Velocity Course Review Thread

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Velocity Course Review Thread

Postby annet » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:38 pm

If you've taken Velocity's online prep course and would like to leave a review, please do it here. Velocity is getting pretty popular but is missing from the big thread. I'll PM Kurst and ask him to link to this thread in his stickied topic (viewtopic.php?f=6&t=151670).

I'll start. Used Velocity primarily for the October 2012 test. I had an un-timed diagnostic of 164 and scored 164 on the day. I didn't take a time diagnostic, just started drilling so I don't have a great initial score to judge my test-day performance against. I re-took is December after adding Manhattan LR and Cambridge bundles and will try and remember to update this post with my score.

Velocity games: In my opinion this is the most valuable part of the course. Dave's method differs significantly from the PS method taught in the LGB. It does not rely on making an endless stream of inferences. It's sort of a halfway point between that and just brute-forcing the game. Dave's method doesn't require that you have a perfect understanding of the underlying logic to make it work, which is awesome when you're short on time. My favorite trick is the placeholder rule for binary grouping games (something that has come up more than a few times in recent PTs).

If you read the LGB or Manhattan's games book and the methods make sense and you can easily get through most games in under 8 minutes then you don't need to use Velocity's method. If, like me, you understood what the LGB was telling you but just could not make it happen in anywhere close to 8 minutes, then Velocity is good. I'm also pretty sure it will work for you if you read PS or Manhattan and remain completely confused. I watched every video (some more than once) and went through the entire book. My only problem on test day with games was timing - tip, practice full games sections at 35 minutes more than individual games at 8.

Velocity reading comp: This is hard for me to review because this section never gave me any trouble (-3 in October). I do really like Dave's post-it method (also described in his big advice thread here on TLS). It helped me get my brain out of cultural studies/"let's unpack what the author is saying" mode and into the "there is one correct answer to this question and it is referenced in the passage" mode. I liked Dave's explanations but I did not spend a huge amount of time with this section of the course and did not come close to watching all the videos.

Velocity LR: This is where I have to give a sort of "eehhh." LR was my worst section from the start and, to be honest, Velocity didn't help me improve a whole lot. On the other hand, I had some serious mental blocks with this section and it could just be that Dave's explanations didn't mesh with what I needed to overcome my significant difficulties with non-obvious conditional statements.

What I can tell you after reading PS LRB, Manhattan's LR book, and taking Velocity is that there is no magic trick for this section and all three are teaching pretty much the same ideas, just in different ways. With a course you get videos and that may help you learn better than just the text of a book. You'll know your learning style. Manhattan's explanations for LR in their book worked better for me than anything else but I can't tell you if they're going to work for you. But books are cheaper than courses so definitely try both the PS LR and Manhattan books before you sign up for any kind of course. I also ended up liking the Cambridge bundles divided by question type and difficulty quite a bit.

I've seen complaints that some of the Velocity LR videos are too flippant and/or Dave doesn't explain the answers well. Another complaint seems to be that the quality of the free videos is misleading and aren't representative of the others in the course. With no other course to compare them against I can't give a comparison, but I'll try to give an opinion. I think what the people making these complains wanted was a full Manhattan-style breakdown of every question. It is important to know that you don't get that in each and every video, especially in the self-learning sets and timed sections. What the Manhattan book does (no idea if the Manhattan online course does it) is exhaustively take you through why the right answer was right, why each wrong answer was wrong, and what may look attractive about a particular wrong answer choice.

Velocity does do this for the questions in the introductions to each question type to get you familiar with what you'll see on the test. My account has expired so I can't go in and look and tell you exactly how many of these exhaustive explanations you'll get but I'd guess at least a half dozen or so for each question type. But then there are dozens (hundreds?) of video explanations for additional practice questions for each type and they are not necessarily are in-depth as these, especially the videos that go with easy questions. You'll get a brief explanation of why the right answer was right and then brief explanations like "b, we don't talk about this at all in the stim, out of scope, cross it out, c out of scope again, cross it out..." Again, I have no point of comparison with another online course so I don't know if this is unusual or if other courses are like this. If you do feel that you need to go through the entire answer-analysis process for each question you get wrong then know that you may not have a perfect video to do this for you and you'll have to do work on your own and/or email Dave to answer the question during office hours.


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Re: Velocity Course Review Thread

Postby willwash » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:40 pm

Can't wait for hondars to weigh in on this one.

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Re: Velocity Course Review Thread

Postby Funkycrime » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:01 pm

I will chime in. Velocity LG seems to be solid. I have nothing to compare it to, but I frequently go -0 on games, and I sorted out dinos and zones in about ten minutes each, so it works with higher level games. LR though really leaves something to be desired. There isn't much of a systematic approach. He basically just explains correct answer characteristics and then goes over how he got the answer in his videos. Look into another course for LR.

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Re: Velocity Course Review Thread

Postby naillsat » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:26 pm

I'm a subscriber to VelocityLSAT. I agree that Dave's method for LG is pretty solid and fast. The categorization of LR types is very good and helpful to understanding the argument structure in LR questions. I cannot comment on Dave's RC method, as I still suck at RC after taking the course. Maybe it's my own problem with RC.

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