prep advice

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prep advice

Postby northwood » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:18 am

I took prep test 50 today and scored a 153. -12 RC ( only got to 3 passages- wrongly guessed on alll 7 answers) -6 LG( used as experimental section) -8 LR -6 LG and -11 LR ( totally drained doing this, rushed through the entire section).

When I went over the test, I noticed that I consistenly made the same mistakes. I missed 6 extract infer questions on RC, 4 Flaw questions, 4 assumption questions ( 2 each of necessary and sufficient), 3 strengthen questions ( 1 being a principle strenghten) and 3 inference questions. I took some solace knowing that if I get these down, my score will improve.

My questions, and requests for help follow now: How do you all go about mastering these question types? These are the types of questions that I consistenly miss on prep tests and in practice. Clearly, Im missing a key piece to solve them. For Extract-Infer, i try to go back to the passage and read 3 lines above and below, summarize it, but still get the answer wrong. The flaw questions i konw i need to drill more ( break flaw questions up into sub categories maybe? if so what are they) and the rest of the LR question types.. im starting to feel lost, and without a roadmap.

Edit: I have read the LRB and am in a prep course. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. There is still some time, but its running out quick, and i would love to increase my score to the 160 range ( which i think is possible)

thank you, and sorry for making this such a long read

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Re: prep advice

Postby yzero1 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:05 am

Extract-infer is probably the toughest RC question, so don't worry too much if it's troubling you. The only tip for these is to try and support your answer with SOMETHING from the passage. You will always find support for the correct answer.

For necessary assumption and sufficient assumption questions (I'll use PR terminology because it seems you are in the PR course), I think the LRB does a solid job explaining how to handle them. Since reading the LRB, I've been 100% on assumption questions for the last 14 PTs. Try re-reading the chapter and focus your drilling on necessary assumptions. Confirm all your answers with the negation test - it works 100% of the time. As for sufficient, remember to look at the missing link between conclusion and premises (esp. a random new element in the conclusion that doesn't appear in the premises). You can automatically eliminate several answers that do not mention the new element. This will save you a lot of time.

Strengthen questions can be tough. You really need to prephrase here - try and think of the proper answer before you look at the answer choices. Otherwise, focus on the holes in the argument and look for answer choices that address these holes. Although these holes may sometimes be hard to find, they are there.

Inference questions are technically the easiest ones because you don't have to do any REAL thinking. All you have to do is see if the answer choice can be confirmed by the stimulus. Try to make sure you know exactly what's going on in the stimulus (although it is tough sometimes because these sorts of questions often have convoluted stimuli). If you can't remember everything, remember to re-check parts of the stimulus as you're going through the answers.

Hope that helps!


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Re: prep advice

Postby jwgraves2 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:36 pm

I agree with yzero and offer the following additional ideas:

If you have been through the LGB by Powerscore, go farther afield with your prep (quickly) using atlas's logic games has several techniques that are great and speedy that are not covered in the Bible. Also, you may want to take a look at zen of 180 blog and ...a couple of people on tls pooh-pooh the latter, but I have found many great ideas on both blogs. Copi & Cohen Intro to Logic first 5 chapters is excellent for learning how to evaluate arguments...same with Dalton's Informal Logic.

Are you using the powerscore assumption negation technique yzero references? It isn't perfect, but you are missing too many of these and should adopt the technique. You can search this forum for several posts about it, but--generally--the idea is that if an answer choice must be assumed by an argument, negating that answer choice causes the whole argument to come crashing down.

For example:
(1)Today I saw Nate's car pulled over in the emergency lane on a major highway.
(2)Nobody was in the car.
(3)Nate must have had some sort of trouble and left the car to get help.

The argument above depends on assuming:
(A) Nate's is the only car stranded on the side of the highway.
(B) Nate's car ran out of gas.
(C) The manufacturer of Nate's car is known for making unreliable cars.
(D) Nate did not report his car stolen today.
(E) Nate is not a mechanic.

Just think of any number of reasons why the answer choices aren't necessary assumptions of the conclusion--that Nate must have had some sort of trouble and left his car to get help. Eliminate the answer choices that DO NOT undermine the conclusion.

For example, does the argument come crashing down if Nate's car didn't run out of gas? Well let's see, he could have had a flat tire, failed to put oil in the engine, had a radiator failure, etc. The argument DOES NOT depend on assuming he ran out of gas b/c there are a thousand other things that could have happened that would still allow our conclusion to be correct.

We're cruising through and see D...your reaction should be insert exclamatory explicative of your choice here Nate is not even in the insert descriptive explicative here car! Now our conclusion that Nate had trouble and went for help is probably toast...he could be at the police station, Vegas, anywhere...

Play around with it and think of your own assumptions...Nate: 1.) didn't have a fatal heart attack when he was behind the wheel 2.) get hit by a car while changing a flat 3.) wasn't abducted by aliens 4.) wasn't murdered and stuffed in his own trunk...anything that would make it unsafe for us to conclude that he probably had car trouble and walked to get help.

I know my response turned this from a "what can I do to improve my score" to a primer on assumption questions, but when I saw how many assumptions you're missing, I couldn't resist. These assumption questions should be a gift to you IMO.

If you have been through all of the powerscore stuff, concentrate on relaxing and just reasoning through the test...make a game of it and you may find that your reliance on your intuition is all you're lacking for a 5-10 point really is just evaluating arguments and what can and can't be the case. Easier said than done, I know, but keep your head up. Good Luck!

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Re: prep advice

Postby northwood » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:44 pm

thanks for the help. I will definately use these strategies and go back through the lrb and notes from my prep class. I ll keep you posted on how my scores improve.

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