Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

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Cerebro
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Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby Cerebro » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:56 pm

Do you read all answer choices in some sections but not others? Do you quit looking at the choices once you identify an answer that appears to be correct? Or, do you always read all the choices?

I always read all the choices for LR. This is the only way I know to ensure that I didn't fall for a trick answer that just looks good.

I also read all of the choices for RC, even though sometimes I've prephrased the question and found that answer A or B matches my prephrase. Am I burning up too much time by doing this?

For LG, I've been debating whether or not it is necessary to read and evaluate choices C, D and E once I've identified B as the correct answer based on my diagram. Not reading all of the answer choices will definitely improve my time. However, there were a couple of mistakes that happened earlier on in my prep for which reading all of the choices happened to work out very well. For example, I had misinterpreted a key rule, and my diagram was incorrect as a result. Reading all the choices alerted me to this mistake, because there were TWO seemingly correct answers. In this situation, I was able to quickly find the mistake in my diagram and then ended up completing the rest of the section with no errors.

I'd like to hear what the prevailing wisdom is here on TLS with respect to this topic.

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The Platypus
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby The Platypus » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:04 pm

If you're ABSOLUTELY confident, probably don't need to read the answers.

BUT...remember that the incorrect choices are not RANDOMLY plucked out by LSAC, but rather trying to choose answers that the MOST COMMON WRONG ANSWERS would fall under.

So, that means if you mixed up a rule, didn't realize it, were confident...chose letter b) since it matched, you just hurt yourself. If you see the other answers, maybe you would've been alerted to something was up. If you have time (or try to make time) at least skim the other answers. If it's the end of the test, just go for it.

But I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I like to look at the other answers JUST IN CASE. (or circle answers to go back to...but remember that you want to start with the right answer. So at least check the first one or two answers in the LG section, otherwise it could throw off your whole game.)

Swimp
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby Swimp » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:16 pm

Cerebro wrote:Do you read all answer choices in some sections but not others? Do you quit looking at the choices once you identify an answer that appears to be correct? Or, do you always read all the choices?

I always read all the choices for LR. This is the only way I know to ensure that I didn't fall for a trick answer that just looks good.

I also read all of the choices for RC, even though sometimes I've prephrased the question and found that answer A or B matches my prephrase. Am I burning up too much time by doing this?

For LG, I've been debating whether or not it is necessary to read and evaluate choices C, D and E once I've identified B as the correct answer based on my diagram. Not reading all of the answer choices will definitely improve my time. However, there were a couple of mistakes that happened earlier on in my prep for which reading all of the choices happened to work out very well. For example, I had misinterpreted a key rule, and my diagram was incorrect as a result. Reading all the choices alerted me to this mistake, because there were TWO seemingly correct answers. In this situation, I was able to quickly find the mistake in my diagram and then ended up completing the rest of the section with no errors.

I'd like to hear what the prevailing wisdom is here on TLS with respect to this topic.


My thinking is the same as yours in RC and LR. It doesn't take longer than a few extra seconds to read the rest of the choices, and I don't usually come down to the wire in those sections, so the extra time is worth it to me.

I don't usually continue evaluating the choices in LG once I've found the right one, though. If you diagram correctly, you should always get the right answer. This has gotten me into trouble a few times, but I'm choosing to interpret that to mean that I need to be more efficient at diagramming, not that I need to start checking each choice after I've found one that looks good.

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VUSisterRayVU
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby VUSisterRayVU » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:08 pm

Swimp wrote:
Cerebro wrote:Do you read all answer choices in some sections but not others? Do you quit looking at the choices once you identify an answer that appears to be correct? Or, do you always read all the choices?

I always read all the choices for LR. This is the only way I know to ensure that I didn't fall for a trick answer that just looks good.

I also read all of the choices for RC, even though sometimes I've prephrased the question and found that answer A or B matches my prephrase. Am I burning up too much time by doing this?

For LG, I've been debating whether or not it is necessary to read and evaluate choices C, D and E once I've identified B as the correct answer based on my diagram. Not reading all of the answer choices will definitely improve my time. However, there were a couple of mistakes that happened earlier on in my prep for which reading all of the choices happened to work out very well. For example, I had misinterpreted a key rule, and my diagram was incorrect as a result. Reading all the choices alerted me to this mistake, because there were TWO seemingly correct answers. In this situation, I was able to quickly find the mistake in my diagram and then ended up completing the rest of the section with no errors.

I'd like to hear what the prevailing wisdom is here on TLS with respect to this topic.


My thinking is the same as yours in RC and LR. It doesn't take longer than a few extra seconds to read the rest of the choices, and I don't usually come down to the wire in those sections, so the extra time is worth it to me.

I don't usually continue evaluating the choices in LG once I've found the right one, though. If you diagram correctly, you should always get the right answer. This has gotten me into trouble a few times, but I'm choosing to interpret that to mean that I need to be more efficient at diagramming, not that I need to start checking each choice after I've found one that looks good.


I'm working on NOT reading more on LR mainly because I'm usually very confident in my choices. If I'm unsure, I know that I'm unsure and I'll check, but for most I'm trying not to read the other responses. Trying to do that on RC also. I check most choices on LGs just because I'm pretty quick on LG anyway but I can usually 'check' them in my head fairly quickly. Some I don't check, though.

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CyanIdes Of March
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby CyanIdes Of March » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:51 am

Cerebro wrote:Do you read all answer choices in some sections but not others? Do you quit looking at the choices once you identify an answer that appears to be correct? Or, do you always read all the choices?

I always read all the choices for LR. This is the only way I know to ensure that I didn't fall for a trick answer that just looks good.

I also read all of the choices for RC, even though sometimes I've prephrased the question and found that answer A or B matches my prephrase. Am I burning up too much time by doing this?

For LG, I've been debating whether or not it is necessary to read and evaluate choices C, D and E once I've identified B as the correct answer based on my diagram. Not reading all of the answer choices will definitely improve my time. However, there were a couple of mistakes that happened earlier on in my prep for which reading all of the choices happened to work out very well. For example, I had misinterpreted a key rule, and my diagram was incorrect as a result. Reading all the choices alerted me to this mistake, because there were TWO seemingly correct answers. In this situation, I was able to quickly find the mistake in my diagram and then ended up completing the rest of the section with no errors.

I'd like to hear what the prevailing wisdom is here on TLS with respect to this topic.


I tend to read all the answer choices. For LG I may skip if I'm absolutely sure or I'm falling a little behind but otherwise I find it helps me make sure I didn't do something stupid and that I'm not misreading a rule. Also, by thinking about why other answers are wrong it expedites the later questions by building the diagram and relationships in your head.

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bdeebs
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby bdeebs » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:54 am

I read all answer choices in RC. It's my weakest section and I feel I'm more susceptible to trickery. I generally read all answer choices in LR. Occasionally, in questions 1-15 or so, I'll find an answer that matches what I would expect to hear so exactly that I'll skip the rest of the choices. I mark that I've done this so if I have time left when I'm finished with the section I can go back and verify. For LG I don't go through all the answer choices. I consider it a waste of time. Occasionally there will be a answer (usually a min/max type question) that I will question. In this case, I circle it and return to verify my answer when I finish the games section. I also usually choose the more confusing game(s) to redo at the end of the section provided I have enough time.

bp shinners
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:54 pm

With very few exceptions, I read all answer choices for LR (occasionally, I'll skip if it's diagrammable or blatantly obvious; usually I'll still check just to be sure).

For RC, I always read every answer choice (the exception being a specific question that I can find in the passage in a second or two).

For LG, I skip answer choices quite a bit. The only questions that I probably wouldn't generally do that for are Could Be True questions.

However, make sure you're accurate before saving time this way. It can definitely come back to bite you.

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:55 pm

Read all answer choices. If you're in a position where reading all AC's is enough to screw you over time-wise, you have a lot of work to do RE: speed on the LSAT. You should have enough time to read all of your ACs.

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gaud
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby gaud » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:56 pm

Yes for LR and RC. No for LG.

note: LG was my shit so once I found the correct answer, I was always confident with it and moved on right away.

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LSAT Hacks (Graeme)
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:00 pm

I'm hypersensitive to the potential for error. I scored 177, I've been teaching the LSAT for four years, and I STILL make lots of logic games mistakes.

The difference between me and a lower scoring student is that I CATCH my mistakes.

It only takes about 5 seconds to look over other answers once you find the right one. I mean, if you're really 100% sure, sure enough to skip, then it doesn't take long to review them.

Now, why review? Well, sometimes, you'll find that one of the other answers is ALSO correct according to your diagram.

This doesn't happen often, but it saves you a point. In some cases, it alerts you to the fact that you did the ENTIRE game wrong up to that point (on an early question).

Again, reading all the answers is not useful, most of the time. But it doesn't take long, and it's EXTREMELY useful, when it is needed.

I routinely score perfect on LG now, because I am careful. I'm convinced this actually saves me time. I read all the rules before drawing. I reread the rules to double check that I didn't make a mistake. I read all the answers.

This all makes me more familiar with the game, and ultimately speeds me up. My two cents.

TylerJonesMPLS
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby TylerJonesMPLS » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:38 pm

For me, on the LR, it really depends on the kind of question.

In Parallel Reasoning questions that are complicated enough to require that the argument structure be written down, I just scan for the choice that matches my solution. I do the same with any kind of LR question that is formal logic: conditionals, None-Some-All etc. With these my solution will either be correct, or it won’t. If I scan the choices and none of the choices have it, then I know I made a logical mistake, and I rewrite my analysis of the argument. Of course, it’s possible that my diagram is wrong in such a way as to make two choices correct. But this happens so rarely that I think it is better to move on and save time.

But for Necessary Assumption questions, I read every answer choice very carefully. The truth of virtually any statement has an indefinitely large number of necessary conditions and so the LSAC has an indefinitely large number of ways to trip you up.

But, if I’m running out of time, I read the question, scan, choose and hope for the best. Since I do the LR sections backwards, I’m running out of time when I’m doing the first few questions, and I can get most of them just by looking for what I think the answer choice should be and skipping the other choices.

For RC, I always read all the answer choices, with the exception of the really easy questions.

For LG, I read all the answer choices for 2 or 3 questions, just to make sure my diagram is working. (And before that, I scan for possible hypotheticals in the questions, and make sure that my diagram works for them.) After that, I don’t look at any other choice once I find what my diagram predicts.

Mik Ekim
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby Mik Ekim » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:33 pm

Sorry I'm a little late to the party, but wanted to chime in w/some thoughts --

In my opinion --

If you are at a level where you are scoring, and expect to score, 165+, you should be reading all answer choices for logical reasoning and reading comprehension. even beyond that, i strongly encourage you to actively look for wrong answer characteristics (as opposed to simply looking for a right answer and eliminating ones that don't match your prediction), and always focus on eliminating wrong answers before searching for the right answer. Going through this two step process will typically make you more accurate than simply searching for the right choice.

If you are below 165, then you need to think about how much time it takes for you to eliminate wrong choices, and you may have to make some difficult decisions about just searching for the right answer to certain types of questions.

The reason the two step process, and the elimination of wrong answers, is so important is that LR and RC are largely tests of your reading ability -- answers are written to be misread, and you want to make sure you don't eliminate the right answer because it sounds wrong, or select a wrong answer because you read it wrong. In my experience, at the higher score levels, reading ability seems more important than reasoning ability for test-day performance -- the two step process, and eliminating wrong choices, is really helpful for reading accuracy --

LG is less of a test of your reading ability -- there will be a few places (rules, q stems, etc) where it will be a challenge to read correctly, but mostly LG is a test of your reasoning skills. The most important reasoning skill for LG is the ability to differentiate between what you know to be certain (must be true/must be false) and what you don't (things that could be true or false). This is what you have to keep clear in your head at all times, and this is what will differentiate the right and wrong answers for the vast majority of questions.

The best way to differentiate what must be from what could be is not to try to think of both at once, but rather, just to focus on what must be. If you adopt this mindset, it also plays out in the process of solving q's --

Of the 23 q's you see on the exam, all but 5-7 of them will be of the "must be true" "could be true" or "must be false" variety (some of these will have conditions, some will not) --

For these 16 or 18 standard q's, what I recommend is that you always use what "must be" to get to the answer -- so...

If a question asks "What must be true" you will search for the one answer that must be true (rather than thinking about which answers could be true or false and trying to eliminate wrongs).

If a question asks "What could be true," you should use the process of elimination and get right of the 4 answers that "must be false."

If a question asks "What must be false," you want to focus on finding the answer that must be false, rather than eliminating wrong choices.

If you don't think about games in terms of "certain" vs "uncertain," the strategies above won't matter much and you can ignore me. However, if you do think about games on those terms, I think you will find that these strategies not only improve time, but really improve accuracy, because they help you focus on and keep your own head clear about must be/could be issues.

I know that's a bit different from some of the other info that's out there about LG, but I hope it was clear enough, and I hope it helps.

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Cerebro
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby Cerebro » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:25 pm

Mik Ekim wrote:Sorry I'm a little late to the party, but wanted to chime in w/some thoughts --

In my opinion --

If you are at a level where you are scoring, and expect to score, 165+, you should be reading all answer choices for logical reasoning and reading comprehension. even beyond that, i strongly encourage you to actively look for wrong answer characteristics (as opposed to simply looking for a right answer and eliminating ones that don't match your prediction), and always focus on eliminating wrong answers before searching for the right answer. Going through this two step process will typically make you more accurate than simply searching for the right choice.

If you are below 165, then you need to think about how much time it takes for you to eliminate wrong choices, and you may have to make some difficult decisions about just searching for the right answer to certain types of questions.

The reason the two step process, and the elimination of wrong answers, is so important is that LR and RC are largely tests of your reading ability -- answers are written to be misread, and you want to make sure you don't eliminate the right answer because it sounds wrong, or select a wrong answer because you read it wrong. In my experience, at the higher score levels, reading ability seems more important than reasoning ability for test-day performance -- the two step process, and eliminating wrong choices, is really helpful for reading accuracy --

LG is less of a test of your reading ability -- there will be a few places (rules, q stems, etc) where it will be a challenge to read correctly, but mostly LG is a test of your reasoning skills. The most important reasoning skill for LG is the ability to differentiate between what you know to be certain (must be true/must be false) and what you don't (things that could be true or false). This is what you have to keep clear in your head at all times, and this is what will differentiate the right and wrong answers for the vast majority of questions.

The best way to differentiate what must be from what could be is not to try to think of both at once, but rather, just to focus on what must be. If you adopt this mindset, it also plays out in the process of solving q's --

Of the 23 q's you see on the exam, all but 5-7 of them will be of the "must be true" "could be true" or "must be false" variety (some of these will have conditions, some will not) --

For these 16 or 18 standard q's, what I recommend is that you always use what "must be" to get to the answer -- so...

If a question asks "What must be true" you will search for the one answer that must be true (rather than thinking about which answers could be true or false and trying to eliminate wrongs).

If a question asks "What could be true," you should use the process of elimination and get right of the 4 answers that "must be false."

If a question asks "What must be false," you want to focus on finding the answer that must be false, rather than eliminating wrong choices.

If you don't think about games in terms of "certain" vs "uncertain," the strategies above won't matter much and you can ignore me. However, if you do think about games on those terms, I think you will find that these strategies not only improve time, but really improve accuracy, because they help you focus on and keep your own head clear about must be/could be issues.

I know that's a bit different from some of the other info that's out there about LG, but I hope it was clear enough, and I hope it helps.


Wow, what an epic post! Thanks, Mike, for chiming in. This is extraordinarily helpful for me. I particularly value the distinction between certain and uncertain, and think this is an important point and a helpful way of looking at it. I don't think I ever really thought explicitly about it in these terms before (if I did, maybe I didn't realize that's what I was doing), but I can see that this way of thinking can be a game changer with respect to how I approach the section.

I can't wait to get home from work tonight and work through some games while your post is still fresh in my mind.

afitouri
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby afitouri » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:09 pm

I, personally, find that I miss FAR MORE questions when I thought I was confident and did not read the answers. Because of going through so much trial and error, I always read all of the answers, no matter how confident I feel.

beautyistruth
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Re: Read All Answer Choices, Or Not?

Postby beautyistruth » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:41 am

I always read all the answers for LR and RC. Sometimes the right answer is just one word off, or one degree stronger/weaker, than a tempting wrong answer choice. Also, it takes less time to read it, than it does, say, to test a conditional choice in games.

As for LG, depends on the type of question. If it's a global question that's testing me on a somewhat obvious rule, such as "who can't go on Tuesday" etc. then I usually just search for the right answer if I feel good about my diagram. If it's a could be true, I'll test one or two other answer choices at random if I find the right one right away. Obviously, if they also work out, then I've done something wrong.




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