Feeling Defeated

Captainunaccountable
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:36 pm

Feeling Defeated

Postby Captainunaccountable » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:53 pm

Today I completed all 121 questions of the Weaken question variety from Cambridge packets. I started off relatively strong, getting a majority of those right in the first two levels of difficulties, with some exceptions. The third and fourth sections of difficulty my % of correct answers dropped precipitously. I feel as if I've wasted these questions and have gotten nowhere. I, additionally, feel as if I'm not actually learning to apply the concepts and learning to attack questions with the appropriate methods. I've read from my material the methods several times, they don't seem all that complex or intricate, yet I'm just not getting it. This seems to be pretty consistent with my LR practicing in general too. I've done numerous sections and PTs and I continue to get the same (relatively) amount wrong for the drilling/PTing and it is very frustrating. Where am I going wrong?

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bombaysippin
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Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:11 pm

Re: Feeling Defeated

Postby bombaysippin » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:14 pm

I didn't really read everything, but just know that the feeling you get after all of your hard work pays off is infinitely worth all the dread and despair you go through while prepping for the LSAT. Keep at it and gluck!

ZVBXRPL
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:15 pm

Re: Feeling Defeated

Postby ZVBXRPL » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:25 pm

It's hard to tell where you're going wrong because what you're going through isn't uncommon (it happened to me). What I realized is that as a whole, I wasn't attacking the LR questions critically. In other words, I wasn't questioning why the support doesn't justify the conclusion. So, I ordered the LSAT Trainer (which I heard and can now confirm does a great job with LR). So that's my advice for you.

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Frozinite
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Re: Feeling Defeated

Postby Frozinite » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:47 pm

Don't feel bad wasting the questions, because other question types will address the same skills (strengthen). Just be sure not to waste those.

Don't give yourself the benefit of the doubt when scoring. If you're getting -1 or -2, that's strong, but not perfect, especially early in the packet. If you're not getting -0, you need to be studying more before moving on, because it only gets harder. Your experience/natural learning does not keep up with the difficulty, meaning you'll just miss more and more as you go (leading to feeling like you learned nothing)

What helped me make that final leap from -2/-3 to -0/-1 was LSAT Trainer. It's really the only book that taught how to actually read these questions critically. Most other books just said "you should read critically and find the assumption." Thanks guys, I already know that's what I have to do. LSAT Trainer had drills on finding the conclusion, finding the support, and giving lots of examples on why there's a leap between the two. Also taught you how to ignore everything else around it.

Hope that helps!

Captainunaccountable
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Re: Feeling Defeated

Postby Captainunaccountable » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:02 pm

Frozinite wrote: If you're not getting -0, you need to be studying more before moving on,


I have the LSAT trainer, it's my main guide and I'm currently going through it along with my drilling material. I don't quite understand how I am to 'study more' as you say. I quite well understand the task, the way to perform the task, and the way to eliminate wrong answers. Yet, I'm still getting them wrong. Shall I keep reviewing and making sure I understand it better? Sometimes I wonder if I have a difficult time digesting cogently the stimulus material.

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SonlenNightfall
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Re: Feeling Defeated

Postby SonlenNightfall » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:14 pm

"Getting a majority of those right in the first two levels of difficulties" can generally be considered a positive sign, even if at higher difficulties your ability to get questions correct drops off substantially. Weaken questions are built on a specific idea: that if you can figure out the assumption the argument is using you can weaken it by adding new information that makes this assumption less likely (and thus make the jump from evidence to conclusion more difficult). The difference in difficulty for Weaken questions is based on how complex the problem is, so harder Weaken questions have less obvious assumptions or more overall assumptions from which only one assumption is being attacked by the correct answer choice.

The fact that you get the easy ones right means that your preparation up until now is built on solid ground. You know the basic idea of Weaken questions. If you continue mulling over those that you get incorrect you will slowly gain an ability to more quickly and correctly find those basic ideas in the more complex questions. Don't expect to immediately master all difficulty levels, just keep rereading and trying to better understand the similarities between the easy ones you get right and the hard ones you don't.

It is like learning to play the piano. You might be able to play chopsticks perfectly and quickly, but when you try to play a complicated piece by a famous composer, you go back to floundering around. Just because you fail right now at the harder song doesn't mean you have achieved nothing, you are still "playing the piano" and learning how to move your fingers. You just need to learn to incorporate more notes and practice, practice, practice.

In the same way, if you continue practicing and working on your strong foundation, you will slowly find that the more complicated ideas in problems begin to make sense to you. It isn't automatic, but it simply takes practice. Lots of it.

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Frozinite
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Re: Feeling Defeated

Postby Frozinite » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:32 pm

Captainunaccountable wrote:
Frozinite wrote: If you're not getting -0, you need to be studying more before moving on,


I have the LSAT trainer, it's my main guide and I'm currently going through it along with my drilling material. I don't quite understand how I am to 'study more' as you say. I quite well understand the task, the way to perform the task, and the way to eliminate wrong answers. Yet, I'm still getting them wrong. Shall I keep reviewing and making sure I understand it better? Sometimes I wonder if I have a difficult time digesting cogently the stimulus material.


Right. Don't worry about the time limit. What I did was print a copy of all the questions I got wrong and kept it on a pile on the side, and at the beginning of every study session, I would take the oldest few pages and do those questions again. Has to be the oldest or you might just remember the answers. Eventually, you should be able to read the question and say "Yes, here's the conclusion, and here's the support, and this is EXACTLY why the answer attacks it perfectly, and this is EXACTLY why the other answer choices are wrong." Oh, and say it out loud, don't keep it in your head, because I found myself just thinking "oh its because of, you know, it wasn't weakening cuz yeah.." . Even if it's because you eventually memorized it, at least you can quickly find the pattern. It'll help either way for future questions.

If you learned to attack it critically, then it obviously will help for future questions in breaking it down and solving it. If you learned more by memorization, then it'll still help because you'll see a question and think "hey, this looks just like that question from a month ago, the assumption was _____, does that apply here too?"


P.S. For everyone except the LSAT elite, there will be those types of questions where you will just always get wrong, no matter what. That will happen once or twice every few hundred questions or so. Don't kill yourself over those. I've found trying to incorporate the reasoning for those corner cases actually hurt me for the other questions (they required a very specific type of thinking).

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Bosh
Posts: 33
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Re: Feeling Defeated

Postby Bosh » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:24 pm

SonlenNightfall wrote:"Getting a majority of those right in the first two levels of difficulties" can generally be considered a positive sign, even if at higher difficulties your ability to get questions correct drops off substantially. Weaken questions are built on a specific idea: that if you can figure out the assumption the argument is using you can weaken it by adding new information that makes this assumption less likely (and thus make the jump from evidence to conclusion more difficult). The difference in difficulty for Weaken questions is based on how complex the problem is, so harder Weaken questions have less obvious assumptions or more overall assumptions from which only one assumption is being attacked by the correct answer choice.

The fact that you get the easy ones right means that your preparation up until now is built on solid ground. You know the basic idea of Weaken questions. If you continue mulling over those that you get incorrect you will slowly gain an ability to more quickly and correctly find those basic ideas in the more complex questions. Don't expect to immediately master all difficulty levels, just keep rereading and trying to better understand the similarities between the easy ones you get right and the hard ones you don't.

It is like learning to play the piano. You might be able to play chopsticks perfectly and quickly, but when you try to play a complicated piece by a famous composer, you go back to floundering around. Just because you fail right now at the harder song doesn't mean you have achieved nothing, you are still "playing the piano" and learning how to move your fingers. You just need to learn to incorporate more notes and practice, practice, practice.

In the same way, if you continue practicing and working on your strong foundation, you will slowly find that the more complicated ideas in problems begin to make sense to you. It isn't automatic, but it simply takes practice. Lots of it.


Very well said, especially with the analogy. (I play the piano lol :D :) :o )




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