Dealing With the Timing Issue

Lying Lawyer
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Dealing With the Timing Issue

Postby Lying Lawyer » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:37 pm

So I am having an issue with timing. I am scoring at least 10 points lower on timed tests than untimed. I am not taking untimed ones anymore though. Once that clock starts ticking, it's in the back go my bed and I'm rushing myself and missing too many questions. I can sense it. I run across a harder question, and I get nervous if i didn't understand it the first time. How do you all deal with the timing issue, other than popping a xanax before testing :mrgreen: . My drop is too much and I'm not going to test in February if I already know I'm getting a crappy score.

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Re: Dealing With the Timing Issue

Postby griffin3575 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:56 pm

I don't know how you test, but try answer the first 10 questions in less than 10 minutes. As you read the answer choices for these questions, choose the one that you're pretty sure is right and then ignore the rest (like if C looks great, choose it and skip D and E). This will save you time because the wrong answer choices for the first 10 are usually terrible, so don't waste time reading them. Of course, you may have to vary this strategy when you come across that one difficult question in the first 10, which each LR section usually has.

Next, there's no way that I know of to get rid of those nerves than to just keep on doing timed practice. It's like a date. You're really nervous for the first one, but those nerves subside as you get to know the other person. As you become more familiar with how these questions are structured, what the right answer looks like and how to spot the wrong answers, these nerves will subside as well. Also, try taking test in the room the real thing will be administered. This can help your nerves come test day.

Keep at it, and good luck.

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Re: Dealing With the Timing Issue

Postby Clearly » Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:21 pm

Learn whats hard: Seriously, the ability to recognize when you should and shouldn't worry is huge for timing. The way to get faster at LR is to get faster on the easiest questions, so you have all the time in the world for the harder questions. That strategy is worthless however if you can't discern where time is better spent. When you're starting out, use the questions as the rough template, but as you study look for the cues that you're dealing with a hard question. Generally 1-11 are easy, 12-17 are hardest, 17-25 are medium difficulty. This is obviously not universally true, but even today if I see a "really easy" question 14, I'm approaching it skeptically.

Skip: Don't be afraid to jump a hard question, I routinely do this for time reasons. I could spend all day on this hard question and put more pressure on myself, or I can skip this question, knock out the remaining easy questions, and come back to it last when I know exactly how much time I have left to worry about it. This is important for timing, but also for confidence, don't jam yourself up and ruin your momentum. On average I usually skip 2 questions a section, and I often end up with 5 minutes a piece to do them when I'm done, its much less pressure and it doesn't taint how I feel about the questions following those tricky ones.

Pattern Recognition: The vast majority of LR questions are reworded recycled concepts from previous exams. The ability to knock them out in 15 seconds comes from practice, the more times you see the same reasoning in questions the faster and easier it is to see it on the real test. The majority of questions 1-10 will be nearly identical to previous LR questions. The people who do LR fastest are the ones who know whats coming before they even read it. There are only so many ways to write a 3 sentence stimulus within the parameters of 14 or so question types. As you practice pick up on cues that indicate whats coming. Start by trying to figure out what the question stem will be based only on reading the stimulus, you'll start to see how they are just setting you up down a certain path, the faster you see where they're leading you, the faster you get the answer. With practice you'll see little indicators that should dictate what your looking for. For instance, when I see "survey" I immediately think sample size, sample representative, biased questions or biased answers, then as I keep reading I almost always find exactly what I'm looking for very quickly. Even less drastic cues, if the question opens with "Advertisement:" I'm already looking for what flaw they will commit because that opening always comes attached to a bad argument, usually flaw/assumption.

Prephrase: The secret to utilizing the pattern recognition for time is in formulating your answer before you see it. When you see something in the stimulus that leads you to a certain thought, and that shows up as an answer choice that's a great sign, and it saves a whole lot of time. Prephrasing requires confidence, you only save the time if you don't squander it checking all the other answers. For 1-10 if I prephrase an answer and that shows up as answer choice A, I'm circling it every time and not reading further, you have to trust yourself and your reasoning, you've seen this question before, you formulated that answer, its right there on the page, take a quick look to make sure its not twisted up or inverted or manipulated from your answer (make sure it doesn't say "not" or "isn't" etc) and get on with the test.

Knock out the first 10 questions in under 10 minutes, it can be done much faster than that even. Save your time on the easy questions so you have it on the harder questions. Skip when you know you've found the hardest questions, trust your judgement when you think you have a good answer, and keep a good pace and you'll have all the time in the world.

Since I'm going off on my whole timing speech, I'll also explain how I mark questions personally. When I prephrase an answer and find it, when I have no doubt that the question is correct and that if I finished early I wouldn't even bother re-checking it I circle the answer and put a check next to the question. When I have an answer that I felt comfortable enough to select, but if I had time I wouldn't mind coming back to, I just circle the answer without a check. When I don't know and I want to skip I put a huge question mark next to it and move on. After I finish the section I bubble everything excluding the 1 or 2 skips I had. I usually have about 10-15 minutes left. First I go back to the question marks and I get my remaining unanswered questions and bubble them. Now that I have all of my answers bubbled, I usually still have 5-10 minutes left and I go back to the questions that I circled but didn't put a check next to, so I'm only reviewing the questions that I thought might need reviewing. I usually have about 3-4 of these. I rarely change my answers here, but if I do see something with fresh eyes, I erase my bubble and fix it.

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