please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

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swtlilsoni
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please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:26 pm

Every LR section I take, I end up missing 1 or 2 questions. However the reason I get them wrong is not because of a lack of ability to apply techniques. Drilling won't really help. The only reason I get these questions wrong is because they were the tricky convoluted ambiguous questions and I misinterpreted the text. They are ALL comprehension errors.

However I wouldn't really call them errors because half the time the text really is ambiguous and I truly believe "my answer" is just as right as the other one. Half the time the right answer is right because of mere preference : "A is wrong because it is an inference, B is an inference too..but its a more 'obvious one' so it is right". And half the time both answers have comparatively strong inferences, what is 'obvious' is completely debatable. Otherwise, the stimulus is just ambiguous and can be interpreted in more than one way depending on how you read it. Thus two answers both work well depending on the way you read the stimulus.

And it is not because I am going too fast. Slowing down won't help. I finish the section with 5 min to spare and go back to these one or two problems and stare at them. No matter how long I look at them both answer choices seem to work. Usually even after I look at the answer both answer choices seem to work. I feel like the only way to get these right is to magically be mentally in sync with test makers and know which one they think is "better" and which way they are interpreting this purposely ambiguous text, which meaning they choose/prefer, and which inference they feel is "more obvious".

I seriously don't know what to do about this, it's killing me because I have no idea how to improve with this.

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MachineLemon
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby MachineLemon » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:33 pm

Example or it didn't happen. I see a lot of these "the answer is ambiguous" complaints. I had the same feeling several times during my studying, but they usually became obvious once I looked at the credited response. At 1-2 wrong, you're doing quite well, so it may just be a matter of refining your intuition through practice.

If you post a couple of the really tough ones here, you'll probably get some insight. That "aha" moment of figuring it out always helped me remember the issue for the next PT.

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suspicious android
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby suspicious android » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:39 pm

There is a strong reason that the correct response is credited, and a strong reason for every incorrect response to be wrong. When you're not seeing the reasons, you're not getting the complete lesson that question offers.

To put it bluntly, the questions are not truly ambiguous, the rationales are not arbitrary, it's not a matter of preference. For any question (with literally only four or five exceptions in 20 years), if you think the test is wrong, you're wrong.

But that's cool, everyone is wrong from time to time. Maybe post a few of those questions that seem arbitrary or ambiguous, we'll help you out.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:05 pm

Okay examples:

1. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=172625

2. PT 50 RC #5
I don't understand why D is better than E.

E is supported, I thought, because they talk about how Mexican American literature is focused on their agrarian ancestors, and ties to their ancestry, etc. And they specifically say that Mexican lit is more focused on cosmopolitan (urban/modern) themes. So doesn't that mean that Mexican lit is focused more on modern while Mexican American is focused more on ancient?

And for D, even though they put regional in quotes, there is nothing to indicate that they do not respect it.

3. PT 54 RC #18
Apparently C is not the right answer because it is "unsupported". But there is support for C:

Line 54: "Walker won over this audience by refining the cakewalk"
If she refined the cakewalk she changed the choreography.

Line 64: Many newly rich industrialists found admiration in the grand flourishes of HER version.
That means her version added grand flourishes (which means it has altered choreography).

This shows that she did choreograph alternate versions for different cultural groups.

4. PT 48 S4 #23
I don't see how E weakens the causal relationship.

The relationship is:

Time management seminar ---> more efficient
(T --> E)

To weaken this, one would need to show :
T --> ~E

However answer choice (E) only shows:
E --> ~T
It just shows that you can have E without T. But that does not contradict the causal!

T-->E does not mean T is required for E! We already know that we can have E without T. The only thing that this causal is saying is that T causes E. But E can be caused by other things too. So answer choice (E) does not contradict the causal just by showing that E happened without T.

5. PT 48 S1 #25
I got this one right - I understand why C is right. But I also thought A, and E were both necessary to be assumed as well.

A) If it were possible for microbiologists to recreate whatever the other species did for the community without the other species being present, then they would be able to isolate one species? Because the argument states that they cannot isolate one species because the other species are NECESSARY. However it is only assumed that they are necessary (and this answer choice is the necessary assumption).

E) This also needs to be assumed. If this was negated, the whole argument would fall apart because it would be possible to isolate one species.

I know that this question is asking for a sufficient assumption. However answer choice C cannot be sufficient to complete the argument if the argument. If C were stated in the argument, the conclusion would still not be properly formed (because there are huge holes in the argument because 'A' and 'E' are not stated.)

6. PT 28 S3 #16
I don't see why B is right. Even if mercury was ingested by everyone that doesn't make the conclusion false. The conclusion depends on the fact that mercury was used to treat veneral disease. It could be the case that EVERYONE had veneral disease at that time and thus everyone took mercury as treatment. If that were true, the conclusion could still be true.

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Campagnolo
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby Campagnolo » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:25 pm

Without being able go look at the questions you listed (because I'm at work), I think there are two things to think of:

1) In order to go fast, you have to slow down. Slow down as you read and concentrate. It sounds stupid, but it's so easy to turn off, go fast, and get to the end of a question or passage. If you slow down and really take everything in you will be quicker overall because you are not re-reading.

2) Never compare answer choice (A) to (D). Instead, compare (A) to the stem or passage and compare (B) to the stem or passage. The answer choices are designed specifically to mix people up who are trying to pick between to options. The answer must directly respond to the stimulus or passage, so make sure that's your reference point.

I hope this helps.

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MachineLemon
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby MachineLemon » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:07 pm

swtlilsoni wrote:Okay examples:

1. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=172625 [PT 59 S2 Q8]

...

6. PT 28 S3 #16
I don't see why B is right. Even if mercury was ingested by everyone that doesn't make the conclusion false. The conclusion depends on the fact that mercury was used to treat veneral disease. It could be the case that EVERYONE had veneral disease at that time and thus everyone took mercury as treatment. If that were true, the conclusion could still be true.


These are the ones I have handy...

On #1, I think RCinDNA was right. The stimulus states: "Therefore, more and more people are choosing to increase their intake of calcium by eating cheddar cheese rather than ice cream." (note the word "therefore" indicating a conclusion) The conclusion here is not that people are choosing to eat cheddar rather ice cream thereby increasing their calcium intake. Rather, the conclusion is that people are choosing to increase their consumption of cheddar in order to increase their calcium. The choice here is the explanation of the forgoing data. Thus, B directly questions that inference to best explanation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning

On #6, the stimulus operates in the following way.

(P1) If B had VD, that could explain his deafness.
(P2) If B had VD, that could explain Hg in his hair.
(C) Therefore, if he had Hg in his hair, he had VD.

This argument is completely silly, but it could be made to work by an assumption.

(A*)Having VD is a necessary and sufficient for having Hg in one's hair.

I can't see any other assumptions that would plausibly make the reasoning of the stimulus work. Now, the argument already seems to assume that (A1) ingesting mercury is sufficient for having it detected in your hair (sentence 1). In addition, since the hypothesis "B had VD" is in question, it seems to assume that (A2) not everyone had VD.

Since the assumption in B is not straight forwardly relevant, let's test its negation. If its negation invalidates the argument, the original assumption must be required.

~B (Some people in B's day did not ingest Hg)
...is equivalent to...
Everyone is B's day ingested Hg

Now, if everyone one in B's day ingested Hg, everyone would have had Hg in their hair (A1) including those without VD (A2). Thus, there would be some person who had Hg in their hair and did not have VD. Thus, VD is not a necessary condition for having Hg in one's hair. Thus, B having Hg in his hair does not require that he had VD.

See, assuming the negation of B (~B) invalidates the argument by falsifying a premise (A*) required for the stimulus' reasoning to succeed. Therefore, the argument must also assume B in order to assume (A*). Thus, B is the correct answer.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:45 pm

TylerM wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:Okay examples:
Now, if everyone one in B's day ingested Hg, everyone would have had Hg in their hair (A1) including those without VD (A2). Thus, there would be some person who had Hg in their hair and did not have VD.


Hey thanks so much for your explanation! I have a question about one thing you said,
in that quote, you said that if everyone ingested Hg, there would be at least one person who had Hg but did not have VD. But isn't it possible that every single person had VD?

So just because everyone had Hg, doesn't imply there were some people who had Hg without VD. Because it could have been a scenario in which everyone had VD and took Hg for it?

revahp00
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby revahp00 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:10 pm

swtlilsoni wrote:Okay examples:

6. PT 28 S3 #16
I don't see why B is right. Even if mercury was ingested by everyone that doesn't make the conclusion false. The conclusion depends on the fact that mercury was used to treat veneral disease. It could be the case that EVERYONE had veneral disease at that time and thus everyone took mercury as treatment. If that were true, the conclusion could still be true.


Ah, annoying question. But you have the answer within your grasp.

This is an assumption question, and in this case the assumption plays the "Defender Role" as defined by Powerscore bibles. The defender assumptions defend the argument against possible avenues of attack by eliminating ideas or assertions that, if it were not eliminated, would weaken the conclusion of the argument. Thus they defend the argument by showing that a possible avenue of attack has been eliminated. So, the author assumes the idea or assertion does not take place and this is characterized by the answer choice. Also, more specficially, the answer choice is going to protect the necessary condition since the conclusion is conditional... moving on...

This question has elements of formal logic, i think... so I'm going to explain that first. The correct answer choice, (B), states that "SOME people in Beethoven time did not....". The word SOME can mean anywhere from 1% of people in Beethovens time to 99% of people in Beethovens time. One way to look at it is that the author ASSUMES that 99% of people in Beethovens time did not ingest mercury, because if they did, then it wouldn't be uncommon to find traces of Mercury in the hair of people living during Beethovens time. And if its not uncommon to find traces of mercury in his hair (given that 99% of people in his time ingested mercury) then we cannot conclude, as the argument does, that the "hypothesis is correct"

Another way to look at it: Logically Negate answer choice (B). Negating involves simply putting a 'not' in the answer choice if it isn't present, or taking a 'not' out of the answer choice if it is present. In this case we take the 'not' out of answer choice B and get "Some people in Beethoven's time ingested mercury". Well if "SOME people in Beethoven time DID ingest mercury" then why should the author be entitled to conclude that the hypothesis is correct? If some people DID ingest mercury (for, say, reasons other than treating venereal diseases) then it wouldn't be all that rare to find traces of mercury in Beethovens hair (or in the hair of other people who lived during his time), and if its not rare to find traces of mercury in beethovens hair then its not sufficient to conclude that the " if researchers find a trace of mercury, then the hypothesis is correct." So the author has defended his argument by assuming that "some people in beethovens time DID NOT ingest mercury". If the Conclusion is valid -----> then the Assumption must be true. So it must be true that some people in beethovens time did not ingest mercury in order for the conclusion to be true.
Last edited by revahp00 on Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:45 pm

revahp00 wrote:If some people DID ingest mercury (for reasons other than treating venereal diseases) then it wouldn't be all that rare to find traces of mercury in Beethovens hair


Hey thanks so much for the explanation. Everything you said makes sense except for one thing: in that quote above, you are assuming that if some people DID ingest mercury, it is for reasons other than VD. Why are you assuming that? Couldn't those people be ingesting it for VD?

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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby MachineLemon » Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:14 am

swtlilsoni wrote:
TylerM wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:Okay examples:
Now, if everyone one in B's day ingested Hg, everyone would have had Hg in their hair (A1) including those without VD (A2). Thus, there would be some person who had Hg in their hair and did not have VD.


Hey thanks so much for your explanation! I have a question about one thing you said,
in that quote, you said that if everyone ingested Hg, there would be at least one person who had Hg but did not have VD. But isn't it possible that every single person had VD?

So just because everyone had Hg, doesn't imply there were some people who had Hg without VD. Because it could have been a scenario in which everyone had VD and took Hg for it?


It's possible, but it would be stretch to make it consistent with the apparent assumptions of the stimulus. Since the hypothesis "B had VD" is in question, it seems safe to assume that not everyone had VD. If everyone had VD, there would be no question of whether Beethoven had it. Only the question of it's causing the deafness would remain.

What was your answer on this question? Can you defend it? That might be a better way to approach it.

revahp00
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby revahp00 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:05 am

swtlilsoni wrote:
revahp00 wrote:If some people DID ingest mercury (for reasons other than treating venereal diseases) then it wouldn't be all that rare to find traces of mercury in Beethovens hair


Hey thanks so much for the explanation. Everything you said makes sense except for one thing: in that quote above, you are assuming that if some people DID ingest mercury, it is for reasons other than VD. Why are you assuming that? Couldn't those people be ingesting it for VD?



No problem. Look at my original post... i edited it to what I originally intended to mean (to make my point a bit clearer)

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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby revahp00 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:22 am

You know, I took a second glance at the argument and realized the following:

The stimulus says that If Beethoven had a venereal disease, he was probably (since it was common at the time) treated with mercury. Now the author concludes that if he has mercury in his hair, then he must have had venereal disease (or more precisely, that the hypothesis that a veneral disease caused his deafness is correct- either way you cut it, the author, as part of the conclusion, says that beethoven must have had a veneral disease if he has mercury in his hair).

The punch line is that venereal disease patients most likely had mercury in their systems, but that doesn’t mean that everyone with mercury in their systems had venereal disease. For all we know, mercury was used to treat a variety of illnesses, and so for mercury to be a reliable indicator of venereal disease, some people must not have ingested it.

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suspicious android
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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby suspicious android » Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:12 am

2. PT 50 RC #5
I don't understand why D is better than E.

E is supported, I thought, because they talk about how Mexican American literature is focused on their agrarian ancestors, and ties to their ancestry, etc. And they specifically say that Mexican lit is more focused on cosmopolitan (urban/modern) themes. So doesn't that mean that Mexican lit is focused more on modern while Mexican American is focused more on ancient?

And for D, even though they put regional in quotes, there is nothing to indicate that they do not respect it.


E is such a broad statement, it's really hard to support an idea that big. History is not really important in Mexican culture?? Just because Mexican American *writers* have written about ancestry more than Mexican *writers*, doesn't mean that either group as a whole cares about history more or less. Not writing about "ancestry" doesn't mean you don't care about history anyway.

As for D, line 27-32 basically says prestige in Mexican writing is determined by the literary establishment which is concerned with urban ideas. So regionalists get screwed over.
swtlilsoni wrote:3. PT 54 RC #18
Apparently C is not the right answer because it is "unsupported". But there is support for C:

Line 54: "Walker won over this audience by refining the cakewalk"
If she refined the cakewalk she changed the choreography.
Line 64: Many newly rich industrialists found admiration in the grand flourishes of HER version.
That means her version added grand flourishes (which means it has altered choreography).


Walker didn't have a different version she did for white audiences and a different one she did for black audiences. That's what C is suggesting. Her version was different from other dancers (grand flourishes, refinements), but there is no support that she changed it up for different audiences. This is a tough question, a lot of people choose this answer choice.

4. PT 48 S4 #23
I don't see how E weakens the causal relationship.

The relationship is:

Time management seminar ---> more efficient
(T --> E)

To weaken this, one would need to show :
T --> ~E

However answer choice (E) only shows:
E --> ~T
It just shows that you can have E without T. But that does not contradict the causal!

T-->E does not mean T is required for E! We already know that we can have E without T. The only thing that this causal is saying is that T causes E. But E can be caused by other things too. So answer choice (E) does not contradict the causal just by showing that E happened without T.


First off, you are confusing causal and conditional reasoning. This argument is asking you for four ideas that weaken the recommendation of the president. E does that by showing that most people who are efficient have never taken such a class. Think about an analogous situation: Should you take an LSAT class? Well, if I told you that most people who do well on the LSAT don't take a class, that would pretty clearly weaken (but not destroy) the worth of the class.

5. PT 48 S1 #25
I got this one right - I understand why C is right. But I also thought A, and E were both necessary to be assumed as well.


This is just a problem with what it means to be a necessary or sufficient assumption. It's kind of boring to go into, but if an assumption is sufficient, it fixes all the problems in the argument, generally by simplifying the argument into an "if XYZ is true, then the conclusion is also true" format.

Anyway, all these were tough questions, and if you're only getting 1-2 wrong per LR section you're doing well, but these questions are definitely legitimate. The common thread in all of these is that you seem to be taking a broader view of the ideas in the answer choices than is really warranted

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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby swtlilsoni » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:43 pm

suspicious android wrote: Her version was different from other dancers (grand flourishes, refinements), but there is no support that she changed it up for different audiences.


Ohh...I thought she was doing all those changes for the audiences ... because it listed groups like (middle class blacks, wealthy whites, etc) that she made each change for.

suspicious android wrote:Should you take an LSAT class? Well, if I told you that most people who do well on the LSAT don't take a class, that would pretty clearly weaken (but not destroy) the worth of the class.


Oh ... but couldn't it still be true that the class DOES in fact cause people to do well.....but it just so happens that a lot of people did well by other means also..
So...the class still has all its worth .... it will cause me to do well ..
I guess it weakens the fact that the class is necessary ... but doesn't weaken the fact that it's sufficient.

suspicious android wrote:Anyway, all these were tough questions, and if you're only getting 1-2 wrong per LR section you're doing well, but these questions are definitely legitimate. The common thread in all of these is that you seem to be taking a broader view of the ideas in the answer choices than is really warranted


I see what you mean .... its just that 1-2 wrong per LR kills my overall score..because I still get some wrong in RC too .. and I can't afford all these points..
What is a 'broader view' of the ACs and how would I change that?

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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby suspicious android » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:13 am

swtlilsoni wrote:Oh ... but couldn't it still be true that the class DOES in fact cause people to do well.....but it just so happens that a lot of people did well by other means also..
So...the class still has all its worth .... it will cause me to do well ..
I guess it weakens the fact that the class is necessary ... but doesn't weaken the fact that it's sufficient.



By showing the class is far from necessary, you're weakening the argument that they should make it available to their employees. If you showed that it's not sufficient that would also weaken the argument, but you don't need to do both. Sure, it still might be the case that the class causes people to do well, but if it turns out most people who score 160+ on the LSAT never take a course, wouldn't that make you less likely to take a course? Your mission on a weaken question is to show the conclusion does not necessarily follow, not to show that it's definitely false.

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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby willwash » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:40 pm

suspicious android wrote:There is a strong reason that the correct response is credited, and a strong reason for every incorrect response to be wrong. When you're not seeing the reasons, you're not getting the complete lesson that question offers.

To put it bluntly, the questions are not truly ambiguous, the rationales are not arbitrary, it's not a matter of preference. For any question (with literally only four or five exceptions in 20 years), if you think the test is wrong, you're wrong.

But that's cool, everyone is wrong from time to time. Maybe post a few of those questions that seem arbitrary or ambiguous, we'll help you out.


This being said, LSAC itself periodically admits defeat on the OP's exact point once every few cycles. Those damn asterix NCR (No Credited Response) questions. So the OP has a legitimate grievance.

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Re: please tell me how to avoid making this type of mistake

Postby suspicious android » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:54 pm

willwash wrote:
This being said, LSAC itself periodically admits defeat on the OP's exact point once every few cycles. Those damn asterix NCR (No Credited Response) questions. So the OP has a legitimate grievance.


Yeah, I mentioned the questions removed from scoring (4-5 exceptions in 20 years). But those questions are removed from the test, so the OP was not having a problem with those. The OP was having problems with 1-2 questions on every test. That's not a problem with the LSAT, as demonstrated by all the responses in the thread.




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