LR: stimulus or question stem first?

chewg9
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LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby chewg9 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:08 pm

I'm interested the order order that most high scoring test takers read the parts of an LR Question? I'm curious because I took a Kaplan course for the June test (I wasn't able to sit for reasons outside my control), and they said to read the question stem first. This time around I am reading the PowerScore LR Bible, and they say to read the stimulus first. I am definitely more used to the Kaplan method, but would be willing to retrain myself if it saved time. For reference, my target score is a 175 and my few PTs range in the 168-171s with about -2 per LR section.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:22 pm

Average -4 or less in LR total and underperformed for a 169 in June. Read the stimulus first IMO. After awhile you'll be able to tell the question type before even seeing the stem.

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Nova
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby Nova » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:28 pm

I always read the question first. I prefer to know what I'm looking for.

Oscar85
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby Oscar85 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:57 pm

I like question first - that way you know what you are looking for.

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flippacious
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby flippacious » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:08 pm

I always read the stimulus first. I am less likely to pick up on all the details of the stimulus if I read the question stem first, and it slows me down. I think it comes down to personal preference though.

bp shinners
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:52 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:After awhile you'll be able to tell the question type before even seeing the stem.


Nope, can't do that. You can use the same stimulus for a significant number of different question types. You might know which family of questions you're in, but you can't (always) tell what type of question it is from the stimulus.

To OP - I always read the question first. Let's me know what I'm looking for, specifically.

Malapropism
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby Malapropism » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:04 pm

I always read stimulus first. I feel like I get a more complete understanding of the stimulus if I'm not looking for something in particular. The method of reasoning, flaws in the reasoning, conclusion, etc. should all jump out at you to begin with. In my opinion, having to read the question twice (once before the stimulus, once after) wastes more time than it's worth.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:15 pm

bp shinners wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:After awhile you'll be able to tell the question type before even seeing the stem.


Nope, can't do that. You can use the same stimulus for a significant number of different question types. You might know which family of questions you're in, but you can't (always) tell what type of question it is from the stimulus.

To OP - I always read the question first. Let's me know what I'm looking for, specifically.


Didn't mean that absolutely, more of just generally.

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mindarmed
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby mindarmed » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:50 pm

If you have a knack for retaining information (like myself) it is beneficial to read the stimulus, then the question. If you are able to answer a question more effectively by prompting yourself, I would recommend reading the question first. Ultimately, OP, you need to figure out how you learn best.

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Nova
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby Nova » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:10 pm

armedwithamind wrote:If you have a knack for retaining information (like myself) it is beneficial to read the stimulus, then the question.


I dont buy this absolute statement.

Why would reading the question first be any less benifitial for those who are good at retaining information?

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mindarmed
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby mindarmed » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:15 pm

Nova wrote:
armedwithamind wrote:If you have a knack for retaining information (like myself) it is beneficial to read the stimulus, then the question.


I dont buy this absolute statement.

Why would reading the question first be any less benifitial for those who are good at retaining information?


My mind is more spatially oriented, I've always learned and interpreted information by first reading the set of variables or facts given, then answering the question after I've already formulated an idea of what I've just read. I find that when I read the question first, I am not as focused on reading the question rather I try to quickly sift through the information not reading as critically as necessary. In my experience, people with a similar ability to retain information prefer to read the stimulus before the answer choice. I was merely suggesting what has worked well for myself and others I know. The OP needs to examine his or her own learning style to see which method will work best.

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Nova
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby Nova » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:23 pm

Thanx for the quick reply.

OP, this topic has been discussed many many times before. Read these threads for several more of replies,

search.php?keywords=stimulus+first&terms=all&author=&sc=1&sf=titleonly&sk=t&sd=d&sr=topics&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search

TylerJonesMPLS
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby TylerJonesMPLS » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:01 am

How well do you know the question types?

If you know them very well, so that just a glance will tell you what the question is and how to answer it, then you will actually gain time by reading the question first. If you don't know the question types well, it may be faster for you to read the passage first.

mcs268
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby mcs268 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:45 am

^
I have to agree about the glancing part. I generally only glance to see if it's a type I have particularly trouble with (assumptions, flaw) so I'm looking for general jumps in the argument. I already do that anyway but it tells me there is a DEFINITE flaw/assumption somewhere.

That also goes for questions where there are two speakers, and the question only refers to one, so I know not to waste time understanding the other's argumen (unless the question says something like - A's response to B is inadequate because...which means that both are important).

bp shinners
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby bp shinners » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:51 pm

armedwithamind wrote:In my experience, people with a similar ability to retain information prefer to read the stimulus before the answer choice. I was merely suggesting what has worked well for myself and others I know. The OP needs to examine his or her own learning style to see which method will work best.


I disagree, and think that people who use this line of reasoning just don't understand why they should read the prompt first.

First off, you don't re-read the prompt. Read it once, know the question type, and you're good to go.

Then, read the stimulus. Since I know what the question type is, I know a few important things:
1) Is it important to spot the conclusion?
2) Is there a good chance diagramming this will help me?
3) Is there a specific feature of the stimulus I should be on the lookout for?

I'm not skimming the stimulus, but I'm reading it with purpose. I'm not trying to sift through the stimulus.

What I am doing, and what reading the prompt first lets me do, is know when to stop doing work. If it's a main point question, and you just tried to figure out why the reasoning is flawed, you've wasted seconds. If it's a Role question, and you need to go back and find that sentence again, you've wasted time. If it's a flaw question, and you've been thinking of ways to strengthen the argument, you're wasting your time.

Instead, read the prompt first. Know what you're looking for. Find it. While I won't speak in absolutes, I will say that at least 99.9% of people would be much better off if they read the prompt first.

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CardozoLaw09
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby CardozoLaw09 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:03 pm

bp shinners wrote:
armedwithamind wrote:In my experience, people with a similar ability to retain information prefer to read the stimulus before the answer choice. I was merely suggesting what has worked well for myself and others I know. The OP needs to examine his or her own learning style to see which method will work best.


I disagree, and think that people who use this line of reasoning just don't understand why they should read the prompt first.

First off, you don't re-read the prompt. Read it once, know the question type, and you're good to go.

Then, read the stimulus. Since I know what the question type is, I know a few important things:
1) Is it important to spot the conclusion?
2) Is there a good chance diagramming this will help me?
3) Is there a specific feature of the stimulus I should be on the lookout for?

I'm not skimming the stimulus, but I'm reading it with purpose. I'm not trying to sift through the stimulus.

What I am doing, and what reading the prompt first lets me do, is know when to stop doing work. If it's a main point question, and you just tried to figure out why the reasoning is flawed, you've wasted seconds. If it's a Role question, and you need to go back and find that sentence again, you've wasted time. If it's a flaw question, and you've been thinking of ways to strengthen the argument, you're wasting your time.

Instead, read the prompt first. Know what you're looking for. Find it. While I won't speak in absolutes, I will say that at least 99.9% of people would be much better off if they read the prompt first.


Wouldn't you be reading less critically if you read the prompt first, though? If you're looking for one particular aspect of the stimulus then wouldn't that compromise things like the structure of the argument, details, modifier words, etc. that you should always be on the look out for? I find reading the prompt first distracting because I tend not to pay enough attention to the argument and only look for what's being asked.

bp shinners
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby bp shinners » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:18 pm

CardozoLaw09 wrote:Wouldn't you be reading less critically if you read the prompt first, though? If you're looking for one particular aspect of the stimulus then wouldn't that compromise things like the structure of the argument, details, modifier words, etc. that you should always be on the look out for? I find reading the prompt first distracting because I tend not to pay enough attention to the argument and only look for what's being asked.


Nope, definitely not. Well, sort of.

First off, yes, I'm not going to be reading it critically if it's a Main Point question. Why should I? I'm just trying to find the conclusion. I don't care if that conclusion is valid or not; I only care what it is. I'm still finding the structure of the argument, but I'm not thinking about whether the premises justify the conclusion. That's a waste of time.

If it's an implication question, then I'm reading it for the strong statements that can back up a conclusion. That's no different than the default, but now I also know that I should probably diagram something that's diagrammable, I shouldn't worry about logical gaps in the argument because there's no flaw to be found (or, for the most part, an argument).

If it's any other type of question, then I'm going to be reading it critically to find a flaw, etc..., because every other question is related to that flaw (strengthen, weaken, assumptions, etc...).

So it'll save me some time on Main Point/Describe/Role questions because I specifically don't read that critically, since the question doesn't ask for it. Not analyzing the validity of the argument won't cause me to get one of those questions wrong. It'll save me some time on implication questions because I know how to approach those, so I won't have to go back after I realize it's a MBT instead of a MBF (or a soft Must Be True, which has a drastically different approach); I also know not to look for/think about a conclusion, since there probably isn't one. And in all the other questions, I'll be reading more critically because I know that I have to find a flaw and do something to it.

Knowing ahead of time shouldn't cause you to approach the stimulus less rigorously, just more specifically.

lederhosen
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby lederhosen » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:13 am

.
Last edited by lederhosen on Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wanderlust
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby wanderlust » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:09 am

What's a soft MBT question? And how is it different from MBT questions?


bp shinners wrote:
CardozoLaw09 wrote:Wouldn't you be reading less critically if you read the prompt first, though? If you're looking for one particular aspect of the stimulus then wouldn't that compromise things like the structure of the argument, details, modifier words, etc. that you should always be on the look out for? I find reading the prompt first distracting because I tend not to pay enough attention to the argument and only look for what's being asked.


Nope, definitely not. Well, sort of.

First off, yes, I'm not going to be reading it critically if it's a Main Point question. Why should I? I'm just trying to find the conclusion. I don't care if that conclusion is valid or not; I only care what it is. I'm still finding the structure of the argument, but I'm not thinking about whether the premises justify the conclusion. That's a waste of time.

If it's an implication question, then I'm reading it for the strong statements that can back up a conclusion. That's no different than the default, but now I also know that I should probably diagram something that's diagrammable, I shouldn't worry about logical gaps in the argument because there's no flaw to be found (or, for the most part, an argument).

If it's any other type of question, then I'm going to be reading it critically to find a flaw, etc..., because every other question is related to that flaw (strengthen, weaken, assumptions, etc...).

So it'll save me some time on Main Point/Describe/Role questions because I specifically don't read that critically, since the question doesn't ask for it. Not analyzing the validity of the argument won't cause me to get one of those questions wrong. It'll save me some time on implication questions because I know how to approach those, so I won't have to go back after I realize it's a MBT instead of a MBF (or a soft Must Be True, which has a drastically different approach); I also know not to look for/think about a conclusion, since there probably isn't one. And in all the other questions, I'll be reading more critically because I know that I have to find a flaw and do something to it.

Knowing ahead of time shouldn't cause you to approach the stimulus less rigorously, just more specifically.

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MauveT-Rex
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby MauveT-Rex » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:49 am

wanderlust wrote:What's a soft MBT question? And how is it different from MBT questions?

[/quote]

A ~MBT is asking you what is "most strongly supported" (what is most inferred to be true). A MBT is asking what is absolutely inferred by the stimulus....A soft must be true is likely to be true, a MBT HAS to be true... Thought I might save Shinners some time....hat's off

mcs268
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby mcs268 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:00 am

I just implemented question stem first into my weekly practice test two days ago. My score basically stayed the same, but I finished the sections much faster than ever before. I used to work to the very last second but I actually had 5 minutes left in one section! That may not seem like a lot but for me it was. Once I approach using that time left effectively I think my accuracy will start to go up.

bp shinners
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby bp shinners » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:37 am

MauveT-Rex wrote:
wanderlust wrote:What's a soft MBT question? And how is it different from MBT questions?



A ~MBT is asking you what is "most strongly supported" (what is most inferred to be true). A MBT is asking what is absolutely inferred by the stimulus....A soft must be true is likely to be true, a MBT HAS to be true... Thought I might save Shinners some time....hat's off[/quote]

Exactly right.

Some important differences:
1) A MBT is likely to be diagrammed (50/50); a ~MBT (our notation for soft Must Be True) isn't (~MBT Principle questions make up the 10% or so of ~MBT diagrammable questions, for the most part)
2) A ~MBT question almost always has a weak answer choice (if I'm between two, I pick the weaker); a MBT can have an answer choice of any logical force, though a strong answer choice usually has a diagrammable stimulus or a study with a missing piece of information I have to fill in (something that is the only possible explanation for the results I found)
3) A ~MBT question usually has a single statement in the stimulus that dwarfs every other statement in logical force - that's probably going to give me my answer (the other ~MBT form is a situation that strongly suggest a certain conclusion); a MBT almost always relies on the interaction between statements for an answer

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Take Two
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby Take Two » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:45 pm

While bp has made a very convincing case I am going to put in a small plug for reading the stimulus first, or rather finding what is best for you. I found that if I read the question first I ended up not reading the stimulus objectively, that is, I found what I thought should be there based on the question rather than what was actually there. Perhaps I am just in that .1 percent, or perhaps I'm just a fool, but there it is. :D

wanderlust
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby wanderlust » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:31 am

Thank you very much! BP shinners!



bp shinners wrote:
MauveT-Rex wrote:
wanderlust wrote:What's a soft MBT question? And how is it different from MBT questions?



A ~MBT is asking you what is "most strongly supported" (what is most inferred to be true). A MBT is asking what is absolutely inferred by the stimulus....A soft must be true is likely to be true, a MBT HAS to be true... Thought I might save Shinners some time....hat's off


Exactly right.

Some important differences:
1) A MBT is likely to be diagrammed (50/50); a ~MBT (our notation for soft Must Be True) isn't (~MBT Principle questions make up the 10% or so of ~MBT diagrammable questions, for the most part)
2) A ~MBT question almost always has a weak answer choice (if I'm between two, I pick the weaker); a MBT can have an answer choice of any logical force, though a strong answer choice usually has a diagrammable stimulus or a study with a missing piece of information I have to fill in (something that is the only possible explanation for the results I found)
3) A ~MBT question usually has a single statement in the stimulus that dwarfs every other statement in logical force - that's probably going to give me my answer (the other ~MBT form is a situation that strongly suggest a certain conclusion); a MBT almost always relies on the interaction between statements for an answer[/quote]

bbobby12
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Re: LR: stimulus or question stem first?

Postby bbobby12 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:53 pm

if ur a fast reader, reading the question would give an advantage...




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