Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

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Cromartie
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Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Cromartie » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:05 pm

At some point about a month-and-half ago, I shifted my approach to answering LR and RC questions from looking for the right answer to looking for and eliminating the wrong answers. I literally go through each answer choice consciously looking for something that makes the answer wrong. For each answer choice, I ask myself: "what is wrong with this answer?". I do this even in cases when one of the options appears to be the obvious correct one.

I have found that this approach has helped me avoid making careless mistakes and has also helped me get the right answers even though I don't really understand why they're right - they just happen to be the answers that either don't have anything wrong with them or have the least deficiency out of all the answer choices. It has been especially effective with LR; I went from averaging -2 to -3 to a point where it's almost become impossible for me to miss any.

At the onset, my change in strategy caused me to take more time to complete LR and RC sections, but now I am back to finishing with 5-6 minutes to spare and have gotten quite adept at spotting even the subtle errors (they seem to be recurring types, i.e., out of scope, change in scope, etc.).

Just thought I'd share this strategy in case someone else wants to give it a try.

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McNulty
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby McNulty » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:35 pm

I think this has some merit. A lot of times purely looking for the perfect answer will have you wasting time and juggling between two close ones. This is why the negation method is taught. Pointing out weaknesses is the quickest way to answer really wordy questions IMO.

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pkpop
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby pkpop » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:42 pm

Do you then not even attempt to prephrase what the right answer could be? Also I would think actively trying to seek out the wrong answers would slow you down especially when it comes to the more abstract LR questions?

Yea there are usually 1 or 2 throwaway answers which POE is the obvious way to go. I'm just wondering how this would effect your timing - especially if you get to 2 or 3 choices that are contenders.

Hedwig
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Hedwig » Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:14 pm

I use the contenders/losers method of Powerscore (but to be honest, that isn't so much a method as a normal way of doing answers, right?). I quickly cross out answers that are wrong obviously, mark contenders, then deliberate between - obviously I'm looking for somethign that would make the answer wrong but also make it right. I feel like you sort of have to have a grip already on what would be the right answer in order to find a wrong answer.

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JohnnyTrojan08
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby JohnnyTrojan08 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:26 pm

What you're describing is structurally comparing the distractors to the stimulus, thus determining which ones are "out of scope, too strong or weak in degree, etc." There are tons of common structural elements you can learn to use to compare choices to the stimulus--this is preferable to comparing them to each other, cause humans are actually pretty bad at doing that. We're much better at answering, "Is this the something I'm looking for?" rather than "Is this better than this other thing?"

In your case, it seems that you've gotten incredibly good at saying, "No, this is not what I'm looking for."

I advise my clients to do this strategy after they have narrowed down the answer choices to two or three by prephrasing what they're looking for. Depending on the task, this can be the answer itself, the gap of an assumption, or the key players, relationships, and degree of certainty. Only then do they start to structurally compare the answer choices they have left to determine the distractor.

That said, if it's working for you, keep it up. ;-P

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Cromartie
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Cromartie » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:27 pm

eit wrote:I use the contenders/losers method of Powerscore (but to be honest, that isn't so much a method as a normal way of doing answers, right?). I quickly cross out answers that are wrong obviously, mark contenders, then deliberate between - obviously I'm looking for somethign that would make the answer wrong but also make it right. I feel like you sort of have to have a grip already on what would be the right answer in order to find a wrong answer.


I do a variation of this method. I put an "X" next to answers that are obviously incorrect and a dash next to those that do no jump out as wrong (these would probably be the equivalent of "contenders"). Additionally, I make it a point to go through the stimulus and all 5 answer choices and pick an answer in 60 seconds at the most. If I can't eliminate the 4 wrong answers within this timeframe, I choose one of the "dashes" and move on to the next question. I spend the last 5 or so minutes revisiting those questions.

The only times I actively look for what makes an answer choice right are on the rare occasions I end up crossing out all 5 choices. This typically happens only with the really complex/abstract stimuli with corresponding abstract answer choices.

As I indicated earlier, there have been times when I end up selecting the correct answer not because I understood it to be right, but because it was the "least wrong" answer out of all the choices.

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Cromartie
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Cromartie » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:35 pm

JohnnyTrojan08 wrote:What you're describing is structurally comparing the distractors to the stimulus, thus determining which ones are "out of scope, too strong or weak in degree, etc." There are tons of common structural elements you can learn to use to compare choices to the stimulus--this is preferable to comparing them to each other, cause humans are actually pretty bad at doing that. We're much better at answering, "Is this the something I'm looking for?" rather than "Is this better than this other thing?"

In your case, it seems that you've gotten incredibly good at saying, "No, this is not what I'm looking for."

I advise my clients to do this strategy after they have narrowed down the answer choices to two or three by prephrasing what they're looking for. Depending on the task, this can be the answer itself, the gap of an assumption, or the key players, relationships, and degree of certainty. Only then do they start to structurally compare the answer choices they have left to determine the distractor.

That said, if it's working for you, keep it up. ;-P


I don't actively prephrase, although I can't discount the possibility that I'm doing it subconsciously anyway. Aside from that, your description pretty much captures the essence of what I'm doing.

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JohnnyTrojan08
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby JohnnyTrojan08 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:19 pm

Cromartie wrote:
JohnnyTrojan08 wrote:I advise my clients to do this strategy after they have narrowed down the answer choices to two or three by prephrasing what they're looking for.


I don't actively prephrase


Right, and doesn't sound like you need to... :wink:

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DGLitcH
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby DGLitcH » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:24 pm

POE is something I did a lot when I did questions untimed early on, but I have had a lot of timing issues when I rely too much on POE. Right now, to cut down time I just try to find the right answer directly. But it is very impressive that you can use POE and finish a question under 60 seconds. And you said you were able to finish sections with time to spare, what did you do to improve speed while using POE?

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Anaconda
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Anaconda » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:41 pm

This POE strategy works really well. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to use it during timed PTs because my enters another state, but when I redo my PTs untimed, I cut my mistakes in my half and don't fall for the shell games.

I also notice I tend to pick stupid answers on RC that aren't mentioned anywhere - using this method helps out with that.

Any advice on how to use this effectively with time constraints?

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3|ink
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby 3|ink » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:46 pm

I always use POE. I think it's most effective in games, tbh. For LR, it's good for those EXCEPT questions and parallel reasoning.

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Cromartie
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Cromartie » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:09 am

DGLitcH wrote:POE is something I did a lot when I did questions untimed early on, but I have had a lot of timing issues when I rely too much on POE. Right now, to cut down time I just try to find the right answer directly. But it is very impressive that you can use POE and finish a question under 60 seconds. And you said you were able to finish sections with time to spare, what did you do to improve speed while using POE?


I'd first like to clarify that I don't necessarily finish each question within 60 seconds. It's just my self-imposed time limit for eliminating the 4 wrong answers. If the 60 seconds are up and I still have 2 or 3 choices remaining, I pick 1 of the "contenders", circle the question number and move on to the next question.

This way, I ensure that I am able to go through all 24-26 questions and have substantial time left, which I use to review the circled questions. I find this to be more effective than say spending a lot of time on the difficult questions before moving on, only to be forced to rush through the last 5 or 6 questions because I'm running out of time at the end. So now, instead of having to answer 5-6 questions (worst case scenario) I've never seen within the remainining time at the end, I instead have to answer 5-6 questions (again, worst case scenario) I've already read through initially and for which I've already eliminated a couple of wrong options.

Looking for the right answer without POE is not a bad strategy at all, but it leaves you susceptible to careless errors. As I indicated earlier, I was averaging -2 or -3 before shifting my approach. More often than not, those 2 or 3 mistakes resulted from me overlooking a subtle scope shift, a sneaky word inserted into an otherwise good answer, etc.

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Cromartie
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Cromartie » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:39 am

Anaconda wrote:This POE strategy works really well. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to use it during timed PTs because my enters another state, but when I redo my PTs untimed, I cut my mistakes in my half and don't fall for the shell games.

I also notice I tend to pick stupid answers on RC that aren't mentioned anywhere - using this method helps out with that.

Any advice on how to use this effectively with time constraints?


Hmmm, you could start by drilling with individual LR questions. For instance, instead of taking a full LR section in 35 minutes, break down the section into individual questions and give yourself 1.5 minutes or so per question, using the POE method. Once you get acclimated to the new approach, you can start reducing your time limit.

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Cromartie
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Cromartie » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:51 pm

3|ink wrote:I always use POE. I think it's most effective in games, tbh. For LR, it's good for those EXCEPT questions and parallel reasoning.


The only times I would use POE in LG are for the first question and in those instances when I can't look for the answer directly based on my diagram/template.

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3|ink
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby 3|ink » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:13 pm

Cromartie wrote:
3|ink wrote:I always use POE. I think it's most effective in games, tbh. For LR, it's good for those EXCEPT questions and parallel reasoning.


The only times I would use POE in LG are for the first question and in those instances when I can't look for the answer directly based on my diagram/template.


POE is useful in LG for

1). Eliminating answer choices that are in direct violation of the rules. This is particularly useful for those '5 if' questions.
2). Eliminating interchangeable answer choices.

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Cromartie
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Cromartie » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:36 pm

3|ink wrote:
Cromartie wrote:
3|ink wrote:I always use POE. I think it's most effective in games, tbh. For LR, it's good for those EXCEPT questions and parallel reasoning.


The only times I would use POE in LG are for the first question and in those instances when I can't look for the answer directly based on my diagram/template.


POE is useful in LG for

1). Eliminating answer choices that are in direct violation of the rules. This is particularly useful for those '5 if' questions.
2). Eliminating interchangeable answer choices.


I'm not saying that POE is not effective for games. What I'm contending is that it may not be most effective for games, especially if one's approach is to identify and set up all the possible diagrams/templates before going through the questions. Once you have the complete set-up, you can actually look directly for the answers without using POE.

For "if" questions, I can simply look for the template that conforms to the "if" condition ("if x is performed on Wednesday"... I look for my template(s) where x is scheduled on Wednesday), then look directly for the answer based on the template. The only game types I can think of where this might not work and POE would work better (aside from the rare/non-typical game types) would be pure sequencing, since you can't really reduce all possible scenarios into specific templates, or those where there are too few rules, which again preclude you from drawing up the templates.

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Anaconda
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Anaconda » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:05 pm

Would you mind going over a difficult problem and basically write down your thought process as you eliminate the wrong choices? That would be really really helpful to see how you do it and the rationale behind the eliminations?

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Cromartie
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Cromartie » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:16 pm

Anaconda wrote:Would you mind going over a difficult problem and basically write down your thought process as you eliminate the wrong choices? That would be really really helpful to see how you do it and the rationale behind the eliminations?


Sure. I'm at work right now (busted!, but hey, it's a slow day) and don't have access to any test materials, but if you send me a question I can walk you through my thought process.

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JohnnyTrojan08
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby JohnnyTrojan08 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:25 pm

Anaconda wrote:Would you mind going over a difficult problem and basically write down your thought process as you eliminate the wrong choices? That would be really really helpful to see how you do it and the rationale behind the eliminations?


I did that for basically all the LR questions from the two sample PrepTests. I prephrase the correct answer or what you should look for, but then go through and invalidate each wrong answer with a POE strategy. Maybe they'd be helpful?

http://www.zenof180.com/p/logical-reaso ... kdown.html

Ssoto0055
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Ssoto0055 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:16 pm

It's probably the best approach. I do find it a littl easier. As I go through the choices if it has a hole, or doesn't do anything I eliminate it and scratch it off. If I can't I'll leave it and then come back to it after I go through all the answers. In reality it's what the bibles are teaching you. This answer is not necessarily true so it can't be correct. This mistaken negation so it can't be correct. This answer is completely off topic and so forth.

Justiceinbrothel
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Re: Using the POE method exclusively for LR and RC

Postby Justiceinbrothel » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:31 am

Ssoto0055 wrote:It's probably the best approach. I do find it a littl easier. As I go through the choices if it has a hole, or doesn't do anything I eliminate it and scratch it off. If I can't I'll leave it and then come back to it after I go through all the answers. In reality it's what the bibles are teaching you. This answer is not necessarily true so it can't be correct. This mistaken negation so it can't be correct. This answer is completely off topic and so forth.



But again its easiness is just matter of your suitability. Many got tired of this approach.




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