Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Stimulus or question stem first? What was your score?

Stimulus First and I scored 160+
21
19%
Stimulus First and I scored 170+
40
37%
Question First and I scored 160+
20
19%
Question First and I scored 170+
27
25%
 
Total votes: 108

nycparalegal
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Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby nycparalegal » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:07 pm

I saw a similar poll called "Those who score 160+..Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)", but I wanted to get more specific.

I got a 164 first time around (about mid-range for me), and I'm studying for the June LSAT.

I think reading question stem first maybe wrong, but if I see a high number of 170+ reading question stem first then I may change my method.
Last edited by nycparalegal on Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavebat2000
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby cavebat2000 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:08 pm

fail poll?

eudaimondaimon
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby eudaimondaimon » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:09 pm

cavebat2000 wrote:fail poll?


Yeah... I don't know how you'd get any meaningful data out of the poll as you've constructed it.
Last edited by eudaimondaimon on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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booboo
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby booboo » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:10 pm

Not a well constructed poll...

The four options should be:

160+/Question Stem first

160+/Stimulus first

170+/Question Stem first

170+/Stimulus first

nycparalegal
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby nycparalegal » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:11 pm

booboo wrote:Not a well constructed poll...

The four options should be:

160+/Question Stem first

160+/Stimulus first

170+/Question Stem first

170+/Stimulus first


fixed..I saw that immediately afterwards.

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scribelaw
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby scribelaw » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:13 pm

You're going to get a mixed response.

I read the stimulus first -- reading the question first just put too much stuff in my head. Plus, you can often tell what type of question it is by how the argument is crafted.

On the other hand, my SO read the question first and swore by it.

We both scored 170+.

Just try both ways and do whatever works.

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autarkh
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby autarkh » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:24 pm

170+ Question First.

The way I do it, though, is to underline key info (if any) and reduce the question to a unique symbol representing its type. That way, I don't have to keep everything in my head.

I find that this organizes my plan of attack for the stem.

nycparalegal
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby nycparalegal » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:46 pm

autarkh wrote:170+ Question First.

The way I do it, though, is to underline key info (if any) and reduce the question to a unique symbol representing its type. That way, I don't have to keep everything in my head.

I find that this organizes my plan of attack for the stem.


Shit, that sounds like a really good plan of attack.

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autarkh
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby autarkh » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:03 pm

nycparalegal wrote:
autarkh wrote:170+ Question First.

The way I do it, though, is to underline key info (if any) and reduce the question to a unique symbol representing its type. That way, I don't have to keep everything in my head.

I find that this organizes my plan of attack for the stimulus.


Shit, that sounds like a really good plan of attack.


It worked for me. =)

The act of translating it into a symbol reinforces the question type in your memory. You have to get it down to second nature though, or it would be a waste
of time. Examples of symbols I used were 'S' for sufficient or || for parallel.

savesthedayajb
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby savesthedayajb » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:04 pm

Stimulus first. Waste of time to read question first, you know you'll end up reading it twice.

skip james
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby skip james » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:09 pm

savesthedayajb wrote:Stimulus first. Waste of time to read question first, you know you'll end up reading it twice.


that's funny because i use the same rationale for advocating stem first. waste of time reading the stimulus twice.

savesthedayajb
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby savesthedayajb » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:12 pm

skip james wrote:
savesthedayajb wrote:Stimulus first. Waste of time to read question first, you know you'll end up reading it twice.


that's funny because i use the same rationale for advocating stem first. waste of time reading the stimulus twice.


You're assuming I'd read the stimulus again after I read the question. Yes, that would be a waste of time too, but I'd never do it unless I had lots of time. One has to practice to the point where reading each once is enough, i guess no matter what the order is. I'm just saying I would be more tempted to read the question again because it is short and it seems like it wouldn't matter much, but every second counts.

skip james
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby skip james » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:24 pm

savesthedayajb wrote:
skip james wrote:
savesthedayajb wrote:Stimulus first. Waste of time to read question first, you know you'll end up reading it twice.


that's funny because i use the same rationale for advocating stem first. waste of time reading the stimulus twice.


You're assuming I'd read the stimulus again after I read the question. Yes, that would be a waste of time too, but I'd never do it unless I had lots of time. One has to practice to the point where reading each once is enough, i guess no matter what the order is. I'm just saying I would be more tempted to read the question again because it is short and it seems like it wouldn't matter much, but every second counts.


i dunno, but i'm pretty good at LR and i've found myself rereading stimuli before, and i speculate this is true for most.

savesthedayajb
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby savesthedayajb » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:25 pm

Different things work for different people I guess. I'm a slow reader so I wouldn't be caught dead rereading unless it was absolutely necessary.

keg411
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby keg411 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:43 pm

Stem first so I know how to answer the question when reading the stimulus. Never need to go back and read the question again. I scored a 160+, so I checked that, but I've been PT'ing at 170+ recently.

I think it's really whatever you learn and are more comfortable with. I tried switching when I read the Powerscore Bible but stopped because it just didn't work for me. I'd rather let my brain take the extra time to predict the answer than to have to worry about predicting the question.

tomwatts
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby tomwatts » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:08 am

Stem first for me. I've said this many times before, but reading the argument first seems crazy to me. How on earth are you supposed to know how to dissect the argument unless you know what kind of question you're doing? The analysis you do on an Inference question is radically different from the analysis you do on a Main Point question, which in turn radically differs from the analysis you do on a Weaken question.

I don't have to reread anything anyway, for the most part, so the "saving time/reducing steps" argument seems lame and weak to me.

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Thirteen
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby Thirteen » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:18 am

169, and I read the stimulus first. The Powerscore Bible said that this was the best method of attack, and it worked for me. OP, try both methods and do whatever works best for you.

letsdoit1982
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby letsdoit1982 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:19 pm

It's obvious from this poll and the previous one that you should try both approaches and see which one works best. You need to do what works for you, and not what works for others.


Also, this poll does not tell us anything about which strategy is more efficient. All it tells is is what percentage of people use either strategy. In order for this poll to really help, every voter would have had to experiment with both strategies.

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JohnnyTrojan08
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby JohnnyTrojan08 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:50 pm

First off, I went from a 172 to a 180 with self-study only, and never even picked up a testprep book from any company until after I had taken the tests. I also am a private tutor who has worked for 2 years with clients ranging from the 130s to the 170s. Interestingly, a lot of my clients come to me from "stimulus" test prep companies and are now converted to "stem first."

Whether that's a function of them leaving because the companies didn't work for them--i.e. they were always stem first people in a stimulus environment--or because the stem first is better, who knows. :roll:

I am a solid advocate for reading the question stem first, with the caveat that it requires more dedicated practice and its effectiveness has a positive relationship with your existing reading skills. For my clients with low reading speed and or slow comprehension, I tend to have them choose; people who read through the whole section with time to spare could always, IMO, improve their accuracy rate by targeting their weaknesses with some classification by question stem.

The important question is, do you know how (and are you able) to purposefully target your reading and analysis of the stimulus AFTER reading the question stem?

Put more simply, do you change what you do based on the stem? Cause if you don't, what's the purpose in knowing that there are different types of questions in the first place? If you know that you have to approach each type of question with a different method, then that will meaningfully change the way that you physically and mentally interact with the stimulus.

For instance, if I'm doing an assumption question, I'm going to be doing more marking than I would for a strengthen question. I also kick my brain into overdrive so that I make sure I'm using all my mental energy on analyzing the stimulus.

This strategy has two reasons:
1) I have a lower natural accuracy rate for assumptions and thus need to engage the stimulus in more depth
2) the methods of marking the stimulus improve my accuracy rate to near perfect

The problem is knowing how to both identify AND approach the tasks you find most difficult on the LSAT. I find the test prep companies taxonomy systems aren't that great for LR, and they do an even poorer job of tailoring their approach to individual students' needs. If you're already scoring above a 165 in timed, full-length PrepTests, you'd probably be better off sitting down with the questions you missed, categorizing them, and then researching different methods that people have posted here, written in books, or find a personal tutor for a few hours.

I have never had a client who has not improved their score by using the stem first method described above. It came more naturally to some than others, but with enough practice, every single client has been able to preemptively identify their weaknesses and counteract them with strategies. I think with appropriate training and practice, anyone can improve their score with at least a hybrid model.

As almost everyone here has noted, it's a personal decision and you have to do what's right for you. Also, as people point out, the big prep companies who generally know what they're doing advocate stimulus first--I hate that I agree with Kaplan, of all companies. I definitely think that the TSL forums are split between course takers and self-preppers, which is probably why the poll is split.

If you know what you're doing and practice hard, driving manual in Mario Kart Wii still takes more work than driving automatic. But if you master it, you win more, and it's arguably more fun and engaging. 8)

Same thing with reading the LSAT question stem first.

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jdhopeful11
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby jdhopeful11 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:58 pm

savesthedayajb wrote:Stimulus first. Waste of time to read question first, you know you'll end up reading it twice.


there is zero reason to read the question 2x

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SeekUp13
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Re: Score 160+/170+: Stimulus or question stem first?(POLL)

Postby SeekUp13 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:01 pm

emphatically q. stem first




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