## What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.

## Which of the following do you do/recommend?

Continue as normal(accuracy withstanding)
11
12%
Rush the pace(sacrifice a little accuracy)
25
27%
Go to the longer 2 for 1 question variety
1
1%
Go the shortest questions possible
16
17%
Go to the question type must comfortable with(flaw/assumption etc.)
8
9%
Skip parallell reasoning
12
13%
Skip longer questions
8
9%
Panic and answer all Es
7
8%
Other(explain below)
4
4%

Total votes: 92

lakers3peat

Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:10 pm

### What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

And say you are on question 20 out of 25 in logical reasoning...?

I never finish with a comfortable amount of time---I'm almost always at question 20-23 out of a 25 question section when 5 minutes is called. Every time though, I do something different... Sometimes I precede as if there was no 5 minute call; othertimes I look for the shortest question or a main point question etc. I was wondering what you all did and what you would recommend doing?

flexityflex86

Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:06 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

lakers3peat wrote:And say you are on question 20 out of 25 in logical reasoning...?

I never finish with a comfortable amount of time---I'm almost always at question 20-23 out of a 25 question section when 5 minutes is called. Every time though, I do something different... Sometimes I precede as if there was no 5 minute call; othertimes I look for the shortest question or a main point question etc. I was wondering what you all did and what you would recommend doing?

if you're on 20, i'd skip to 25 and work my way backwards as 20-22 is norm the hardest part of the section.

Pleasye

Posts: 8738
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:22 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

There are no longer the "2 for 1 question variety" unless something has changed since February?

I would speed up a little but don't flip out and try to finish the whole section. If you're pretty accurate on those 20-23 questions that you've already answered then having to bubble in a couple of D's at the end is not a big deal. And if you're not doing well on those 20-23 questions that you've already answered rushing to finish the section isn't going to help you either.

sundance95

Posts: 2123
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:44 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

Protip: the hardest questions are generally in the middle of the sections. Therefore, if you are usually getting time pressured around question 20, you should try some timed sections where you go to the end of the section and work backwards once you hit ~question 14-16, to try and get a crack at the easier questions.

Also: Two-for-ones haven't been on the test since 2002 if I recall correctly.

ETA: I see flex made the same point. It's definitely worth a try.

leapincamelleopard

Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:17 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

I would fill a bubble for each answer ('select all E's") so that I had an answer for every question then go back and continue as normal- erasing and replacing the answers. I found this helped with my nerves because no matter what happened at least the bubbles were filled in with something and I didn't have to keep watching the clock to scribble in some bubbles at the last second.

lakers3peat

Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:10 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

you know, skipping was definetly suggested to me a certain point during my study and I did do it for a while but then for some reason I didn't think it was too valuable or I just stopped doing it(not sure why). I will definetly try this on the practice test I take tommorow and see how my score differs...

I noticed today, taking PT 26 that I was balling, got 1-10 done in 10 minutes which is rare for me I usually take 13ish, then 10-13 was also good but #14 bogged me down, 15 easy, #16 PR bogged me down, #17 easy, #18 bogged me the EFF DOWN!!!! lol . I noticed a little trend here but for some reason i have the mentality that I can conquer any question-- and I truly can--- the thing is I then run out of time and when I review over the questions I didn't get to at the end of the section I feel like punching myself in the face from how easy some of them can be....

aside from that strategy, what credence do you guys put in Kaplan's belief to read the question stem before the question? I have tried doing this from time to time, on the occasional question, and I find it to be an iffy strategy.. when it's a main point question, it helps IMO but when its an assumption question, I feel like I'm reading to hard with the aim of finding an assumption. any thoughts?

also feel free to keep voting on the poll!

p.s. I noticed that two for one questions havent shown up at all recently but I havent discounted the possibility that they will show up at some point in the future-- you never truly know what LSAC is up to-- and unless the issued a statemnt that they were no longer testing like this, I'd still consider it fair game.. it's a shame too because I think that they tend to be easier. i'd say 50% of the time its a win/win(you get a better understanding of the argument and save time), 20% of the time its a lose/lose(you don't understand the argument too well and miss both), and then 30% win/lose(they ask you a main point question followed by a ridiculous PR)

sundance95

Posts: 2123
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:44 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

lakers3peat wrote:aside from that strategy, what credence do you guys put in Kaplan's belief to read the question stem before the question?

If you are doing damn near anything Kaplan suggests, you are doing it wrong. That kind of stuff might work to an extent on the SAT, but not on the LSAT. I strongly suggest you go get materials from a company that does the LSAT exclusively. There are numerous threads about them on this site if you search.

minnesotasam

Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:47 am

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

I always had that internal clock ticking and that voice that would finally say "answer and move on." If this is happening to you it's often because you're taking too much time on previous problems.

But I'd definitely make sure to avoid parallel reasoning questions since those require the most time ime.

jump_man

Posts: 188
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:05 am

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

sundance95 wrote:
lakers3peat wrote:aside from that strategy, what credence do you guys put in Kaplan's belief to read the question stem before the question?

If you are doing damn near anything Kaplan suggests, you are doing it wrong. That kind of stuff might work to an extent on the SAT, but not on the LSAT. I strongly suggest you go get materials from a company that does the LSAT exclusively. There are numerous threads about them on this site if you search.

This is terrible advice from sundance95 . . . ALWAYS read the question stem first. Different question types require different strategies, and the correct strategy can only be identified by reading the question stem first. This is especially true for questions that involve formal logic. Furthermore, if pressed for time at the very end, this will allow you to identify which questions you should focus on (answer the ones that you consistently get correct on practice tests).

The best way to improve timing is simply to continue taking full-length practice tests. Don't waste time with the hardest questions if this is ruining your ability to finish the section - instead, answer the ones that you know will guarantee you points. And remember, you can miss a few questions and still get a 180!

thecynic69

Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:33 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

Sorry if this isn't clear, I've had a few drinks this evening (will be sober tomorrow):

Whatever your views on Kaplan, if they say to read the stem first, they are right on that matter. You CANNOT read a stimulus efficiently w/o knowing the question type. If you approach all stimuli as if you are about to answer a parallel the reasoning, you are going to get owned on strengthen questions (you'll have focused on the logic, and won't be able to knock out answers due to scope), etc. etc. In short, read the stem first--always, always (by read, i mean skim, in the end, u just need to know question type).

With respect to OP's original question (re: what to do when time is called), the real answer is you don't approach a section you aren't going to finish the way you approach a section you are going to finish. Obviously, if you are not going to finish, you want to skip those questions you are most likely to get wrong. As ppl have pointed out, those qs typically fall in the middle. If you cannot overcome your timing problems (which I doubt, LR is doable in 20-25 mins), then you want to do questions 1-14, 20-2?, and then 14-20. When 5 mins is called, my advice is to proceed as normal (except maybe quickly guessing on the remaining questions), but this is simply because rushing through LR never worked for me. I think some people are better at dealing with the fast paced situation, though; just because I can't do LR questions reliably in 30 secs doesn't mean you can't. Here is what I'd suggest: do a couple LR sections where you hold yourself to 45 secs-1 min a question, and see how you do. If you find you are pretty good at working through questions fast, consider rushing once 5 mins called. If you find you suck at it like I do (you end up strengthening weaken questions, or choosing answers completely out of scope), then be content with not rushing, and getting w/e points you can. In the end, LSAT strategy is highly personal--sort of like LG notation. What works for me won't necessarily work for you, and vice versa (except the part about reading the stem first, that works for everyone...seriously).

ETA: by continue as if everything is normal, I don't mean answer the parallel the reasoning q because it comes before the fill in the blank question. don't be stupid about things, but don't start rushing and getting things wrong you would normally get right.

Kabuo

Posts: 1114
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:53 am

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

Sundance isn't "wrong" and neither are the suggestions from the people disagreeing with him. Sundance's view is the predominant one on TLS, and it's also the one championed by Powerscore (coincidentally the LR authority most of TLS users seem to use).

I had already done a bunch of PTs before picking up the LR Bible, and on these tests I had been reading the stem first because of something I read in a Kaplan book and something my study buddy told me. I switched to the LR Bible way of reading the stimulus first after awhile, hated it, and switched back to what was already working for me.

Kaplan does a good job of explaining why they think you should read the stem first, and PS does a good job explaining why they think you should read the stimulus first. Pick the one that works best for you, and work on improving whatever is actually making you miss questions. I aced LR with 8 minutes to spare on most of my PTs, on a disclosed test in Oct (172), and I assume on my non-disclosed Feb test (176), and I did it reading the stem first because that's what I'd started doing and it worked for me. This test is about a lot of things more than hard and fast rules. Find what works best for you and perfect it.
Last edited by Kabuo on Wed May 11, 2011 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

lakers3peat

Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:10 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

Wow some great posts in here. I didn't think I'd stir up so much controversy over the whole question stem thing lol.

FWTW, I took a testmasters class(didn't find it very valuable) read all 3 bibles(PS basically same method as TM), and now I'm using kaplan's explanations for LR/RC. I'll reiterate what was already said, there is no real "right method". PS/TM have good reasoning for not reading stem first and Kaplan has good reasoning for reading the stem first. For me personally, I learned to do it without reading the stem; I found myself too biased when reading questions. I am only asking people's opinion because in Kaplan's explanations for the LR, in the bullet points after the explanation they sometimes talk about how after reading this stem it shold have been a contender to skip etc. etc.

jump_man wrote: ALWAYS read the question stem first. Different question types require different strategies, and the correct strategy can only be identified by reading the question stem first. This is especially true for questions that involve formal logic. Furthermore, if pressed for time at the very end, this will allow you to identify which questions you should focus on (answer the ones that you consistently get correct on practice tests).

My issue with this is that it doesnt always work for me. Sometimes I'll read the stem and say its a main point question, that helps me. I am able to answer the question faster and reading the stem first helped. On the other hand, sometimes if I read its a flaw question when reading the stimulus I search too hard for the flaw without completely grasping the point of the stimulus.

And just fyi, it's not that I'm a noob lol. I've done ~50 PT, most of them twice, my timing element is really the only thing I need to work on. I find every question easily solvable, my issue is that I lose track of time on questions sometimes and I find myself spending 3-4 minutes on a tough question without even realizing it has burned by then thats when I start making mistakes because I will here 5 minutes with 5 questions and I rush those last 5 in 1 minute per question where as on two questions prior, I have spent 8 minutes combined. You see what I'm saying?

jump_man wrote:Don't waste time with the hardest questions if this is ruining your ability to finish the section - instead, answer the ones that you know will guarantee you points. And remember, you can miss a few questions and still get a 180!

It's sometimes hard for me to realize that it's a "hard question" or one that's going to take me a while to solve. This is why I originally skipped PR questions but I have gotten much more efficient at these recently. My problem is mainly once I get into a question, I feel stupid to just guess or move on after I've committed X amount of time. What I'm trying to get better at is making more educated guesses in less amount of time. For most questions I can eliminate 2-3 answers, and if I get bogged down on the last 2 and find myself spending too much time thats when I guess its better to guess and come back then to run out of time and ending up selecting E E E E to later find out all 4 of the Es I selected are no where near possible and I would have eliminated that answer choice had I had the time to read it.

thecynic69 wrote:(by read, i mean skim, in the end, u just need to know question type)

yes

minnesotasam

Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:47 am

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

You can't get a few wrong and get a 180, at least not more than an extreme minority of times.

I think if you're reading the stem before AND after and you're having timing issues that's something to look at. If you are only doing it once, either way clearly has its merits. It's funny to hear people mock reading the stem last, served me (and many others) just fine.

lakers3peat

Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:10 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

minnesotasam wrote:I always had that internal clock ticking and that voice that would finally say "answer and move on." If this is happening to you it's often because you're taking too much time on previous problems.

yes i have this happen to me all the time. I just wish my internal clock would sound sooner so that I don't end up shelling out 4 minutes on a question

minnesotasam

Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:47 am

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

That's just something that will come with time. Maybe set up a timer and give yourself exactly 1:45 or so as an absolute maximum amount of time per question for 10 or so questions/day.

thecynic69

Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:33 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

Okay, so here is cynic's argument for reading the question stem first. It is pretty simple:
First, note that there are different questions, and they call on you to do different tasks
Second, note that the task you are doing is thinking about the stimulus
Third, observe that you can do that task, as you read--in fact, you ordinarily do that task, as you read [in fact, in fact, you SHOULD do that task as you read]
Fourth, you cannot do the task as you read the stimulus (the first time), unless you already know which task you need to perform
Fifth, in order to know what task you need to perform (while you are reading the stimulus for the first time), you must have read the stem first
Sixth, read the damn stem first.

A really good example of why it is good to read the stem first come from considering parallel the reasoning q's vis-a-vis strengthen/weaken/assumption questions. The first kind of question calls on you to pay attention to logical form--the facts in the stimulus are largely irrelevant; the second kind of question calls on you to pay attention to the facts given in the stimulus (in order to conclude something about its logical form). This is also the case with main point questions, which you ought to approach differently than all other questions (namely by skimming for the main point, and completing the question in less than 30 seconds)--if you approach a parallel the reasoning, or even a strengthen/weaken/assumption question the same way, it probably won't go so well.

Beyond that, there are truisms about various question types and it is the sort of thing you want to be on the lookout for, but you can't necessarily waste time to go back and check for. For example, strengthen/weaken questions usually test an assumption (that's why I lump them in with assumption questions). Sometimes (and I think-USUALLY), the way the LSAT strengthen/weakens a question is to take a sort of unobjectionable assumption, and call it into question (weaken), or beef it up (strengthen). If you know to be on the lookout for these sneaky assumptions, you will destroy strengthen/weaken questions; if you are in normal LR mode, and you are letting these assumptions go unnoticed, these questions will destroy you. A related form of the point I'm making is the "All of the following strengthen except"; I believe there were at least two times where the answer was an out of scope answer choice, which failed to strengthen simply because it had nothing to do with anything (knowing it was strengthen-except going into the stimulus caused me to pay attention to scope, which made me able to choose that out of scope answer with confidence). Similar things can be said "which of the following is something on which the REASONING/LOGIC of the argument depends" versus "which of the following is something on which the ARGUMENT/CONCLUSION of the argument depends" (I paraphrased these, I haven't looked at the LSAT for a while).

In short, the question stem gives you an insane amount of information, and to jump into the stimulus blind is just an awful, awful, terrible idea. I cannot stress it enough--reading the stimulus first is as stupid as reading the answer choices first.

sanetruth

Posts: 358
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:26 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

Sorry if this has already been said, I only skimmed the responses, but do NOT do the 'shorter' questions and ignore 'longer' questions. The shorter questions, especially towards the end, tend to be the trickiest, with the most complicated conditional reasoning.

My suggestion is 1) stay calm, and 2) do the longer questions, because most often 75% of what is in those longer blurbs is irrelevant to the question and the answer becomes pretty clear once you read through.

So if you can stay calm and read carefully still, I think that is your best bet. And then guess D on the short question remaining at the end.

minnesotasam

Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:47 am

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

thecynic69 wrote:In short, the question stem gives you an insane amount of information, and to jump into the stimulus blind is just an awful, awful, terrible idea. I cannot stress it enough--reading the stimulus first is as stupid as reading the answer choices first.

Yeah, this is just awful, awful posting. The test prep companies with the best reputations typically teach exactly what you think is so unconscionable and with good reason. That being said, I'm not one to denounce either method because the answer is almost certainly to do what works best for you and both methods have their advantages.

flexityflex86

Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:06 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

this is a lot of great feedback, but thinking outside the box a bit, you could always just strip naked and go streaking across the test center while yelling out something about richard nixon. this will distract the other test takers just enough to make sure the curve is better, thus solidifying your score.

Deep Trench

Posts: 69
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 11:49 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

thecynic69 wrote:In short, the question stem gives you an insane amount of information, and to jump into the stimulus blind is just an awful, awful, terrible idea. I cannot stress it enough--reading the stimulus first is as stupid as reading the answer choices first.

I started out reading the stimulus first as the Powerscore LRB recommends. Then, I began experimenting with reading the stem first because I thought it made more sense conceptually as "thecynic69" advocates. However, in practice reading the stem first made me lose concentration while reading the stimulus. I switched back to reading the stimulus first, and I ended up doing fine. Just do whatever works for you.

edit: changed the user id of the quote.
Last edited by Deep Trench on Wed May 11, 2011 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

minnesotasam

Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:47 am

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

Fwiw that's not quote from me.

Deep Trench

Posts: 69
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 11:49 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

minnesotasam wrote:Fwiw that's not quote from me.

Sorry. I fixed the quote.

thecynic69

Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:33 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

minnesotasam wrote:
thecynic69 wrote:In short, the question stem gives you an insane amount of information, and to jump into the stimulus blind is just an awful, awful, terrible idea. I cannot stress it enough--reading the stimulus first is as stupid as reading the answer choices first.

Yeah, this is just awful, awful posting. The test prep companies with the best reputations typically teach exactly what you think is so unconscionable and with good reason. That being said, I'm not one to denounce either method because the answer is almost certainly to do what works best for you and both methods have their advantages.

No, THIS is just awful posting. See, my post came with an argument, and examples. Your post came with "These popular fellas over here teach X, therefore X must be right."

thecynic69

Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:33 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

Deep Trench wrote:
thecynic69 wrote:In short, the question stem gives you an insane amount of information, and to jump into the stimulus blind is just an awful, awful, terrible idea. I cannot stress it enough--reading the stimulus first is as stupid as reading the answer choices first.

I started out reading the stimulus first as the Powerscore LRB recommends. Then, I began experimenting with reading the stem first because I thought it made more sense conceptually as "thecynic69" advocates. However, in practice reading the stem first made me lose concentration while reading the stimulus. I switched back to reading the stimulus first, and I ended up doing fine. Just do whatever works for you.

edit: changed the user id of the quote.

If you are used to doing it one way and you switch to a new way, I wouldn't be surprised if there is an adjustment period. There is a reason why it makes sense conceptually...it is right.

In the end, I've already take the LSAT, so I'm done with this, you've heard my side. If anyone wants to talk about where my 'argument' goes wrong, I'd be happy to discuss, but otherwise, I'll see you folks elsewhere.

thecynic69

Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:33 pm

### Re: What to do when 5 minutes remaining is called

flexityflex86 wrote:this is a lot of great feedback, but thinking outside the box a bit, you could always just strip naked and go streaking across the test center while yelling out something about richard nixon. this will distract the other test takers just enough to make sure the curve is better, thus solidifying your score.

LOL. Unfortunately, IIRC, this isn't how the curve works. There's a good explanation of how the 'curve' functions somewhere on these boards--long story short, how people do test day does not affect scoring, except sometimes to remove a question from consideration (right?).

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