## Eliminating answer choices with logic

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

Posts: 1888
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:43 pm

### Re: Eliminating answer choices with logic

This statement is really true for especially LR.

Yes, the order of correct answer choice among 5 is NOT random.

The same goes for Game section as a lot of "Could be" Answer choice is "A" Imagine ALL Could be answer choices are "E" It would take more than 2-3 minutes added to 8 min 30 sec rule. I believe that test makers take into consideration the time each question normally requires.

It is true that the order of the answer choices is not random.

However, it is not true that the most attractive trap answer/sucker choices (meaning the incorrect answer choice that the largest percentage of test takers that answered the question incorrectly selected) usually precedes the correct answer choice. Also, the incorrect answer choice that is attractive to one person can be different than the one another person thinks is correct and selects. Many of the high difficulty LR questions have multiple attractive sucker choices.

The design of the test is very sophisticated in a way so that there are no brainless shortcuts (meaning a trick to use without applying logic, reasoning and analysis to the substance of the question and answer choices) you can apply universally that will boost your score beyond your current ability level.

The LSAT punishes people that do not prepare well and rewards people that do. It is a test that motivated people with brain power can significantly improve their score on by putting in quality study/prep time work and effort.

As a matter of design, the LSAT is constructed so that people that try to use simple brainless/cut and dry -- just do this simple thing every time-- tricks rather than applying logic and reading skills end up choosing an incorrect answer choice on many of the questions, especially on the high difficulty rated ones.

One of the many factors involved in answer choice order is designed to make sure that each (A) through (E) choice is the correct answer close to 20% in the pool of correct answers spanning ALL administered test forms overall so that there is no easy blind guessing or other simple trick/strategy that will help substantially boost somebodies score higher than their ability level.

The 20% frequency per answer choice letter is not held constant per section nor per test-form. The LSAT is constructed that way intentionally. If anybody that reads this does not believe me, take the time to tally up the numbers and percentages per section and per test, put the data into a spreadsheet or some other program to compare the various statistics and you will see what I'm talking about.

To see that the idea that the trap answer is usually right above the correct answer choice is not true, here are a few recent examples:

PT #61 October 2010 Section 4 (second LR)
#14
#16
#22
#23
#24
#26

LSAC did a study/experiment a while back where they administered experimental sections with the same questions and same answer choices but put the answer choices in a different order in the several versions of the experimental sections they used to do the experiment. There is at least one LSAC study report about it that is still available if you dig into their resources area.

Any-hoo, bottom line: just focus on learning the basic logical concepts tested, improve your reading, grammar/vocabulary (buy and use a dictionary) and reasoning skills, learn the format of the test and solid logically based strategies to attack the questions. Stop stressing about the psychometrics and other things that are out of your control with the intention of finding some sort of easy shortcut/trick, doing that is a fools errand.
Last edited by Jeffort on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lovejopd

Posts: 544
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:00 pm

### Re: Eliminating answer choices with logic

Jeffort wrote:
This statement is really true for especially LR.

Yes, the order of correct answer choice among 5 is NOT random.

The same goes for Game section as a lot of "Could be" Answer choice is "A" Imagine ALL Could be answer choices are "E" It would take more than 2-3 minutes added to 8 min 30 sec rule. I believe that test makers take into consideration the time each question normally requires.

It is true that the order of the answer choices is not random.

However, it is not true that the most attractive trap answer/sucker choices (meaning the incorrect answer choice that the largest percentage of test takers that answered the question incorrectly selected) usually precedes the correct answer choice. Also, the incorrect answer choice that is attractive to one person can be different than the one another person thinks is correct and selects. Many of the high difficulty LR questions have multiple attractive sucker choices.

The design of the test is very sophisticated in a way so that there are no brainless shortcuts (meaning a trick to use without applying logic, reasoning and analysis to the substance of the question and answer choices) you can apply universally that will boost your score beyond your current ability level.

The LSAT punishes people that do not prepare well and rewards people that do. It is a test that motivated people with brain power and effort can significantly improve their score on IF they are not a natural and actually put in quality study/prep time work.

As a matter of design, the LSAT is constructed so that people that try to use simple brainless/cut and dry -- just do this simple thing every time-- tricks rather than applying logic and reading skills end up choosing an incorrect answer choice on many of the questions, especially on the high difficulty rated ones.

One of the many factors involved in answer choice order is designed to make sure that each (A) through (E) choice is the correct answer close to 20% in the pool of correct answers spanning ALL administered test forms overall so that there is no easy blind guessing or other simple trick/strategy that will help substantially boost somebodies score higher than their ability level.

The 20% frequency per answer choice letter is not held constant per section nor per test-form. The LSAT is constructed that way intentionally. If anybody that reads this does not believe me, take the time to tally up the numbers and percentages per section and per test, put the data into a spreadsheet or some other program to compare the various statistics and you will see what I'm talking about.

To see that the idea that the trap answer is usually right above the correct answer choice is not true, here are a few recent examples:

PT #61 October 2010 Section 4 (second LR)
#14
#16
#22
#23
#24
#26

LSAC did a study/experiment a while back where they administered experimental sections with the same questions and same answer choices but put the answer choices in a different order in the several versions of the experimental sections they used to do the experiment. There is at least one LSAC study report about it that is still available if you dig into their resources area.

Any-hoo, bottom line: just focus on learning the basic logical concepts tested, improve your reading, grammar/vocabulary (buy and use a dictionary) and reasoning skills, learn the format of the test and solid logically based strategies to attack the questions. Stop stressing about the psychometrics and other things that are out of your control with the intention of finding some sort of easy shortcut/trick, doing that is a fools errand.

Word~Thanks for correct response/analysis!

But I am still under the impression that a lot of sucker choices come right before correct answer
I understand this does not always hold true for LR

But Do you still disagree with the statement more frequently A is the correct answer for could be true Qs in Game?

Jeffort

Posts: 1888
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:43 pm

### Re: Eliminating answer choices with logic

lovejopd wrote:
Word~Thanks for correct response/analysis!

But I am still under the impression that a lot of sucker choices come right before correct answer
I understand this does not always hold true for LR

But Do you still disagree with the statement more frequently A is the correct answer for could be true Qs in Game?

Sometimes sucker choices come right before the correct answer, many other times they do not. Part of the test-form developing and assembly process is influenced by psychometric data processing algorithms that produce a degree of randomness to prevent consistent easily predictable patterns that could be used to easily achieve a score higher than your ability level with simple, non-logical, just do this and don't use your brain types of 'tricks'.

As is true with all question types in LR, LG and RC sections, the correct answer choice letters for LG Could Be True questions are pretty evenly distributed among the five letters historically, even so if you just analyze a three year snapshot of disclosed tests.

The link below is to a journal article written by a few of the LSAC dudes that constructed the software that is used to develop and assemble LSAT test forms.

Disclaimer: Reading the article will NOT help you improve your LSAT score. Read at your own risk and only if you have a lot of time to kill and/or are into or studying math and statistics. Trying to make sense of the content, especially the equations, may lead to hair loss, confusion, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, impaired social relationships, and could make your head explode if you are not into this type of stuff.

If you are into math, statistics and logic, proceed to the printer and then start reading it wherever you like to sit and read stuff, you'll be fine and love it.

http://www.math.washington.edu/~billey/ ... Week.3.pdf

MLBrandow

Posts: 121
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:12 pm

### Re: Eliminating answer choices with logic

Jeffort wrote:
This statement is really true for especially LR.

Yes, the order of correct answer choice among 5 is NOT random.

The same goes for Game section as a lot of "Could be" Answer choice is "A" Imagine ALL Could be answer choices are "E" It would take more than 2-3 minutes added to 8 min 30 sec rule. I believe that test makers take into consideration the time each question normally requires.

It is true that the order of the answer choices is not random.

However, it is not true that the most attractive trap answer/sucker choices (meaning the incorrect answer choice that the largest percentage of test takers that answered the question incorrectly selected) usually precedes the correct answer choice. Also, the incorrect answer choice that is attractive to one person can be different than the one another person thinks is correct and selects. Many of the high difficulty LR questions have multiple attractive sucker choices.

The design of the test is very sophisticated in a way so that there are no brainless shortcuts (meaning a trick to use without applying logic, reasoning and analysis to the substance of the question and answer choices) you can apply universally that will boost your score beyond your current ability level.

The LSAT punishes people that do not prepare well and rewards people that do. It is a test that motivated people with brain power can significantly improve their score on by putting in quality study/prep time work and effort.

As a matter of design, the LSAT is constructed so that people that try to use simple brainless/cut and dry -- just do this simple thing every time-- tricks rather than applying logic and reading skills end up choosing an incorrect answer choice on many of the questions, especially on the high difficulty rated ones.

One of the many factors involved in answer choice order is designed to make sure that each (A) through (E) choice is the correct answer close to 20% in the pool of correct answers spanning ALL administered test forms overall so that there is no easy blind guessing or other simple trick/strategy that will help substantially boost somebodies score higher than their ability level.

The 20% frequency per answer choice letter is not held constant per section nor per test-form. The LSAT is constructed that way intentionally. If anybody that reads this does not believe me, take the time to tally up the numbers and percentages per section and per test, put the data into a spreadsheet or some other program to compare the various statistics and you will see what I'm talking about.

To see that the idea that the trap answer is usually right above the correct answer choice is not true, here are a few recent examples:

PT #61 October 2010 Section 4 (second LR)
#14
#16
#22
#23
#24
#26

LSAC did a study/experiment a while back where they administered experimental sections with the same questions and same answer choices but put the answer choices in a different order in the several versions of the experimental sections they used to do the experiment. There is at least one LSAC study report about it that is still available if you dig into their resources area.

Any-hoo, bottom line: just focus on learning the basic logical concepts tested, improve your reading, grammar/vocabulary (buy and use a dictionary) and reasoning skills, learn the format of the test and solid logically based strategies to attack the questions. Stop stressing about the psychometrics and other things that are out of your control with the intention of finding some sort of easy shortcut/trick, doing that is a fools errand.

Jeffort,

First, I completely agree with you. lovejopd took part of my post out of context, and the result is that it seems he (without meaning to) implied this assumption that this must always be the case. Of course it doesn't and there are many cases where that doesn't hold true.

I also agree that I don't think there is any favorable ordering of could be true answers in LG being A. I've certainly never noticed it.

However, I think it would be foolish, on questions when you have no justifiable base for choosing one among two or three choices, to not factor in the likelihood that a very attractive trap answer tends to precede the correct answer choice quite often. My claim is that most people have no trouble ruling out 2-3 of the answer choices for a lot of question types, and these garbage answers are designed to lure you toward a trap answer generally speaking.

I consider a "clever trap" choice to be something that involves language in the stem and that manipulates it in a seemingly non-obvious way. If you can pick up on it (and you should be able to identify these in most cases if you read closely enough initially), then that's great. But if you can't, are pressed for time, and have eliminated all but two answer choices, if the one preceding the two is garbage, there's a good chance the first answer is a trap choice and the second is correct.

I realize the implication here, but the issue is that there is no brainless shortcut here, and to learn and master this method already requires a significantly better understanding of the test than most test takers have. It's something that might give the top few percent an advantage will not providing any boon for the bulk of test makers (and in fact, likely hindering them).

I also agree that the distribution of answer choices is random across questions, but within the questions, the distribution of false answer choices has a tendency to conform to a few canned distributions. There is NO substitute for picking the best answer, but taking advantage of answer choice trends can definitely help you when you're in a bind and pressed for time. It's something you may (hopefully) never have to use, but at least for me, mastering the LSAT involves being prepared for damage mitigation. If I am genuinely stumped, I can't spend all day on the question, and may not have time to reconsider later. In this case, I might use something like answer choice trends to choose an answer and move on.

Further, while there's no reason to doubt the questions you've listed as being exceptions to this trend (and I haven't ordered a copy of that PT yet), it certainly doesn't disprove the general trend.

Essentially, I agree with the reasoning behind why you don't think it's a good idea to focus on these kinds of strategies, and I agree with you that they are by no means a substitute for just picking the correct answer. For certain question types (formal logic, parallel, etc) it's unlikely there can't be at least a few very attractive choices because they must cover most of the possibilities of error. I also think it would be foolish to bank on this strategy for a given section.

However, as a method of last resort under time constraints, I strongly feel there is some credence to be lent to trend-spotting as a means to choose an answer and move on. In fact, to imply that they are not random also implies that certain wrong answer choices are more attractive than others, and that the order of the wrong answer choices relative to the correct one is at least somewhat important. And if there is some intentional ordering, at least I believe that there are a few thought processes that guide the ordering and appear quite often.

edit: and thanks for that link!

ebb44

Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:51 pm

### Re: Eliminating answer choices with logic

MLBrandow wrote:I also agree that I don't think there is any favorable ordering of could be true answers in LG being A. I've certainly never noticed it.

However, I think it would be foolish, on questions when you have no justifiable base for choosing one among two or three choices, to not factor in the likelihood that a very attractive trap answer tends to precede the correct answer choice quite often. My claim is that most people have no trouble ruling out 2-3 of the answer choices for a lot of question types, and these garbage answers are designed to lure you toward a trap answer generally speaking.

I've gotten the feeling that in LG questions that need diagrams for all of the choices (some could be true questions are like this) that the answer is A is favored. Although it's entirely possible that finding A as the answer choice in these cases makes me happy that I found the correct response quickly and so more memorable. Someone should do a more robust study (and hide it from LSAC so they don't change their ways).

Are you saying that the most attractive trap answer precedes the correct choice or immediately precedes? If the answer ordering was random, you can expect the trap answer to be before the correct answer choice 50% of the time anyway.

Geetar Man

Posts: 564
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 4:13 am

### Re: Eliminating answer choices with logic

ebb44 wrote:
MLBrandow wrote:I also agree that I don't think there is any favorable ordering of could be true answers in LG being A. I've certainly never noticed it.

However, I think it would be foolish, on questions when you have no justifiable base for choosing one among two or three choices, to not factor in the likelihood that a very attractive trap answer tends to precede the correct answer choice quite often. My claim is that most people have no trouble ruling out 2-3 of the answer choices for a lot of question types, and these garbage answers are designed to lure you toward a trap answer generally speaking.

I've gotten the feeling that in LG questions that need diagrams for all of the choices (some could be true questions are like this) that the answer is A is favored. Although it's entirely possible that finding A as the answer choice in these cases makes me happy that I found the correct response quickly and so more memorable. Someone should do a more robust study (and hide it from LSAC so they don't change their ways).

Are you saying that the most attractive trap answer precedes the correct choice or immediately precedes? If the answer ordering was random, you can expect the trap answer to be before the correct answer choice 50% of the time anyway.

I believe he was saying that the most attractive answer choice (the incorrect choice) sometimes immediately precedes the unattractive, but correct answer choice. So if you find yourself stumped and looking to choose an answer, after you've eliminated 2 or 3 of the blatently incorrect answers, don't completely disregard an answer choice that immediately proceeds a highly attractive answer choice because it is unattractive.

In short, the LSAT makers like to place highly attractive, but incorrect, answer choices immediately before the highly unattractive, but correct, answer choice. The reason they do this is because people will fall prey to the attractive answer choice and if they are struggling to make time, they'll usually choose this choice and move on.

The point is, be aware that during harder questions, the highly appealing answer choice will sometimes immediately preceed the unattractive yet correct answer.

I know I said the same shit over and over, but I think this is a very good point to make; you need to have situational awareness when answering harder questions. The test makers place highly appealing answer choices that people will choose and move on, but are almost always incorrect during the harder questions.

Geetar Man

Posts: 564
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 4:13 am

### Re: Eliminating answer choices with logic

Another trick I've seen them use on some of the more difficult questions is to place a highly attractive answer choice at the end (E), since by that point you assumingly haven't found the correct answer and reading this answer will be so appealing to you since you're pressed for time. Just don't choose the answer choice that is most appealing in the harder questions because they purposely word the answer choice this way so you'll over-think the unattractive answer choice and trick yourself into believing the appealing answer choice is correct, when it most often (for the harder questions) is not.