Hi there, Need help with Logical Reasoning.

Xdodger100
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Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:08 am

Hi there, Need help with Logical Reasoning.

Postby Xdodger100 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:15 am

First time, Long time.

Been studying for the LSAT for the past 3 months, Taking it in October.

I've seen huge improvements in Logic Games, some in Reading Comp, but None at all in Logical Reasoning, which worries me since it's half the test. I was hoping I could make some solid improvements with 3 months left and about 25 Pt's left to take. So far I've read both the Bible and the Manhattan guide, and they have helped in learning the fundamentals, but I'm having issues on the real thing with Timing and choosing when I have 2 left, which makes me miss -7 in each LR section.

Was wondering what sorts of things I can do to improve in this 1 very important sections. I'm looking for advice besides the obvious, "read the bible".....which I'm about to Re-do with writing notes this time.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: Hi there, Need help with Logical Reasoning.

Postby Blessedassurance » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:42 am

Xdodger100 wrote:First time, Long time.

Been studying for the LSAT for the past 3 months, Taking it in October.

I've seen huge improvements in Logic Games, some in Reading Comp, but None at all in Logical Reasoning, which worries me since it's half the test. I was hoping I could make some solid improvements with 3 months left and about 25 Pt's left to take. So far I've read both the Bible and the Manhattan guide, and they have helped in learning the fundamentals, but I'm having issues on the real thing with Timing and choosing when I have 2 left, which makes me miss -7 in each LR section.

Was wondering what sorts of things I can do to improve in this 1 very important sections. I'm looking for advice besides the obvious, "read the bible".....which I'm about to Re-do with writing notes this time.


What are your specific problems. What kind of questions are you missing etc?

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Sloth Hero
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Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:32 pm

Re: Hi there, Need help with Logical Reasoning.

Postby Sloth Hero » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:33 am

Well first off, I hope you are writing detailed explanations of at least the problems you got wrong. Knowing that you got -7 on the previous section isn't going to help you when you plow through the next prep test and make the same mistakes.

So, here is what I would recommend. Stack up all of your LR sections, and start writing out detailed explanation for each problem you got wrong. This should at least include 1) A paraphrase of the argument (p1,p2,p3,c1,p4,c2 or whatever), what the question asks you to do. Then at least write why the answer you chose was wrong, and why the correct answer is correct.
Then write out, if you can remember, what it was that made you select the wrong answer. You should be able to write that the problem was a "Mistaken Reversal", or whatever. Then you should probably format these in a journal of sorts.

There are some in-depth guides on this website that talk about how you should do post-test review. If I find em' I'll link em'.

This should help you isolate your weakness.

There are people on this board who believe you can get more out of the thorough analysis of one prep test, than by trudging through 5 of them. Also, it lets you use your resources wisely.

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Chief Littlebighead
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Re: Hi there, Need help with Logical Reasoning.

Postby Chief Littlebighead » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:40 am

I am in the midst of an extended, in-depth review of logical reasoning, and I will share with you what I have found so far and what works for me. First, I really feel that review should be an intensely personal endeavor. As obvious as that may sound, I know it can be easy to think, hey, this is what worked for _____, so it will apply to my situation and my reasoning. That is what I did when I first started my review, and I don't feel like I got very much out of it.

If you are missing a large number of the problems (I consider this as more than 2 per section), there is something wrong with the way in which you are approaching answering the questions, or the logic you are using to arrive at the answer. My initial reaction to this was to start doing more and more preptests in an effort to better understand the questions themselves. I may have received some benefit from doing that, as my average score (being a percentage of number correct out of total questions in the LR section, not the PT scaled score) increased slightly, but hit a plateau that was better than where I started, but still in no way high enough. So after realizing that there was no learning benefit from senselessly blowing through a high volume of questions, I decided to pick apart the questions in detail, and find out what made them work. At this point, I have taken 12 preptests, and will not take another one until I have reviewed each incorrect answer, using the following method.

I first mark all question numbers in the section with an X (I circle the question number when I am unsure of my answer). Very often, but not always, the questions that I get wrong are the ones I am not sure about when doing the test. Then I create a word document for each individual preptest (though you could just compile everything in one document) and type out the preptest number, section number, and question number. Then I type out each question, exactly as they are listed in the book, regardless of length. So it looks something like:

(Disclaimer: this is a made up question, not copied from any existing preptest, and is not affiliated or related to the LSAC, LSAT, or any other existing law school entrance exam. It is intended for illustration purposes only.)

PT X

S1.1

John owns seven puppies. Since all puppies are known to be wonderful bundles of loving joy, it follows that the puppies John owns are wonderful bundles of loving joy.

Which one of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument above?

A) John purchased the puppies from a now incarcerated serial killer, who used attractive animals to lure his victims.
B) The puppies are black in color.
C) Rather than investing $3,500 in the stock market, John purchased the puppies in Kansas for $2,500 as a gift for his estranged wife who lives in Bangladesh. He used the $1,000 he saved by not investing in the stock market to buy a book of Percy Shelley's poetry, of which he reads nightly 35 passages and reflects upon their mind-bending greatness.
D) Puppies bring joy and love to their human family, but on occasion can be known to bite the ones they love.
E) Some puppies that are bundles of joy are, in fact, evil hell-hounds sent from Satan to devour the world.

I have found that actually going through the physical effort of typing each sentence of the question into the word document leads to a greater understanding of what the passage is trying to say. It has also led me to discover a handful of very devious, nefarious tricks that the psychometricians use to create the LSAT. Once I have all the questions for a particular preptest typed up, I print them out and answer them again. Note that since I'm printing them out, they come out unmarked, so I don't have any idea which answer I chose the first time. I find this is helpful, especially if I select the wrong answer again.

Then I read the question, jot down a summary of what the argument is and what the question is asking for, and then I explain to myself each individual answer choice. I attempt to prove to myself why A/B/C/D or E is the correct answer, I write that down, and I also write down why the unselected answers are incorrect. Once I have reviewed each question (this process, when done my way, takes at least a couple of hours. It is very writing intensive, obviously), I check my answers, and more often than not, get the vast majority of them correct. Those outliers that I miss the second go round are then intensely reviewed again, so that I may diagnose the flaws in my reasoning that led me to choose wrong answers twice.

I feel that this process has greatly assisted my thinking, and I feel like I am now learning what the sections are all about. When I first started prepping, I was concerned with getting the best scaled score, and ran through tests and didn't see any improvement. Using the method outlined above has been a great way of studying for me, but again, you have to do what works for you.

In closing, I just want to share a couple of the tricks I have discovered that the LSAT wants to trick you into selecting the incorrect answer.

1. It uses your own knowledge, and your personal bias, against you. See answer D. We know that puppies occasionally bite the ones they love, and that would be a logical choice if not for the fact that answer E is the better choice, given the information in the question. I think this is a really sneaky trick, but it can be very effective in causing you to miss the right answer.
2. The LSAT uses numbers (related or unrelated) to cloud up a response. See answer C. I call this financial obfuscation, because it sounds cool. Anytime I see numbers in LR, I give them the proper logical once-over, to determine their relevancy to what the question is looking for.
3. It bases answers off of claims, rather than the conclusion.

Those are just a few, and I'm sure you'll discover more for yourself. Remember, this test does respond to test-taker learning. Even if your scores are dismally low, you really can improve if you give it a legitimate effort and find a system that works for you. Best of luck to you. Don't get discouraged.

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Helicio
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Re: Hi there, Need help with Logical Reasoning.

Postby Helicio » Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:12 pm

This is a little tertiary, but are you using the Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible?

nygrl
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:43 pm

Re: Hi there, Need help with Logical Reasoning.

Postby nygrl » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:16 am

Like others have mentioned, I find it very useful to write out the questions for my incorrect responses and answers I was unsure about. What I usually do is write the conclusion first and then write the premises that support the conclusion. Then, I try to find a gap in reasoning and physically write that out. I look for an answer choice that is similar to the gap I wrote. This strategy will not work for all question types, but it has helped me improve with weaken, assumption, and strengthen questions.

Regarding your timing problems: For me, I focused on speeding up on the easy questions. I've noticed that the LSAT likes to reuse certain traps (ex. percentage vs. absolute numbers) and the more questions I was exposed to the easier they were to spot. When I do a PT, I try to finish the first 10 questions in 10 minutes so I can spend more time on the difficult questions.

Regarding choosing the answer choice between two options: For me, I've found that there is usually some slight wording difference between the two that makes one answer correct and the other incorrect. I carefully look at both choices and identify what makes them different. Then, I go back to the stimulus and really try to focus on what answer choice is best. If I'm really stuck on an answer or want to confirm my logic, I use the Manhattan LSAT website for explanations. (I have the PrepTest explanations from Kaplan too but I haven't found that to be very useful.)

HTH. Good luck studying!

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loomstate
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Re: Hi there, Need help with Logical Reasoning.

Postby loomstate » Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:02 pm

Excellent post chief, I found some of your points very similar to what I have been noticing about LR. After ruminating on lots of past LR sections, and more specifically the types of questions you are missing, you start to instinctively see correct answers. My best advice to OP would be to to put in at least 3 times the amount of time it took you to take the LR section, into your review. Hard work will improve your scores. Outside of that, you must find the specific method of review that works best for you.




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