Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

secretad
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Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby secretad » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:58 pm

I seem to do so much better if I look at the question stem first and know what I am dealing with before I go to the stimulus.

I have tried it the way it is often recommended, by TestMasters and Powerscore, to read the stimulus and then the question stem, but for me there are problems doing this. These problems are things like not knowing how deep to get into the diagramming because I am not sure if it is going to be a justify the conclusion with a sufficient assumption question or if it is a stem that really does not require diagramming such as a main conclusion stem. I feel like I could save time knowing when I have to diagram going into a stimulus than not knowing what will be asked of me.

I truly ask this because I respect the methods that many propose of reading the problem structure in order, going from stimulus to question stem. I simply ask how I can get better at this and if this is a necessary thing to achieve the elite status?

JG7773
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby JG7773 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:01 pm

Personally I read the question stem first and then head to the stimulus. I think often times people shy away from this because they tend to re-read the question stem again before heading to the choices. I know with Manhattan LSAT, they leave it up to what feels that most comfortable for you. I think given the two scenarios, if you read the stimulus first, and then the questions, if you have to go back to search the stimulus again, try it the other way and see what flows better for you.

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Skipper2014
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby Skipper2014 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:05 pm

I took Kaplan in UG (they say to read the stem first) and then TM later on (proponents of question reading first) - and while it was difficult to break my stem reading habit, I really believe it's best to read the question first. You're much better off if you can just read the question, understand what's going on and get to a point where you inherently know where the question might take you (ie: that looks like an assumption/flaw/etc). The question stem will then just let you know how to manipulate what you've already identified in the stimulus.

PriOSky
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby PriOSky » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:45 pm

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Last edited by PriOSky on Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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99.9luft
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby 99.9luft » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:47 pm

Wrong. Question first.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby alexonfyre » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:52 pm

I read the stem first as well, it allows me to actually flex my logical thinking skills, when I tried to do it the question first way (like in RC), it felt too game-y. I felt like that was a way to take the test just to take the test, and if you attack any real problem that way (get to the question before knowing the background) you would likely end up confusing yourself and those around you. No use in picking up a really bad mental/study habit just for the LSAT when you can do just as well by practicing the more proper way.

BrianOz1
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby BrianOz1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:35 pm

Which one allows you to score the highest? Do that one. Stop worrying about the "right" way.

PriOSky
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby PriOSky » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:56 pm

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Last edited by PriOSky on Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BrianOz1
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby BrianOz1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:40 pm

I meant which method allows him personally to score the highest. I have already scored that high, and for what it's worth I don't preview the stem.

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mac35352
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby mac35352 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:03 pm

I personally prefer reading the stimulus and then the question. I like the organization and it makes me work harder prephasing and finding patterns, flaws, conclusions, etc. Plus I can predict the type of question i'm going to be asked most of the time.
Then again that's just me. I don't think there is a right way to do it.


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citykitty
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby citykitty » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:28 pm

Question first here. Then stimulus. Then I try to anticipate the answer. Only then do I go into the answers. I did 70+ problems (parallel, flaw, and role) today and missed 2, which is definitely an improvement over where I started a month ago. I find that when I get tired, even though I still read the question before the stimulus, I tend to skip anticipating the answer, and I get all bogged down in the choices and can't find my way out easily.

But, you know, you've got to do whatever works for you. So, if it's not working one way, then try it the other way for a week or two and see if it helps.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby alexonfyre » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:57 pm

citykitty wrote:Question first here. Then stimulus. Then I try to anticipate the answer. Only then do I go into the answers. I did 70+ problems (parallel, flaw, and role) today and missed 2, which is definitely an improvement over where I started a month ago. I find that when I get tired, even though I still read the question before the stimulus, I tend to skip anticipating the answer, and I get all bogged down in the choices and can't find my way out easily.

But, you know, you've got to do whatever works for you. So, if it's not working one way, then try it the other way for a week or two and see if it helps.


Derp. reread. Disregard that.

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EarlCat
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby EarlCat » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:36 pm

Different questions call for you to focus on different things. It's silly to begin to search before knowing what you're supposed to be searching for.

secretad
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby secretad » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:54 pm

So that would imply reading the question stem first, earlcat? I agree with you that reading the question stem after the stimulus is going to make one have to go back to the stimulus.

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mickeyD
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby mickeyD » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:08 am

It's interesting to me that TM and PS advocate reading the stimulus first, TM especially because of the huge emphasis they place on knowing how to attack the specific question types. You would think that companies that have detailed strategies for each type would want you to go into the stimulus knowing what strategy you will apply.

Personally I read the stimulus first, because after going through the LRB, it only takes a quick glance for me to know what type it is. I then read the stimulus with the question type fully in mind and then go straight to the answers. I don't have to read the stem again, because by reading the stimulus with the question type fully in mind, and formulating an answer, it's pretty clear in my head once I get to the answers.

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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby tomwatts » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:13 pm

The previous post pretty much nailed it, as far as I'm concerned. I read for different things on a Resolve/Explain question than on a Strengthen question. I read for different things on a Main Point question than on a Weaken question. I would waste time looking for flaws in the reasoning on a question that asks what role a statement plays if I didn't know what was being asked before reading the argument. Since question type determines strategy (including strategy of reading), I need to know the question type first.

youarereadingthis
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby youarereadingthis » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:56 pm

Psh...why do people even read the stimulus at all? I read the answer choices first then select the one I like most, then read the question stem, then assume I know the stimulus without even needing to read it....

JK, I read the stimulus before the stem to form an unbiased understanding of the information. I also make sure to read every answer choice even if I find my correct answer immediately just to make sure.

SanDiegoJake
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby SanDiegoJake » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:49 pm

Huge proponent of question first here and I'll tell you why.

Some questions concern the reasoning of the argument (how evidence/premises lead toward some main point/conclusion), while others do not. So I very much like to know before I read the argument whether I'm looking for these component parts (evidence and conclusion) about how the reasoning is flawed versus simply reading it for the information presented.

Reasoning arguments: Anything that asks you to Weaken, Strengthen, ID Assumption, ID Flaw, Main point
Describe the Reasoning: Argumentative Technique/Strategy. Parallel Reasoning
Just read for information: Inference, Resolve/Explain a paradox, Principle, Point-at-Issue.

This difference in reading for reasoning vs. reading for information is so defined that on the actual exam I find performing the mental gymnastics of switching between thinking about reasoning and not thinking about reasoning so exhausting that I actually do all the reasoning questions first, and then mentally switch over to not thinking about reasoning to do the others. I gained significant speed when I stopped the mental gymnastics.

Good luck!

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3|ink
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby 3|ink » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:47 pm

It really doesn't matter. Every prep test company will tell you it does matter, but they would seem kind of useless if they didn't take a position on that. The truth is that both methods are equally effective.

epark84
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby epark84 » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:42 pm

hey SanDiegoJake, that's an interesting approach. i just want to confirm that i understand it correctly. so as you're going through a LR section, you read the question stem, and if it's a reasoning question, you do it; if not, then you skip it. and after you've gone to the end of the section, you flip back and do all of the non-reasoning questions? has this improved your accuracy?

has anyone else tried this type of approach?

cubswin
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby cubswin » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:05 pm

secretad wrote:I seem to do so much better if I look at the question stem first and know what I am dealing with before I go to the stimulus.

I truly ask this because I respect the methods that many propose of reading the problem structure in order, going from stimulus to question stem. I simply ask how I can get better at this and if this is a necessary thing to achieve the elite status?


It's not necessary to "achieve the elite status." Do what works best for you.

SanDiegoJake
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby SanDiegoJake » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:05 pm

epark84 wrote:hey SanDiegoJake, that's an interesting approach. i just want to confirm that i understand it correctly. so as you're going through a LR section, you read the question stem, and if it's a reasoning question, you do it; if not, then you skip it. and after you've gone to the end of the section, you flip back and do all of the non-reasoning questions? has this improved your accuracy?

has anyone else tried this type of approach?


That's exactly what I do. You understand it perfectly.

Additionally, I save some especially time consuming questions for dead last (parallel questions, questions that have the word EXCEPT). So it's a 3-pass Now, Later, Last approach.

Now - Assumption, Weaken, Strengthen, Flaw
Later - Everything else not "now" or "last"
Last - Parallel, Except.

It increased my speed mainly (I'm a pro, so my accuracy rarely wavers) in that I wasn't doing the mental gymnastics of switching my thinking from reasoning to non-reasoning so I was able to move through the section faster.

Having said all that, I honed my system by doing 10-10-10-5 drills. More on that in my next post...

SanDiegoJake
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Re: Reading Question Stem before Stimulus on Logical Reasoning?

Postby SanDiegoJake » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:18 pm

The 10-10-10-5 drill is an individual drill designed to help you do the arguments in the order that works best for you.

Decide which kinds of arguments are easier for you ("Now") and which are more difficult ("Later"') and which you should save for last ("Last")

Take a 35-minute section and take note of your speed of your accuracy after each time interval - after the 1st 10 minutes, the next 10 minutes, the next 10 minutes, and the final 5 minutes.

If you've made the right decisions and chosen your Nows/Laters/Nevers correctly, your speed and/or accuracy should decrease at each interval. For example:

1st 10 mins: 10/10; 2nd 10 mins: 6/7; 3rd 10 mins: 4/5; Final 5 mins: 2/2

If your analysis looks like the above, you've likely chosen the right approach for you.

However, let's say your analysis looks like this:

1st 10 minutes: 4/8; 2nd 10 minutes: 3/5; 3rd 10 mins: 8/8; Final 5 minutes: 2/3. In this case, it's clear that the ones you've saved for later are actually the ones you do fastest and with the most accuracy. So you should adjust those to "now" and save different ones for later.

Let me know what you think :)




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