Reducing reading errors?

collegebum1989
Posts: 323
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:03 pm

Reducing reading errors?

Postby collegebum1989 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:29 am

Took a timed practice yesterday and got a 164, but my goal is to achieve a score over 173.

After completing the test, I scored and circled the incorrect questions. I attempted to redo these questions at night with out re-reading passages in RC, and with a quick glance through stimuli in LR, I was able to get majority of the questions right on the second try.

This makes me think that majority of my errors during timed practice stems from missing subtle details or misreading correct answer choices rather than conceptually approaching specific question types.

When doing timed practice:
LR: -7/8
RC: -6/7
LG: -0/1

When doing this untimed:
LR: -3/4
RC: -3
LG: 0

Is there anyway to specifically improve upon this? Also, is it realistic to expect a 9 point increase to 173 by June?

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shifty_eyed
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Re: Reducing reading errors?

Postby shifty_eyed » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:34 am

I don't mean to burst your bubble, but it's always easier IMO to find the right answer on the second try because you know your first answer choice was wrong.

If you really want 173, I would push back the test until October.

Mik Ekim
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:06 pm

Re: Reducing reading errors?

Postby Mik Ekim » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:41 pm

One thing you might want to try is to mark questions you are uncertain of as you are taking your practice exams. Afterwards, you can gauge whether the ones you got wrong are ones you originally knew you had trouble with, or ones you thought you'd gotten right. If you have a lot of misses in the latter category, it's a pretty good sign you are making subtle reading mistakes. As shifty_eyed mentioned, I think what you did in terms of quickly re-doing the q's isn't as accurate an indicator.

collegebum1989
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:03 pm

Re: Reducing reading errors?

Postby collegebum1989 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:45 pm

Thanks Mik Ekim, I'll definitely try this out.

And definitely agree that it's easier on the second time, what I mean is that when I re-do the question through the second time, I instantly realize that the flaw in my initial attempt and its usually because I mistook one word, or missed an element of the stimulus which was the deciding factor between two answer choices.

Because I am consistently getting 7-8 wrong, its obvious that I'm falling for consistent traps which the test-takers set when making the exam. I'm just having a problem of getting over this hump because its not a specific problem (question type) but a general timing issue. I've noticed that I'm near perfect on questions 1-14 on LR, -2 on 15-20, and -4 on 21-26. So wrong answers heavily toward the end of the section.

I've read the Logical Reasoning Bible twice, and the Manhattan LR Book, and re-reading them seems sort of point-less because I get all of the section questions correct, but I make mistakes during section drills. I'm thinking it has to do with the structure of the sections, rather than the questions themselves. I'm confused on how to proceed from here until June.

Maybe I should drill with the hardest questions of each type?

Mik Ekim
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:06 pm

Re: Reducing reading errors?

Postby Mik Ekim » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:16 pm

I have some thoughts and suggestions -- of course, you know your own situation far better than I do, so please feel free to ignore anything u know doesn't apply to you --

When students feel confident in their reasoning abilities, but still end up taking too much time on questions, it's often because they do not have control over their own thought process. Put another way: the direct path to the right answer is never long (you know this to be true--when you "nail" a question, it doesn't take you a whole lot of time to go through all of your steps) -- when you take long on questions, it's because you spent time pausing on this path, or, more commonly, zigzagging in and out of it (i.e. thinking about things that don't help you get to the right answer). None of us are perfect, and we're all going to zigzag some, but those who limit it more get through sections far faster, and the best way to control these zigzags is by forming strong habits.

You also mentioned that you do far better on specific question blocks, rather than whole sections. This is very common, and for many students it's because, without knowing it, they are mixing up the strategies and instincts for the different types of questions. An analogy could be made to batting practice--imagine you practice hitting thirty straight fastballs, then thirty straight curveballs (getting used to each one, in the process) then you face a pitcher who starts randomly throwing you fastballs and curveballs. It's understandable that you would struggle at first.

I have a suggestion for you that could be helpful on both fronts--for each of the major question types, create a 3X5 notecard where you write down the keys for that question--how to understand the question stem, how to think about the stimulus, what to look for in the right answer, and what to look for in the wrong answers. Don't use tiny print to fit a ton of stuff-the simpler the better.

Place these in front of you as you take a practice test. For each question, read the question stem, then quickly review the corresponding notecard before attacking the question. Keep doing this until you realize you are not needing to look back at the notecards at all. This will help you develop more efficient habits, and it will help you keep organized the instincts for different types of questions. This will likely initially add a minute or two to your overall timing, but should, if these are in fact the problems you are having, pay off very well in terms of making you much faster (and more accurate) in the near future --

Again, you know yourself best, and it could be that you know these aren't your issues, but I hope that's helpful.

collegebum1989
Posts: 323
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:03 pm

Re: Reducing reading errors?

Postby collegebum1989 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:35 pm

thanks for the amazing suggestions!

I'll try out the index card approach, it's the like the fourth time someone has suggested it. I also think it's a psychological thing (knowing question 18-25 will be tougher than 1-15) which throws me off my game.

Need to also get comfortable with the most dfficult questions/passages. Think drilling will be the best.

I have taken 4 timed preptests in last month and been stagnant at 163-164. My untimed practices have gone up from 155 to 169 though.

meandme
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:36 pm

Re: Reducing reading errors?

Postby meandme » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:14 pm

Thanks Mik Ekim. Your baseball example really made sense to me. I really appreciate the advice. God bless you.

Mik Ekim
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:06 pm

Re: Reducing reading errors?

Postby Mik Ekim » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:36 pm

Sure thing -- good luck to both of you!

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TyrionLannister
Posts: 122
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Re: Reducing reading errors?

Postby TyrionLannister » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:41 pm

Mik Ekim wrote:I have some thoughts and suggestions -- of course, you know your own situation far better than I do, so please feel free to ignore anything u know doesn't apply to you --

When students feel confident in their reasoning abilities, but still end up taking too much time on questions, it's often because they do not have control over their own thought process. Put another way: the direct path to the right answer is never long (you know this to be true--when you "nail" a question, it doesn't take you a whole lot of time to go through all of your steps) -- when you take long on questions, it's because you spent time pausing on this path, or, more commonly, zigzagging in and out of it (i.e. thinking about things that don't help you get to the right answer). None of us are perfect, and we're all going to zigzag some, but those who limit it more get through sections far faster, and the best way to control these zigzags is by forming strong habits.

You also mentioned that you do far better on specific question blocks, rather than whole sections. This is very common, and for many students it's because, without knowing it, they are mixing up the strategies and instincts for the different types of questions. An analogy could be made to batting practice--imagine you practice hitting thirty straight fastballs, then thirty straight curveballs (getting used to each one, in the process) then you face a pitcher who starts randomly throwing you fastballs and curveballs. It's understandable that you would struggle at first.

I have a suggestion for you that could be helpful on both fronts--for each of the major question types, create a 3X5 notecard where you write down the keys for that question--how to understand the question stem, how to think about the stimulus, what to look for in the right answer, and what to look for in the wrong answers. Don't use tiny print to fit a ton of stuff-the simpler the better.

Place these in front of you as you take a practice test. For each question, read the question stem, then quickly review the corresponding notecard before attacking the question. Keep doing this until you realize you are not needing to look back at the notecards at all. This will help you develop more efficient habits, and it will help you keep organized the instincts for different types of questions. This will likely initially add a minute or two to your overall timing, but should, if these are in fact the problems you are having, pay off very well in terms of making you much faster (and more accurate) in the near future --

Again, you know yourself best, and it could be that you know these aren't your issues, but I hope that's helpful.


I'll chime in to compliment you as well. Very nice examples - both very helpful. Thanks!

Mik Ekim
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:06 pm

Re: Reducing reading errors?

Postby Mik Ekim » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:48 pm

glad to be helpful - good luck with the studying.




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