LR Plateau

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Funkycrime
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LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:45 pm

At this point in my preperation for October, LR is my most obvious weakness, and I could use some advice from other takers. I have 30 unspoiled PT's ready to go, but I don't want to start hitting them until my LR is solid. My games are fine and my reading comprehension isn't an issue, but I'm so inconsistent with LR that the repetion of PT's doesn't seem to be an appropriate remedy yet. When I'm on, I can complete a timed section at -4, but the next day I might see a -7 section on top of going ten minutes over (I go over instead of guessing so I don't waste material). This trend is really frustrating, and it's the last hurdle keeping me from a PT/review regimine for the remaining two months or so. The poor performance with additional time indicates that over thinking things may be a factor, and sometimes I think that putting LR away for a few days may help. By the way, I have been studying for almost two months, and from my last PT I would estimate my current score to be around 161. Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Mr. Frodo
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Mr. Frodo » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:49 pm

This is relevant to my interests.

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Funkycrime
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:56 pm

Elijah Wood FTW.

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theprophet89
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby theprophet89 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:08 pm

Mr. Frodo wrote:This is relevant to my interests.

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Funkycrime
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:16 pm

I'm glad I'm not alone. And just to clarify, I would really like to get consistently in the -2 range under timed conditions before I start the PT path. I also always go back to my wrong answers and write out explanations of why my answer was inccorect and why the correct one works. My current technique in combating the plateau has been drilling specific types and taking a timed section every other day or so (with modest success).

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NoodleyOne
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:20 pm

Have you gone through Psb and/or manhattan LSAT? Is it specific question types or just difficult questions in general? Do you thoroughly review your mistakes and understand why you are getting them wrong?

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Funkycrime
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:29 pm

I use Velocity. My misses generally stack up after question 15, so I would say mostly difficult questions in general. However, you could definitely say that some question types give me more trouble/take me longer. Parallel, resolves, and some flaw and assumption questions appearing towards the end of sections seem to be reoccurring issues...

kaseyb002
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby kaseyb002 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:42 pm

Bro I'm in the same spot. I've been sinking my soul into LR the past month and a half and I'm still going -3 to -5 on timed LR sections, which is only slightly above where I started. At this point, I think I have put in well over a 100 hours into LR.

I started doing the Kaplan Mastery by question type along with review of Manhattan LR and Velocity LR materials for that question type. Then I just plough through the questions slowly. It has definitely given me a more mechanical approach to the question types I have done so far. I wish I would have done this earlier. I'm about half way through the KM book.

Another thing I have done is SERIOUS review. Everyone who has taken the LSAT before advocates this hardcore, but I've always resisted. Before, I would review the questions I got wrong by looking up the explanation on the Manhattan forums and being done with it. But now I am going through previously completed sections and going through EVERY question. For each answer choice I will write a little baby phrase on EXACTLY why something is wrong or right. I feel like this is helping immensely. You begin to become much more intimate with how the test writers set up their questions and the traps they are setting up. I feel like my LR "muscles" are really growing. I feel like I am learning new stuff again.

However, I have only begun this since Sunday and have done only about 6 sections (roughly 150 LR questions) of review. I haven't taken a timed section so I don't know if I will see any results from it or not. I am taking a proctored PT this Saturday and I will let you know if I feel any difference in my progress.

BTW: Totally unrelated side note, if you have any local Test Prep companies who do proctored exams every week, do whatever you can to get in. The guy in my area lets me come for free since I bring my own PT's and don't stay around for the explanations or anything. There is a huge difference when someone else is proctoring you while in a classroom with a bunch of other people.

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TopHatToad
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby TopHatToad » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:04 pm

Okay, I'll dip my toe in this water. As an LSAT teacher, your situation is pretty common, and I understand your desire to save PTs for after your breakthrough. That being said, you have 30 of them and the test is two months off, so you have plenty to spare. Here's a couple ideas you may or may not have heard before:

Post-it Method: Cover the answer choices, and predict what the correct answer should be. Especially useful for flaw, necessary assumption (and others I can't think of right now)

Mark up about 5 PTs (so 10 LRs) by question type. Someone on TLS has done this before if you can find the post. Take a day on each question type, and that type only-- once you see a boatload of sufficient assumptions, for example, you get a pretty great feel for what the next, unknown one should be.

Just as a matter of practical efficiency, when you're PTing and run into that wall of difficulty in the late 'teens, skip straight to the end and work backwards. Your goal should obviously be to finish everything, but this ensures that you're tackling the questions as closely to Easy -> Hard as possible

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Funkycrime
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:16 pm

I think question specific practice that tophattoad and kasey touched on is definitely something I need to focus on more. I work through specific types in the Velocity book, but generally doing no more than 10 questions per sitting, and I think there is something to be said for spending an entire day on a specific type. As far as the sticky note method goes, I really try to implement this style of thinking when I work, minus the sticky notes. I always try to articulate the flaw or assumption before proceeding to answers. When I start looking to answers too quickly and expect them to bail me out, things generally go to hell. And Kasey, proctored tests are definitely something I want to try out once I am PTing.

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Funkycrime
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:18 pm

I'm willing to start experimenting with the order in which I tackle questions as well.

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Funkycrime
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:23 pm

Noodleyone, myself having never used anything but Velocity, could you comment on some of the strengths you find in strategies from either Manhattan or PS? Also, what is your typical method for reviewing sections and wrong answers?

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Nova
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Nova » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:24 pm

TopHatToad wrote:Mark up about 5 PTs (so 10 LRs) by question type. Someone on TLS has done this before if you can find the post. Take a day on each question type, and that type only-- once you see a boatload of sufficient assumptions, for example, you get a pretty great feel for what the next, unknown one should be.


viewtopic.php?f=6&t=108425

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NoodleyOne
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:45 pm

Funkycrime wrote:Noodleyone, myself having never used anything but Velocity, could you comment on some of the strengths you find in strategies from either Manhattan or PS? Also, what is your typical method for reviewing sections and wrong answers?

Ps... Helped me with conditionals and formal logic. Mlr... Fucking blew the roof off of sufficient and necessary assumptions for me.

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IgosduIkana
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby IgosduIkana » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:17 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:
Funkycrime wrote:Noodleyone, myself having never used anything but Velocity, could you comment on some of the strengths you find in strategies from either Manhattan or PS? Also, what is your typical method for reviewing sections and wrong answers?

Ps... Helped me with conditionals and formal logic. Mlr... Fucking blew the roof off of sufficient and necessary assumptions for me.


I had a similar experience with both texts, though of course drilling is where the concepts seems to really solidify.

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sabanist
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby sabanist » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:45 pm

Hion64 wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:
Funkycrime wrote:Noodleyone, myself having never used anything but Velocity, could you comment on some of the strengths you find in strategies from either Manhattan or PS? Also, what is your typical method for reviewing sections and wrong answers?

Ps... Helped me with conditionals and formal logic. Mlr... Fucking blew the roof off of sufficient and necessary assumptions for me.


I had a similar experience with both texts, though of course drilling is where the concepts seems to really solidify.

All of this. I've been using the Cambridge bundles to drill - tackling the questions by type in bulk is where the improvement in accuracy and understanding has come after I hit my plateau before the June test.

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Funkycrime
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:21 am

Thanks for the help everyone. Really going to step it up in drilling types.

thecynic69
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby thecynic69 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:40 am

There's some pretty solid advice ITT. Wanted to cast a vote in favor of the "post-it method". It has been a while since I sat for the test so I won't throw out percentages, but a surprisingly large number of questions can be "answered" without even looking at the answer choices. In addition to trying to get some good intuition about what the answer will be, you should be able to get a good feel for what sort of distractors you are going to see (strengthen answer choices on a weaken question, fallacy of the converses on formal logic type questions, etc.) A warning (imho): this is sometimes a bad strategy come test day (trying to guess right/wrong answers ahead of time): (1) actively thinking about what will come can be a waste of time and (2) you risk getting tunnel vision (that is, looking for your predicted answer choice and missing the actual right answer). But this is a solid practice strategy.

Depending on how close you are to your target score you are, you also might consider trying to complete sections in less than the allowed time (e.g. try 30 and 25 minute sections). There is a balance to be struck, as you risk burning through your practice tests. But decreasing the allotted time will (1) make full time sections feel better and (2) let you see how much time you are wasting (the relevant statistic is the percentage of questions you get wrong--if this jumps by decreasing to 30 mins, it is *less likely* that you are overthinking). If you are going to decrease your time limit, make sure you are trying to answer individual questions faster (and not simply completing less of the LR section).

Also, I am a stem first kind of guy. I never understood people who read the stimulus before the question. There aren't that many kinds of questions, and it takes all of a few seconds to identify the type of question you are facing. Knowing whether you are facing a strengthen/weaken versus a parallel the reasoning or what have you is crucial. Without that knowledge, you might as well forego the whole post-it method. The post-it method is good at building your intuition, but your intuition is worthless if you don't know what it is you are supposed to have intuition about. How can you be intuitively forming predictions about what answers and distractors you will face if you don't even know what type of question you are facing? I don't want this thread to devolve into a debate about question or stimulus first--past a certain point, do whatever works best for you. I do suggest, at the very least, that you give reading the questions first a try (it may take some getting used to if you are accustomed to reading the stimulus first), so be prepared to run with it for a bit.

Finally, really study what the questions types are, and what they mean. It has been too long for me to give particularly helpful advice here, but IIRC, the LR bible and Kaplan Mastery have some good stuff on this. I'll give an example, but don't hold me to it (again, it has been a while)--the goal of this example is to explain by what I mean by study the question types, not to convey specific content. I believe strengthen/weaken questions work like this: the stimulus makes an assumption, and strengthen answer choices provide information that supports the assumption, whereas weaken answer choices provide information that undercuts the assumption; thus, when confronting a strengthen/weaken assumption, you should treat it, much like an "identify the assumption" question, identify assumptions and prioritize answer choices that address your predicted assumptions (and eliminate answer choices that address premises, even if answer choices strengthen/weaken those premises). Whether the content of the example is right or not, these are the sorts of insights you need. You need to be so comfortable with each question type that you know exactly what you are looking for. Fair warning, as I recall, you need to differentiate question types beyond what LSAT study books advise.

Best of luck!

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Funkycrime
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:01 am

Thanks for the reply. Hunting assumptions in strengthen/weaken is something I have began practicing heavily only lately, and it is definitely helping. Also, I always read questions first it LR. I am a ways off from my target score, but subtracting five minutes is something I may play around with.

rglifberg
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby rglifberg » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:03 am

Give Manhattan LR Guide a shot. I'm a re-taker, I would normally go -4-to 7 on LR. I got my first -0 today. The Manhattan explanations are great for people who already have a good feel for LR, imo.

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flippacious
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby flippacious » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:17 pm

kaseyb002 wrote:Another thing I have done is SERIOUS review. Everyone who has taken the LSAT before advocates this hardcore, but I've always resisted. Before, I would review the questions I got wrong by looking up the explanation on the Manhattan forums and being done with it. But now I am going through previously completed sections and going through EVERY question. For each answer choice I will write a little baby phrase on EXACTLY why something is wrong or right. I feel like this is helping immensely. You begin to become much more intimate with how the test writers set up their questions and the traps they are setting up. I feel like my LR "muscles" are really growing. I feel like I am learning new stuff again.


This should be stressed more. I have gotten to consistently averaging about -0.7 per LR section (calculated from my last 5 timed PTs), and I think most of my improvements came from intense review of timed sections and drilling. At first, I started by doing this while drilling -- writing down next to each incorrect answer choice exactly why it was wrong. Then, I started doing that only during my review. It is one thing to know why an answer choice is right, but it's also essential to know why 4 of the 5 are wrong.

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Funkycrime
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Re: LR Plateau

Postby Funkycrime » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:46 pm

So write an explanation for all five choices? I have been writing these for only my incorrect choice and also the right answer. I think getting more familiar with bad answer choices will definitely help.




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