Should I study Assumptions and Flaw BEFORE Weaken questions?

kâsh
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Should I study Assumptions and Flaw BEFORE Weaken questions?

Postby kâsh » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:32 pm

Hello everyone,

My question comes from me entering into difficulties in properly answering Weaken questions having followed the order in which the LRB introduces the topics to me. I've gotten through (and I am pretty comfortable with) the Must Be True and Main Point question types, per the first few chapters of the LRB. However, I consistently fail at all the Weaken questions, because I would suppose that these questions require me to know about the assumptions that the author made and the flaws in his reasoning, which are by themselves discrete different topics and questions types.

Should I first jump to the chapters of the LRB that teach me these two topics before beginning to go any further in Weaken questions? Would you consider them to be any sort of proper prerequisites for successfully and consistently answering Weaken questions? For what it's worth, in the Manhattan LSAT Logical Reasoning Strategy Guide, Assumption and Flaw in the Reasoning are dealt with before Weakening. Should I apply this sequence?

I would appreciate any helpful advice which you give, please.

Thanks.

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robotclubmember
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Re: Should I study Assumptions and Flaw BEFORE Weaken questions?

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:17 pm

Assumption questions are very different from Weaken questions. They are similar in the respect that the answer choices are assumed to be true, and the stimulus is impacted by the answer choices, which is the opposite of MBT and Main Point questions. Perhaps you need to look at p. 48 in the LRB a little closer and make sure you have a solid understanding of when the stimulus is affecting the answer choices, and when it's the other way around. If you are consistently getting MP and MBT questions correct, but consistently getting weaken questions wrong, it would suggest that maybe you are applying the same approach to these different types of questions.

I really don't think the order matters. I think you should go in the order of your greatest weaknesses first. The order of presentation in LRB is good, in Manhattan, it's also good. But the Weaken questions don't require you to understand the assumptions necessarily. You could be weakening an underlying premise as well. I would do Weaken first if I were you. You've taken the first step of an intelligent test taker, which is to identify where you need help, so just hit that section first.

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2014
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Re: Should I study Assumptions and Flaw BEFORE Weaken questions?

Postby 2014 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:45 pm

Both are extremely important but as pointed out above are very unrelated so the order shouldn't matter much.

kâsh
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Re: Should I study Assumptions and Flaw BEFORE Weaken questions?

Postby kâsh » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:48 pm

Thanks for responding.

I do understand that the stimulus in the MBT questions is accepted as true, while in Weaken questions, it is questionable. However, it is because it is questionable and usually contains an error in reasoning or assumption - as the LRB says - which brings me to wonder if I would benefit from having any skills which may first come along from learning to tackle Assumption and Flaw in the Reasoning questions, since I may need to identity what was the logical fallacy or "jump" in the author's arguments which is responsible for the conclusion being inherently incorrect.

Does anyone believe that they performed well at Weaken questions after having first studied Assumption and Flaw in the Reasoning questions?

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Re: Should I study Assumptions and Flaw BEFORE Weaken questions?

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:47 pm

kâsh wrote:Thanks for responding.

I do understand that the stimulus in the MBT questions is accepted as true, while in Weaken questions, it is questionable. However, it is because it is questionable and usually contains an error in reasoning or assumption - as the LRB says - which brings me to wonder if I would benefit from having any skills which may first come along from learning to tackle Assumption and Flaw in the Reasoning questions, since I may need to identity what was the logical fallacy or "jump" in the author's arguments which is responsible for the conclusion being inherently incorrect.

Does anyone believe that they performed well at Weaken questions after having first studied Assumption and Flaw in the Reasoning questions?


I disagree. I did trend analysis on my tests a few weeks ago and realized my biggest LR weaknesses were, in this order: Flaw, Assumption, and Weaken. I attacked the first two by re-reading the LRB. It helps once you've identified a weakness to go over the section more critically. The first time I read the "Assumption Negation Technique" my mind was like "fuuuuck this shit lol." Then I read it again, and started applying it. I've gotten one Assumption problem wrong in the last five timed preptests. It's a great technique. There is real value to reviewing something diligently after you've determined you suck at it. But, I'm still in the same boat with Weaken questions after reviewing Flaw and Assumption. The Assumption and Flaw sections did not translate into improvement in the Weaken questions is what I'm saying. They are very different types of questions, which is why I'm at a Starbucks right now reviewing Weaken again (and on TLS lol). Not all Weaken questions reflect a flaw in logic, it may just be that a true fact introduced in an answer choice weakens what would otherwise be a strong argument, if not for that fact that we assume to be true.

If anyone else would like to chime in, be my guest, but I think it's misguided to say "I have identified my biggest weakness, and I've decided to work on two other things first." For what it's worth, the average from my last five preptests is a 174, last three being a 173, a 178 and a 180. Not trying to show off my e-peens, just saying. I can see your logic but I do feel like the best application of time, at this point for you, would be to attack Weaken. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to talk about Weaken questions.

If you're just looking for someone to validate your idea, then why even post? Just follow your heart and pick whatever strategy you want.

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Re: Should I study Assumptions and Flaw BEFORE Weaken questions?

Postby robotclubmember » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:14 am

Some weaken advice I just wrote to someone else via PM:

I supposed one of the tricky things about Weaken questions is that the correct answer could be something that either completely disproves it, which makes the answer obvious, or only slightly undermines it. The correct answer will weaken it somewhere within the range of 1% - 100%. The wrong answers will either have a 0% impact or strengthen the stimulus. The thing to look at in the stimulus the most is the conclusion. The correct answer will almost always impact the conclusion. In that sense, the "assumption" doesn't matter so much. This poster I believe confused assumption with conclusion... an assumption is nothing more than an unstated premise. It's rare that the correct answer would impact an unstated premise, though it is possible.

In short, look for an answer that has a 1% to 100% undermining impact on the conclusion. [If you've narrowed it down to two contenders and you're consistently selecting the wrong answer], the answer you're selecting is probably something that appears to undermine the conclusion a little more, but probably includes some kind of a trap that makes it actually an out of scope answer. One important thing to know is that on Weaken questions, even though they tell you to choose the answer that MOST weakens the stimulus, there is ONLY ONE ANSWER that actually does so. All of the other answers either have a 0% or strengthen impact on the conclusion. So if you see two answers that APPEAR to weaken the conclusion, know that you're not debating between which one of those MOST weakens it. Only one of them actually does. So the debate is then about finding the answer choice that has the trap in it that makes it out of scope. The correct answer may only have a 1% weakening effect.

kâsh
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Re: Should I study Assumptions and Flaw BEFORE Weaken questions?

Postby kâsh » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:10 am

robotclubmember wrote:Some weaken advice I just wrote to someone else via PM:

I supposed one of the tricky things about Weaken questions is that the correct answer could be something that either completely disproves it, which makes the answer obvious, or only slightly undermines it. The correct answer will weaken it somewhere within the range of 1% - 100%. The wrong answers will either have a 0% impact or strengthen the stimulus. The thing to look at in the stimulus the most is the conclusion. The correct answer will almost always impact the conclusion. In that sense, the "assumption" doesn't matter so much. This poster I believe confused assumption with conclusion... an assumption is nothing more than an unstated premise. It's rare that the correct answer would impact an unstated premise, though it is possible.

In short, look for an answer that has a 1% to 100% undermining impact on the conclusion. [If you've narrowed it down to two contenders and you're consistently selecting the wrong answer], the answer you're selecting is probably something that appears to undermine the conclusion a little more, but probably includes some kind of a trap that makes it actually an out of scope answer. One important thing to know is that on Weaken questions, even though they tell you to choose the answer that MOST weakens the stimulus, there is ONLY ONE ANSWER that actually does so. All of the other answers either have a 0% or strengthen impact on the conclusion. So if you see two answers that APPEAR to weaken the conclusion, know that you're not debating between which one of those MOST weakens it. Only one of them actually does. So the debate is then about finding the answer choice that has the trap in it that makes it out of scope. The correct answer may only have a 1% weakening effect.


Thanks for this. I'm going to revisit the questions now by looking at them from this perspective.

I appreciate your help, robotclubmember.




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