Question to Jeffort and other experienced LSAT-ers

h3jk5h
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Question to Jeffort and other experienced LSAT-ers

Postby h3jk5h » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:27 am

You really emphasis the importance of dissecting each and every prep tests - the logic of the questions and the mental processes.

After a number of months of LSAT prepping, I have a question regarding this approach. And that is, when I review the questions I got wrong or those that gave me difficulties, there are so many different ways that I may have made the mistake - not understanding the argument core, misreading the stimulus/AC's, falling for the trap AC, etc..

Let's say upon blind review I catch my error, and it's a relatively obvious one, who is to say that I won't make similar errors some other time? I can say to myself, "ok, I misread this AC, or I didn't quite grasp the argument core", but what should be the processes that I should take to rectify these errors? You emphasis the importance of self-reflection and actively finding out one's LSAT weak spots, but what are the specific ways a test taker can actually improve on them? It surely isn't sufficient for me to say, "oh, I didn't read the stimulus carefully enough, better slow down next time!", is it?

I find that in many instances I "mysteriously" make a mistake - not that I don't know what mistake I made, but that I can't exactly pinpoint why I made it.

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Clearly
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Re: Question to Jeffort and other experienced LSAT-ers

Postby Clearly » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:37 am

It works because there are only so many ways to make an argument that is tricky within the parameters of the question type. Just keep working on it, each test is prob 98% recycled material.

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nlee10
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Re: Question to Jeffort and other experienced LSAT-ers

Postby nlee10 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:39 am

h3jk5h wrote:You really emphasis the importance of dissecting each and every prep tests - the logic of the questions and the mental processes.

After a number of months of LSAT prepping, I have a question regarding this approach. And that is, when I review the questions I got wrong or those that gave me difficulties, there are so many different ways that I may have made the mistake - not understanding the argument core, misreading the stimulus/AC's, falling for the trap AC, etc..

Let's say upon blind review I catch my error, and it's a relatively obvious one, who is to say that I won't make similar errors some other time? I can say to myself, "ok, I misread this AC, or I didn't quite grasp the argument core", but what should be the processes that I should take to rectify these errors? You emphasis the importance of self-reflection and actively finding out one's LSAT weak spots, but what are the specific ways a test taker can actually improve on them? It surely isn't sufficient for me to say, "oh, I didn't read the stimulus carefully enough, better slow down next time!", is it?

I find that in many instances I "mysteriously" make a mistake - not that I don't know what mistake I made, but that I can't exactly pinpoint why I made it.


If your errors are coming from simply misreading the argument core/AC's, then you would want to work on timing. Maybe work on timed sections and then more timed PT's.

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Jeffort
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Re: Question to Jeffort and other experienced LSAT-ers

Postby Jeffort » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:46 am

h3jk5h wrote:You really emphasis the importance of dissecting each and every prep tests - the logic of the questions and the mental processes.

After a number of months of LSAT prepping, I have a question regarding this approach. And that is, when I review the questions I got wrong or those that gave me difficulties, there are so many different ways that I may have made the mistake - not understanding the argument core, misreading the stimulus/AC's, falling for the trap AC, etc..

Let's say upon blind review I catch my error, and it's a relatively obvious one, who is to say that I won't make similar errors some other time? I can say to myself, "ok, I misread this AC, or I didn't quite grasp the argument core", but what should be the processes that I should take to rectify these errors? You emphasis the importance of self-reflection and actively finding out one's LSAT weak spots, but what are the specific ways a test taker can actually improve on them? It surely isn't sufficient for me to say, "oh, I didn't read the stimulus carefully enough, better slow down next time!", is it?

I find that in many instances I "mysteriously" make a mistake - not that I don't know what mistake I made, but that I can't exactly pinpoint why I made it.


The first thing I believe is important to emphasize is that when you are reviewing questions you missed (whether attempted timed as part of a PT/section or questions done individually during drilling), you shouldn't be seeking to minimize and/or boil down the cause(s)/reason(s) why you got them wrong down to one or two or just a few overly simplistic reasons. Meaning that the end result of your review of questions you got wrong shouldn't be overly simplistic labels/conclusions declaring one or two single causes such as "misread/misinterpreted the CR, eliminated it and got trapped into the sucker choice that was my other contender".

While that or other simplistic descriptions may be 100% accurate of what went wrong at the very end of your process attempting the question in the last steps while making your final answer choice decision or of some things that went wrong during another part of your analysis process (like misidentifying or misunderstanding the core), it's not anywhere close to 100% comprehensive about all the various factors/things that transpired (execution of your processes) along the way during your ENTIRE process of approaching and analyzing the question from the very beginning first read of the stem and stimulus to the final step of selecting an answer. Instead you should be focusing on identifying everything that was/may have been proximate causes/things that helped cause you/made you more prone/vulnerable to making your final fatal mistakes at the end during the final answer selection steps.

There are always at least several, sometimes many reasons why a person answered any given question incorrectly and your job during thorough post PT review is to be your own worst critic and figure out/identify every single mistake you made in the process of approaching each question from start to finish. In short, you need to take a more meta view of your entire set of steps/processes you actually mentally went through during the course of attempting each question to evaluate your entire set of processes and to identify all the mistakes (from major to minor) you made in executing the full set of processes you applied when you attempted the question.

For instance, in the situation of getting a question wrong because of misreading/misinterpreting the CR and defaulting to another contender: right off the bat we know there are several process/overall approach/habits mistakes since you didn't catch your error through verification/final answer confirmation steps before deciding to select an answer that turned out to be incorrect and moving on to the next question.

Hastily/incorrectly eliminating the CR is an especially common reason for getting higher difficulty level questions wrong. In addition to mistakenly eliminating/deciding against the CR due to even just a simple reading error, you would have also had to make additional mistakes by not analyzing/scrutinizing the answer you ended up selecting enough to have noticed/figured out the things you could have/should have noticed that make it wrong so that you could/would have then realized you had boxed yourself in and then hopefully decided to back-track to re-read and re-analyze the CR to correct your initial reading/interpretation mistake before it became fatal.

Figuring out the main reasons behind why you got LR questions wrong such as the ones you listed (not understanding the argument core, misreading the stimulus/AC's, falling for the trap AC, etc.) is certainly important, but it's just the starting point of deep review. Next you need to figure out the underlying causes in your processes (such as inconsistent processes where you sometimes skip steps and are less through than other times) and in your knowledge and skills with the fundamentals, especially with the commonly repeated flawed methods of reasoning, that helped cause/contribute to your main fatal mistakes.

For example, once you've determined that misreading something was one of the main reasons why you got a question wrong, your next step is to analyze the full context of what was going on in your brain and approach at the moment and figure out what caused it to happen, meaning asking yourself and trying to figure out WHY it happen in that instance. Such as asking yourself and figuring out why you were, for instance, speed reading/skimming and/or why weren't you reading really carefully and double checking things during that question, with that particular answer choice? Were you already biased in favor of another AC and didn't really give the CR as much attention and analysis as the others and/or incorrect answer you selected? If so, why didn't you give it more attention and more than just one read in which you misread it?

Basically, you have to peel through many layers of the onion and trace back the roots of the circumstances of your entire approach/set of steps of analysis you actually did (exactly what went through your mind as you analyzed the question and made decisions about answer choices?) that lead to you making any types of errors that you want to minimize/simplify and label as simply being various careless errors due to time pressure in order to look at your overall set of processes/approach as a whole to the question to see where you could have done things differently/better up front long before you even got it down to two contenders or whatever.

Although there are tons of different errors, mistakes and reasons why people get different questions wrong, differentiating between missed questions on timed PTs that were mainly caused by mistakes in execution of proper processes (ones that really did largely come down to careless execution/stupid mistakes) from ones you got wrong partly or largely due to logic misunderstanding/flawed analysis/significant interpretation or reasoning errors/reading comprehension-significant misinterpretation errors. Ones in the first category (as well as inconsistent PT scores) indicate that your processes and hands on timed test conditions habits aren't as strong as they could be, meaning you need to work on being more consistent with giving every question your all with thorough complete analysis, which is largely accomplished with a lot of focused drilling where you forced yourself to go through all the proper steps of analysis with each of of a bunch of each question type you need to get better with. Ones in the second category that are questions partly missed due to skills issues with any of the conceptual/logical foundations/logic and or language used to express the ideas and relationships in the stimulus are indicators of foundational skills that need strengthening/improvement. For example, missing a lot of cause and effect logic based questions or a lot of conditional reasoning based questions.

As part of your PT and drilling review process, you should be keeping error logs for each PT, drilling set, and a master ongoing/evolving master error log where you're tracking the frequency of occurrence of each of the specific types of errors you're prone to making/making frequently/common reasons you keep missing questions. Your ongoing error log is what allows you to identify patterns in your mistakes far beyond just question types so that you can pin point exactly which specific types of logic/language/constructions/Q types/whatever keeps tripping you up that you need to put some serious attention on to get better with.

A lot of the important part is looking far beyond just figuring out what happened after the fact in terms of, got it wrong because misread something or understood core wrong/failed to ID the flaw properly or whatever and getting to the bottom of WHY did you misunderstand the core of the argument and fail to identify to flawed reasoning properly? Why did you carelessly misread something and not catch your mistake before it became fatal? etc.

You need to evaluate: What are the specific step by step processes, techniques and methods that you apply to each different question type under timed conditions? Are your processes proper/efficient/effective/logical or do they sometimes fail even when applied/executed properly? Could they be better/more efficient? How consistent are you with sticking to going through all the steps of the proper processes fully and thoroughly for each question including confirmation steps? When you deviate from solid/proper processes/steps, screw them up, throw them out the window, etc., how often does each type of screw-up happen? What types of situations typically cause each of the different types of mistakes you keep making? (look for patterns in your habits, mistakes, processes, etc.)

A super short way to describe the deep review process is to be like a young kid just getting into wanting to learn about the world that asks WHY? after every answer (s)he gets to a question (s)he asked about something and look for patterns in the answers to the underlying questions aimed at getting to the roots of mistakes, weaknesses and bad habits that are continuing to cost you points.

Figuring out what your brain actually did with a question under timed conditions that caused you to get it wrong is step one of deep review, the next steps involve tracing back and figuring out what in your approach and/or LSAT knowledge/methods and test conditions habits/reactions/your actual live decision making reasons/reasoning/thoughts caused you to be vulnerable to making and actually make the fatal mistakes without catching/fixing/preventing them from even being an issue in the first place so you would have instead seen the CR as correct on first attempt.

Hope this makes sense and is helpful, it's pretty much a my stream of though brain dump post so please ask follow up questions to clarify anything and/or ask about stuff in more detail.
Last edited by Jeffort on Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Clearly
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Re: Question to Jeffort and other experienced LSAT-ers

Postby Clearly » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:10 am

Jeffort wrote:
h3jk5h wrote:You really emphasis the importance of dissecting each and every prep tests - the logic of the questions and the mental processes.

After a number of months of LSAT prepping, I have a question regarding this approach. And that is, when I review the questions I got wrong or those that gave me difficulties, there are so many different ways that I may have made the mistake - not understanding the argument core, misreading the stimulus/AC's, falling for the trap AC, etc..

Let's say upon blind review I catch my error, and it's a relatively obvious one, who is to say that I won't make similar errors some other time? I can say to myself, "ok, I misread this AC, or I didn't quite grasp the argument core", but what should be the processes that I should take to rectify these errors? You emphasis the importance of self-reflection and actively finding out one's LSAT weak spots, but what are the specific ways a test taker can actually improve on them? It surely isn't sufficient for me to say, "oh, I didn't read the stimulus carefully enough, better slow down next time!", is it?

I find that in many instances I "mysteriously" make a mistake - not that I don't know what mistake I made, but that I can't exactly pinpoint why I made it.


The first thing I believe is important to emphasize is that when you are reviewing questions you missed (whether attempted timed as part of a PT/section or questions done individually during drilling), you shouldn't be seeking to minimize and/or boil down the cause(s)/reason(s) why you got them wrong down to one or two or just a few overly simplistic reasons. Meaning that the end result of your review of questions you got wrong shouldn't be overly simplistic labels/conclusions declaring one or two single causes such as "misread/misinterpreted the CR, eliminated it and got trapped into the sucker choice that was my other contender".

While that or other simplistic descriptions may be 100% accurate of what went wrong at the very end of your process attempting the question in the last steps while making your final answer choice decision or of some things that went wrong during another part of your analysis process (like misidentifying or misunderstanding the core), it's not anywhere close to 100% comprehensive about all the various factors/things that transpired (execution of your processes) along the way during your ENTIRE process of approaching and analyzing the question from the very beginning first read of the stem and stimulus to the final step of selecting an answer. Instead you should be focusing on identifying everything that was/may have been proximate causes/things that helped cause you/made you more prone/vulnerable to making your final fatal mistakes at the end during the final answer selection steps.

There are always at least several, sometimes many reasons why a person answered any given question incorrectly and your job during thorough post PT review is to be your own worst critic and figure out/identify every single mistake you made in the process of approaching each question from start to finish. In short, you need to take a more meta view of your entire set of steps/processes you actually mentally went through during the course of attempting each question to evaluate your entire set of processes and to identify all the mistakes (from major to minor) you made in executing the full set of processes you applied when you attempted the question.

For instance, in the situation of getting a question wrong because of misreading/misinterpreting the CR and defaulting to another contender: right off the bat we know there are several process/overall approach/habits mistakes since you didn't catch your error through verification/final answer confirmation steps before deciding to select an answer that turned out to be incorrect and moving on to the next question.

Hastily/incorrectly eliminating the CR is an especially common reason for getting higher difficulty level questions wrong. In addition to mistakenly eliminating/deciding against the CR due to even just a simple reading error, you would have also had to make additional mistakes by not analyzing/scrutinizing the answer you ended up selecting enough to have noticed/figured out the things you could have/should have noticed that make it wrong so that you could/would have then realized you had boxed yourself in and then hopefully decided to back-track to re-read and re-analyze the CR to correct your initial reading/interpretation mistake before it became fatal.

Figuring out the main reasons behind why you got LR questions wrong such as the ones you listed (not understanding the argument core, misreading the stimulus/AC's, falling for the trap AC, etc.) is certainly important, but it's just the starting point of deep review. Next you need to figure out the underlying causes in your processes (such as inconsistent processes where you sometimes skip steps and are less through than other times) and in your knowledge and skills with the fundamentals, especially with the commonly repeated flawed methods of reasoning, that helped cause/contribute to your main fatal mistakes.

For example, once you've determined that misreading something was one of the main reasons why you got a question wrong, your next step is to analyze the full context of what was going on in your brain and approach at the moment and figure out what caused it to happen, meaning asking yourself and trying to figure out WHY it happen in that instance. Such as asking yourself and figuring out why you were, for instance, speed reading/skimming and/or why weren't you reading really carefully and double checking things during that question, with that particular answer choice? Were you already biased in favor of another AC and didn't really give the CR as much attention and analysis as the others and/or incorrect answer you selected? If so, why didn't you give it more attention and more than just one read in which you misread it?

Basically, you have to peel through many layers of the onion and trace back the roots of the circumstances of your entire approach/set of steps of analysis you actually did (exactly what went through your mind as you analyzed the question and made decisions about answer choices?) that lead to you making any types of errors that you want to minimize/simplify and label as simply being various careless errors due to time pressure in order to look at your overall set of processes/approach as a whole to the question to see where you could have done things differently/better up front long before you even got it down to two contenders or whatever.

Although there are tons of different errors, mistakes and reasons why people get different questions wrong, differentiating between missed questions on timed PTs that were mainly caused by mistakes in execution of proper processes (ones that really did largely come down to careless execution/stupid mistakes) from ones you got wrong partly or largely due to logic misunderstanding/flawed analysis/significant interpretation or reasoning errors/reading comprehension-significant misinterpretation errors. Ones in the first category (as well as inconsistent PT scores) indicate that your processes and hands on timed test conditions habits aren't as strong as they could be, meaning you need to work on being more consistent with giving every question your all with thorough complete analysis, which is largely accomplished with a lot of focused drilling where you forced yourself to go through all the proper steps of analysis with each of of a bunch of each question type you need to get better with. Ones in the second category that are questions partly missed due to skills issues with any of the conceptual/logical foundations/logic and or language used to express the ideas and relationships in the stimulus are indicators of foundational skills that need strengthening/improvement. For example, missing a lot of cause and effect logic based questions or a lot of conditional reasoning based questions.

As part of your PT and drilling review process, you should be keeping error logs for each PT, drilling set, and a master ongoing/evolving master error log where you're tracking the frequency of occurrence of each of the specific types of errors you're prone to making/making frequently/common reasons you keep missing questions. Your ongoing error log is what allows you to identify patterns in your mistakes far beyond just question types so that you can pin point exactly which specific types of logic/language/constructions/Q types/whatever keeps tripping you up that you need to put some serious attention on to get better with.

A lot of the important part is looking far beyond just figuring out what happened after the fact in terms of, got it wrong because misread something or understood core wrong/failed to ID the flaw properly or whatever and getting to the bottom of WHY did you misunderstand the core of the argument and fail to identify to flawed reasoning properly? Why did you carelessly misread something and not catch your mistake before it became fatal? etc.

A super short way to describe the deep review process is to be like a young kid just getting into wanting to learn about the world that asks WHY? after every answer (s)he gets to a question (s)he asked about something.

Figuring out what your brain actually did with a question under timed conditions that caused you to get it wrong is step one of deep review, the next steps involve tracing back and figuring out what in your approach and/or LSAT knowledge/methods and test conditions habits/reactions caused you to be vulnerable to making and actually making the fatal mistakes without catching and fixing them.

Hope this makes sense and is helpful, it's pretty much a my stream of though brain dump post so please ask follow up questions to clarify anything and/or ask about stuff in more detail.

Yes, could you please clarify all of the above statements.




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