LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Xedubx
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LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Xedubx » Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:44 pm

I realize that this may be more a question of preference than anything else, but I'd like to reach some sort of consensus. Do you find it more beneficial to read the question/stimulus 1st, or the stem and why? I took the June 2010 LSAT reading the stimulus 1st and then the stem. I'm now thinking that reading the stem 1st may accelerate my analysis of the stimulus during my 1st read through and possibly save a good deal of time. Any input is appreciated.

stargazin
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby stargazin » Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:56 pm

I usually read the stimulus first. I've tried reading the stem first but it's so hard to understand what the question stem is referring to without knowing the stimulus that I find it doesn't me much.

harut44
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby harut44 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:15 pm

I'd definitely say read the stem first. I've done both pretty extensively and have to say that reading the stem makes me better understand the stimulus because I'm looking for something while read the stimulus.

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mountaintime
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby mountaintime » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:17 pm

I know the LRB recommends against it, but I performed better when I read the stem first. It allowed me to more easily focus on the revelant information in the stimulus.

Xedubx
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Xedubx » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:47 pm

I used the LRB as well, which is why I didn't read the stem first. After skimming other study mats while deciding how to alter my study methods for a second exam I noticed Princeton review suggesting stem 1st. Thanks for the input. Any others agree/disagree?

NYCLSATTutor
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby NYCLSATTutor » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:14 pm

Its completely preference. Whatever works for you.

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yzero1
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby yzero1 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:22 pm

I took the PR course and did stem first for a month or two, then switched to stim first after reading the LRB. Seem to be scoring slightly higher now, but this could be just chance. Overall, there's not much of a difference so it's really a matter of preference/habit.

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Barbie
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Barbie » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:27 pm

I read the stem first and it works excellent for me. I can almost glance at it and know what type of question it is (whether to look for flaw, assumption, etc etc) and then as I read the stimulis, I am preparing my predicted answer. LR is my best section.

Skyhook
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Skyhook » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:28 pm

Echoing a lot of the above: stem first.
I've tried to switch but I automatically look at the stem because I want to know whether I'm looking for premises/conclusions or sets of facts.
I find it easy to identify the question type quickly, doesn't penalize me on time.
If the stem is wordy with a quote then at least I know what I'm supposed to be focusing on.

Sandro
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Sandro » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:44 pm

I keep wanting to try stem first but keep forgetting about it when I take my Pts :roll:

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3|ink
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby 3|ink » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:48 pm

Most of the major test companies say stimulus first. I've heard Blueprint is the only exception to this rule. Are you sure PR does too?

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StrictlyLiable
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby StrictlyLiable » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:58 pm

Stem first for sure.

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3|ink
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby 3|ink » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:01 pm

Whatever. The time difference is probably negligible.

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yzero1
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby yzero1 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:27 pm

3|ink wrote:Most of the major test companies say stimulus first. I've heard Blueprint is the only exception to this rule. Are you sure PR does too?


PR adamantly advocates the stem-first approach (I took the course).

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3|ink
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby 3|ink » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:38 pm

yzero1 wrote:
3|ink wrote:Most of the major test companies say stimulus first. I've heard Blueprint is the only exception to this rule. Are you sure PR does too?


PR adamantly advocates the stem-first approach (I took the course).


This is very peculiar. How is it that one side strongly advocates one approach and another side advocates the other? If they were really experts in logic, wouldn't these schools be able to offer better reasons for and against?

I think PowerScore had the best explanation. If I remember correctly, they suggested stimulus before stem. However, I think they also said that the time difference would be negligible.

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TommyK
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby TommyK » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:01 am

I do stem first. Some test prep companies advise doing stimulus first because test takers have a tendency to read the stem, then stimulus, then stem again. What I do is read the stem and make a notation on what kind of question it is. If it's an assumption question, I write A next to the stem. If paradox, I write PAR, etc.

That way when I'm done reading the stimulus, even if it was a ridiculously complex stimulus, I can recall what question type it is.

It treated me fairly well on the June LSAT - got -3 & -2 on the two LR sections.

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TommyK
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby TommyK » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:04 am

3|ink wrote:
yzero1 wrote:
3|ink wrote:Most of the major test companies say stimulus first. I've heard Blueprint is the only exception to this rule. Are you sure PR does too?


PR adamantly advocates the stem-first approach (I took the course).


This is very peculiar. How is it that one side strongly advocates one approach and another side advocates the other? If they were really experts in logic, wouldn't these schools be able to offer better reasons for and against?

I think PowerScore had the best explanation. If I remember correctly, they suggested stimulus before stem. However, I think they also said that the time difference would be negligible.


To use a baseball metaphor (because, gosh - isn't life better when full of baseball metaphors) - a hitting coach will often teach a hitter how to hit their own way. It's more important that the person has a style that works for them that they're comfortable with and that they are well practiced with, than that is empirically best.

When two approaches are equally effective, it behooves the test prep company that is trying to sell a service, to persuade their students or prospective students that their approach is hands-down best. Like most things on the LSAT - there are tons of ways to attack problems and you have to find whatever way works best for you.

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Emma.
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Emma. » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:05 am

NYCLSATTutor wrote:Its completely preference. Whatever works for you.


This.

I always read the stimulus first and was usually -0 on LR, but if reading the stem first works for you then go with that.

Sandro
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Sandro » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:27 am

I totally can see this working for me. Sometimes when the stimulus is extra dry / long I sometimes lose focus trying to absorb every possible bit of info ... if I had a general idea of what i'm looking for ahead of time it would really help. I think if you're already at a proficient level with the LSAT it couldn't be a bad idea to try it out.

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Barbie
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Barbie » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:29 pm

3|ink wrote:
yzero1 wrote:
3|ink wrote:Most of the major test companies say stimulus first. I've heard Blueprint is the only exception to this rule. Are you sure PR does too?


PR adamantly advocates the stem-first approach (I took the course).


This is very peculiar. How is it that one side strongly advocates one approach and another side advocates the other? If they were really experts in logic, wouldn't these schools be able to offer better reasons for and against?

I think PowerScore had the best explanation. If I remember correctly, they suggested stimulus before stem. However, I think they also said that the time difference would be negligible.



Kaplan also adamantly says stem first! i have their books

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Barbie
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Barbie » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:32 pm

TommyK wrote:I do stem first. Some test prep companies advise doing stimulus first because test takers have a tendency to read the stem, then stimulus, then stem again. What I do is read the stem and make a notation on what kind of question it is. If it's an assumption question, I write A next to the stem. If paradox, I write PAR, etc.

That way when I'm done reading the stimulus, even if it was a ridiculously complex stimulus, I can recall what question type it is.

It treated me fairly well on the June LSAT - got -3 & -2 on the two LR sections.


I did this for my first few PT, then I didn';t have to write it anymore. I never read the stem twice. I don't even really read it fully once. I read it so quickly, so that I know what I'm looking for and move on to the stimulis. I feel like this is the only way for me to do it, because I know what part to critically approach in the stimulis. I usually end pretty quickly. LR was my best section in June, with -2 on each, finished 5-7 minutes early on each section also. I suppose my approach may not work for everyone, but I think it would definitly work for a lot of people.

cavebat2000
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby cavebat2000 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:39 pm

Xedubx wrote:I realize that this may be more a question of preference than anything else, but I'd like to reach some sort of consensus. Do you find it more beneficial to read the question/stimulus 1st, or the stem and why? I took the June 2010 LSAT reading the stimulus 1st and then the stem. I'm now thinking that reading the stem 1st may accelerate my analysis of the stimulus during my 1st read through and possibly save a good deal of time. Any input is appreciated.


You may want to only ask people who scored above or equal to the percentile you wish to score. Frankly, who cares what most students do... I only want to know what the top 1%-5% do.

Xedubx
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby Xedubx » Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:50 pm

LR was my worst section on the June exam after it being my strongest section throughout most of my PTs. I went -4, -6 and was pretty disappointed. I'm very familiar with the exam at this point and like what Sandro had to say. I guess there's no harm in now learning to read the stem 1st to see if it's more beneficial to me. If anything, it will make studying fresh and help me to conceptualize the exam in a new way. I generally PT'd in the high 160's and aim to break through that 170 barrier.

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acrossthelake
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:17 pm

It's preference. I read the stimuli first and did fine (-1 total for LR on real thing). I read the stimuli, the question, then the answer choices, then mark the answer choice. Rarely go back to anything unless it's one of those parallel questions or a particularly tricky question, in which case I reread different parts depending on the question.

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sanetruth
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Re: LR- Read stem or stimulus 1st?

Postby sanetruth » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:31 pm

I've noticed that people who tend to be better/do better at LR recommend stimulus first, but not because there is anything wrong with stem first. It's just because if you really are grasping the logic of the stimulus, then you will be prepared for any question they will ask you (flaws, main point, structure etc). Those who aren't as good at grasping all the elements right off the bat would rather focus on the exact issue in question.

This makes sense if you consider that Kaplan teaches stem first (where the majority of teachers scored below 170, more in the upper 160's) and Testmasters teaches stimulus first (all teachers must have scored 170 or higher).

I would say that from the perspective of studying over a long period of time, reading stimulus first will help to force your brain to consider all logic structures/flaws/methods with every question, as opposed to only focusing on one for each.




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