177 --> 180 ?

Paix
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Paix » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:09 pm

Robert398 wrote:
Paix wrote:Running out of time doesn't seem to be a problem.

There are still 1-2 LR questions per test where it's genuinely hard to decide between two answers (B seems to pretty good but not great... so does E). As long as those questions exist, there's room for improvement. The challenge is figuring out a pattern with a low number of questions in that category.


How are your nutrition and sleep habits?


For a year, I've had a job that requires me to leave for work by 7:30 every morning, so I'm not worried about getting up early. I usually don't sleep much (been that way forever), but I'll make it a point to go to bed a bit earlier.

As for nutrition, I'm a fairly healthy eater--lots of fruits and veggies and not too much ice cream :-)

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UrbanAchievers
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby UrbanAchievers » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:29 pm

yeff wrote:Almost everyone does a bit worse than their PTs due to nerves.

You should probably be averaging 183-185 if you want to guarantee a 180 on test day.

:)

nm
Last edited by UrbanAchievers on Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

skip james
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby skip james » Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:24 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
ConsideringLawSchool wrote:For those of you who did manage to bump your score up those final points, what did you do in terms of time breakdown on RC? (How many minutes for passage reading versus question answering?)


im actually curious, for those scoring in the mid-170's or higher, is there any real working strategy on how to handle RC? like a systematic thing? i absolutely used no strategy on RC because all of them seemed too time consuming. my RC was never perfect (-1, -2) so maybe i could have adopted something?


i got to about -1 averaging using a system i developed, but i used to suck at rc a while back (4-8 error range). a perfect rc section for me would depend on my mental state. i think i can pull it off when i'm super focused.

Robert398
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Robert398 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:55 pm

Bump for further thoughts

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dresden doll
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby dresden doll » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:17 pm

I am sufficiently bewildered by this thread to have to ask: does anyone honestly think that a 180 will grant them admission to a place where 177 wouldn't have cut it?

News flash: if you're not getting in with a 177, chances are that it's not because your LSAT is too low.

ZombiesAhead
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby ZombiesAhead » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:38 pm

This advice shouldn't just apply to people going from 177-180 but to anyone who is stuck at -1/-2 on the RC or LR sections. It really is that last question or two where both AC's seem "almost-there." I definitely like the mindset of never guessing - I am trying to tell myself that there is always a right answer and that answer is always in the stimulus (or passage). After all, it always makes sense after the fact.

When you're stuck deliberating like that you need to be able to do something to make yourself reread or look at the problem in a different way but it's hard to throw away whatever mistaken assumption you are making about what is said...

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TLS1776
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby TLS1776 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:42 pm

dresden doll wrote:I am sufficiently bewildered by this thread to have to ask: does anyone honestly think that a 180 will grant them admission to a place where 177 wouldn't have cut it?

News flash: if you're not getting in with a 177, chances are that it's not because your LSAT is too low.

PTing at 177 doesn't mean you'll necessarily get a 177 on test-day; drops in score are common.

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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby lawschooliseasy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:43 pm

Masturbate furiously

Woozy
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Woozy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:33 pm

dresden doll wrote:I am sufficiently bewildered by this thread to have to ask: does anyone honestly think that a 180 will grant them admission to a place where 177 wouldn't have cut it?

News flash: if you're not getting in with a 177, chances are that it's not because your LSAT is too low.


As a heavy splitter I got into a school known for being splitter-unfriendly and loving high GPAs. Obviously I can't know for sure, but I think the psychological bump of a perfect score played a part. I don't think I would've been admitted with a 177.

Even if you don't need a 180, practicing for one is a good way to maximize your score. Your LSAT level can be approximated by two numbers: a mean and a standard deviation. Raising your mean and lowering your standard deviation in an attempt to score 180 will also have the beneficial side effect of reducing your odds of receiving a score in the lower 170s.

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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Robert398 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:57 pm

Woozy, any other thoughts on the OP's question from your own experience?

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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Woozy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:40 pm

Robert398 wrote:Woozy, any other thoughts on the OP's question from your own experience?


I've spelled out most of my thoughts here already, but I do have a bit of rambling which may or may not be particularly useful.

Anecdotal evidence and polls on this forum indicate more people score below their PT averages than above. While many chalk this up to test day nerves, I have a different view. I noticed during practice that my PT results and those of a friend I PTed with were not normally distributed. Although I did not have too many data points, it seemed that the distribution of our test scores were not symmetrical about the mean, rather they had short tails on the higher end and longer tails on the lower end. The results of the poll above mesh well with this view. For me this realization meant one thing: I had a higher than expected chance of getting a significantly lower score than I wanted. Most of my work in the last month (after I formed this theory) was done with the goal of shortening this long low tail. One conjecture guided me: the long low tail would not exist if the test were untimed.

That's why I'm so big on identifying wasted seconds. It is not enough to get to the point where you usually have enough time to answer the questions, you need to get to the point where you have excess time even in a worst case scenario. If you are essentially taking the test untimed, there is a very low probability that you will score significantly below your PT average.

I'm convinced that a motivated and highly gifted person could get fast enough that he would have a decent shot at a perfect score with 1/2 the time per section, so there is no reason you can't do the same in 30 min, and then use the extra 5 minutes to hopefully move from decent shot to even better shot.
Last edited by Woozy on Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

februaryftw
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby februaryftw » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:19 pm

Woozy wrote:
Robert398 wrote:Woozy, any other thoughts on the OP's question from your own experience?


I've spelled out most of my thoughts here already, but I do have a bit of rambling which may or may not be particularly useful.

Anecdotal evidence and polls on this forum indicate more people score below their PT averages than above. While many chalk this up to test day nerves, I have a different view. I noticed during practice that my PT results and those of a friend I PTed with were not normally distributed. Although I did not have too many data points, it seemed that the distribution of our test scores were not symmetrical about the mean, rather they had short tales on the higher end and longer tails on the lower end. The results of the poll above mesh well with this view. For me this realization meant one thing: I had a higher than expected chance of getting a significantly lower score than I wanted. Most of my work in the last month (after I formed this theory) was done with the goal of shortening this long low tail. One conjecture guided me: the long low tail would not exist if the test were untimed.

That's why I'm so big on identifying wasted seconds. It is not enough to get to the point where you usually have enough time to answer the questions, you need to get to the point where you have excess time even in a worst case scenario. If you are essentially taking the test untimed, there is a very low probability that you will score significantly below your PT average.

I'm convinced that a motivated and highly gifted person could get fast enough that he would have a decent shot at a perfect score with 1/2 the time per section, so there is no reason you can't do the same in 30 min, and then use the extra 5 minutes to hopefully move from decent shot to even better shot.


I don't have an official LSAT score yet, but I am persuaded that you are right regarding the distribution of PT results and time. My low tail disappeared on the LR and LG sections as soon as I became comfortable finishing the sections in 30 minutes. The sections now basically feel untimed--I know I save enough time elsewhere that I can take my time with a question on which I stumble, and even go back to it again at the end of the section. I had the logic of the test down fine, but it was only once I started to pick up time wherever I could that I got to the point on LR/LG where missing a question is frustrating, and missing more than one on a single section very rarely happens.

The RC is still a work in progress, but I think I am seeing some progress on that front as well.

ConsideringLawSchool
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby ConsideringLawSchool » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:57 pm

I'm really starting to appreciate Woozy's insight regarding internalizing timing before test day. I'm finally at a point where I don't really have to watch a clock to know the timing. Yesterday, I needed to meet someone in 35 minutes but had no clock handy. I figured, "I'll just do one LSAT section, then it'll be time to meet them." I think that not having to look at one's watch on test day is definitely useful.

Robert398
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Robert398 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:17 pm

Woozy wrote:
Robert398 wrote:Woozy, any other thoughts on the OP's question from your own experience?


I've spelled out most of my thoughts here already, but I do have a bit of rambling which may or may not be particularly useful.

Anecdotal evidence and polls on this forum indicate more people score below their PT averages than above. While many chalk this up to test day nerves, I have a different view. I noticed during practice that my PT results and those of a friend I PTed with were not normally distributed. Although I did not have too many data points, it seemed that the distribution of our test scores were not symmetrical about the mean, rather they had short tales on the higher end and longer tails on the lower end. The results of the poll above mesh well with this view. For me this realization meant one thing: I had a higher than expected chance of getting a significantly lower score than I wanted. Most of my work in the last month (after I formed this theory) was done with the goal of shortening this long low tail. One conjecture guided me: the long low tail would not exist if the test were untimed.

That's why I'm so big on identifying wasted seconds. It is not enough to get to the point where you usually have enough time to answer the questions, you need to get to the point where you have excess time even in a worst case scenario. If you are essentially taking the test untimed, there is a very low probability that you will score significantly below your PT average.

I'm convinced that a motivated and highly gifted person could get fast enough that he would have a decent shot at a perfect score with 1/2 the time per section, so there is no reason you can't do the same in 30 min, and then use the extra 5 minutes to hopefully move from decent shot to even better shot.



Very interesting, thanks.

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TLS1776
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby TLS1776 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:37 pm

Most of my work in the last month (after I formed this theory) was done with the goal of shortening this long low tail.

Did you do anything differently that last month?

That's why I'm so big on identifying wasted seconds. It is not enough to get to the point where you usually have enough time to answer the questions, you need to get to the point where you have excess time even in a worst case scenario.

I completely agree; the real trick is identifying them! I thought for a while that I could save time by not checking other answer choices after finding an answer that I was convinced was right, and it indeed let me finish sections with 10 minutes to spare, but I would always get a few questions wrong that I would've gotten right had I read the other answer choices. Now I'm of the opinion that the LSAT requires balancing the need to be careful with the need to move quickly. I'd be very interested to hear what you (Woozy) or any other high-scorers have to say about this.

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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Woozy » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:34 am

TLS1776 wrote:Did you do anything differently that last month?


That's when I really started to focus on all the little timing things and the mechanics of the test. I also worked on games, games, and some games, because I decided that was the section where my scores had the highest variance.

TLS1776 wrote:
That's why I'm so big on identifying wasted seconds. It is not enough to get to the point where you usually have enough time to answer the questions, you need to get to the point where you have excess time even in a worst case scenario.

I completely agree; the real trick is identifying them! I thought for a while that I could save time by not checking other answer choices after finding an answer that I was convinced was right, and it indeed let me finish sections with 10 minutes to spare, but I would always get a few questions wrong that I would've gotten right had I read the other answer choices. Now I'm of the opinion that the LSAT requires balancing the need to be careful with the need to move quickly. I'd be very interested to hear what you (Woozy) or any other high-scorers have to say about this.


I dabbled with this, and it has the potential to be a significant time saver. I decided like you that the trade off in time saved vs. increased error rate was not there. I really think that it could be done in games, and perhaps even for certain question types in LR/RC, but it would take some dedicated practice to bring down the error rate, and even then it may not come down far enough to justify.

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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Robert398 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:17 pm

To bump this and post my own experience- My scores seem to be hovering in a rather narrow range, often for different reasons. Excepting one sub-175 outlier (173) on a particularly bad day, I've scored the following on Preptests 33-37:

179, 177, 178, 177 in terms of raw correct (circled) answers on the test sheet, and 179, 177, 177, 175 actual score when including misbubbling, which occurred on the last two tests. I'm doing fine with timing, I typically finish around five minutes early, sometimes closer to 10 for LR.. I'm restricting myself to one preptest a week at the moment to prevent burnout, which happened to me previously. I've never hit a 180 on a test (yet). My incorrect answers seem to be fairly consistent: -2 LR, with -0 to -2 on either LG or RC, varying with each test. It seems as though I can obviously stand to improve LR accuracy a bit.. the LR questions I miss seem to include roughly one careless or seemingly preventable mistake, and one where I simply miss the problem due to incorrect understanding.

I'm thinking perhaps I could use a primer in informal logic, so I've ordered Douglas Walton's book on the topic recommended by a prior 180 scorer; however others have mentioned limited success with this book.

Any ideas for a better informal logic book?

Just from re-reading what I've written above, it seems like aside from minimizing careless errors, I could stand to improve games accuracy to -0 all the time, which many here seem to do, along with focusing on improving LR performance.

Over the last two weeks, on preptest 36, I made two fairly careless LR mistakes + a misbubble that kept me from a 180, and on 37, I misread a rule in LG and misbubbled an LR q that kept me from a 179.. to some extent I think the more I practice the more of these mistakes I tend to make, for whatever reason.

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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Woozy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:38 pm

Robert398 wrote:To bump this and post my own experience- My scores seem to be hovering in a rather narrow range, often for different reasons. Excepting one sub-175 outlier (173) on a particularly bad day, I've scored the following on Preptests 33-37:

179, 177, 178, 177 in terms of raw correct (circled) answers on the test sheet, and 179, 177, 177, 175 actual score when including misbubbling, which occurred on the last two tests. I'm doing fine with timing, I typically finish around five minutes early, sometimes closer to 10 for LR.. I'm restricting myself to one preptest a week at the moment to prevent burnout, which happened to me previously. I've never hit a 180 on a test (yet). My incorrect answers seem to be fairly consistent: -2 LR, with -0 to -2 on either LG or RC, varying with each test. It seems as though I can obviously stand to improve LR accuracy a bit.. the LR questions I miss seem to include roughly one careless or seemingly preventable mistake, and one where I simply miss the problem due to incorrect understanding.

I'm thinking perhaps I could use a primer in informal logic, so I've ordered Douglas Walton's book on the topic recommended by a prior 180 scorer; however others have mentioned limited success with this book.

Any ideas for a better informal logic book?

Just from re-reading what I've written above, it seems like aside from minimizing careless errors, I could stand to improve games accuracy to -0 all the time, which many here seem to do, along with focusing on improving LR performance.

Over the last two weeks, on preptest 36, I made two fairly careless LR mistakes + a misbubble that kept me from a 180, and on 37, I misread a rule in LG and misbubbled an LR q that kept me from a 179.. to some extent I think the more I practice the more of these mistakes I tend to make, for whatever reason.


If you have a few extra minutes compare your circled answers to your bubbles. That saved me one critical point on the test.

I'm not convinced a book on logic is going to help much if 50% of your errors are careless and the other 50% you can figure out the logic of yourself. I agree you should work on getting -0 on LG. As I'm sure you know, a 180 requires at least one and often two perfect sections, so it really helps to have a section where you can count on -0.

Robert398
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Robert398 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:00 pm

Thanks again Woozy

7ED
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby 7ED » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:51 pm

Definitely very insightful on the time issue. I noticed the same thing with mine. Whenever I feel pressed for time I make serious mistakes. Although I can't do ANY of the sections in 30 mintes yet (and theres only 2 weeks to go!), i always end comfortably 1-3 minutes before hand, usually with the luxury of taking a few seconds to check one or two questions that i still have reservations about. 178 has become my typical score, though I still need to eliminate the long tail, and i've still to score a 180.

For me, the new problem is the RC on the newer tests. I've noticed the answers are now a lot more ambiguous, require a lot more double checking, and are more time-consuming.

skip james
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby skip james » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:48 am

TLS1776 wrote:I thought for a while that I could save time by not checking other answer choices after finding an answer that I was convinced was right, and it indeed let me finish sections with 10 minutes to spare, but I would always get a few questions wrong that I would've gotten right had I read the other answer choices. Now I'm of the opinion that the LSAT requires balancing the need to be careful with the need to move quickly. I'd be very interested to hear what you (Woozy) or any other high-scorers have to say about this.


personally, there are a handful of questions where i don't read all the answers (for LR), mostly located in the first 10 (maybe about half of them), and some sparsely placed elsewhere in the section. mostly justifies, some easy flaws, easy conclusions, easy assumptions, and generally paradoxes as well. my error rate is close to zero on these over a large number of prep tests. unlike woozy, my timing has always been much more close to the wire, and i generally finish the section with maybe 3 minutes left.

even so, i am consistently make about 2 errors in lr combined and those will end falling under the difficult questions that i identify as being conceptually difficult while taking the test. it sounds like woozy's got a better grasp on those than i do.

i'm curious, how fast do you finish the section woozy? what do you do with your remaining time?

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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Woozy » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:11 pm

skip james wrote:i'm curious, how fast do you finish the section woozy? what do you do with your remaining time?


At the end I was finishing LRs in anywhere from 25-32 minutes. I didn't have a watch and couldn't see the clock for the actual test but I finished each of the 5 sections before the proctor called 5 min remaining, some well before. I used extra time to 1) take a second look at questions 2) check for misbubbles 3) relax and rest. While taking my second look I would pay extra attention to questions I put a star next to on the first pass, but if I had enough time I would try to quickly look over every question just to check for obvious mistakes. If I finished very quickly I would often spend the last minute or two just staring into space. It seemed to help slightly to have a little down time, and the marginal benefit of more time looking over questions seems to diminish quickly.

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TLS1776
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby TLS1776 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:07 am

Question for high-scorers: am I right to suppose that the best way to tackle tough conditional reasoning questions is to draw them out? I'm having trouble diagramming some of them quickly, and I want to double check that diagramming them is in fact the best way to approach them. Examples: most sufficient assumption questions, most parallel reasoning questions.

Specific example: PT21-S2-Q20 ("Ann will take a leave of absence from Technocorp or else she will quit her job there"); while taking it as part of a timed PT I couldn't figure out how to quickly diagram it. I never even bothered trying to simply consider the situation it was presenting, and after looking at it that way (i.e. not by diagramming, but by trying to understand the situation as I would if it were happening in my everyday life) I thought the answer seemed to jump out at me. Now half of me is thinking I need to spend more time reviewing CR problems, and the other half is thinking that some CR problems aren't best approached with a diagram. I was hoping Woozy et al could set the score straight.

skip james
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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby skip james » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:32 am

TLS1776 wrote:Question for high-scorers: am I right to suppose that the best way to tackle tough conditional reasoning questions is to draw them out? I'm having trouble diagramming some of them quickly, and I want to double check that diagramming them is in fact the best way to approach them. Examples: most sufficient assumption questions, most parallel reasoning questions.

Specific example: PT21-S2-Q20 ("Ann will take a leave of absence from Technocorp or else she will quit her job there"); while taking it as part of a timed PT I couldn't figure out how to quickly diagram it. I never even bothered trying to simply consider the situation it was presenting, and after looking at it that way (i.e. not by diagramming, but by trying to understand the situation as I would if it were happening in my everyday life) I thought the answer seemed to jump out at me. Now half of me is thinking I need to spend more time reviewing CR problems, and the other half is thinking that some CR problems aren't best approached with a diagram. I was hoping Woozy et al could set the score straight.


mastery of conditional reasoning and diagramming is just a tool. ideally, you want such a mastery over it that you can bring it out at any given time, so that you can clarify a problem and work through it.. maybe a problem that you're confused about, maybe an answer choice which is using necessary and sufficient conditions, maybe a flaw question.. but it's just a tool, trying to use it in every and any situation is probably going to work out poorly, like using a hammer to fix a broken window or something.

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Re: 177 --> 180 ?

Postby Woozy » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:36 am

skip james wrote:
TLS1776 wrote:Question for high-scorers: am I right to suppose that the best way to tackle tough conditional reasoning questions is to draw them out? I'm having trouble diagramming some of them quickly, and I want to double check that diagramming them is in fact the best way to approach them. Examples: most sufficient assumption questions, most parallel reasoning questions.

Specific example: PT21-S2-Q20 ("Ann will take a leave of absence from Technocorp or else she will quit her job there"); while taking it as part of a timed PT I couldn't figure out how to quickly diagram it. I never even bothered trying to simply consider the situation it was presenting, and after looking at it that way (i.e. not by diagramming, but by trying to understand the situation as I would if it were happening in my everyday life) I thought the answer seemed to jump out at me. Now half of me is thinking I need to spend more time reviewing CR problems, and the other half is thinking that some CR problems aren't best approached with a diagram. I was hoping Woozy et al could set the score straight.


mastery of conditional reasoning and diagramming is just a tool. ideally, you want such a mastery over it that you can bring it out at any given time, so that you can clarify a problem and work through it.. maybe a problem that you're confused about, maybe an answer choice which is using necessary and sufficient conditions, maybe a flaw question.. but it's just a tool, trying to use it in every and any situation is probably going to work out poorly, like using a hammer to fix a broken window or something.


When I was studying for and taking the test I didn't diagram any LRs. I would just read it until I understood the argument, even if that meant I had to read it a few times.

It's only while tutoring a friend that I've started to diagram some tougher parallel and conditional questions out. It can definitely help you see what is going on if you are having trouble with a question, and of course certain questions lend themselves well to diagramming and certain ones do not. I can't be much help figuring that out since I didn't do it myself, but I agree with skip: diagramming is a useful tool, but it can be overused.




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