I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

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lsatprepguy
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I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby lsatprepguy » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:13 pm

I am consistently -0 to -3 in LR.
And nearly EVERY SINGLE QUESTION I get wrong seems to be "flaw" to "most vulnerable."

I have already extensively reviewed the corresponding section in the LR Bible, but have not seen any improvement with these questions since reviewing.

Is there any particular advice you guys have for these types that the bible may not have pointed out? I feel that I am always narrowing it down to two answer choices, and then picking the wrong one of the two.

Thanks

albanach
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby albanach » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:18 pm

lsatprepguy wrote:I am consistently -0 to -3 in LR.
And nearly EVERY SINGLE QUESTION I get wrong seems to be "flaw" to "most vulnerable."

I have already extensively reviewed the corresponding section in the LR Bible, but have not seen any improvement with these questions since reviewing.

Is there any particular advice you guys have for these types that the bible may not have pointed out? I feel that I am always narrowing it down to two answer choices, and then picking the wrong one of the two.

Thanks


When you review afterwards, can you see why the answer you picked was the weaker choice?

With the two answers you have narrowed down to, you should be able to go back and attack the premise successfully with just one of them.

TMC116
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby TMC116 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:07 pm

Basically, the best way to practice Flaw questions is to review the common types of flaws (ad hominem, improper analogy, conditional errors, etc.). Once you recognize the different types, it will be a lot easier to identify them

After you learn the different types, practice prephrasing so you avoid enticing wrong answers. Flaw questions are great for prephrasing, unlike some other LR question types (i.e. Must Be True)

Lastly, when you practice be sure to review the explanations for all Flaw questions, even the ones you got right. The explanations for Flaw questions can be incredibly helpful for improving on all types of LR questions.

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gavinstevens
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby gavinstevens » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:40 pm

I also have a hard time with these, but have been able to improve somewhat.

Powerscore gives a good outline of types of flaws. Familiarity with these is certainly helpful. The difficult flaw questions are often difficult because they are a rare type of flaw. For this, it helps to have good process for solving the problem. Familiarity can only do so much. Manhattan's LR guide advises that you identify the conclusion, identify the supporting premises, and attempt to predict the gap. From that understanding of the core of the argument, identifying the flaw is much easier. I find that approach helpful. Good luck.

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cnyltiak
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby cnyltiak » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:47 pm

Question: is prephrasing when you guess what the answer will be after reading the question?

If so, I totally advocate this for these types of questions. I can almost always get the right answer this way.

bhan87
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby bhan87 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:52 pm

The answer to flaw questions can almost always be anticipated before looking at answer choices. I agree with the above posts that you should study all the common flaw-types in detail. Go back over all the flaw questions you've done so far and categorize them to the best of your ability to each of the types outlined in the LR Bible. Then, for every future flaw question, identify the flaw and write it down BEFORE you look at any answer choices. Flaws are all about anticipation, anticipation, anticipation.

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gavinstevens
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby gavinstevens » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:58 pm

cnyltiak wrote:Question: is prephrasing when you guess what the answer will be after reading the question?

If so, I totally advocate this for these types of questions. I can almost always get the right answer this way.


Yes it is.

I think that pre-phasing is great, but it can be overdone. If you get fixated on finding a choice to match that pre-phase, you can hurt yourself. There are times when it is essential for LR and RC though.

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cnyltiak
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby cnyltiak » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:18 am

gavinstevens wrote:
cnyltiak wrote:Question: is prephrasing when you guess what the answer will be after reading the question?

If so, I totally advocate this for these types of questions. I can almost always get the right answer this way.


Yes it is.

I think that pre-phasing is great, but it can be overdone. If you get fixated on finding a choice to match that pre-phase, you can hurt yourself. There are times when it is essential for LR and RC though.


Yeah, I only do it if something actually comes to mind pretty much right away, and I just quickly jot it down and indicate which part of the excerpt it comes from. I find for all but the most convoluted arguments some potential flaw automatically sticks out (once you get used to the questions)... sometimes what I think of is not always in the answer but is very similar to the real answer choice.

Basically, if you're not seeing where the flaw in the argument derives from, you need to spend more times understanding fallacies/argument structure/etc.

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WhoIsDonDraper
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby WhoIsDonDraper » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:01 am

A huge help is looking at every single answer choice and understanding what those mean. A lot of the time they word answer choices in convoluted ways and it helps to have an understanding of those more esoteric phrases. So for example: establishing the validity of a claim by by denying the truth of the opposite of that claim." The more you familiarize yourself with the very wodry answer choices, the better equipped you will be to not fall for some of those. So even if you don't know the flaw right away, you can at least cross off the fact that it is not circular reasoning and it's not a mistaken sufficient for necessary claim.

The other powerful strategy is to understand the assumption behind the flaw. That way, even if you don't know how to categorize the flaw, you can at least tell why the author has gone too far with his conclusion. Take for instance a mistaken causal claim. If they say something about a drug lowering a person's chances of a heart attack, then go on to say that since these people have higher-than-average cholesterol, it must be that this drug lowers cholesterol. Their assumption is that it cannot be the case that this drug lowers risk of heart attack in another way. Then the answer choices will play off of this assumption in two ways.

1. They will phrase answer choices by starting off with "it presumes without warrant that..." This type of answer choice will restate the assumption/flaw that this drug must lower cholesterol levels and as a result it lowers the risk of heart attack.

2. The second way is to start off an answer choice with "fails to consider that..." or "neglects the possibility that..." These will actually state the negation of the assumption, or will, in a way, break the assumption. So it will say the argument "fails to consider that this drug may lower risk of heart disease but not as a result of lowering cholesterol."

If you see any phrases like "fails to consider" or "presumes without warrant" ask yourself what the author is assuming, because there will be some gap in reasoning. This is why the flaws in these questions are sometimes harder to see, because the flaw is not stated out right. Like in an ad hom, the flaw is explicitly stated: this guy is a drug dealer so we shouldn't listen to his opinion on this week's American Idol results.

These tips seemed to help for me.

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lsatprepguy
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby lsatprepguy » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:43 pm

The thing is, when I review the questions, most of the time I can see why the answer choice I chose is incorrect. However, sometimes I still feel like the one I have chosen is a flaw in the argument.
I read an the Atlas/Manhattan LSAT forums that a flaw in the argument must be between the premises and the conclusion, and not between a premise and another premise. Is this true? What about, for example, in a case where a term has been given two different meanings across premises?


Also, WhoIsDonDraper, I really appreciate this advice. When I approach flaw questions, I never directly though about associating them with assumptions, and I realize now that this is a big problem. A lot of the questions I get wrong are the ones that have answer choices like the ones you have pointed out so hopefully this will help as I keep practicing with these.

bp shinners
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Re: I hate Flaw Questions. :) Please help.

Postby bp shinners » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:47 pm

lsatprepguy wrote:What about, for example, in a case where a term has been given two different meanings across premises?


That won't matter unless the discrepancy is important to the conclusion, in which case we're back to it being between the premises and the conclusion.




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