Having Trouble with LR

goCats3
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:02 pm

Having Trouble with LR

Postby goCats3 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:48 pm

LR for me is getting increasingly frustrating so I thought I'd ask what you guys think I should do. The best I've done was -5 (combined) and my average I'd say is -7/8 combined.

I've drilled all the questions from PT7-26 (didn't actually find it helpful). I've done full sections from PT27-42. And PTs 42 on up to 63. I generally finish 15 questions in 16-17 minutes with maybe 1 or 2 misses for those questions. The remaining time I spend on the last 10 questions or so and:

1) I still manage to barely finish in time if I do (usually can't get to 1 or 2 questions) and
2) that's still where I miss the bulk of the questions despite the amount of time I have left

According to LSATQA the ones I miss are mostly strengthen/weaken questions (I've drilled all of them from PT7-26 TWICE). In reviewing, I'm realizing most of the time I'm having trouble realizing that certain answers aren't necessarily out of scope and not seeing how they can strengthen/weaken an argument.

Is there anything I can do to improve this or have I hit a ceiling?

Thanks all!

EDIT: Already read both PS (once) and Manhattan LR (twice) books

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Otunga
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Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:56 pm

Re: Having Trouble with LR

Postby Otunga » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:02 pm

I went through MLSAT LR recently and highly recommend it if you haven't checked it out already. While admittedly my post-MLSAT LR book sample size is small, I've scored -3 total (0 on 1 section) during PT40, -1 on a section from PT65, and three -4s on each section in PTs in the 1-25 range. I will say that I feel more comfortable with the more recent questions, so perhaps I'm attesting to the fact that the older LR is more difficult and convoluted. Prior to going through MSAT LR, I was averaging between -4 to -6 per LR section, with particular trouble on assumption (necessary and sufficient) and inference (MBT, MSS, Complete the Argument, etc.) questions. (..And usually the scores were not -4....). I've already improved on those areas, especially the inference and necessary assumption questions. (I fell for the reversed logic trap answer on a suf assumption question on PT40, but got the other four right. Still a bit shaky on these, but way better.).

Basically, I believe LR is just as easy to improve on as LG. Once you start recognizing the wrong answer patterns, especially, it gets more mechanical. For some reason, paradox questions I cannot figure out with any consistency, so they're the exception for me. I should note that I thought I was screwed with LR and that it would keep me out of the 170 range, but using a different method and taking a fresh approach to the questions has helped immensely.

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Jeffort
Posts: 1897
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Re: Having Trouble with LR

Postby Jeffort » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:48 am

goCats3 wrote:LR for me is getting increasingly frustrating so I thought I'd ask what you guys think I should do. The best I've done was -5 (combined) and my average I'd say is -7/8 combined.

I've drilled all the questions from PT7-26 (didn't actually find it helpful). I've done full sections from PT27-42. And PTs 42 on up to 63. I generally finish 15 questions in 16-17 minutes with maybe 1 or 2 misses for those questions. The remaining time I spend on the last 10 questions or so and:

1) I still manage to barely finish in time if I do (usually can't get to 1 or 2 questions) and
2) that's still where I miss the bulk of the questions despite the amount of time I have left

According to LSATQA the ones I miss are mostly strengthen/weaken questions (I've drilled all of them from PT7-26 TWICE). In reviewing, I'm realizing most of the time I'm having trouble realizing that certain answers aren't necessarily out of scope and not seeing how they can strengthen/weaken an argument.

Is there anything I can do to improve this or have I hit a ceiling?

Thanks all!

EDIT: Already read both PS (once) and Manhattan LR (twice) books


If you are eliminating correct answer choices for strengthen and weaken questions because you thought the AC was out of scope, then you are analyzing the answer choices and the task of the question types incorrectly. You do not analyze strengthen and weaken answer choices for whether or not what they talk about is or isn't within the scope of the information presented in the stimulus. That is the analytical point of view for must be true and most strongly supported questions types when you are determining whether or not you have enough information in the stimulus to support the AC as an inference from that information.

For weaken and strengthen, the correct point of view is analyzing answer choices for relevance. You should be evaluating whether or not what each AC says is relevant to what the argument is concluding based on the supplied evidence. Meaning, does what the AC says MATTER/is it related to/have any relationship to whether or not what the argument is trying to prove (has concluded) from the supplied evidence is more or less likely to be true in light of the new information? Evaluating for relevance is not about evaluating whether or not what an AC talks about is something that was talked about/you were given information about in the stimulus. Correct answers for Str/Wkn questions frequently bring in/mention something new that was not mentioned in the argument, making them 'out of the scope' of the things explicitly mentioned in the argument.

When you encounter an answer choice with new information in it, don't reject it because the argument never mentioned the thing/subject, instead evaluate whether or not the new information matters or has any relationship to/impact on the strength of the conclusion drawn on the basis of the supplied premises. The information matters if, when added into the argument with the other evidence, it changes the likelihood of the conclusion being a logically true/well proven statement from its probability of being a good conclusion without the additional information. If the information matters and is related to what the conclusion wants the reader to believe, then it is relevant. Of course we are not dealing with deductive/absolute must be true/false logic on these question types, but instead matters of degree in terms of strongly vs weakly supported conclusions, not absolutely proven true or false conclusions.

LR arguments frequently are weak arguments because the author failed to take into consideration (hence, didn't mention and include in the reasoning) information that is related to what is being concluded. Important things related to the subject of the conclusion that are not mentioned in the argument are described in LSAT land as things the author is making assumptions about. Most correct answer choices on Str & Wkn questions exploit assumptions made in the course of the argument, and therefore will frequently be talking about something not otherwise mentioned in the argument and appear 'out of scope'.

goCats3
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:02 pm

Re: Having Trouble with LR

Postby goCats3 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:12 pm

Jeffort wrote:If you are eliminating correct answer choices for strengthen and weaken questions because you thought the AC was out of scope, then you are analyzing the answer choices and the task of the question types incorrectly. You do not analyze strengthen and weaken answer choices for whether or not what they talk about is or isn't within the scope of the information presented in the stimulus. That is the analytical point of view for must be true and most strongly supported questions types when you are determining whether or not you have enough information in the stimulus to support the AC as an inference from that information.

For weaken and strengthen, the correct point of view is analyzing answer choices for relevance. You should be evaluating whether or not what each AC says is relevant to what the argument is concluding based on the supplied evidence. Meaning, does what the AC says MATTER/is it related to/have any relationship to whether or not what the argument is trying to prove (has concluded) from the supplied evidence is more or less likely to be true in light of the new information? Evaluating for relevance is not about evaluating whether or not what an AC talks about is something that was talked about/you were given information about in the stimulus. Correct answers for Str/Wkn questions frequently bring in/mention something new that was not mentioned in the argument, making them 'out of the scope' of the things explicitly mentioned in the argument.

When you encounter an answer choice with new information in it, don't reject it because the argument never mentioned the thing/subject, instead evaluate whether or not the new information matters or has any relationship to/impact on the strength of the conclusion drawn on the basis of the supplied premises. The information matters if, when added into the argument with the other evidence, it changes the likelihood of the conclusion being a logically true/well proven statement from its probability of being a good conclusion without the additional information. If the information matters and is related to what the conclusion wants the reader to believe, then it is relevant. Of course we are not dealing with deductive/absolute must be true/false logic on these question types, but instead matters of degree in terms of strongly vs weakly supported conclusions, not absolutely proven true or false conclusions.

LR arguments frequently are weak arguments because the author failed to take into consideration (hence, didn't mention and include in the reasoning) information that is related to what is being concluded. Important things related to the subject of the conclusion that are not mentioned in the argument are described in LSAT land as things the author is making assumptions about. Most correct answer choices on Str & Wkn questions exploit assumptions made in the course of the argument, and therefore will frequently be talking about something not otherwise mentioned in the argument and appear 'out of scope'.


Thanks for the lengthy response Jeffort! (Otunga, thanks as well, I updated my original post to mention that I've actually read the books). I should've been more clear about what I meant about "out of scope." I don't mean that I eliminate an answer because, say, it's talking about dogs when the stimulus is talking about birds. It's not because of the object/subject of the answer choice that I eliminate it. Rather, what I mean is, I will eliminate an answer choice because I don't think it relates back to the conclusion when in fact it does in some small way. Conversely, I'll go ahead and choose an incorrect answer because I think, hey! well if this... then this.. so it could affect the conclusion this way! When in actuality, I'm assuming too much or missing some small detail. I'll look over some of my past questions and post of some of them as an example of what I mean but in the meantime, maybe that helps clarify things.

Thanks!

peke
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 6:01 pm

Re: Having Trouble with LR

Postby peke » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:23 pm

For questions you get wrong, type up the stimulus and question stem and write your own answer choices. It forces you to not only think carefully about how the right answer should be worded, but also what tempting wrong answers look like and why they're tempting. Often times the right and wrong answers differ by just one pivot word.




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