joshua Tree for a couple of days (you know, to POLISH THE FLINT and stuff), but I'll be back on Tuesday.

d

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby loomstate » Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:40 am

what's your RC strategy? Can you tell us something we haven't heard before?

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby manillabay » Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:41 am

loomstate wrote:what's your RC strategy? Can you tell us something we haven't heard before?


+2

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:22 pm

loomstate wrote:what's your RC strategy? Can you tell us something we haven't heard before?

Hm. Very difficult to tell, considering I don't know what you've heard before.

How about this: you tell me what you know about RC, and I'll fill in from there, in places I see gaps in your approach. NOW WE'RE COOKING.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:58 pm

Hot Tip: Proportion Confusion

50.4.22

Last time we spoke, we talked about a typical LSAT flaw, and I enjoyed myself so much that I've decided to KEEP THAT BALL ROLLING. We're talking about—you guessed it, without me even telling you with me just having told you one sentence ago!—another kind of error that's typical on the test. This is one of my favorite flaws (but really, how can I pick a favorite? That's like asking me which of my children I love most.* It's Sophie's Choice, is what it is!†).

Proportion Confusion is the name I've given to what happens when an arguer confuses a proportion (e.g., a ratio or a percentage) with a raw number. In this question, we've got an example of just such an error; the columnist gives us raw numbers for pedestrian deaths, then uses those numbers as the basis for a conclusion about the frequency of such deaths.

This is almost exactly the same argument as if you said "More people die from peanut allergies every year than from shark bites. So contrary to popular belief, peanuts are actually the world's deadliest predator." It's problematic because it has ignored the fact that 200 million people come into contact with peanuts every day, while, like, 7 people come into contact with sharks (these figures are approximate). Yes, in terms of raw numbers, peanuts kill more often, but when seen as a proportion, they are actually much less bloodthirsty than sharks.

And so it is with this argument; just because more people are killed crossing with the light doesn't tell us anything without context. What if 32 people die with the light, and 30 die against it, but 2,000,000 people cross with the light, while only 2,000 cross against? In other words, what proportion of people crossing in each manner end up getting killed? That's what we'd need to know.

So, we've answered the question; the flaw in the argument is that this columnist has confused the number of deaths as indicating a proportion (deaths relative to crossing frequency).

Now, a quick refresh on our Four-Fold Path For Increasing Your Velocity®:

1. The question asks us to articulate what's wrong with the argument.

2. The right answer will identify an assumption made by the arguer.

3. If it's a typical assumption (AS IT IS HERE. WHEEE) we can expect language describing that error in general terms.

4. We're likely to see at least one wrong choice that correctly identifies a common error, but one that wasn't committed within this argument.

Notice the very general, rule-like wording of these answer choices; basically all of them identify real errors of reasoning. Of course, only one of them is an error manifest in this case.

For those of you keeping score at home, here's what they're saying:

(A) Sampling error (possibly also a whiff of Ad Hominem)

(B) Causal Flaw

(C) Causal Flaw redux

(D) Sampling error redux

(E) Proportion Confusion

YAY FOR FLAW TYPES.

Hope that helps you out some. Let me know if you'd like to discuss it further.

Now, I'm going to go have a PB+J. Y'know. FOR REVENGE.




*No, it really isn't.

†Nope. Not even close, really.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby loomstate » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:00 pm

Dave Hall wrote:
loomstate wrote:what's your RC strategy? Can you tell us something we haven't heard before?

Hm. Very difficult to tell, considering I don't know what you've heard before.

How about this: you tell me what you know about RC, and I'll fill in from there, in places I see gaps in your approach. NOW WE'RE COOKING.


Very close to Voyager's RC method (which is stickied on this site). Get through the passsage in 2-3 minutes, box names, nouns, underline key sentences, label main point and wherever author is present. If time try to write down purpose of each paragraph and the passage in whole in 1-3 words.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:50 pm

loomstate wrote:
Dave Hall wrote:
loomstate wrote:what's your RC strategy? Can you tell us something we haven't heard before?

Hm. Very difficult to tell, considering I don't know what you've heard before.

How about this: you tell me what you know about RC, and I'll fill in from there, in places I see gaps in your approach. NOW WE'RE COOKING.


Very close to Voyager's RC method (which is stickied on this site). Get through the passsage in 2-3 minutes, box names, nouns, underline key sentences, label main point and wherever author is present. If time try to write down purpose of each paragraph and the passage in whole in 1-3 words.

OK, this sounds roughly similar to what I do, except it sounds here as though it maybe puts too much emphasis on data mining (boxing names and nouns and underlining sentences, and so forth. I find in my own work that if I make that many marks, I end up with missing the forest for the trees. In the main, I find that I'm much more fruitful—and FAST—when I concentrate on the big picture) for my taste.

Let me suggest two specific additions that you can attempt to incorporate:

1. Find the thesis. Somewhere in the passage is a sentence that you could mark (I put it in brackets, myself) that encapsulates the main point of the passage. This sentence is the one you would use if some crazy-ass terrorist put a bomb in your underwear and said it would go off unless you could articulate the point of the passage you just finished reading (this is truly a very crazy terrorist we're dealing with here. But, you must admit, also very resourceful, to have hidden that bomb there WHILE YOU WERE READING).

The point of this exercise is two-fold: of course, to help you identify the main point of the passage (but you already knew that was important).

But second—and really, probably just as important—it forces you to engage with the text. If you have to—while you're reading!—pick out a single sentence that best encapsulates the author's thesis, then you're going to try some things out. You're going to consider and reject one or two—maybe three!—different sentences before you pick the one that's best. This process is exactly what good readers do naturally, and this method is a mechanical way for you to achieve the correct reading posture.

If you find that you're having difficulty doing this at first, try some backsolving: start with the right answer, then read the passage, asking yourself how the test writers justify that response as the correct one.

2. Identify ascriptions. Any time an author ascribes a position to "some people", you can be sure of two things:

A. The author is going to proceed by telling us that those people are wrong.

B. The fact that they're wrong—or, sometimes, how they could do better—will be the main point of the passage.

As with number 1 above, I like this technique because it is a mechanical way of approaching the material. It will yield results over and over (usually, between 1 and 3 RC passages in a section will contain this kind of meaning-conveying device) without you needing to do anything different. And doing the same thing over and over is what makes you fast at it.

Finally, I will reiterate one position you already take (because I think it's super important); that the author's purpose is the most-underrated element of any passage (why she wrote gives us insight into what she's trying to say, and how she feels about it all).

Later, I will analyze a passage to display these tools. But right now I'm super hungry.

Please let me know if you'd like to hear elaboration, or if you need help with a specific passage.

d

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Straw_Mandible » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:10 pm

Hi Dave,

Thank you so much for these posts. Your ideas are insightful and interesting.

I'd like to hear an elaboration on how you go about identifying the author's purpose--which you say is "the most-underrated element of any passage." I find myself often getting purpose questions wrong, even when I have a very strong understanding of the composition and reasoning structure of a passage.

Can you paint us a picture of your process in broad strokes?

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby transferror » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:31 pm

Dave, I don't know why (the avatar has to have something to do with it), but I hear Jim Carrey's voice and imagine his mannerisms when I read your posts. In my mind, you are like the forum-posting, academic version of Jim Carrey.

I have nothing to contribute, just thought I'd let you know.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby AbhiJ » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:30 pm

Hi Dave,

Seek your advice for LR and RC.

As a non-native speaker my reading speed is around 200 WPM on moderately difficult texts. On difficult texts my reading speed is 175 WPM. I believe this is a limiting factor and no amount of strategy/practice would help to break the ceiling unless I can get the reading speed to 250-300 WPM. This would need a long term strategy of 4 months totally focussed on reading. So given the background what should be the optimum strategy

a.) Spending 50% time reading difficult texts and the rest practicing LSAT LR/RC problems/review simultaneously.
b.) Spending 2-3 months focussed on reading and the next 2 months on LSAT specific practice.

Thanks
AbhiJ

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:18 pm

Straw_Mandible wrote:Hi Dave,

Thank you so much for these posts. Your ideas are insightful and interesting.


Well, thank you! I'm glad to help. Keep the questions coming as you have them!

Straw_Mandible wrote:I'd like to hear an elaboration on how you go about identifying the author's purpose--which you say is "the most-underrated element of any passage." I find myself often getting purpose questions wrong, even when I have a very strong understanding of the composition and reasoning structure of a passage.

Can you paint us a picture of your process in broad strokes?

Sure thing. I call Purpose the most-underrated because while everybody knows that the Thesis (Main Point) is most important, we too often neglect to consider why the author wrote. Yet our answer to that question can be so useful in assessing many of the other questions we're asked about a passage!

In order to more efficiently identify an author's purpose, it may help to develop a framework for understanding why an author writes. While not comprehensive, a three-pronged framework like this one can be a useful foundation from which to build your understanding:

Why does an author write?

1. To Illuminate. Sometimes, an author just wants to shine a light on a subject. A sort of "Hey, guys, this is interesting; check it out"-type-vibe. Here, you're likely to see little by way of tonal indicators. The author is more detached; she just wants us to know about Thing X.

2. To Evaluate. Sometimes, an author sets out to do some analysis. Maybe she considers two different methods for doing a thing. Maybe he lists the pros and cons of some proposal. Here, she's doing more than just presenting an idea—she's exploring it.

3. To Advocate. Sometimes, an author makes an argument. It's not just that Thing X is, nor is it only that Thing X is worth investigation. Instead, she's selling us something. This is the easiest purpose to spot if you're paying attention—loads of attitudinal markers, often coupled with the ascription we've talked about here before.

For example, consider Passage One from PrepTest 32. Here, we can see the author's purpose rising from the ascription in the second sentence, from which point we know her goal is to show that those scholars are dumb. Sure enough, she expresses that point at the top of the second paragraph. Now, knowing that her purpose is to make an argument, let's take a look at answer choices from some of these questions:

1. Already, we're spending more time with (B) and (D), because the prescriptive language here matches the advocative nature of the passage. This thing was written to persuade, and the Main Point must reflect that.

3. Again with the argument-making language! We like (A) and (D) here on that basis alone.

5. If the author wrote in order to convince us that the scholars were wrong, then we must fall quickly in love with (B) alone here.

6. Advocative language in (A)! Also, check out terrible and hilarious (E)—if you think your client is innocent, you just haven't researched the facts well enough? Daaaamn.

7. Well, duh.

This is what I'm talking about; just knowing why the author wrote gave us 3 right answers, and culled 2 more down to a 50/50 shot. While we don't expect to answer 5 of every 7 questions based on one factor alone, we totally can expect to get help of this nature on multiple questions by doing reading with this sort of focus.

One more example, from Passage 2 of that same test (PrepTest 32):

This passage is evaluative; notice how the organizational system forms a call and response? Proponents say this, critics say that. Proponents adjust, haters gonna hate. This author falls short of the argument of the previous passage. Here, she just examines the issue through different lenses, without explicitly espousing any particular point-of-view.

Now, check out the help this knowledge of purpose gives in answering two of these questions:

8. It's a back-and-forth, right? So there's no way that the main point is about the proponents! (A) through (C) can't possibly give us the whole picture of this evaluative enterprise, which means—on purpose alone—we're left with (D) or (E).

10. It's hard to even talk about the why without the how, sometimes. I mean, the passage's organization served as my entree into discussing its purpose above. Still, if we backstep enough to assess just the purpose, we see that (B) and (D) and (E) are all describing passages that set out to argue—something our passage did not do! And again, we're down to two.

So, it's not like the purpose is enough to guarantee your success—it's not even the most important factor in your reading—but the solid grasp of purpose is a too-often underutilized tool.

Finally, if you find that you're having difficulty assessing the author's purpose, ask yourself these questions:

1. Is she making an argument?

Yes? It's an Advocate passage.

No? Then...

2. Is she comparing or contrasting things/ideas?

Yes? It's an Evaluate passage.

No? Then it's an Illuminate passage!

Hope that helps (it was longer than I intended).

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:21 pm

transferror wrote:Dave, I don't know why (the avatar has to have something to do with it), but I hear Jim Carrey's voice and imagine his mannerisms when I read your posts. In my mind, you are like the forum-posting, academic version of Jim Carrey.

I have nothing to contribute, just thought I'd let you know.

You got me.

Image

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby flash21 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:26 pm

is 7sage's fool proof method really the best way of learning LG's? (essentially doing games over and over and over)

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:27 pm

AbhiJ wrote:Hi Dave,

Seek your advice for LR and RC.

As a non-native speaker my reading speed is around 200 WPM on moderately difficult texts. On difficult texts my reading speed is 175 WPM. I believe this is a limiting factor and no amount of strategy/practice would help to break the ceiling unless I can get the reading speed to 250-300 WPM. This would need a long term strategy of 4 months totally focussed on reading. So given the background what should be the optimum strategy

a.) Spending 50% time reading difficult texts and the rest practicing LSAT LR/RC problems/review simultaneously.
b.) Spending 2-3 months focussed on reading and the next 2 months on LSAT specific practice.

Thanks
AbhiJ

I vote for (A) + (B) (sort of).

I'd like a sort of amalgam of the two, so you can do both, but make the split shift over time (to reflect your growing mastery and your particular concern):

Months 1-2: 50% reading/ 50% LSAT

Months 3-4: 25% reading/ 75% LSAT

Remember that your "LSAT" work will also be "reading" work, so you're doing double duty every time you pick up a PrepTest.

Also, really concentrate on quality work while you're at it! Reading fast won't help you any if you don't read well.

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:36 pm

flash21 wrote:is 7sage's fool proof method really the best way of learning LG's? (essentially doing games over and over and over)

I'm not familiar with 7sage's methods, so I don't intend this as a response to their pedagogy (which may be awesome, as far as I know).

Certainly, I believe that repetition is important. The best approach to Games is really super very like the one you'd use in learning to play the piano. If you wanted to get good at playing the piano, you wouldn't try to do it by getting a whole lot of sheet music and playing each song through once, right? Same thing here.

If you wanted to play piano, you'd take the time to learn the finger positions, then you'd play a few songs over and over and over until you could play them fluidly. That sort of mechanical familiarity does two things that are the same things you want to accomplish in the Games section:

It establishes a skill set. You want to be fast at Games? Learn the process of doing games. You'll learn that process by focused repetition, in which you think long and hard about the most efficient way to deal with the material. First, you want to learn how to do a few things well, and then you'll be able to do new and similar things well, too.

It builds muscle memory - doing the same procedure over and over makes you better - and faster! - at that procedure. Today's games are all so similar to each other - in the same sorts of ways that many piano pieces are similar to each other - that if you learn a few basic moves, those will translate into an almost precognitive action plan on test day. You won't have to think about what you're suppoed to do next, if you've already done the thing a hundred times before. You'll just do what comes next, without spending any time wondering or contemplating.

Games is a procedural enterprise - to be faster at the process, you'll want to get more comfortable at performing the series of small manageable steps that go into working any game. Learning the procedure is at the heart of efficiency, and efficiency means speed.

So, repetition is at the heart, but it's useless without being based on a fundamental procedure. Start with the basic how, then apply it again and again and again and...

Make sense?

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flash21
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby flash21 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:51 pm

So, basically, so and methodic with the games until the process starts to become engrained + faster?

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:59 pm

flash21 wrote:So, basically, so and methodic with the games until the process starts to become engrained + faster?

1. Develop a methodology for dealing with the set of games that share characteristics.

2. Rinse and repeat.

And repeat.


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