LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

rpol
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LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby rpol » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:15 pm

Wondering what everyone thinks about the order to tackle LR questions. I took a Kaplan course and have gone through Princeton LR books and have just picked up the LR Bible. Unlike Kaplan and Princeton, PowerScore is recommending reading the stimulus before the question stem and maintains higher scorers usually adopt this method. I have found myself rereading question stems, which is clearly a waste of time, but I think there is value in reading the stimulus with the question in mind in order to focus the prediction. What are others thoughts?

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3|ink
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby 3|ink » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:17 pm

This again?

rpol
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby rpol » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:19 pm

My bad if there has already been a discussion on it. Can you point me to the thread?

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2014
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby 2014 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:23 pm

Knewton said read the question first too but said if I (you) was finishing with ample time left over reading the stimulus first, then there is little reason to change it and confuse yourself. It certainly has the potential to save you time, but if you aren't pressed for time, why go through the trouble of changing your habits?

jd20132013
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby jd20132013 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:04 pm

learning to speed read can help here. Ive always been a really fast reader so I could read the question in about 5 seconds then read the stimulus with that in mind
Last edited by jd20132013 on Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jerrymander
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby jerrymander » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:18 pm

Experiment to see what works for you.

Reading the stem saves a lot of time for two question types: identify the conclusion, and method of reasoning. The stimulus can often be lengthy and complex, so if you are just looking for the conclusion, you won't waste time trying to understand each premise, the assumptions, etc.

Since on a typical LSAT, these questions appear from 3-6 times, I always read the stem.

lajksdgbiu
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby lajksdgbiu » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:37 pm

2014 wrote:Knewton said read the question first too but said if I (you) was finishing with ample time left over reading the stimulus first, then there is little reason to change it and confuse yourself. It certainly has the potential to save you time, but if you aren't pressed for time, why go through the trouble of changing your habits?


I was consistently running out of time @ question 22 or 23 while reading stimulus-first, but switching to stem-first had me finishing the section almost every time, sometimes with time to spare. A lot of people around here swear by stimulus-first, but they tend to be the guys who are already destroying LR.

IMHO if you're missing more than 3 or so per section I think that you should at least try stem-first for a few sections (even if you're finishing on time) just to see if you gain anything by it. The extra time might help you shore up those last few points. Why not go through the trouble of changing your habits? Fortune favors the brave, my friend.

58932ugahoige
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby 58932ugahoige » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:18 pm

Stem first, always. Half the time you can figure out the answer as you read the stim.

172-175 scorer.

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joebloe
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby joebloe » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:56 pm

I go stem first. It makes many assumption questions answerable by skimming and makes it way easier to skip frustrating question types.

Revolver066
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby Revolver066 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:02 pm

I always read the stimulus first. I think Kaplan says stem first, and Powerscore Bibles say to read stimulus first. Maybe it was just because I've been conditioned to read top to bottom, but I always initially got through the questions with about 6 or 7 minutes to spare, then looked at a few 50/50 questions, so time was never a huge issue for me. I'll let you know when I get my score if it worked out ;)

rpol
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby rpol » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:37 pm

Thanks for the thoughts. I've been doing stem then stimulus and struggled for time a bit, consistently having to outright guess on one sometimes two. I may give the reverse a shot and see how it goes for a couple PTs (almost 100% retaking in Feb, but waiting on Dec score). But I agree, for Main Point / Method of Argument and Assumption, it seems you can answer predict or outright answer while reading the stimulus.

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TLSanders
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Re: LR: Question Stem then Stimulus vs. Stimulus then Question

Postby TLSanders » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:01 am

As a natural high scorer (I scored in the 96th percentile with no prep at all except the practice questions contained in the registration booklet), I always read the question stem first. I had no idea it was a strategy, or that test prep companies were advocating it. Later, however, I worked for a major test prep company for more than a decade, and there was a lot of research and anecdotal evidence supporting the idea of reading the question stem first. Most people, it seems, end up reading the stimulus twice--once at the outset, and again after they know what the question is asking for. If re-reading the stem feels like a waste of time to you, imagine how you'll feeling about re-reading 25 paragraphs in each Logical Reasoning section!

Don't take my word for it, though--try it out on several questions in a row and pay attention to whether you find yourself having to go back and re-read the stimulus. If so, that's just not a time-efficient approach.




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