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

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Do you read the stimulus or question stem first?

Question Stem
Total votes: 238


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

Postby letsdoit1982 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:32 pm

A better question would be to ask how many people have tried both methods. I bet most of the voters started doing one strategy based on what their prep suggests and then sticks with it. It's hard to derive anything from this poll as to what the best strategy is, because most people have not experimented with both.

In the end, I bet there's really no difference.

I have always done stimulus first, because Powerscore recommends doing so. For my next five PTs, I'm going to experiment with both (1 LR with stem first and 2nd LR with Stim first). Hopefully this is just think I need to get past this brick wall.


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

Postby loveistheway » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:54 pm

I used both. I preface this by saying I did all my own prep, but I used supplements like Powerscore and some BluePrint materials. All of these suggested reading the stimulus first, which I did. I did fairly well on the LSAT (167), but wasn't happy with my performance, since I had been doing much better on preptests. I spent the next couple months studying some more, basically fine-tuning my strategies and working on my ability to recognize what types of questions were being asked...for the LR, there really are only like 7-8 types. While working on those, I started reading the stem first, to help me quickly identify what "kind" of question it was. I took it again and got a 173.

All in all, I do think the stem method is best once you reach a certain level of understanding of the test. If you don't have that level of familiarity with the format though, I think it's six of one, half dozen of the other. Either way, you have to personalize the process of studying and find what works best for you. I don't think my jump of 6 points was because I read the stem first, just more experience, but I do think reading the stem first helped me focus in on THAT particular question and what I should be looking for. LSAC is basically a 4-5 trick pony, once you know the type of question, you know the 4-5 most common ways LSAC tries to exploit it.


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

Postby itsfine » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:56 pm

i found that when i read the question stem first, when i went to read the stimulus i was too consciously thinking about what i was loooking for, which hurt my ability to relax and just fully understand the stimulus.


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

Postby BenJ » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:39 pm

notanumber wrote:
swc65 wrote:^^^ LOL two high 170s with -2 on LR advocating the exact opposite appraoch..

Actually, at a fundamental level we're ultimately advocating the same approach:

Don't over-think the test or get lost in formal rules and strategies.

Basically this. Strategies are worthless during the actual test. They're useful for studying purposes: They train your brain to react in the proper manner. But the whole point of practice is to get that training in so you don't use crutches during the test. Crutches muddle your thinking about the actual questions and get you focused on things the LSAT isn't testing (what type of question a certain question is). Frankly, I read PowerScore, but I have no memory of any of question types they listed (and didn't as of test day, either, which was a while ago). They helped for improving how I thought about the LSAT, but the actual categories were irrelevant.

Personally, I started out reading the question stem first, intuiting that this was the best strategy from the strategy I had used for RC back on the SAT. I found it confusing and frustrating, and I quickly abandoned the idea of reading the question first. (I also found that I performed better on the LSAT RC than I did on the SAT RC largely because I was reading the passages before the questions.) Once I started reading the stimulus first, I found that I often knew what the question was before seeing it, and I rarely had to even consider anything out of order. My basic pattern was always:

I read the stimulus, then I read the question stem. Then I read the answers in order, eliminating obviously wrong ones and circling likely right ones. If there was only one likely right answer, I made that my answer and moved on. If there were multiple answers that seemed right, I glanced at the stimulus and stem again to make sure I didn't miss something, then selected an answer and moved on.

It's worth pointing out that I am extremely fast reader. For people who read more slowly, it might help to read the question stem first because you could save time by not reading the entire stimulus. I never had issues with time, only accuracy, so I have difficulty relating. I do think reading the stimulus first made my answers far more accurate, however, and anyone who is regularly answering all questions in the time limit should seriously consider stimulus-first.


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

Postby brontosaurus » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:39 pm

I prefer to read the stem first. By knowing what type of question I'm going to be answering, I'm able to target my reading that much more. Since I have a tactic for each of the question types, its just easier for me to apply as I read. I usually don't read the question stem a second time. This is not what I was taught in my Testmasters course, but after applying this technique I saw my LR score improve dramatically.

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