Drilling vs Practice Tests

Darmody
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:58 pm

Drilling vs Practice Tests

Postby Darmody » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:08 am

Is the purpose of drilling to get practice without having to commit to the full time requirement of a practice test? Or does it help/sharpen your skill and understanding differently? Or is to avoid being burnt out? I was contemplating on just using all the PTs I get for full length practices with minimal drilling. Bad idea?

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Micdiddy
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Re: Drilling vs Practice Tests

Postby Micdiddy » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:12 am

Darmody wrote:Is the purpose of drilling to get practice without having to commit to the full time requirement of a practice test? Or does it help/sharpen your skill and understanding differently? Or is to avoid being burnt out? I was contemplating on just using all the PTs I get for full length practices with minimal drilling. Bad idea?


It's for a bit of all that. I definitely did WAY more practice tests than drilling and I don't regret it. In general, when you are first learning the approach for each question type, drill that type until you feel solid on it. Once you feel solid on the approach to all the main types transition into a very prep test heavy schedule, but focus on what you are missing, notice the patterns, and find your weaknesses. Drill your weaknesses, and continue prep testing at a high clip.
There are more than enough question to get in 30 or so practice tests, and drill as much as needed, with negligible overlap.

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Clearly
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Re: Drilling vs Practice Tests

Postby Clearly » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:13 am

Drilling usually refers to taking questions of a similar question type, not just taking sections. IE doing 30 parallel reasoning questions back to back. The idea is that you get practice dealing with the nuances of each question type by doing them together, then when you start PTing you will be better at each individual question type. The important thing is to drill questions from a set range of tests though, usually 1-20/30, so that you don't get 4 sections into a PT and realize that you've done some of the questions. Cambridge sells questions broken into question type and restricted to certain tests.

Daily_Double
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Re: Drilling vs Practice Tests

Postby Daily_Double » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:29 am

The purpose, and product of, drilling is to get to a point where you don't make very many mistakes. I had some valuable gains in matching (parallel), N/A, Flaw, MBT, and MSS, as a direct result of drilling and reviewing my mistakes. In addition, doing games of the same type has some serious value as well. I think drilling is so useful that any prep plan without it is lacking in my opinion.

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SteelPenguin
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Re: Drilling vs Practice Tests

Postby SteelPenguin » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:36 pm

Drilling is important to address individual weaknesses or for learning specific concepts. I drilled intensely early in my studying, and now I'm more focused on PTs, but there should always be a bit of both in your routine.

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Jeffort
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Re: Drilling vs Practice Tests

Postby Jeffort » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:48 pm

Drilling by question type is very important and helpful in many ways. In addition to getting used to the parameters of and applying the proper strategies to each question type, doing a bunch of them in a row really helps you see the patterns of regularly recurring types of answer choices as well as commonly recurring types of arguments/patterns of reasoning within each question type. It's harder to become really familiar with the common patterns of answer choices per question type when doing full tests/sections because you don't get exposed to a bunch of the same type all in a row in the same session to be able to notice the commonly repeated patterns.

Building up recognition of the commonly repeated types of answer choices (mostly wrong answer choices, but also common types of correct answers) for each question type is really helpful. The most important patterns on the test to get good at recognizing are in the types of answer choices offered per question type, both for correct and incorrect answers, so that you can quickly sort them out and also to fine tune your 'trap answer detector' in order to better avoid tempting trap answers or know when to be extra careful analyzing particular answers when you get it down to two. People that have drilled more tend to have a better intuitive sense or feel for when to be extra careful and suspicious about an attractive answer choice before making a final decision due to having a well tuned trap detector.

You should do a lot of question/game type drilling before shifting into doing mostly timed practice tests mode. You should master or at least get good at each question type individually through focused study and drilling before moving into the final phase of trying to do everything good all at once in the form of full timed tests. Effective drilling is intended to burn everything about each particular question type into your brain so that you know it off the top of your head so well that it will instantaneously trigger in your working thought process the instant you attack a new question and determine the question type.

So, in short, drill a lot with each LR question type and LG game type before you start doing mainly timed practice tests.




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