## Parallel Reasoning and Parallel Flaw

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.
Darmody

Posts: 117
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:58 pm

### Parallel Reasoning and Parallel Flaw

Do you approach these two question types in the same way? I read (I think from the Manhattan LR?) that in Parallel Flaw, you just need to identify the flaw and find an answer choice that has the same flaw. Therefore, the other components of the passage don't matter if they match up or not. Meanwhile, in Parallel Reasoning, everything must match up. I find myself answering these questions the exact same way though and feel like these is no difference. Is there suppose to be a difference in approaching these?

Christine (MLSAT)

Posts: 357
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:41 pm

### Re: Parallel Reasoning and Parallel Flaw

I'm curious how you go about answering these questions! Do you break down the logic in its entirety on each question, or do you employ a strict matching-by-element strategy? If you do the former, I can understand why you don't see a huge difference between them, but I'd also argue that you're answering both of them inefficiently - particularly regular Parallel.

If you use strict matching, there are a lot of similarities between the two question types, clearly, and there are a lot of Parallel Flaw questions that *can* be answered using strict matching. However, there are a lot where that isn't the case, and when you run into one of those you may find yourself frustrated.

In Parallel Flaw, the critical match is the flaw itself. Other components may not be as perfectly/structurally parallel as we would expect them to be in regular Parallel. As a result, using a strict matching strategy may result in you eliminating a correct answer on a first pass through that matches the flaw, but contains some relatively superficial difference in the structuring of the premise or conclusion. Obviously though, the premise and conclusion cannot be wildly structurally different, or retaining the same flaw would become extremely difficult. But there's more room for the individual pieces to breathe.

I've also found the strict matching to simply be less useful on Parallel Flaw. While on a regular Flaw question, using the structure of the conclusion might eliminate 3 incorrect answers, and the structure of the premise might knock out the last one, on a Parallel Flaw this might only eliminate 2-3 answers total, leaving me with 2-3 answers that have superficial structural similarity. At that point, I would have no choice but turn to the actual logic (and therefore the flaw).

These two issues are complementary: Strict matching in some cases can allow you to eliminate correct answers that have a superficial mismatch, and in others may not be enough to eliminate answers that are superficially similar but contain a different fundamental flaw.

10052014

Posts: 590
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:12 am

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Last edited by 10052014 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Christine (MLSAT)

Posts: 357
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:41 pm

### Re: Parallel Reasoning and Parallel Flaw

jaylawyer09 wrote:Is it normal to take a little longer on these while drilling compared to other question types?

This is a very important question, for I feel I am going too slow regarding these, as compared to my speed on previous types.

Usually, yes, just because they are so freaking long compared to other question types. However, most students take entirely *too* long on them, because they get lost in analyzing the entirety of every single answer choice. It's far more efficient to structural 'match-by-element' on regular Parallel, and ID the flaw first on Parallel Flaw - but even then, yes, these question do often take a little bit longer than the average bear.

Jeffort

Posts: 1888
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:43 pm

### Re: Parallel Reasoning and Parallel Flaw

Everything Christine said is really important, otherwise you risk your prep for parallel questions being somewhat pointless if doing structure matching causes you to miss the flawed parallel question(s) you get on test day due to mistakenly eliminating the CR due to a cosmetic mismatch with a premise. Flawed parallel questions frequently have a slight structural difference in the CR but a perfect match with the wrong flaw for the main trap answer.

For non-flawed parallel questions, doing a full part by part structure match analysis of every answer choice is a pretty inefficient way to solve them. It takes less brainpower and less time to identify the specific method of reasoning being used in the stimulus and then focus on matching that. There are only 2 premises at most per argument so it's not hard to quickly evaluate the method of reasoning of each AC, it takes less thought and less time than comparing each piece one by one with the pieces in the stimulus. Focus on doing that and just comparing conclusion types for structure matching elimination purposes, forget about wasting the time to compare and try to match all the premises of each AC. It should be quicker to evaluate the method of reasoning in each AC and determine if it's different than it takes to compare each part piece by piece with the stimulus. This should streamline your analysis and reduce the amount of time you need to spend on each.

With flaw ones, just focus on the flaws, forget about structure except for conclusion types, but even be careful with that since there are some cases where the conclusion *looks* slightly different in the CR than the stimulus but the flaw matches. Focusing primarily on the flaw/overall method of reasoning with them is the best approach. Most of the time the reasoning patterns are familiar recognizable commonly recurring ones you should already be familiar with from LR arg based questions. When you get a tough one you can't put your finger on the reasoning, then rely more heavily on structure matching to at least narrow the field of contenders and hopefully get you to the CR. Once you get it down to two it's easier to reverse engineer and spot the reasoning pattern match by carefully comparing them to the stimulus and paying attention to more subtle differences/similarities in the relationships between the premises and the conclusion.