LSAT: Writing out Explanations for Q's You Got Wrong

How helpful is this method?

Very Helpful
9
53%
Little Helpful
5
29%
Not Helpful
3
18%
 
Total votes: 17

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PLATONiC
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Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:13 pm

LSAT: Writing out Explanations for Q's You Got Wrong

Postby PLATONiC » Sun May 23, 2010 9:28 pm

I have a question about writing out explanations that you've gotten wrong.

So what I've been doing for the last five PTs is cutting out all the questions that I got wrong or guessed on (I usually mark with star during the PT), and have taped them onto a notebook. I spent more than an hour writing out explanations to every single answer choice (while I'm at work, and am worried that my boss will catch me doing this), and realized that I only got through about six questions. I think it's been taking longer too because I've been trying to isolate the conclusion on my synopsis for each question and etc. etc.

One of the benefits conferred by writing out explanations is that it requires me to articulate the reason as to why something is the case, and helps me utilize a kind of deliberative process as opposed to relying on intuition. But here's where I take issue with this method:

How much of this REALLY helps? I don't see how I'll be able to learn from doing this in a general sense. I'll certainly be able to know the reason as to why I got a particular question wrong, but I'm afraid that such knowledge is not applicable to future problems. What do you guys think of this method? Could you please offer advice as to how I could improve my reviews?

Edit:

In case this helps: My past PTs are 171, 171, 170, 168, 169. I get no more than -4 per LR section. I don't get upset for missing questions that I should have gotten right... I just try to tell myself that I should focus more. I've been getting frustrated because I'm getting questions wrong as a result of my inability to see the correct answer. What urks me the most is when I cannot see the answer because I was rushing through the stimulus and was unable to comprehend the argument in the stimulus. There are certain ridiculous situations where the stimulus contains an argument (in hindsight when I'm reviewing, of course), but I treat the question as if it's just a fact set! FML *(&(*&(%$$#%

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Confused&Pissed
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Re: LSAT: Writing out Explanations for Q's You Got Wrong

Postby Confused&Pissed » Sun May 23, 2010 9:34 pm

I honestly thought this was a serious waste of time until I did it. Typing out the stimulus, incorrect/ambiguous AC, and correct AC helped me spot little nuances I missed. I gained a better understanding of how LSAC writes and organizes passages and how they anticipate your errors/oversights. I went from up to combined -7 to -4 with this method. For the record, Knockglock's scores convinced me this method was legit. :)

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DaveBear07
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Re: LSAT: Writing out Explanations for Q's You Got Wrong

Postby DaveBear07 » Sun May 23, 2010 9:55 pm

I strongly endorse this method. I type out the question stem and explanations so it doesn't take very long.

Like the above poster said, I've found it greatly beneficial.

I also like to study my explanations several times a day so that during the rest of the day I can think about them from memory throughout the day. So I'm a little obsessed.

My PT's have proven its success too. After two 168's, I studied my two tests worth of explanations and saw that I could easily fix several of the mistakes. Next test, PT 52, 177. Granted, it was only a 4 section PT. But now I'm taking 5 section and still hitting above 170 on the newer ones.

HTH.

muahawhawhaw
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:23 am

Re: LSAT: Writing out Explanations for Q's You Got Wrong

Postby muahawhawhaw » Sun May 23, 2010 10:02 pm

Definitely helped me. Doing this for questions that took more than a minute to crack also helped. Both helped me move from barely finishing on time/not finishing on time to having 3-4 minutes extra after each section; correspondingly, my scores jumped from where you are now to the 175-180 range.

Think of it like sports. Analyzing a mistake one time won't help, but constant practice and honing in on fixing mistakes (and they're generally the same mistake but in different circumstances, and you may repeat the mistake more than once) really allows you to "learn" the way around it. Each question follows a certain chain of logic/reasoning that is repeated in lots of other questions, and unless you understand the logical sequence of a question you missed, chances are you're not going to suddenly "get it" when you face a question employing the same logical sequence in the future. Might as well understand how that argument works before you mess up again, esp if it's on the real test.

But if you keep practicing, eventually you get to such a point of mastery that you can recognize the sequences and the "traps" that the LSAT questions throw at you and solve the questions accurately and in far less time. To blatantly oversimplify this, it's like learning how to hammer; you just gotta keep going at it and focusing on proper technique, and eventually you'll go faster and make far fewer mistakes.

Best of luck!

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PLATONiC
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Re: LSAT: Writing out Explanations for Q's You Got Wrong

Postby PLATONiC » Sun May 23, 2010 10:04 pm

Okay, I'll stop being retarded by using a pencil to write out explanations. I'm going to just type it into a word processor.

I've been doing six-sectioned practice test just to make it feel like it's more legit (since I'm using PT sections that I've already taken in the past). I'm saving two PTs for the last eight PTs I'll be doing.

But do you seriously mean to say that you review these typed up answers and explanations several times? I've been obsessing over some of the questions that I got wrong in my head, but I'm really excited about the potential benefits that this could offer by listening to what you all have to say. Any more input would be deeply and greatfully appreciated:D

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PLATONiC
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Re: LSAT: Writing out Explanations for Q's You Got Wrong

Postby PLATONiC » Sun May 23, 2010 10:08 pm

But wait... did you guys say that I should type down the actual question too?? Meaning, the question stem AND the stimulus??? I'm willing to do whatever has proven to be helpful to someone.

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Bert
Posts: 458
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Re: LSAT: Writing out Explanations for Q's You Got Wrong

Postby Bert » Sun May 23, 2010 10:15 pm

PLATONiC wrote:But wait... did you guys say that I should type down the actual question too?? Meaning, the question stem AND the stimulus??? I'm willing to do whatever has proven to be helpful to someone.


I think that it is whatever works for you -- I internalize things that I hand-write better/quicker than things I type, so I wrote these explanations out, but I only focused on why I chose the incorrect answer (what I liked about it) and why the correct answer was better.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: LSAT: Writing out Explanations for Q's You Got Wrong

Postby KibblesAndVick » Sun May 23, 2010 10:22 pm

One of the best things about doing this is that it forces you to actively engage the question. It's very easy and very tempting to say to yourself "oh yeah, stupid mistake, make sure to look out for that next time" without putting much thought into it. You can't cut corners when you have to fully articulate the reasoning.

I think this method works particularly well once you're testing around 170 or above. The reason being that you're making fewer mistakes so you have fewer questions you need to write out. This allows you to spend a lot of time reviewing/obsessing over the questions without it taking a prohibitive amount of time. It also forces you to keep making progress. Once you start testing in the 170's there are fewer places to look for improvement. Writing out the questions lets you spend your study time prudently, honing in on and correcting mistakes, rather than just haphazardly going over all the questions.

There are only so many tricks on the LSAT. They just ask the same things in different ways. So, even if it takes an hour or two to "figure out" a question that's one less weapon they have to use against you. If you keep doing this over and over eventually they run out of tricks. At that point your personal ability to show up and kick ass on test day is all that stands between you and a top score.




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