Studying the hardest LR questions?

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Geetar Man
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Studying the hardest LR questions?

Postby Geetar Man » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:31 am

Hello all,

I have come to see that I'm missing the hardest questions in the LR section. (I know that it is a truism of the test that the harder questions will be missed more often, so please don't respond by telling me that.)
I was wondering if anyone has made significant gains (with the harder questions) by studying/reviewing the hardest questions? Is such a thing possible?

I've made huge gains in the test itself (high-140s to the mid-160s), but I was wondering if someone has run into this problem and what their strategy to combat it was...

I'm trying really hard to break into the 170s. I know there is that notorious feeling for the right answer, after you seen so many questions, but I'm not feeling that for the more difficult questions.



Thanks!


ETA: I was planning on going through and reviewing Cambridge's hardest LSAT questions from PTs 1-38, if anyone else thought that by doing so was helpful.

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Helicio
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Re: Studying the hardest LR questions?

Postby Helicio » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:52 am

I've always thought reviewing EVERY SINGLE QUESTION is best. Even the answers to easy questions will help you discern patterns that will aid you on harder ones. Good luck!

bp shinners
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Re: Studying the hardest LR questions?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:02 am

A few tips:

1) Compare the answer choices to each other. If you get it down to only two choices, see how they differ from each other. It's usually the case that the answers will have a feature or two in common, and a word choice that differentiates them. Once you understand the differences between the two, use the language in the stimulus to figure out which answer lines up with it the most (especially the conclusion, if there is one).

2) When reviewing your incorrect answers, make sure that you figure out how the dude with the philosophy PhD tricked you. I always recommend answering the following questions for each question you get wrong:
a) Why is the right answer right?
b) Why is the wrong answer wrong?
This is where most people stop, and it's how you get to a 165+. To break into the 170s, you have to understand not only the logic, but the psychology of the test, and how it's likely to trip you up. To do so, answer:
c) What about the wrong answer made me think it was right?
d) What about the right answer made me think it was wrong?
If you can figure these two out, you won't fall for the same mistake again. I generally recommend my students (when they get to this level) keep a log book with the answers to the latter 2 questions. You should try to frame it in terms of a flaw (yes, a flaw from a flaw question).

An example (and the most common trick): You notice that you keep equivocating. You keep picking the fat loss answer when the stimulus only talks about weight loss. You've equivocated between fat and weight. Once you recognize they're tricking you with that, your brain will start to pick up on it and shout at you that you're about to make a mistake.

And that's what that 'sense' is that people talk about. Some get it naturally because their brain is amazing at pattern recognition, so they find it hard to articulate how to get there - for them, it just happened. However, you can force your brain to do it by consciously recognizing the tricks you continually fall for.

3) When in doubt, pick the answer choice that's more likely to be correct based on the question type. If you're in a soft Must Be True ("Which of the following is most strongly supported?"), go for the weak answer choice. If you're in a sufficient assumption question, go for the stronger answer choice.

4) Preform an answer. Every time. Seriously. It's a lot harder to trick you away from a correct answer if you know exactly what you're looking for.

Now, there's two ways this can happen.

The first is that you have an exact idea of what the answer is going to be. Think a diagrammable MBT question - you know exactly what you're looking for. This is the easy preformed answer search.

The second is that you have a general idea of what you're looking for - this comes up a lot in flaw questions. This is a little trickier, because you have to be flexible. When this happens, you might think to yourself, "I'm looking for an exclusivity fallacy." That's a generic idea. Now, you have to make sure that you're also open to the answer choice that says, "It assumes that no other plan will save the country's economy," or, "It overlooks a plan that could save the country's economy without ________," etc...

Whatever the case, have some idea of what you want to see in a correct answer before you start looking for one. The simple process of practicing this will start to reinforce in your brain what a correct answer looks like, again leading you to that 'feeling' that you're hoping for.

Hope this helps!

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Geetar Man
Posts: 585
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 4:13 am

Re: Studying the hardest LR questions?

Postby Geetar Man » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:17 am

bp shinners wrote:A few tips:

1) Compare the answer choices to each other. If you get it down to only two choices, see how they differ from each other. It's usually the case that the answers will have a feature or two in common, and a word choice that differentiates them. Once you understand the differences between the two, use the language in the stimulus to figure out which answer lines up with it the most (especially the conclusion, if there is one).

2) When reviewing your incorrect answers, make sure that you figure out how the dude with the philosophy PhD tricked you. I always recommend answering the following questions for each question you get wrong:
a) Why is the right answer right?
b) Why is the wrong answer wrong?
This is where most people stop, and it's how you get to a 165+. To break into the 170s, you have to understand not only the logic, but the psychology of the test, and how it's likely to trip you up. To do so, answer:
c) What about the wrong answer made me think it was right?
d) What about the right answer made me think it was wrong?
If you can figure these two out, you won't fall for the same mistake again. I generally recommend my students (when they get to this level) keep a log book with the answers to the latter 2 questions. You should try to frame it in terms of a flaw (yes, a flaw from a flaw question).

An example (and the most common trick): You notice that you keep equivocating. You keep picking the fat loss answer when the stimulus only talks about weight loss. You've equivocated between fat and weight. Once you recognize they're tricking you with that, your brain will start to pick up on it and shout at you that you're about to make a mistake.

And that's what that 'sense' is that people talk about. Some get it naturally because their brain is amazing at pattern recognition, so they find it hard to articulate how to get there - for them, it just happened. However, you can force your brain to do it by consciously recognizing the tricks you continually fall for.

3) When in doubt, pick the answer choice that's more likely to be correct based on the question type. If you're in a soft Must Be True ("Which of the following is most strongly supported?"), go for the weak answer choice. If you're in a sufficient assumption question, go for the stronger answer choice.

4) Preform an answer. Every time. Seriously. It's a lot harder to trick you away from a correct answer if you know exactly what you're looking for.

Now, there's two ways this can happen.

The first is that you have an exact idea of what the answer is going to be. Think a diagrammable MBT question - you know exactly what you're looking for. This is the easy preformed answer search.

The second is that you have a general idea of what you're looking for - this comes up a lot in flaw questions. This is a little trickier, because you have to be flexible. When this happens, you might think to yourself, "I'm looking for an exclusivity fallacy." That's a generic idea. Now, you have to make sure that you're also open to the answer choice that says, "It assumes that no other plan will save the country's economy," or, "It overlooks a plan that could save the country's economy without ________," etc...

Whatever the case, have some idea of what you want to see in a correct answer before you start looking for one. The simple process of practicing this will start to reinforce in your brain what a correct answer looks like, again leading you to that 'feeling' that you're hoping for.

Hope this helps!



This is great advice. I'll have to take a little bit of time to implement it. I'll be back soon with my feedback.

Thanks BP!



ETA: BP, is the 4 question method (for reviewing) something that you implemented during your study? Or do you believe that you're gains came solely from continuous and repetitious involvement with the LSAT over a long period of time?

I'd like to believe the former, and I'm willing to put the work in. As a matter of fact, I have an 82 page document with something similar. I do, however, feel as though question 3 and 4 will help me to look at the wrong/correct answer choices in a new light, which I believe can be particularly helpful.
Last edited by Geetar Man on Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

03152016
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Re: Studying the hardest LR questions?

Postby 03152016 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:19 am

.
Last edited by 03152016 on Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

bp shinners
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Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Studying the hardest LR questions?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:39 pm

Geetar Man wrote:ETA: BP, is the 4 question method (for reviewing) something that you implemented during your study? Or do you believe that you're gains came solely from continuous and repetitious involvement with the LSAT over a long period of time?


I won't say that I had those 4 questions in mind when I reviewed my PTs, because that would be a lie. However, when reviewing, I definitely made note of how they tricked me into picking a wrong answer choice. Since I started teaching, I refined that general process into the 4 questions because I found answering them helps my students get through the same process that I went through when studying.




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