Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Do you read the stimulus or question stem first?

Stimulus
125
53%
Question Stem
112
47%
 
Total votes: 237

letsdoit1982
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Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby letsdoit1982 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:11 pm

Yes, I realize this has been debated big time, but I would like to see a poll of what high scorers do (160+).
Last edited by letsdoit1982 on Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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eye
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Re: People who score 160+.....Stimulus or question stem first?

Postby eye » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:15 pm

Question stem. Although studying for the retake, I see less of a need to read the question stem first. I realized reading the stimulus first helps me pay more attention to the stimulus.

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fl0w
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Re: People who score 160+.....Stimulus or question stem first?

Postby fl0w » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:18 pm

read the stimulus first.

If you read the stem first here's your process:
1) read stem
2) read stimulus
3) re-read stem because you don't remember exactly what it said
3.5) (sometimes) re-read the stimulus
4) answer question

If you read the stimulus first
1) read stimulus
2) read stem
2.5) (sometimes) re-read stimulus
3) answer question

You at least eliminate a full step and at most eliminate 1.5 steps.
It's my opinion.

forty-two
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Re: People who score 160+.....Stimulus or question stem first?

Postby forty-two » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:25 pm

fl0w wrote:read the stimulus first.

If you read the stem first here's your process:
1) read stem
2) read stimulus
3) re-read stem because you don't remember exactly what it said
3.5) (sometimes) re-read the stimulus
4) answer question

If you read the stimulus first
1) read stimulus
2) read stem
2.5) (sometimes) re-read stimulus
3) answer question

You at least eliminate a full step and at most eliminate 1.5 steps.
It's my opinion.



For me it was more like this:

1) read stem
2) read stimulus
3) answer

I don't see why you'd ever have to read the question stem twice. I mean, once you know the question type, you know what to look for/what the answer should look like. However, different strokes for different folks.

ddelmar
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Re: People who score 160+.....Stimulus or question stem first?

Postby ddelmar » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:25 pm

Reading the question first is the best way to go imo. It narrows the scope of your thinking so you know exactly what it is you're looking for. You need to read a stimulus a little bit differently depending on what you are required to do by the question, and if you wait to read the question till after, you will likely wind up going through passages multiple times looking for specific, important things that you may not have picked up on the first read through.
fl0w wrote:read the stimulus first.

If you read the stem first here's your process:
1) read stem
2) read stimulus
3) re-read stem because you don't remember exactly what it said
3.5) (sometimes) re-read the stimulus
4) answer question

If you read the stimulus first
1) read stimulus
2) read stem
2.5) (sometimes) re-read stimulus
3) answer question

You at least eliminate a full step and at most eliminate 1.5 steps.
It's my opinion.


I disagree with this. Once you get the question types down from intensive studying, reading the question stem takes a negligible amount of time. There are very few times I ever remember having to re-read a question stem, because, after I read it the first time, it would stay in my head the entire time I read through the stimulus since the nature of the question became a lens through which I interpreted the stimulus.

I remember much more often reading a stimulus and then having to re-read it after reading the question stem because, though I remembered the jist of the stimulus, I could not with accuracy address the specific question I was asked. Re-reading the stimulus takes way longer than re-reading the question stem.

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fl0w
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby fl0w » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:31 pm

to each their own.

i compare it to reading comprehension. i would never read all of those questions first, then read the passage. i practice a lot to read critically and for detail so i very rarely had to reread a stimulus.

I guess it can work either way.

Maybe practice each on some practice tests and see what works best.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby Stringer Bell » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:34 pm

95% of the time I read the stimlus first. There was the rare exception where I'd get a really long passage that I could just tell might trip me up and went to the stem first.

dynomite
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Re: People who score 160+.....Stimulus or question stem first?

Postby dynomite » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:35 pm

forty-two wrote:For me it was more like this:

1) read stem
2) read stimulus
3) answer

I don't see why you'd ever have to read the question stem twice. I mean, once you know the question type, you know what to look for/what the answer should look like. However, different strokes for different folks.


+1

keg411
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Re: People who score 160+.....Stimulus or question stem first?

Postby keg411 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:36 pm

forty-two wrote:For me it was more like this:

1) read stem
2) read stimulus
3) answer

I don't see why you'd ever have to read the question stem twice. I mean, once you know the question type, you know what to look for/what the answer should look like. However, different strokes for different folks.


+1

When reading the stem, I also underline the key word (ie. Strengthen, Assumption, etc.) to reinforce what I am looking for. The goal is to answer the question being asked :).

letsdoit1982
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby letsdoit1982 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:37 pm

I bet most people use the strategy that their prep book/prep course suggests. For example, people that use Kaplan read the question stem first, while people that use Powerscore read the stimulus first.

icydash
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby icydash » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:39 pm

I also read the stimulus first, then question stem. I originally tried reading the question stem first, but found myself reading the question stem, then the stimulus, then the question stem again (like a previous poster mentioned), then answering. If i just read the stimulus first, then read the question stem, i can go straight to the answer.

cubswin
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby cubswin » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:44 pm

I wonder if a 170+ cutoff would generate more stimulus-first answers. I'm kind of surprised stem-first is winning.

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gbpackerbacker
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby gbpackerbacker » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:47 pm

Excuse my ignorance, but is this conversation in regards to LR, LG, or RC?

letsdoit1982
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby letsdoit1982 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:48 pm

cubswin wrote:I wonder if a 170+ cutoff would generate more stimulus-first answers. I'm kind of surprised stem-first is winning.



I'm getting the feeling that both strategies are pretty much equal. I really doubt that if someone switched from either strategy that their score would drop significantly.

letsdoit1982
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby letsdoit1982 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:48 pm

gbpackerbacker wrote:Excuse my ignorance, but is this conversation in regards to LR, LG, or RC?


LR

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taw856
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby taw856 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:55 pm

Not that it does anything for this poll, but I would guess that outside of TLS, a lot of people just read the question, think it through, rule out options that don't seem right and answer without thinking about categorizing question types or components of the issue at hand.

In fact, it doesn't seem entirely unlikely that that approach could be the majority.

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dutchstriker
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby dutchstriker » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:02 am

I'm really surprised to see this so close. I could often figure out what the question stem was going to be while still reading the stimulus. To each her own, I suppose.

ddelmar
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby ddelmar » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:06 am

I read powerscore's justification for stimulus first. To me, it just doesn't make sense. Reading the question takes less than 3 seconds, and it prepares you for far more effective reading of the stimulus, since you can read looking for exactly what the question asks for.

There were many times on the actual lsat that I was able to read the stem and then skim the stimulus for the answer rather than waste time reading it full. This is especially true on Main Point questions.

letsdoit1982
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby letsdoit1982 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:15 am

ddelmar wrote:I read powerscore's justification for stimulus first. To me, it just doesn't make sense. Reading the question takes less than 3 seconds, and it prepares you for far more effective reading of the stimulus, since you can read looking for exactly what the question asks for.

There were many times on the actual lsat that I was able to read the stem and then skim the stimulus for the answer rather than waste time reading it full. This is especially true on Main Point questions.


I too did not find powerscore's explanation all that great. I'm not saying one strategy is better than the other, but Powerscore emphatically says "no" to the question stem strategy but then fails to give a compelling reason, imo.

Also, I definitely agree with your point about main point questions. If you don't read the question stem first, you end up dissecting the stimulus when all you needed to do was identify the conclusion.

tomwatts
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby tomwatts » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:08 am

If I just jumped into reading the argument, I might expect a Strengthen/Weaken/Assumption/etc. question type on which you're supposed to look for what gaps/assumptions/holes/whatever someone else calls it these days there are in the argument. Then I might find that I was being asked about the role of some sentence and bop myself on the head for reading for a totally irrelevant thing. I might read a whole bunch of junk information looking for the conclusion and then discover that I was reading an Inference question on which there is no conclusion.

Stem first all the way. It guides what you're looking for in the arg.

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PDaddy
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby PDaddy » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:10 am

Stem first, so you know what you are looking for in the stimulus. Besides, reading the stem first almost always allows you to eliminate two answers right off the bat after reading the stimulus.

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PDaddy
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby PDaddy » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:12 am

letsdoit1982 wrote:
gbpackerbacker wrote:Excuse my ignorance, but is this conversation in regards to LR, LG, or RC?


LR


Good point! In RC, you def. don't want to read the questions first, though some people have done it and claimed to be successful.

Sandro
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby Sandro » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:15 am

In reviewing LR sections I have thought about using the stem first approach. It seems like if you could quickly read the stem it would help you prephrase a little more. Im going to try it on my next PT.

tomwatts
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby tomwatts » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:24 am

PDaddy wrote:Good point! In RC, you def. don't want to read the questions first, though some people have done it and claimed to be successful.

The latter part of your statement has it, but the former is not entirely true. While I don't preview the questions myself, some of my students find that it helps them determine what to focus on in the passage and not get bogged down. A quick (30-second at most) glance through the questions doesn't take much time, and it may save some time on the initial pass through the passage because you know what to look for and what to skim over. (Among other things — the debate on "preview vs. don't preview" has gotten to be pretty long and complicated, frankly.)

It doesn't do anything good for me, but I see it help some of my students, so I present it as an option that people should try and can feel free to use if they find it helpful.

HBK
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Re: Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby HBK » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:44 am

I found that after enough practice I did far better reading the stimulus first. After doing a boatload of pts and studying the bible, I got a feel for what the question was going to ask before I even read it. This worked well enough for me. Reading the stimulus first allowed me to better evaluate the argument: conclusion, evidence, deficiencies, fallacies.

Plus it saves time to really concentrate on the tough ones.

In full disclosure, I missed an average of 4-5 LRs per exam.




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