Intuition vs thorough analysis

zpetrov
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Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby zpetrov » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:44 am

So right now I do extremely well on PTs following my intuition. I started out thinking very thoroughly about each question and did moderately well on my first batch of PTs (i.e. high 150s, low 160s). After a while, I literally stopped thinking so much and started following my instincts and on the past few PTs I've been getting perfect scores on everything but the LGs. My fear is that when I get to the test I will not be able to trust myself to just go through the questions with my gut feelings. I know that when the stress hits and the proctor says Start my brain will want to go back to over-analyzing, which in my experience has been less productive.

Opinions here? Has anyone else gone through that transition of thinking less and less over time? I assume it's natural because your brain learns to identify patterns and sift through things quickly (some Malcolm Gladwell Blink shit, or something), but does that carry over into the actual exam?

FiveSermon
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby FiveSermon » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:45 am

It's different for everyone. But the pressure on the real thing is a killer. I recommend practicing with 30 minute sections.

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arkansawyer
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby arkansawyer » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:49 am

It's more like you learn to spot the bullshit unconsciously. The majority of the LR, RC questions deal with some sort of fallacy. There's only so many ways to mix it up. Your instincts will guide you through, just make sure you're practicing under real conditions.

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Easy-E
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby Easy-E » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:32 am

FiveSermon wrote:It's different for everyone. But the pressure on the real thing is a killer. I recommend practicing with 30 minute sections.


I've been considering doing this when I start working timed sections. How did this work out for you? Did you find yourself with extra time on test day or just feeling more comfortable?

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sharkweek
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby sharkweek » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:36 am

Are you really getting "perfect" scores on every section except for the games?

I teach LSAT prep for one of the major national providers (unnameable by contract) and I find that some of my students do, in fact, start out with a tremendous initial grasp of what is expected for each question, but I have yet to find anyone who is nailing every question without serious reading and practice. Not to discount your experience, every teacher has encountered a student who just "gets it."

If it is the case that you are getting everything on every section (minus games) I wouldn't mess with a good thing. Take enough practice tests under timed pressure to make sure that your initial performance wasn't an anomaly and if not, I'd spend all your time on games.

zpetrov
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby zpetrov » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:15 pm

sharkweek wrote:Are you really getting "perfect" scores on every section except for the games?

I teach LSAT prep for one of the major national providers (unnameable by contract) and I find that some of my students do, in fact, start out with a tremendous initial grasp of what is expected for each question, but I have yet to find anyone who is nailing every question without serious reading and practice. Not to discount your experience, every teacher has encountered a student who just "gets it."

If it is the case that you are getting everything on every section (minus games) I wouldn't mess with a good thing. Take enough practice tests under timed pressure to make sure that your initial performance wasn't an anomaly and if not, I'd spend all your time on games.


Well yes, the last two PTs I took timed I got perfect scores on RC/LR. Surely that won't happen on the real thing- the stress will knock off at least a few questions. LG is still a problem for me because I've only recently started working on it seriously. But for the other two I just spent a lot of time at first working through many practice questions and analyzing them to the depths of their souls (so it is certainly not without serious practice!). My point is that at this stage, whether it's because I'm sick of over-analyzing questions and thinking about them or something else, I've mostly let my intuition guide me and it works well. I don't know if it's luck, and if it's not, I don't know if I can trust myself to go into the real test and do what I've been doing on the last two PTs, which is to think less and follow gut feelings above all.

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incompetentia
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby incompetentia » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:48 pm

emarxnj wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:It's different for everyone. But the pressure on the real thing is a killer. I recommend practicing with 30 minute sections.


I've been considering doing this when I start working timed sections. How did this work out for you? Did you find yourself with extra time on test day or just feeling more comfortable?

1000% TCR.


I blazed through sections in practice (was down to 26-minute sections at one point) and used 33+ minutes on all five sections on the real thing (and scored +6 on my PT average). It's better to train yourself to be highly accurate as quickly as you possibly can on all sections and walk into the test knowing that you can't possibly run out of time with 9 questions remaining.

flexityflex86
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby flexityflex86 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:04 pm

Intuition would be better as it takes less time.

On the real thing, though, it is difficult to trust and even hear your intuition when you're really stressed out.

My recommendation would be doing the following:

Intuition on the first 10.
Mixture on 11-15 depending on your comfort with the material.
Thorough analysis on 16-25.

The easy ones normally don't require thorough analysis for all non-idiots. The hard ones require thorough analysis for all moderate idiots such as myself.

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fastforward
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby fastforward » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:07 pm

zpetrov wrote: Surely that won't happen on the real thing- the stress will knock off at least a few questions.


Stress won't knock off any questions if you prepare properly.

Stress management probably is the most ignored aspect of LSAT prep IMO, and it is one of the most manageable. Our clients who follow our recommendation to incorporate stress management into their prep regimen consistently score at or above their PT high; those we can't convince to do this, not so much. Stress is inevitable and even helpful, if properly managed so it doesn't become anxiety, which of course can interfere with optimum performance.

The stress management model I use is the same used by elite athletes. It must be practiced regularly so you have a conditioned response to stress the first signs of stress. We have some links to info on stress management to prevent test anxiety on our website Go to the blog page and select the post on retaking the LSAT; it's mostly about learning to prevent test anxiety. I think you'll like the article on Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

I really wish more people would realize the importance of including stress management as part of their prep regimen. No one is immune from LSAT test anxiety -- even those who never experienced test anxiety before. Too often stress management is treated as an afterthought. This part of prep needs to begin early, so that, just as with logic games setups, it becomes second nature.

BTW I second the advice to get to thirty minutes per section; it gives you a real advantage on test day. It's part of what I recommend to prevent stress from crossing over into anxiety.

A select few will score a 180 on test day. I guarantee you the ones who do, and the ones who do their personal best whatever the score, will be the ones who pay serious attention to every aspect of their prep, including stress management.

Good luck, and keep posting to let us know how your prep is progressing.

flexityflex86
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby flexityflex86 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:13 pm

fastforward wrote:
zpetrov wrote: Surely that won't happen on the real thing- the stress will knock off at least a few questions.


Stress won't knock off any questions if you prepare properly.

Stress management probably is the most ignored aspect of LSAT prep IMO, and it is one of the most manageable. Our clients who follow our recommendation to incorporate stress management into their prep regimen consistently score at or above their PT high; those we can't convince to do this, not so much. Stress is inevitable and even helpful, if properly managed so it doesn't become anxiety, which of course can interfere with optimum performance.

The stress management model I use is the same used by elite athletes. It must be practiced regularly so you have a conditioned response to stress the first signs of stress. We have some links to info on stress management to prevent test anxiety on our website Go to the blog page and select the post on retaking the LSAT; it's mostly about learning to prevent test anxiety. I think you'll like the article on Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

I really wish more people would realize the importance of including stress management as part of their prep regimen. No one is immune from LSAT test anxiety -- even those who never experienced test anxiety before. Too often stress management is treated as an afterthought. This part of prep needs to begin early, so that, just as with logic games setups, it becomes second nature.

BTW I second the advice to get to thirty minutes per section; it gives you a real advantage on test day. It's part of what I recommend to prevent stress from crossing over into anxiety.

A select few will score a 180 on test day. I guarantee you the ones who do, and the ones who do their personal best whatever the score, will be the ones who pay serious attention to every aspect of their prep, including stress management.

Good luck, and keep posting to let us know how your prep is progressing.

In addition, taking a practice test at your physical testing center is a great way to systematically desensitize yourself to the actual test.

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sharkweek
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Re: Intuition vs thorough analysis

Postby sharkweek » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:01 pm

zpetrov wrote:
Well yes, the last two PTs I took timed I got perfect scores on RC/LR. Surely that won't happen on the real thing- the stress will knock off at least a few questions. LG is still a problem for me because I've only recently started working on it seriously. But for the other two I just spent a lot of time at first working through many practice questions and analyzing them to the depths of their souls (so it is certainly not without serious practice!). My point is that at this stage, whether it's because I'm sick of over-analyzing questions and thinking about them or something else, I've mostly let my intuition guide me and it works well. I don't know if it's luck, and if it's not, I don't know if I can trust myself to go into the real test and do what I've been doing on the last two PTs, which is to think less and follow gut feelings above all.


This clears up some of the mystery for me. You have done a substantial amount of prep work to master different question types. Intuition strikes me as the wrong way to describe what you are doing. You are not divining the answers, but relying on a sharpened set of analytical skills developed over time with practice. Celebrate what you know, your "gut" in this instance sounds like it is doing more analytical work than you were giving it credit for.

I would second the stress management and testing where you will test on test day. Once you have a larger sample set, and can repeat the results, I'd be interested in exactly how you looked into "the depths of their souls." You could have good insights that my students, and everyone else here, could benefit from.




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