More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

When I read LR questions, I find the most efficient approach to be

reading the stimulus first
3
14%
reading the question stem first
16
76%
other (please expand in comments)
2
10%
 
Total votes: 21

lsat_hopeful
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More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby lsat_hopeful » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:08 pm

I've been following Manhattan, which says the latter is better, but I just had an instructor from a well-known (and respected) LSAT prep company tell me the former is better - so, what do you think?

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drawstring
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby drawstring » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:29 pm

I read the question first.

It helps me focus more on the relevant parts of the stimulus while giving me a better idea of the specific issues I should be looking for as I read.

lsat_hopeful
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby lsat_hopeful » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:46 pm

drawstring wrote:I read the question first.

It helps me focus more on the relevant parts of the stimulus while giving me a better idea of the specific issues I should be looking for as I read.


That's how I felt as well (and that's what Manhattan LSAT suggests in their LR book); I think I'm going to probe the instructor on his reasoning behind reading the stimulus first.

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drawstring
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby drawstring » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:53 pm

Is the company Power Score? I started with their book and I know they advocate stimulus first.

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Wrong Marx
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby Wrong Marx » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:00 pm

I started with the PowerScore bibles and then I later switched to the Manhattan LSAT technique. PS recommends reading the stimulus first, and as I recall, a big portion of that argument was based on the assumption that it is always appropriate to identify whether the stimulus contains a fact set or an argument before knowing exactly what type of question it is. However, whether or not this assumption was ever valid, I don't think it is valid on more recent LSATs, because MBT and MSS questions tend to make arguments on more recent tests, whereas on the older tests, that was much less common than it is now.

So, with those particular types of questions, it is helpful to know in advance that you do not need to worry about identifying an assumption, since your job is just to figure out what can be inferred from the statements.

Also, sometimes the "Role of a Statement" questions can have convoluted arguments. Knowing that you don't need to keep track of assumptions on those stimuli is (I think) a big time saver, since you know when you're approaching the stimulus that you're really just trying to identify the structure, without having to think too deeply about the core and whether or not it is valid logic or what assumptions are being made.

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OVOXO
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby OVOXO » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:01 pm

This isn’t really a question to me. Read the question stem first so you know what you’re doing. You should be tackling a necessary assumption question differently than a must be true question. Making the mindset automatic once you know the kind of question you are attacking will lead to a more efficient process (which means more time to review and, over time, fewer minuses in the LR column)

HTH

lsat_hopeful
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby lsat_hopeful » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:16 pm

drawstring wrote:Is the company Power Score? I started with their book and I know they advocate stimulus first.


No, it's TM - but, I've found the two to be similar in a lot of their strategies so I'm not surprised that they both advocate the same approach.

lsat_hopeful
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby lsat_hopeful » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:21 pm

Wrong Marx wrote:I started with the PowerScore bibles and then I later switched to the Manhattan LSAT technique. PS recommends reading the stimulus first, and as I recall, a big portion of that argument was based on the assumption that it is always appropriate to identify whether the stimulus contains a fact set or an argument before knowing exactly what type of question it is.


It's helpful to know the reasoning behind the suggestion, so thanks for that.

However, whether or not this assumption was ever valid, I don't think it is valid on more recent LSATs, because MBT and MSS questions tend to make arguments on more recent tests, whereas on the older tests, that was much less common than it is now.

So, with those particular types of questions, it is helpful to know in advance that you do not need to worry about identifying an assumption, since your job is just to figure out what can be inferred from the statements.

Also, sometimes the "Role of a Statement" questions can have convoluted arguments. Knowing that you don't need to keep track of assumptions on those stimuli is (I think) a big time saver, since you know when you're approaching the stimulus that you're really just trying to identify the structure, without having to think too deeply about the core and whether or not it is valid logic or what assumptions are being made.


I agree. I took my last PT using the "read Question stem first" approach and it worked out for me (I wasn't short on time; did pretty well overall on the LR sections). I just didn't know whether it was worth giving the other approach a shot as well. It's getting pretty close to the December test, so if anything I may just try the other approach out on a single section.

lsat_hopeful
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby lsat_hopeful » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:22 pm

OVOXO wrote:This isn’t really a question to me. Read the question stem first so you know what you’re doing. You should be tackling a necessary assumption question differently than a must be true question. Making the mindset automatic once you know the kind of question you are attacking will lead to a more efficient process (which means more time to review and, over time, fewer minuses in the LR column)

HTH


Sounds good! Thanks for your input!

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Otunga
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby Otunga » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:53 pm

If there were less question types, I could see reading the stim first. But even then, I don't get the appeal. True, biggest thing to do in most questions is to figure out what's wrong with arguments, but it's nice to know what exactly you have to do with that knowledge beforehand.

lsat_hopeful
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby lsat_hopeful » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:41 pm

Otunga wrote:If there were less question types, I could see reading the stim first. But even then, I don't get the appeal. True, biggest thing to do in most questions is to figure out what's wrong with arguments, but it's nice to know what exactly you have to do with that knowledge beforehand.


I agree! The suggestion (to look at the stimulus first) caught me off guard though (it seemed so obvious that it would be more wise to read the Question stem first!) - I just didn't want to brush it off without giving it a second thought and getting a second opinion (everyone's opinions here so far have helped me validate my original assumption though ;)).

Thanks.

esther0123
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby esther0123 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:35 am

do you all go through Q's in order, or do 1-10 first, 20-26 second, then 11-19 last?

What's more effective? And I agree that high teens is definitely harder and 20-26, i usually miss because I'm rushing, having expended too much time in high-teens.

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drawstring
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby drawstring » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:44 am

I went in order except for a few instances when I was crunched for time on the final 5/6 and thus skipped to the penultimate or final question (at least one of which tends to be quite easy), or to relatively short questions.

Have you tried going 1-10, 20-26, 11-19?

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Wrong Marx
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby Wrong Marx » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:50 am

drawstring wrote:I went in order except for a few instances when I was crunched for time on the final 5/6 and skipped to the penultimate or final question (at least one of which tends to be quite easy), or to relatively short questions.

Have you tried going 1-10, 20-26, 11-19?


How do you avoid bubbling errors when you skip around like that? I find that answering the questions in order means that I'm less likely to misbubble my answers. I'd be too nnervous about bubbling errors that it would probably slow me down considerably (did I bubble it right? let me double, triple check it). Usually, when I skip questions, I bubble in my best guess right then and there, and then if I have time, I come back to it at the end, rework the problem, erase, and rebubble. (BTW -- I only bubble at the end of two facing pages, rather than after each question.)

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drawstring
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby drawstring » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:27 am

Wrong Marx wrote:
drawstring wrote:I went in order except for a few instances when I was crunched for time on the final 5/6 and skipped to the penultimate or final question (at least one of which tends to be quite easy), or to relatively short questions.

Have you tried going 1-10, 20-26, 11-19?


How do you avoid bubbling errors when you skip around like that? I find that answering the questions in order means that I'm less likely to misbubble my answers. I'd be too nnervous about bubbling errors that it would probably slow me down considerably (did I bubble it right? let me double, triple check it). Usually, when I skip questions, I bubble in my best guess right then and there, and then if I have time, I rework the problem, erase, and rebubble. (BTW -- I only bubble at the end of two facing pages, rather than after each question.)



When I deviated from answering in order I double-checked that the number I just bubbled on the scantron matched the number of the question I just answered in the test book, and I'd do this until I was back answering questions in order of what remained. I developed this habit to the point where it was fairly automatic and could be done quickly enough (in about a second or two) for skipping to still be effective.

I think a key for me was being calm during LR (my strongest section and a -1 overall on the real test), as it prevented me from panicking while taking one or two seconds to ensure that my bubbling was correct and from doing the type of nervous triple-checking that you describe. Moreover, I'd bubble after each question and jump around for only one or two of them, which also tended to be close in proximity, so I didn't have much more to keep track of than I would have if I instead answered in order from start to finish.

jttoplawschools93
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Re: More effective approach to LR: read stimulus or Qstem first?

Postby jttoplawschools93 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:18 am

Logical Reasoning is one of my stronger sections, (-0 best to -2/3 worst each section) and the technique I use is like a glance, read, read technique.

I glance at the stem, looking for keywords that hint at the type of problem (3-5 seconds), then read the question, then reread I guess you can call it, the stem.

Time isn't really an issue on LR for me though, so if it is for you, this tech might add and extra couple of minutes so keep that in mind.




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