LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

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LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:10 pm

Hey everyone, I'm back on TLS. This is going to be a permanent Q and A thread. Ask me anything you'd like to about the LSAT. For those who don't know me, I have been teaching the LSAT since 2008, I scored a 177. I worked for a couple of major companies before working on my own.

My current project is free explanations for LSAT preptest. I also have a five part LSAT email course. They're both free, I encourage you to have a look:

Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
Free LSAT email course: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/

Q and A – ask me any LSAT questions you'd like

I'll answer any question you post in this thread. Ask away. Some good topics:

* How to deal with a specific section.
* Where to use formal logic.
* How to draw logic games on page.

Those are just ideas. I'd rather reply to specific questions than write unprompted essays. Looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with. Meanwhile, check out the free stuff.

---------------------
Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
Free LSAT email course: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/

Reviews

"The email course was immensely helpful and has eased my nerves a lot."
- Lovlean

Not only does Graeme do a great job of explaining the sections as a whole, he also offers brilliant explanations for each question. He takes the time to explain why an answer is wrong, which is far more helpful when trying to form a studying pattern.
- Amelia
Last edited by LSAT Hacks (Graeme) on Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby joeisreallycool » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:16 pm

Hi Graeme, thanks for doing this.

I have two questions:

1- PT7 S4 Q22 - questions like this really screw me up, and when I go back and analyze what went wrong I still seem to struggle. I think it may just be the wording of the stim that trips me up. This one in particular though, just makes no sense.

2 - How would you go about visualizing patterns? I plan on taking the September test and although some of the patterns are becoming apparent, I feel like I am unaware of a good majority of them.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby sashafierce » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:23 pm

Hi, I have two questions:

1. What's the difference between:

A. A claim that is required to establish the conclusion

B. A claim that is compatible with the truth or falsity of the conclusion

i.e. Two very common answer choices for Argument part Questions



2. SupreprepC S3 Q16 Principle Conform question

So the principle was

1. Act Responsibly-----> Use Accurate and Complete Info

The explanation is saying we don't know what guarantees that someone "Acted Responsibly" so you can eliminate any answer choice that conclude that. We only know what is required so we can deduce:

Did not use Accurate or Complete info----> Did not Act Responsibly

(The contrapositive of the principle)

I understand that BUT my question is if the Principle was

Use Accurate and Complete Info---> Act Responsibly

In this case we know what guarantees that someone Acted Responsibly so we can make a judgement as to if someone "Acted Responsibly". However, can we make any judgements about someone Not Acting Responsibly i.e the contrapositive?

Not Act Responsibly-----> Did not use Accurate or Complete Info

I am assuming the answer is NO because we do not know what guarantees that someone did Not Act Responsibly..

Thanks in advance :wink:

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:34 pm

joeisreallycool wrote:Hi Graeme, thanks for doing this.

I have two questions:

1- PT7 S4 Q22 - questions like this really screw me up, and when I go back and analyze what went wrong I still seem to struggle. I think it may just be the wording of the stim that trips me up. This one in particular though, just makes no sense.

2 - How would you go about visualizing patterns? I plan on taking the September test and although some of the patterns are becoming apparent, I feel like I am unaware of a good majority of them.


------------

Wow, those replies came fast!

1. First off, the more specific the questions, the better I can answer. I don't know exactly what your issue here was, but I'll give an overview.

The historian says there was timber trade, and cites a timber trade regulation to support this. The critic points out that we have many laws that regulate activities that once existed but are no longer happening.

The critic thus suggests that if there is a law regulating something, then that activity did exist at least in the past. Which is exactly what the historian is trying to prove!

Answer D, the credited answer, is frankly very confusing. I think it's saying that there's a difference between a law existing (i.e. an activity might not be occurring just because a law exists) and a law being passed (i.e. at the moment a law is passed, the activity must have existed)

Since the historian is just talking about *whether* the timber trade existed, this distinction matters.

2. By "visualizing patterns", I'm guessing you mean intuition. The way to train your intuition is to explicitly identify patterns, on different questions. The more you do it, the more you'll recognize them. This is why review is so important. You must train yourself to see what's in the questions, and trust that your subconscious will learn and start to recognize flaws under timed conditions.

It's a non-linear process. It's also hard to do because intuition training depends on repetition, whereas any given PT will give you a random array of concepts you need to internalize. It's easy to learn LG and formal logic because you can easily find practice sets. But LR has thousands of concepts that are smaller than question types, and I know of no good practice sets for sub-question type issues.

My best advice is to find a study partner and talk about questions in depth. You learn so much when someone asks you questions about LSAT preptests. I was always good at the LSAT, but I only mastered it because I had to answer so many questions from students while tutoring.

Hope that helps!
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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
Free LSAT email course: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/
Last edited by LSAT Hacks (Graeme) on Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:42 pm

sashafierce wrote:Hi, I have two questions:

1. What's the difference between:

A. A claim that is required to establish the conclusion
B. A claim that is compatible with the truth or falsity of the conclusion
i.e. Two very common answer choices for Argument part Questions



The first one is a necessary assumption. You'll see that in necessary assumption stems.

The second one is rarer. It refers to a fact that's doesn't prove or falsify the conclusion. If I say "The LSAT is required for law school" then "bananas are tasty" is a claim that is "compatible with the truth or falsity" of my first claim. In other words, "bananas are tasty" has no impact on anything.

More properly speaking, it's not a claim that's determinative. So a claim like "Law school admissions officers say they value the LSAT" is also compatible with the truth or falsity of the claim, but it also (very slightly) supports the idea that the LSAT is required.

2. SupreprepC S3 Q16 Principle Conform question

I redacted this for length. They're asking if we can ever prove the sufficient condition with the necessary


You're right. In the second case, we can not prove "act responsibly", because it's the sufficient condition. You can never prove a sufficient condition.

Everyone should pay attention to this question. I see this pattern on principle questions quite often. The question will give us a principle that says "A --> B"

The answers will ask what situation conforms. 2-4 of the answers will say "bla bla bal therefore A". But you can NEVER conclude A, because it's the sufficient. You can eliminate those answers (and those that say "not B") immediately.

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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
Free LSAT email course: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/
Last edited by LSAT Hacks (Graeme) on Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby sashafierce » Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:21 pm

Thanks Greame :wink:

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby ChristianWayne93 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:52 am

Graeme, can you please explain preptest 3 section 2 question 4? We're given a conditional statement, namely that Inviting and functional for public use requires that art be unobtrusive. Yet Answer choice B asserts that just because the works in question fail the sufficient condition, the works fail the necessary condition.

I have two theories for the explanation: Namely that violating a precept indicates we fail the necessary condition and hence trigger the failing of the sufficient condition (trigger contrapositive). However, i have a problem with this because usually when we say "violate' a principle, it means that if our principle is A->B, then violating it means A even if notB. Over here, it seems to mean that if we have A->B, then violating the principle means notB -> notA.

Alternatively, the question introduces a biconditional through its equivocation of the ideas of taking second place and unobtrusiveness. We know the artists let their personalities take over, so taking second place is failed, which fails unobtrusiveness, making B right.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby should-i-do-it » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:57 am

Thank You Graeme. God Bless You For This

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby dmw88 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:58 am

I have a problem with pretest 57 section 2 question 25. We're told the law requires registration if two conditions are met. The individuals in question who support this campaign don't satisfy the sufficient condition, but how does that indicate that they don't need to register at all, in accordance with correct answer choice C?

I reasoned that the usage of the term "THE law" indicates that there is only one law governing contributions and the conditional statement above is actually a bicondtional statement, indicating that registration is needed if and only if those two conditions are satisfied.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:55 am

dmw88 wrote:I have a problem with pretest 57 section 2 question 25. We're told the law requires registration if two conditions are met. The individuals in question who support this campaign don't satisfy the sufficient condition, but how does that indicate that they don't need to register at all, in accordance with correct answer choice C?

I reasoned that the usage of the term "THE law" indicates that there is only one law governing contributions and the conditional statement above is actually a bicondtional statement, indicating that registration is needed if and only if those two conditions are satisfied.


Yes, that's right. Because it says "the law is as follows" then that's the only law. Normally, a conditional statement can't be assumed to be the only rule applying to a situations, but the LSAC has phrased this question differently.

I'm starting to see more of this stuff on modern LSATs. The LSAC is aware people are prepping and learning the rules of logic. Questions like this are intended to trip up those who learn a formulaic application of logic from books, but don't grasp it at a deeper level.

The LSAC will generally not make illogical questions, but expect more questions that deviate from formula.

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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:08 pm

ChristianWayne93 wrote:Graeme, can you please explain preptest 3 section 2 question 4? We're given a conditional statement, namely that Inviting and functional for public use requires that art be unobtrusive. Yet Answer choice B asserts that just because the works in question fail the sufficient condition, the works fail the necessary condition.

I have two theories for the explanation: Namely that violating a precept indicates we fail the necessary condition and hence trigger the failing of the sufficient condition (trigger contrapositive). However, i have a problem with this because usually when we say "violate' a principle, it means that if our principle is A->B, then violating it means A even if notB. Over here, it seems to mean that if we have A->B, then violating the principle means notB -> notA.

Alternatively, the question introduces a biconditional through its equivocation of the ideas of taking second place and unobtrusiveness. We know the artists let their personalities take over, so taking second place is failed, which fails unobtrusiveness, making B right.


Violating the precept just means the contrapositive. So if I say "all good students study" then violating the precept would mean "not study --> not good student". So in this case, we get "not unobtrusive --> Not(inviting + functional)"

You violate the precept by making the necessary condition false. Per the contrapositive, this means the sufficient condition is false too.

"However, i have a problem with this because usually when we say "violate' a principle, it means that if our principle is A->B, then violating it means A even if notB."

I don't think you've understood their meaning. They said "architects violate this precept". That means architects don't follow the rule. The rule isn't wrong. Architects are wrong.

What you're talking about is proving a rule wrong. But in normal English, we wouldn't use the term "violate" to prove a rule wrong. We'd just say the rule is wrong. Violating a rule means the rule is right but someone is not obeying it. Think of it like breaking the law. You're "violating" the law when you steal, but the law isn't wrong.

Update: Someone else asked me about this. I now see why the question is confusing. Here's what I wrote:

The final sentence is just fluff. It tells you *which* of the conditions is negated.

But they key is that architects egos take over. Egos take over + violate precept = buildings are not unobtrusive.

We know that ~unobtrusive --> ~inviting or ~functional. The final sentence only tells us it's the latter option that happens. The final sentence is not necessary to B. I didn't even notice the final sentence, I guess because I saw it wasn't relevant. Egos take over is actually the key information, telling us the necessary condition is violated.

should-i-do-it wrote:Thank You Graeme. God Bless You For This


Thanks!

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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
Free LSAT email course: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/
Last edited by LSAT Hacks (Graeme) on Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Gray » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:25 pm

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby flash21 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:12 pm

hey Graeme trying to get a few opinions on this ..

I'm writing the LSAT in december, when do you suggest I start PT'ing?

And if I've written some tests (40 ish through 50) way back in september, do you think it would be beneficial and accurate for me to continue to use these as PT's for this up coming cycle? I am not a re-writer, I just didnt get the scores I'd like in time for last year's december LSAT.

Thanks, hope that was clear enough!

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:22 pm

smccgrey wrote:Hey Graeme! I was just checking out this thread, but I didn't want to hijack it with my own questions

I'm writing in Sept - my PT scores are solid, and I usually go -0 on LG with a minute or so to spare. As I mentioned in that thread, I just doodle really unclear diagrams all over the place. Do you think at this point there is a huge benefit to me working on organizing my games more effectively, or should I stick to what I'm doing? I'd love to be finishing in 25 minutes!

Also, unrelated, but I am a McGill grad, and it's cool to see someone Canadian so involved with LSAT culture. My impressions have been that there is less focus on the LSAT among our students and our schools.


Good question. There's not a huge benefit to improvement. I'd focus elsewhere. Though, if you're stalled and want something to work on, you might set a goal of finishing -0 with 3-5 minutes to spare. That's because LG is the most unpredictable section, so it's always nice to have a buffer.

Also, it's quite possible that your random scribbles are actually fine. I *think* my method is optimal, but I don't have a lot of data. I read an interesting study of starcraft players that showed the mental peak was 24. After that, players had a rougher time dealing with complexity, and had to adopt coping strategies to simplify things and retain effectiveness.

I'm 29. I'm guessing you're younger. One alternative hypothesis is that I'm over the hill and actually require clarity whereas I wouldn't if I were 22. Or alternatively, clarity is an improvement but not really necessary for younger students. It would be an interesting question to study.

I just happen to like Montreal. Lovely city, and inexpensive. Sort of forced me to develop an online following. I've noticed a lot of US instructors hit a local maximum, where they develop a good tutoring/classroom practice, but never need to make anything beyond that because students are easy to find.

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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:25 pm

flash21 wrote:hey Graeme trying to get a few opinions on this ..

I'm writing the LSAT in december, when do you suggest I start PT'ing?

And if I've written some tests (40 ish through 50) way back in september, do you think it would be beneficial and accurate for me to continue to use these as PT's for this up coming cycle? I am not a re-writer, I just didnt get the scores I'd like in time for last year's december LSAT.

Thanks, hope that was clear enough!


So I see two questions here.

1. I think the earlier the better for PTs. Some will differ on this advice, and emphasize untimed practice. I think this is valuable, but it can effectively be accomplished with thorough review. However much review you're doing, you're probably not doing enough. I've noticed that 170+ students often have more questions than those scoring in the 150s.

I think timed PTs help you measure progress and keep you accountable to the format you'll be seeing on test day.

2. Redoing tests is actually extremely useful. When I started tutoring, I had to redo the same materials when students asked me about seeing. Seeing the same questions 3-5 times really deepened my understanding. Also helpful to discuss them with a study partner – answering their questions is a GREAT way to learn. I certainly learned a lot from tutoring questions.

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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
Free LSAT email course: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby flash21 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:43 pm

LSAT Hacks (Graeme) wrote:
flash21 wrote:hey Graeme trying to get a few opinions on this ..

I'm writing the LSAT in december, when do you suggest I start PT'ing?

And if I've written some tests (40 ish through 50) way back in september, do you think it would be beneficial and accurate for me to continue to use these as PT's for this up coming cycle? I am not a re-writer, I just didnt get the scores I'd like in time for last year's december LSAT.

Thanks, hope that was clear enough!


So I see two questions here.

1. I think the earlier the better for PTs. Some will differ on this advice, and emphasize untimed practice. I think this is valuable, but it can effectively be accomplished with thorough review. However much review you're doing, you're probably not doing enough. I've noticed that 170+ students often have more questions than those scoring in the 150s.

I think timed PTs help you measure progress and keep you accountable to the format you'll be seeing on test day.

2. Redoing tests is actually extremely useful. When I started tutoring, I had to redo the same materials when students asked me about seeing. Seeing the same questions 3-5 times really deepened my understanding. Also helpful to discuss them with a study partner – answering their questions is a GREAT way to learn. I certainly learned a lot from tutoring questions.

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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
Free LSAT email course: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/


Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, appreciate it.

Take care fellow Canadian!

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Postby Gray » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:54 pm

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby ChristianWayne93 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:14 pm

Wow, thanks for your response! One more thing for some advice..

I'm from a school ranked in the 40's on US and news, i have a 4.0 and very strong softs but a 167. I am applying early decision to NYU but i'm writing the September exam. Should i wait until i get my score to apply early decision? Or should i send in everything now (i have most of the application done and my two recommendations are in). Or should i wait until later? If i send everything in now, can i send my september score while they have my application? Would love to hear your thoughts!

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:55 pm

ChristianWayne93 wrote:Wow, thanks for your response! One more thing for some advice..

I'm from a school ranked in the 40's on US and news, i have a 4.0 and very strong softs but a 167. I am applying early decision to NYU but i'm writing the September exam. Should i wait until i get my score to apply early decision? Or should i send in everything now (i have most of the application done and my two recommendations are in). Or should i wait until later? If i send everything in now, can i send my september score while they have my application? Would love to hear your thoughts!


I'd ask this one in the main forum. I don't really know admissions stuff, and I'm also Canadian.

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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
Free LSAT email course: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/
Last edited by LSAT Hacks (Graeme) on Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby Lacoste » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:00 pm

Hello,

I've been following your posts on here and signed up for your email tutoring. In it, you mention that you should do as many practice tests as possible.

My question I have for you is what if certain sections of test you are having problems with? I still do not feel comfortable with all the question types for LR. I've taken practice tests and have felt really uncomfortable answering the majority of LR questions (even the supposed easy ones).

Im taking powerscore's course and I understand the fundamentals. I feel as if I do; however, when it comes to apply them to the real test I find it extremely difficult (especially when its timed). For LG its similar. I understand the concepts when they are explained, but when I have to apply them I freeze up.

For RC, I feel as though I have a better grasp, albeit not perfect. It is much easier for me to track my progress and have noticed a consistency with the questions I miss (usually -3 per reading passage).

Would you recommend that I continue doing this? I actually picked up the Manhattan LSAT books (LR, LG, RC) at the library and want to read them thoroughly to get a new idea on how to approach each section.

I plan on taking the LSAT in December and have been prepping for almost 2 months. Would you recommend to me that I continue drilling and reading the MLSAT books or do the tests and thoroughly review (blind review) the questions.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:54 am

Lacoste wrote:Hello,

I've been following your posts on here and signed up for your email tutoring. In it, you mention that you should do as many practice tests as possible.

My question I have for you is what if certain sections of test you are having problems with? I still do not feel comfortable with all the question types for LR. I've taken practice tests and have felt really uncomfortable answering the majority of LR questions (even the supposed easy ones).

Im taking powerscore's course and I understand the fundamentals. I feel as if I do; however, when it comes to apply them to the real test I find it extremely difficult (especially when its timed). For LG its similar. I understand the concepts when they are explained, but when I have to apply them I freeze up.

For RC, I feel as though I have a better grasp, albeit not perfect. It is much easier for me to track my progress and have noticed a consistency with the questions I miss (usually -3 per reading passage).

Would you recommend that I continue doing this? I actually picked up the Manhattan LSAT books (LR, LG, RC) at the library and want to read them thoroughly to get a new idea on how to approach each section.

I plan on taking the LSAT in December and have been prepping for almost 2 months. Would you recommend to me that I continue drilling and reading the MLSAT books or do the tests and thoroughly review (blind review) the questions.


I would dip into the Manhattan books when you encounter a problem area. It may be useful to read the entire thing, but I suspect at this point you'll learn more from drills and PTs. You can then turn to the books when you encounter something you identify as a weakness.

If you're uncomfortable with specific LR types, I recommend drilling specific question types. Keep a journal, and write notes about each question you have trouble with. Try to identify things in common, and lists of errors. There are no "stupid mistakes". Every error you make is an error they planned for you to make.

The tricky thing is that you may get a question wrong due to a trap that won't appear again for another 3 PTs. The LSAT has hundreds of little tricks like that. Below I recommend repeating questions. This is to allow you to get repeat exposure to all the tricks and start to internalize how to avoid them.

The timed PTs are to keep you accountable to the test as it actually is. You need to practice with the real thing. You'll also gain some skills in timing just from doing timed tests.

p.s. You said "Im taking powerscore's course and I understand the fundamentals." In my experience, whenever someone says this, they don't understand the fundamentals. I'd recommend you NEVER tell yourself that you understand – it's a block to further learning. Instead ask: what don't I understand?

Expertise is often nothing more than mastery of fundamentals. It's the intuitive control of all the basic elements that allows skills to rise to a higher level. If you're having trouble applying them in real time, it means you don't have an intuitive grasp yet.

One way to transfer skills to intuition is to repeat questions. Get them so well you could explain them to someone else without a hitch. As if your life depended on it. That's what it means to understand. Repetition is the key to mastering individual elements.
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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

Free PT Explanations: http://lsathacks.com/explanations/
Free LSAT email course: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby Lacoste » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:28 pm

Great advice!

Thank you for your response. I will make sure to continue drilling as well as review the fundamentals.

Thanks again!

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby gti24 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:48 pm

Thanks for doing this! I had a few questions about LR that I still can't seem to figure out.

For necessary assumptions, what is your thought process when approaching these questions? Am I suppose to be looking for an answer that addresses the gap between the conclusion and the premises or just something that the conclusion can't be true without. When using the negation test, if one of the answers casts doubts on one of the premises, doesn't that invalidate the whole stimulus?

What's the best way to approach logically complete questions?

When I'm reading a stimulus for an assumption family question (sufficient, necessary, strengthen, weaken), is there always going to be a faulty gap between the support and the conclusion?

Thanks again!!

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LSAT Hacks (Graeme)

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:40 am

gti24 wrote:Thanks for doing this! I had a few questions about LR that I still can't seem to figure out.

For necessary assumptions, what is your thought process when approaching these questions? Am I suppose to be looking for an answer that addresses the gap between the conclusion and the premises or just something that the conclusion can't be true without.



I'm looking for a flaw, not necessarily a gap. Gap is a way of describing a type of flaw. If there's a gap, I see it (usually) and if the flaw can be described in some other way, I see that (usually). The question I ask myself is:

1. What's the conclusion
2. What's the evidence
3. Why is this wrong? (Or: How could this be wrong?)

Note that sometimes, before step 3, you need to ask yourself "how could this be right?" or "what are they trying to say?" This is really another way of framing the identification of conclusion/reasoning. But I've noticed some students will say they've found the conclusion/reasoning, yet they don't know what the argument is trying to prove.

I'd like to talk a moment about this process of recognition of gaps. I wasn't born able to recognize a "gap" in an argument and name it a "gap". I learned. You should review NA assumption questions, and study the various forms the flaws take. After you get a solid grasp of 50+ questions with gaps, you should start to have an intuition for what a gap is and recognize it. (Note: I just made up the 50+ number. I have no idea what the actual number is)

Ways to accelerate this process are: talking about questions with a study partner, and repeating hard questions to develop mastery the second and third time through.

All that said, gaps are common. The conclusion will mention a term not in the evidence, and the assumption is that they're linked. E.g. "Good LSAT scores help students get into law school. This shows that schools value analytical reasoning." The assumption is: LSAT scores show analytical reasoning power.

gti24 wrote:When using the negation test, if one of the answers casts doubts on one of the premises, doesn't that invalidate the whole stimulus?


I don't think in these terms. In general, the LSAT does not "cast doubt on" or disprove premises. An answer choice might add context that shows a premise is not as strong as it seemed, but the premise will still be true.

With negations, you're looking for something which destroys the conclusion.

Protip: some negations are useless. You have to take the very slightest negation. For instance, negating "most" is worthless unless the conclusion was in terms of most. Negating most to not most means moving from 51% to 50%. Even in a parliamentary vote, this never has an effect on anything. Who cares if 51% of people vs. 50% of people like you? You wouldn't even notice the difference.

Likewise, negating many to not many is not significant. You have to take the low bound of many, and the high bound of not many. Maybe it's 20% to 19%. I never use actual numbers, just illustrating the magnitude of negation you're supposed to be using.

Whereas, negating some to none is significant. There is a big different between some and none. But it depends on context. For instance, all to not all can be significant, or it can not be. You wouldn't care if "not all" of the people you met liked you, because not all should be 99% when you're negating. But if we're talking about whether the safety of a nuclear power plant is guaranteed, then not always safe (99% safe) is suddenly significant.

I advise you to think in specifics. Suppose I say "all americans are nice". Here's how I want you to think about the negation: All Americans are nice except one guy in Arkansas named Bob. Literally everyone else is nice.

You could say "not all americans are nice" or "some americans are not nice". But the specific phrasing above captures the uselessness of this negation (in this context). You're trying to prove an idea wrong, in the slightest way possible.

The correct answers often have no wiggle room when negated. No matter how you do it, they wreck the argument.

gti24 wrote:What's the best way to approach logically complete questions?


Sufficient assumption questions? They've gotten more formulaic on recent tests, say 52+. Not every questions follows this form, but many do.

1. Identify the conclusion, e.g. A --> D
2. Split it apart: A _____________________ D (I am only underlining so that TLS will display the letters apart. Spaces don't work)
3. Fill in the evidence: A --> B --> C ______ D
4. What's left is the gap, and will be the right answer: C --> D (or ~D --> ~C)

Maybe 60% of SA questions follow this format, and once it clicks they're really, really, really easy.

gti24 wrote:When I'm reading a stimulus for an assumption family question (sufficient, necessary, strengthen, weaken), is there always going to be a faulty gap between the support and the conclusion?

Thanks again!!


No. As with NA questions, I don't think in these terms. I instead ask "how could this be wrong?". For strengthen/weaken questions, sometimes I spot no obvious error. The right answer will come a bit out of left field, but will strengthen/weaken the argument nonetheless.

For instance, consider this argument:

"Bob wants to buy a sandwich. He has his wallet, and he's going to the store with the intent to buy a sandwich. The store is open, and they sell sandwiches. Therefore, Bob will succeed in buying a sandwich."

This is already a pretty solid argument. Of course, the LSAT wouldn't give an argument this good, but I've seen some similar. Let's look at how we could strengthen, weaken it.

Strengthen: The store takes visa, and bob has a visa card with credit on it. Bob's wallet has enough cash to pay for a sandwich.
Weaken: Bob's wallet is empty. The store is in the middle of being robbed, and can't sell sandwiches. A fire has started in the back of the store, and it will be evacuated by the time bob gets there.

I certainly wouldn't prephrase any of those. But because I know the conclusion/reasoning, I'm prepared to say "ah yes, those strengthen/weaken" the argument.

What I'm saying is this: If I spot a "gap", then I will expect that is going to be the answer, and I'll form a prephrase. But there may be other flaws. And there may not be an obvious flaw. In all cases, I mostly focus on conclusion/reasoning.

Then I try to take a broad view of the situation. If possible, I'll put myself in Bob's shoes, and imagine what might prevent me from getting a sandwich.

Hope that makes sense. Figuring out flaws is a subtle art, and contrary to received opinion, it is very helpful to personalize a situation and apply real world reasoning (as long as you don't make up assumptions).

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About Me + Free Explnations

Hi, I'm Graeme. I scored a 177 and have been teaching since 2008. I release free explanations for LSAT PTs.

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Last edited by LSAT Hacks (Graeme) on Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LSAT Hacks free PT explanations + Q and A with Graeme

Postby flash21 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:51 am

Hey G, I've got a question about LR.

So basically, for LR sections I've been getting usually between 20-23 correct per section. I was wondering if you thought it was a good idea for me to still drill from cambridge at this point (I will continue to drill for certain question types that I haven't done much of like PF, paralell reasoning, point at issue etc), but for the more common questions types such as str/wea/na/sa/flaw, etc , I've drilled this out of the cambridge multiple times. Do you think its better time spent for me at this point simply going back over LR sections, questions that I've gotten wrong ( I track them all on 7sage), and reviewing the questions back over?

I'm also not sure at this point in prep whether drilling for LR or going back over timed sections and reviewing misses is my best option. I currently am scoring in the 161-164 range if that helps. I'll be continuing to drill logic games and reading comp from cambridge as those need more work than my LR. I'm just debating a bit since I've actually seen a lot of these cambridge questions multiple times. I know you can still learn from them, but you know what I mean?

Also, when reviewing misses from sections, how would you suggest maximizing my review? I feel as though sometimes finding out why wrong answers are wrong and right is right just is not enough.

Thanks a lot.



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