Read question stems before or after arguments?

critterkln
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Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby critterkln » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:12 pm

I'm curious as to whether people who have done well (170+) read the question stems before or after the arguments in LR. I've read two different books and they have conflicting views, I just want answers from people who have really taken the test. Any answers from exceptional test takers would be helpful. Thanks.

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Tim0thy222
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby Tim0thy222 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:22 pm

critterkln wrote:I'm curious as to whether people who have done well (170+) read the question stems before or after the arguments in LR. I've read two different books and they have conflicting views, I just want answers from people who have really taken the test. Any answers from exceptional test takers would be helpful. Thanks.


I scored 177 on the October LSAT. Went -1 total on LR.

I definitely read the question stems after the arguments, as powerscore suggests to do. I experimented with the method of reading the question stem first, and it was just confusing. I couldn't really hold the question stem in my head and at the same time process the argument. Instead, I found it better to just really focus on the argument, and then when the question stem came I knew the answer because I caught things like weaknesses in reasoning. On parallel flaw questions and parallel reasoning questions I still had to go back and analyze the argument a little more, but I got quick enough on the other questions to make up for it.

Hope that helps.

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QuincyWagstaff
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby QuincyWagstaff » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:26 pm

It doesn't matter. Experiment and find out which method works best for you. I read the parts in the order they're given.

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dietcoke0
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby dietcoke0 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:55 pm

You're going to read the stem twice if you read it before. Work on absorbing info, finding conclusion, counter-premises, holes in logic, then read it. You can usually tell what they are going to ask you before they ask you irregardless.

critterkln
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby critterkln » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:58 pm

dietcoke0 wrote:You're going to read the stem twice if you read it before. Work on absorbing info, finding conclusion, counter-premises, holes in logic, then read it. You can usually tell what they are going to ask you before they ask you irregardless.


Not to be a spelling Nazi, but irregardless=not a real word.... Just spreading the knowledge :)

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dietcoke0
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby dietcoke0 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:13 pm

Thanks for the tip. Irregardless, don't really care. It's in the dictionary, and worse case slang.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irregardless

Anyway, I change my opinion, read the stem first, and then again after you answer you question.

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the_pakalypse
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby the_pakalypse » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:22 pm

Definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY read question stem before. You need to get in the correct mindset or its just a waste. And no, not all LR questions are approached the same way. Must be true questions should be approached completely different from necessary assumption questions etc.

I can't believe I spent so much time of prep wasting it away by reading the stimulus 2-3 times.


PS.
While we are at it, don't bubble 1 by 1 - finish the two pages, then proceed to bubble all the answer choices. When you do this, your mind gets a bit of a mental break as well.

PPS.

For all those people saying "you'll have to read stem again" - what's better, reading the stem again or reading the entire stimulus?

critterkln
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby critterkln » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:36 pm

dietcoke0 wrote:Thanks for the tip. Irregardless, don't really care. It's in the dictionary, and worse case slang.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irregardless

Anyway, I change my opinion, read the stem first, and then again after you answer you question.


Wow such anger, over a simple correction, overreact much? Also it says right in the link you posted that it's non-standard. Additionally, it's redundant with the ir- and the -less both serving the same purpose. Why not just say regardless? It means the same thing and is a credible word, plus it makes you sound like you're actually articulate. XD

iamrobk
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby iamrobk » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:06 pm

I read the question stem before. I went -5 and -3 on LR, not amazing, but I can't imagine reading the stem after the argument. I think the key to reading the stem before is to make sure you keep it in the back of your mind so you don't have to reread it, but don't let that take anything away from your ability to read the argument.

American_in_China
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby American_in_China » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:23 pm

179 here. First time I took, I got a 172 (read question steam after), I made the switch to stem before.

This is my advice: If you've done enough LR practice to where you have a very different method for different question types, like me the second time around, then read the stem before. If you haven't done that level of practice, and you don't have clearly distinguished methods for different types, then just read it after.

That said, I still think reading the stem before is better.

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ColtsFan88
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby ColtsFan88 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:46 pm

I found that if I read the stem after arguments I would still have to refer back to the arguments to answer the question. So reading the stem first saved me a lot of time.

I say try both and see which you prefer. You can find successful people using both.

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hyakku
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby hyakku » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:56 am

+1 to before. I was doing it after originally, but but I think after you get the mechanics of LR down it's more beneficial first, because around 20/25 or so of the questions are going to share patterns with previous questions and if you've prepped well you can locate them while reading the passage without getting too confused. 170 here on oct test, although, ironically, I had my worst LR on that test and I switched back and forth throughout the tests, lol, maybe I shouldn't have. Generally though I was going -3-5 in pts after though.


Long ass run on too.

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KevinP
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby KevinP » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:48 am

170+ scorer here and I read question stem first.

Experiment with both methods and see which one works better for you. Knowing how to approach the stimulus is a lot easier for me when I know what type of question I'll be asked. For example, if the question asks about the conclusion, I know that all I need to do is find a rephrase of the conclusion in one of the answer choices and I don't have to evaluate the argument to see how good it is, I don't have look for gaps, etc.

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tedler
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby tedler » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:05 am

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Last edited by tedler on Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

critterkln
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby critterkln » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:41 pm

I want to thank everyone who responded. I'm retaking it in December (trying to improve from my 165) and I find your advice very helpful. I think I'm going to experiment with both ways and find what works for me since both sides seem to get good results :)

SanDiegoJake
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby SanDiegoJake » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:06 pm

Without exception, question stem first. For me, it's not about identifying the exact type of argument necessarily. It's about determining whether I'm reading the argument for its reasoning or reading the argument just for information.

Reasoning: Will concern HOW the argument is presented, its internal logic. Always about the (missing) link between the argument's premises and its conclusion. Weaken, Strengthen, Assumption, Flaw.

Information: Will concern WHAT the argument is presenting. No premises, no conclusion. Just what's there. Inference, Resolve/Explain, Principle (I know this categorization is debatable).

Not only do I read question stems first, but I also DO the questions in a certain order. I find it mentally draining to constantly switch back and forth between reading for reasoning and reading for information. I find that when I do all the reasoning questions first, I get into a rhythm and move much faster through the section.

Bottom line: My arguments full section strategy.

First: Do all questions asking us to analyze the reasoning - weaken, strengthen, assumption, flaw. (about 1/2 the args)
Next: Do all questions asking us to describe the reasoning - main point, ID the reasoning (argumentative technique or strategy). (about 3 more)
Next: Do all questions that have nothing to do with the reasoning - inference, resolve/explain, point at issue, principle (about 8 more)
Last: Any time consuming questions, such as Parallel, long principle questions, any question that says EXCEPT. (about 4 more)

Try it on a few sections. You may be surprised how much more quickly you can go when you don't have to participate in the mental gymnastics that is switching back and forth between reading for reasoning vs. reading for info. I certainly was.

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kennethellenparcell
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Re: Read question stems before or after arguments?

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:35 pm

OP- I will share my secret with you. This point has been debated many many times by many many different intelligent people, and the consensus is that it depends on the person.

My secret: If you suck at LR (I'm talkin like -10 each section), read the stimulus first because it helps you understand the weaknesses in argument before you get to the answer choices and get all confuzzled. If you do not suck at LR (like -5 or less each section), it's probably better for you to read the question stem first so you know exactly what to look for.

Godspeed.




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