Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

nStiver
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Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby nStiver » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:24 am

Throughout all of my prep, I the vast, vast, vast majority of LR questions make perfect sense. For these questions, there are 4 clearly wrong answers and one clearly right answer. However, every now and then, I have run into a question that is so vaguely worded that, in my opinion, the credited answer choice just doesn't really make sense. None of the answer choices clearly answer the question. Before people jump on me about this, just consider it for a moment. Have you run into the same thing? My guess is that many of you have.

Don't get me wrong, the number of these questions is extremely small. I also understand that for these questions, an argument can conceivably be made that one answer choice does effectively answer the question, while the other four do not. I just think that sometimes, an almost nonsensical question appears on the test in the LR section.

I have even asked for people's advice and opinions on these questions in this forum. In reply, I get several pretty good arguments for why the credited answer choice is actually correct. But these arguments often contradict, and it is still never really obvious why the correct answer is correct. I believe that some bad questions, once in a blue moon, make their way onto the real LSAT and are still not removed from scoring.

I don't think it is necessary for me to dig these questions out and and turn this thread into an open debate about the validity of individual questions. I am simply posing the question: have you noticed this as well?

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby CGI Fridays » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:25 am

Post examples & the thread gains life.
Edit: whoops. I hate lsac.

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incompetentia
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby incompetentia » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:30 am

You know when the proctor tells you to read the instructions? Tells you to choose the BEST answer choice, not the CORRECT answer choice. This is emphasized by the proctors I think at least once.

But in any case, it sounds like they take questions out for abnormal score distributions between high and low testers. If a question doesn't produce large abnormalities in scoring, for them there is no justification to remove the item from scoring, as they are not interested in whether the high testers got it correct due to the method they psychometricized or whether it was due to something else altogether.

mtrl
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby mtrl » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:46 am

I definitely agree that sometimes, no matter how thoroughly I read an LR question, the right answer will not make sense to me. I think it's fair to say that on rare occasions - like once every six or seven PTs - the credited response doesn't make sense or isn't preferable to another seemingly equal option. I think this is because you may be considering certain reasonable hypothetical situations that the test writers may not have thought of. The issue hinges on what constitutes a "reasonable hypothetical situation." One question in particular from the October test that caused quite a bit of controversy is an excellent example of this kind of thing, as you'll see when it's released.

nStiver
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby nStiver » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:55 am

Yes, I too was thinking of that very october question when I wrote the thread. There was also a question, somewhere in the history of the LSAT, that had to do with parking lots that I felt the same way about.

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fatduck
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby fatduck » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:03 am

nStiver wrote:Yes, I too was thinking of that very october question when I wrote the thread. There was also a question, somewhere in the history of the LSAT, that had to do with parking lots that I felt the same way about.


I think a lot of these are the questions with four wrong answers and one really shitty, weak, borderline-but-technically-plausible answer. Which Oct question are you talking about?

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incompetentia
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby incompetentia » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:15 am

I was actually going to say the Oct test had a noticeable absence of these kinds of questions...I found single answers for every LR question but that might be maybe I was getting them wrong

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fatduck
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby fatduck » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:29 am

incompetentia wrote:I was actually going to say the Oct test had a noticeable absence of these kinds of questions...I found single answers for every LR question but that might be maybe I was getting them wrong


I sort of felt the same way. There were a bunch where I thought the correct choice answered the question very weakly, but was pretty clearly the only correct answer (car thieves and EKG readings are the two that spring to mind). People seem pretty sure one of the Oct LR questions will be thrown out, though?

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incompetentia
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby incompetentia » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:33 am

If any get thrown out, my money's on the Lil Wayne question.

Or was that experimental?

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: .

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:44 am

.
Last edited by SchopenhauerFTW on Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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r2b2ct
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby r2b2ct » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:25 am

I've run into questions during PTs for which I initially eliminated all answer choices and spent a couple minutes trying to justify choosing any of them. I think these were usually strengthen/weaken types where there are a bunch irrelevant choices and one is barely relevant but seems intuitively wrong. I didn't run into any of these on the October exam, though.

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kkklick
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby kkklick » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:05 am

One thing I want to mention about the October LR that no one has seemed to touch on, did anyone feel that the flaws in the 4 wrong AC's were clearer and more flawed than usual? It just seeme that it was easier than normal to eliminate answer choices compared to previous LR. Usually on about 3 LR questions per section I'll be really stuck between 2 AC's, but that only happened to me I think once on the Oct test.

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Remnantofisrael
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby Remnantofisrael » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:14 am

incompetentia wrote:If any get thrown out, my money's on the Lil Wayne question.

Or was that experimental?


I think I remember that one on experimental, fortunately. Flaw question I think. Or maybe missing assumption.

Also, and I hate to say this, every SINGLE LR question I have ever seen makes sense eventually. There were cases where I felt as some of you do, but when I took my class the teach and I were able to figure it out 100% of the time (I always noted questions that I couldn't make sense of).

Part of the problem is that the explanations in books/classes are written by test takers, not test makers. Occasionally they will poorly justify an answer over another answer. 4 answers are WRONG and 1 is RIGHT. There aren't really degrees of right and wrong on LR, as much as some people want to argue this point.

Now RC, I can see some arguments. There are a few inference questions that have answer choices that are incorrect, but if the correct answer choice wasn't present one could justify picking the incorrect choice. I wish I could post examples without a ban, but most of these are "purpose" or "attitude" questions. Sometimes an author won't outright state something is the case, but you can infer he most likely would say that. The answer choices include "hesitant acceptance" and "enthusiastic approval". There are cases where the latter is the correct answer even though the author didn't explicitly accept a premise, because they seemed enthusiastic about the potential. It gets complicated sometimes on RC.

BUT LR? Always a single right answer.

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incompetentia
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby incompetentia » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:25 am

--ImageRemoved--

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jonillson
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby jonillson » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:45 am

fatduck wrote:I sort of felt the same way. There were a bunch where I thought the correct choice answered the question very weakly, but was pretty clearly the only correct answer (car thieves and EKG readings are the two that spring to mind). People seem pretty sure one of the Oct LR questions will be thrown out, though?


Is there a consensus as to which Oct LR question might be thrown out?

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3|ink
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby 3|ink » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:58 am

jonillson wrote:
fatduck wrote:I sort of felt the same way. There were a bunch where I thought the correct choice answered the question very weakly, but was pretty clearly the only correct answer (car thieves and EKG readings are the two that spring to mind). People seem pretty sure one of the Oct LR questions will be thrown out, though?


Is there a consensus as to which Oct LR question might be thrown out?


None of them.

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jonillson
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby jonillson » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:13 am

3|ink wrote:
jonillson wrote:
fatduck wrote:I sort of felt the same way. There were a bunch where I thought the correct choice answered the question very weakly, but was pretty clearly the only correct answer (car thieves and EKG readings are the two that spring to mind). People seem pretty sure one of the Oct LR questions will be thrown out, though?


Is there a consensus as to which Oct LR question might be thrown out?


None of them.


Either I misunderstood fatduck when he/she said "People seem pretty sure one of the Oct LR questions will be thrown out, though?" or you misunderstood me when I asked "Is there a consensus as to which Oct LR question might be thrown out?"

Which is it? I can rephrase my question if it was too difficult for you to understand.

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3|ink
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby 3|ink » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:15 am

jonillson wrote:
3|ink wrote:
jonillson wrote:
fatduck wrote:I sort of felt the same way. There were a bunch where I thought the correct choice answered the question very weakly, but was pretty clearly the only correct answer (car thieves and EKG readings are the two that spring to mind). People seem pretty sure one of the Oct LR questions will be thrown out, though?


Is there a consensus as to which Oct LR question might be thrown out?


None of them.


Either I misunderstood fatduck when he/she said "People seem pretty sure one of the Oct LR questions will be thrown out, though?" or you misunderstood me when I asked "Is there a consensus as to which Oct LR question might be thrown out?"

Which is it? I can rephrase my question if it was too difficult for you to understand.


I answered your question. The consensus is that none of them will be thrown out. Is that too difficult to understand? What a crybaby.

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incompetentia
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby incompetentia » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:21 am

Which of the following is an flaw in jonilslon's argument?
(A) Relies on the opinion of a single authority figure.
(B) Assumes that if something is not true, the opposite must be true.
(C) Takes two different meanings of "questions" to mean the same thing.
(D) Focuses on 3|ink rather than on criticisms of the argument itself.
(E) This question will be thrown out.

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jonillson
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby jonillson » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:59 am

3|ink wrote:I answered your question. The consensus is that none of them will be thrown out. Is that too difficult to understand? What a crybaby.


"None of them" is not an answer to the question, "Is there a consensus as to which Oct LR question might be thrown out?"

"No", would work. "Yes", also. I would even accept "not really". But "None of them" answers the question, "Which of the Oct LR questions will be thrown out? And that is not what I asked.

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3|ink
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby 3|ink » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:55 pm

jonillson wrote:
3|ink wrote:I answered your question. The consensus is that none of them will be thrown out. Is that too difficult to understand? What a crybaby.


"None of them" is not an answer to the question, "Is there a consensus as to which Oct LR question might be thrown out?"

"No", would work. "Yes", also. I would even accept "not really". But "None of them" answers the question, "Which of the Oct LR questions will be thrown out? And that is not what I asked.


Answering questions indirectly is common in everyday discourse. Sorry if you weren't expecting that.

mtrl
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby mtrl » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:56 pm

The October question will not be thrown out, in all likelihood. I have no way of knowing if it will be thrown out or not, I'm just some paranoid keener waiting for my score like the rest of you. When I said "as you'll see when it gets released," I assumed that the OP hadn't written the October test.

But here's the rub: uncertainty plays a tremendous role in our interpretation of the validity of these questions. The controversial question I was hinting at is one where, right now, anyone who remembers the question in detail will not be surprised if either of the two controversial answer choices are correct, because there are reasonable situations to justify both. Ideally, the question would be designed so that if you had enough time, you would be able to pick the one best answer. Clearly that's not the case here.

And once the credited response is released, I suspect that people will have a hard time convincing themselves that the non-credited response could ever have been considered right. Because we get the instant gratification of seeing the credited response to LR questions in preptests, the effect of uncertainty is reduced during prep, but if you have a 3-week waiting period, it becomes clear that some of the LR questions are pretty ambiguous and it's debatable whether they have a single best answer. That's what I was getting at by bringing up that question.

Making tests is hard.

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AverageTutoring
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby AverageTutoring » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:01 pm

There are a select minority of questions where you could reasonably argue that LSAC's interpretation of the question does not provide the "best" answer. These are far and few inbetween, and more often then not when you believe you have found a question like this, you simply overlooked something; but they are there. It's a logic exam and even LSAC is not safe from mistakes.

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incompetentia
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Re: Do some LR questions actually make no sense?

Postby incompetentia » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:03 pm

According to the people who took 60, wasn't the redacted question one that they weren't even focusing on?
It really sounds like the questions that end up being cut are ones where people aren't even worried about the answer because it happens to be so obviously right even as a distractor.


I don't know which question you guys are talking about, but there were definitely questions that I took 4-6 minutes trying to decide. However, at the end, I did feel 100% confident about every single choice.

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Re: .

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:26 pm

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