Advice on difficult assumption family questions appreciated!

magickware
Posts: 359
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:27 pm

Advice on difficult assumption family questions appreciated!

Postby magickware » Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:37 pm

After taking the Oct. LSAT and getting a score far lower than my avg/expected PT numbers (avg 166-168 at home and 163 on the real thing), I decided to completely restart my LSAT studying. For my first go-around, I didn't do a whole lot of focused studying and relied mostly on PTs after I got my originally abysmal AR section up to an average of -2/-3 per test. This time, I decided to do a whole bunch of focused, section-based studying until I no longer make any mistakes, then move onto the PTs. I'm planning on taking the Feb LSAT, and probably the June LSAT as well. That should give me more than enough time.

Anyways, I always had a strange issue with LR. I would get the easiest questions in the world wrong, simply because I read the damned question wrong or was inattentive to a single element. All those got fixed real quickly once I got the Manhattan LSAT LR guide and got the ordered questions from cambridgeLSAT. However, for the life of me I still cannot seem to get over the most difficult (the ones that cambridgeLSAT grades as the 3-4 difficulty ones) assumption family questions. I get virtually all of the 1-2 difficulty ones right, but get half the difficulty 4 ones wrong. I might as well be guessing, and it's really pissing me off.

It's as if my entire game-plan for assumption family questions just breaks apart with them. I cannot consistently find the conclusion. If I do find the conclusion, then I have a problem with finding out what's wrong the assumption if it's a necessary/sufficient assumption question, etc.

So, I wanted to ask everyone here if they've been in a similar boat as I am in right now, and how they've gotten over this. Should I just continue doing the questions over and over? I'm worried that I'll just outright memorize which is the right answer if I do this. The biggest problem is that, even when I know the answer, I cannot reliably make a connection as to why that is the answer over the one I chose.

Thank you all for your help!

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mindarmed
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 2:16 pm

Re: Advice on difficult assumption family questions appreciated!

Postby mindarmed » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:37 pm

Work on identifying the conclusion before you move onto the answer choices and don't worry about time. Once you can identify the conclusions easily, then worry about time. HTH

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Advice on difficult assumption family questions appreciated!

Postby bp shinners » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:58 am

magickware wrote: I get virtually all of the 1-2 difficulty ones right, but get half the difficulty 4 ones wrong. I might as well be guessing, and it's really pissing me off.


Statistically, you should be getting 1/5 right if you're just guessing. So you're in much better shape than that.

It's as if my entire game-plan for assumption family questions just breaks apart with them. I cannot consistently find the conclusion. If I do find the conclusion, then I have a problem with finding out what's wrong the assumption if it's a necessary/sufficient assumption question, etc.


It's unbelievably common to get a mental block against a certain question type when you've struggled with it. The conclusions aren't harder to spot in Suff/Nec assumption questions (even the hard ones), so I think you're running into that wall - you struggle with them, so you lose confidence, making you struggle with them more.

First step is to take yourself out of that cycle. Do some easy questions to make yourself feel like you can tackle them. Then, walk yourself (slowly) through some difficult ones that you pre-check the answer for - this will allow you to focus right away on explaining why the right answer is right instead of struggling through 5 ACs and possibly shaking your confidence by getting it wrong. Afterwards, you can explain why the wrong answers are wrong.

From there, drill them. I hope you're approaching each assumption question type differently - there are different strategies for sufficient and necessary questions.

For sufficient questions, the majority of them fall into an equivocation fallacy. Their is a new term that shows up in the conclusion, and all you have to do is connect a term from the premises to that new term. If your sufficient assumption question falls into this category, you can automatically eliminate any question without that new term, as it's almost impossible it's the correct answer. If there are no new terms in the conclusion, there's usually a gap between two of the premises, and you should connect them in the same way.

For necessary assumption questions, it's still best to find the flaw in the argument first. Then, you need to find the answer that allows that assumption (i.e. the unstated premise) to be true. It is often an equivocation fallacy, but not at nearly the same rate as sufficient assumption questions.




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