Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

calmike
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Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby calmike » Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:46 pm

I have taken 2 diagnostics tests

June 2011: 171 LG 0, LR -6, RC -3
Dec 2011: 168 LG 0, LR -7, RC -9


3 of those I got wrong were NA questions and 2 were strengthen questions. If I master those two type of questions then I will be able to increase my LSAT score and reduce the number of wrong questions I get on the LR sections.

Any help is appreciated.

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Clyde Frog » Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:08 pm

Can you list the actual problems you missed and I can probably help

KDLMaj
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:25 pm

Definitely need to know the questions to tell what's going on. I don't often see people who struggle with strengthening specifically (normally it's weakening questions if one of them is going to stand out), and normally when someone says they are struggle with NA questions my first instinct is to see how they're doing on Overlooked Possibilities arguments. But if that's a weak point, you'd expect them to struggle on weakening questions.

But, for what it's worth, the Denial Test will work on both of those question types. The Denial Test turns both NA and Str questions into weakening questions. That may be more in your wheel house.

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Jeffort
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Jeffort » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:46 pm

KDLMaj wrote:Definitely need to know the questions to tell what's going on. I don't often see people who struggle with strengthening specifically (normally it's weakening questions if one of them is going to stand out), and normally when someone says they are struggle with NA questions my first instinct is to see how they're doing on Overlooked Possibilities arguments. But if that's a weak point, you'd expect them to struggle on weakening questions.

But, for what it's worth, the Denial Test will work on both of those question types. The Denial Test turns both NA and Str questions into weakening questions. That may be more in your wheel house.


The bolded above is straight up incorrect and is bad LSAT prep advice that if used can hurt ones score.

The negation/denial technique IS NOT an effective or appropriate strategy for testing strengthen question answer choices like it is with necessary assumption questions.

While it may appear to work with some strengthen questions, it will fail on most since the negation technique is only a logically valid way for testing whether or not the premise an answer choice states is NECESSARY/something that MUST BE TRUE for the reasoning of the argument to be able to logically work.

You can strengthen flawed arguments in various ways with a premise/information that IS NOT something that is necessary/must be true for the premises offered in the argument to be able to logically work to support the conclusion in order to have a logically viable argument.

The negation/denial technique (when done properly) is a 100% logically reliable way to test answer choices on necessary assumption questions because that question type is specifically asking you to determine which answer choice states a premise that MUST BE TRUE (hence is necessary) for the argument to work. When you negate a necessary premise/assumption you're making the stated premise false, and the negated version of the correct answer choice destroys the reasoning of the argument because you're taking away a necessary premise/assumption.

The logical criteria for the correct answer for standard LSAT strengthen questions does not include that the AC must be something necessary for the reasoning of the argument to work. The CR only has to give you information that makes the conclusion more likely to be true when combined with the premises already offered in the argument.

The negation test is specific to necessary assumption questions specifically because the logical criteria for that question type is DIFFERENT than the criteria for standard strengthen the argument questions, hence why they are two DIFFERENT logical reasoning question types.

KDLMaj, like I've said in several of my replies to some of your past posts over the last several years, please stop posting invalid/bad LSAT prep advice that you teach (or used to teach) to people in Kaplan LSAT classes since it can hurt peoples scores rather than help them improve and score higher on the LSAT. It's clear from your current and past posts that you are a cross trained Kaplan instructor that does not specialize in teaching the LSAT and that you are far from being very knowledgeable about the LSAT given your demonstrated lack of understanding of basic LSAT fundamentals and basic logical concepts the test revolves around/is designed to test peoples knowledge, skills and abilities with.

That semi-new 'Kaplan Method' term 'Overlooked Possibilities arguments' that's part of the current Kaplan LSAT prep courses curriculum is more nonsense that illustrates another illogical aspect of the 'Kaplan Method' for teaching LSAT prep. Using that term as a label to distinguish certain LR arguments from others for categorization as a basis for deciding which strategies/approach/etc. to take with particular arguments/questions belies basic logic itself!

By logical definition, every flawed LR argument overlooks some possibilities no matter which particular flawed method of reasoning the argument uses, and nearly all arguments in the LR sections are flawed. There are only a few non-flawed LR arguments per test and they are the ones for parallel reasoning questions (not parallel the flawed reasoning questions). Some of the arguments for main point, method of reasoning and role questions are not flawed, but even with those questions types the argument is usually flawed.

By logical definition almost all LSAT LR arguments have to be flawed and have overlooked some possibilities due to the different LR question types. You cannot strengthen or weaken an argument if it's not flawed to begin with!

Every flawed argument makes one or more unwarranted/unsupported assumptions and fails to consider other possibilities that if true could/would show that the assumption(s) might be false. That's what makes them flawed! Whenever an argument makes an unwarranted assumption/assumes that something is true without logical support/proof, by logical definition the argument is also overlooking possibilities about things that could undermine or contradict what its assuming is true. Make sense?

Do you mainly teach SAT classes for Kaplan? I ask because your horrid RC advice you've posted here several times over the past years is actually decent advice for the SAT reading comprehension section, but not for LSAT RC since LSAT RC is designed to test much higher level reading skills than the SAT is.

Seriously bro, please stop posting bad LSAT advice while portraying yourself as an expert, it can really hurt test takers that don't realize that much of your LSAT advice can actually hurt rather than help peoples scores/performance.

OP, like KDLMaj and the others said, we need more information to be able to give you any specific useful advice about your situation.

KDLMaj
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:07 pm

Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:12 pm

Jeffort wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:Definitely need to know the questions to tell what's going on. I don't often see people who struggle with strengthening specifically (normally it's weakening questions if one of them is going to stand out), and normally when someone says they are struggle with NA questions my first instinct is to see how they're doing on Overlooked Possibilities arguments. But if that's a weak point, you'd expect them to struggle on weakening questions.

But, for what it's worth, the Denial Test will work on both of those question types. The Denial Test turns both NA and Str questions into weakening questions. That may be more in your wheel house.


The bolded above is straight up incorrect and is bad LSAT prep advice that if used can hurt ones score.

The negation/denial technique IS NOT an effective or appropriate strategy for testing strengthen question answer choices like it is with necessary assumption questions.

While it may appear to work with some strengthen questions, it will fail on most since the negation technique is only a logically valid way for testing whether or not the premise an answer choice states is NECESSARY/something that MUST BE TRUE for the reasoning of the argument to be able to logically work.

You can strengthen flawed arguments in various ways with a premise/information that IS NOT something that is necessary/must be true for the premises offered in the argument to be able to logically work to support the conclusion in order to have a logically viable argument.

The negation/denial technique (when done properly) is a 100% logically reliable way to test answer choices on necessary assumption questions because that question type is specifically asking you to determine which answer choice states a premise that MUST BE TRUE (hence is necessary) for the argument to work. When you negate a necessary premise/assumption you're making the stated premise false, and the negated version of the correct answer choice destroys the reasoning of the argument because you're taking away a necessary premise/assumption.

The logical criteria for the correct answer for standard LSAT strengthen questions does not include that the AC must be something necessary for the reasoning of the argument to work. The CR only has to give you information that makes the conclusion more likely to be true when combined with the premises already offered in the argument.

The negation test is specific to necessary assumption questions specifically because the logical criteria for that question type is DIFFERENT than the criteria for standard strengthen the argument questions, hence why they are two DIFFERENT logical reasoning question types.

KDLMaj, like I've said in several of my replies to some of your past posts over the last several years, please stop posting invalid/bad LSAT prep advice that you teach (or used to teach) to people in Kaplan LSAT classes since it can hurt peoples scores rather than help them improve and score higher on the LSAT. It's clear from your current and past posts that you are a cross trained Kaplan instructor that does not specialize in teaching the LSAT and that you are far from being very knowledgeable about the LSAT given your demonstrated lack of understanding of basic LSAT fundamentals and basic logical concepts the test revolves around/is designed to test peoples knowledge, skills and abilities with.

That semi-new 'Kaplan Method' term 'Overlooked Possibilities arguments' that's part of the current Kaplan LSAT prep courses curriculum is more nonsense that illustrates another illogical aspect of the 'Kaplan Method' for teaching LSAT prep. Using that term as a label to distinguish certain LR arguments from others for categorization as a basis for deciding which strategies/approach/etc. to take with particular arguments/questions belies basic logic itself!

By logical definition, every flawed LR argument overlooks some possibilities no matter which particular flawed method of reasoning the argument uses, and nearly all arguments in the LR sections are flawed. There are only a few non-flawed LR arguments per test and they are the ones for parallel reasoning questions (not parallel the flawed reasoning questions). Some of the arguments for main point, method of reasoning and role questions are not flawed, but even with those questions types the argument is usually flawed.

By logical definition almost all LSAT LR arguments have to be flawed and have overlooked some possibilities due to the different LR question types. You cannot strengthen or weaken an argument if it's not flawed to begin with!

Every flawed argument makes one or more unwarranted/unsupported assumptions and fails to consider other possibilities that if true could/would show that the assumption(s) might be false. That's what makes them flawed! Whenever an argument makes an unwarranted assumption/assumes that something is true without logical support/proof, by logical definition the argument is also overlooking possibilities about things that could undermine or contradict what its assuming is true. Make sense?

Do you mainly teach SAT classes for Kaplan? I ask because your horrid RC advice you've posted here several times over the past years is actually decent advice for the SAT reading comprehension section, but not for LSAT RC since LSAT RC is designed to test much higher level reading skills than the SAT is.

Seriously bro, please stop posting bad LSAT advice while portraying yourself as an expert, it can really hurt test takers that don't realize that much of your LSAT advice can actually hurt rather than help peoples scores/performance.

OP, like KDLMaj and the others said, we need more information to be able to give you any specific useful advice about your situation.


We are going to have to agree to disagree here on several points (obvs).

Negating a strengthening choice that is correct *will* make the conclusion less likely to be true. It will not necessarily disprove the conclusion (Nor should you expect it to), but it *cannot* have no impact on the conclusion. If it does- it is 100% incorrect. Likewise, if you negate the wrong answer, it will *never* make the conclusion less likely to be true.
You literally have to treat it like a weakening question- look for something that makes the conclusion less likely to be true. I'll grant you that I should have been more specific- I wrote that post as I was walking to a meeting. But you missed the forest for the trees on that one.

You will find this far more useful if the answer choice is already in the negative, but if weakening is a strong point of yours- you may be just fine.

If you have an example of a Str question where this approach either misses the correct answer or results in a false positive- by all means, let's see it. I am always open to being wrong.

<<That semi-new 'Kaplan Method' term 'Overlooked Possibilities arguments' that's part of the current Kaplan LSAT prep courses curriculum is more nonsense that illustrates another illogical aspect of the 'Kaplan Method' for teaching LSAT prep. Using that term as a label to distinguish certain LR arguments from others for categorization as a basis for deciding which strategies/approach/etc. to take with particular arguments/questions belies basic logic itself!

By logical definition, every flawed LR argument overlooks some possibilities no matter which particular flawed method of reasoning the argument uses, and nearly all arguments in the LR sections are flawed. There are only a few non-flawed LR arguments per test and they are the ones for parallel reasoning questions (not parallel the flawed reasoning questions). Some of the arguments for main point, method of reasoning and role questions are not flawed, but even with those questions types the argument is usually flawed. >>

For a person trying to position themselves as the better LSAT expert (and myself as clueless), the equivocation on "Overlooked Possibilities" is ironic. You are correct that all of the Assumption-based questions have stims that are flawed. But just because- on the street- you can *describe* anything as something overlooked doesn't mean that the argument type described the latest Kaplan books isn't a valid argument type. It seems pretty clear to me that you've missed the entire point of the SS/OP divide. It predicts the format of the answer choices when applied to the question type. Looking at a Necessary Assumption stim you can objectively determine the format the answer is likely to take based entirely on the type of argument. You have clearly missed this fact, but I encourage you to go play around with it and see.

An "overlooked possibilities" argument is not any argument *you* could describe as "overlooking something". It is a pattern that the *LSAT* has (somewhat arbitrarily) created that runs on the same fundamental problem (and which will result in the same type of answer). It fundamentally comes down to this: argument are (generally) either too strong or using irrelevant evidence. Figure out which one you're on, and you'll be able to predict what the answer choice needs to do. Again, if you've missed this, I'm concerned about your advice.

<<Do you mainly teach SAT classes for Kaplan? I ask because your horrid RC advice you've posted here several times over the past years is actually decent advice for the SAT reading comprehension section, but not for LSAT RC since LSAT RC is designed to test much higher level reading skills than the SAT is. >>

Funny, if you look at the threads I've posted in and my inbox you'll see a lot of "This REALLY helped, thank you so much!" You won't see a lot of "This reminds me of the SAT". Co-Authoring an LSAT prep book doesn't necessarily mean you know what you're talking about, but I'd say it's solid evidence that I'm not entirely clueless. Have you actually tried my advice? Or are you practicing armchair analysis here?

Again, if you've got some passages or questions that call into question something I've suggested- by all means, let's see it. Otherwise, let's leave it to the "students" to decide what's working for them and what isn't.
Last edited by KDLMaj on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Clyde Frog » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:22 pm

KDLMaj wrote:
Jeffort wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:Definitely need to know the questions to tell what's going on. I don't often see people who struggle with strengthening specifically (normally it's weakening questions if one of them is going to stand out), and normally when someone says they are struggle with NA questions my first instinct is to see how they're doing on Overlooked Possibilities arguments. But if that's a weak point, you'd expect them to struggle on weakening questions.

But, for what it's worth, the Denial Test will work on both of those question types. The Denial Test turns both NA and Str questions into weakening questions. That may be more in your wheel house.


The bolded above is straight up incorrect and is bad LSAT prep advice that if used can hurt ones score.

The negation/denial technique IS NOT an effective or appropriate strategy for testing strengthen question answer choices like it is with necessary assumption questions.

While it may appear to work with some strengthen questions, it will fail on most since the negation technique is only a logically valid way for testing whether or not the premise an answer choice states is NECESSARY/something that MUST BE TRUE for the reasoning of the argument to be able to logically work.

You can strengthen flawed arguments in various ways with a premise/information that IS NOT something that is necessary/must be true for the premises offered in the argument to be able to logically work to support the conclusion in order to have a logically viable argument.

The negation/denial technique (when done properly) is a 100% logically reliable way to test answer choices on necessary assumption questions because that question type is specifically asking you to determine which answer choice states a premise that MUST BE TRUE (hence is necessary) for the argument to work. When you negate a necessary premise/assumption you're making the stated premise false, and the negated version of the correct answer choice destroys the reasoning of the argument because you're taking away a necessary premise/assumption.

The logical criteria for the correct answer for standard LSAT strengthen questions does not include that the AC must be something necessary for the reasoning of the argument to work. The CR only has to give you information that makes the conclusion more likely to be true when combined with the premises already offered in the argument.

The negation test is specific to necessary assumption questions specifically because the logical criteria for that question type is DIFFERENT than the criteria for standard strengthen the argument questions, hence why they are two DIFFERENT logical reasoning question types.

KDLMaj, like I've said in several of my replies to some of your past posts over the last several years, please stop posting invalid/bad LSAT prep advice that you teach (or used to teach) to people in Kaplan LSAT classes since it can hurt peoples scores rather than help them improve and score higher on the LSAT. It's clear from your current and past posts that you are a cross trained Kaplan instructor that does not specialize in teaching the LSAT and that you are far from being very knowledgeable about the LSAT given your demonstrated lack of understanding of basic LSAT fundamentals and basic logical concepts the test revolves around/is designed to test peoples knowledge, skills and abilities with.

That semi-new 'Kaplan Method' term 'Overlooked Possibilities arguments' that's part of the current Kaplan LSAT prep courses curriculum is more nonsense that illustrates another illogical aspect of the 'Kaplan Method' for teaching LSAT prep. Using that term as a label to distinguish certain LR arguments from others for categorization as a basis for deciding which strategies/approach/etc. to take with particular arguments/questions belies basic logic itself!

By logical definition, every flawed LR argument overlooks some possibilities no matter which particular flawed method of reasoning the argument uses, and nearly all arguments in the LR sections are flawed. There are only a few non-flawed LR arguments per test and they are the ones for parallel reasoning questions (not parallel the flawed reasoning questions). Some of the arguments for main point, method of reasoning and role questions are not flawed, but even with those questions types the argument is usually flawed.

By logical definition almost all LSAT LR arguments have to be flawed and have overlooked some possibilities due to the different LR question types. You cannot strengthen or weaken an argument if it's not flawed to begin with!

Every flawed argument makes one or more unwarranted/unsupported assumptions and fails to consider other possibilities that if true could/would show that the assumption(s) might be false. That's what makes them flawed! Whenever an argument makes an unwarranted assumption/assumes that something is true without logical support/proof, by logical definition the argument is also overlooking possibilities about things that could undermine or contradict what its assuming is true. Make sense?

Do you mainly teach SAT classes for Kaplan? I ask because your horrid RC advice you've posted here several times over the past years is actually decent advice for the SAT reading comprehension section, but not for LSAT RC since LSAT RC is designed to test much higher level reading skills than the SAT is.

Seriously bro, please stop posting bad LSAT advice while portraying yourself as an expert, it can really hurt test takers that don't realize that much of your LSAT advice can actually hurt rather than help peoples scores/performance.

OP, like KDLMaj and the others said, we need more information to be able to give you any specific useful advice about your situation.


We are going to have to agree to disagree here on several points (obvs).

Negating a strengthening choice that is correct *will* make the conclusion less likely to be true. It will not necessarily disprove the conclusion (Nor should you expect it to), but it *cannot* have no impact on the conclusion. If it does- it is 100% incorrect. Likewise, if you negate the wrong answer, it will *never* make the conclusion less likely to be true.
You literally have to treat it like a weakening question- look for something that makes the conclusion less likely to be true. I'll grant you that I should have been more specific- I wrote that post as I was walking to a meeting. But you missed the forest for the trees on that one.

You will find this far more useful if the answer choice is already in the negative, but if weakening is a strong point of yours- you may be just fine.

If you have an example of a Str question where this approach either misses the correct answer or results in a false positive- by all means, let's see it. I am always open to being wrong.

<<That semi-new 'Kaplan Method' term 'Overlooked Possibilities arguments' that's part of the current Kaplan LSAT prep courses curriculum is more nonsense that illustrates another illogical aspect of the 'Kaplan Method' for teaching LSAT prep. Using that term as a label to distinguish certain LR arguments from others for categorization as a basis for deciding which strategies/approach/etc. to take with particular arguments/questions belies basic logic itself!

By logical definition, every flawed LR argument overlooks some possibilities no matter which particular flawed method of reasoning the argument uses, and nearly all arguments in the LR sections are flawed. There are only a few non-flawed LR arguments per test and they are the ones for parallel reasoning questions (not parallel the flawed reasoning questions). Some of the arguments for main point, method of reasoning and role questions are not flawed, but even with those questions types the argument is usually flawed. >>

For a person trying to position themselves as the better LSAT expert (and myself as clueless), the equivocation on "Overlooked Possibilities" is ironic. You are correct that all of the Assumption-based questions have stims that are flawed. But just because- on the street- you can *describe* anything as something overlooked doesn't mean that the argument type described the latest Kaplan books isn't a valid argument type. It seems pretty clear to me that you've missed the entire point of the SS/OP divide. It predicts the format of the answer choices when applied to the question type. Looking at a Necessary Assumption argument- you can objectively determine the format the answer is likely to take based entirely on the type of argument. You have clearly missed this fact, but I encourage you to go play around with it and see.

An "overlooked possibilities" argument is not any argument *you* could describe as "overlooking something". It is a pattern that the *LSAT* has (somewhat arbitrarily) created that runs on the same fundamental problem (and which will result in the same type of answer). It fundamentally comes down to this: argument are (generally) either too strong or using irrelevant evidence. Figure out which one you're on, and you'll be able to predict what the answer choice needs to do. Again, if you've missed this, I'm concerned about your advice.

<<Do you mainly teach SAT classes for Kaplan? I ask because your horrid RC advice you've posted here several times over the past years is actually decent advice for the SAT reading comprehension section, but not for LSAT RC since LSAT RC is designed to test much higher level reading skills than the SAT is. >>

Funny, if you look at the threads I've posted in and my inbox you'll see a lot of "This REALLY helped, thank you so much!" You won't see a lot of "This reminds me of the SAT". Co-Authoring an LSAT prep book doesn't necessarily mean you know what you're talking about, but I'd say it's solid evidence that I'm not entirely clueless. Have you actually tried my advice? Or are you practicing armchair analysis here?

Again, if you've got some passages or questions that call into question something I've suggested- by all means, let's see it. Otherwise, let's leave it to the "students" to decide what's working for them and what isn't.



Why is it that basically everyone that scores 176+ uses an almost identical RC technique as Jeffort, myself included, yet you couldn't break 170 with yours and had to settle for a garbage job at Kaplan?

Also please post these members that you've "really helped"

KDLMaj
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:01 pm

There's a fair chance I've seen more 176+ folks out there than you have. But, more importantly, it's not about how many you've seen. It's about how many you've helped dramatically improve their scores to get to that point. I've got a LOT of the latter. So far, what I'm getting from you is "I haven't heard people talk about it this way, so it must be wrong" Not the strongest argument in the world. If you've got something in there you disagree with- let's see your point of disagreement. (Though move it to the RC thread- we've hijacked enough of this).

And if you want to see the people who have posted publicly that they appreciate the approach, you're welcome to search. Private messages to my inbox are, obviously, private. You are not welcome to those names. If you are actually an LSAT instructor, you'll get that.

And though I miss my LSAT teacher days, I have moved on. I now run a training program at a major tech company. But I still help out where I can because I spent 6 years doing it, co-wrote a text book, and my experience with thousands of students has convinced me of how vital it is that we democratize access to LSAT expertise.

What's your excuse?

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Clyde Frog » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:18 pm

KDLMaj wrote:There's a fair chance I've seen more 176+ folks out there than you have. But, more importantly, it's not about how many you've seen. It's about how many you've helped dramatically improve their scores to get to that point. I've got a LOT of the latter. So far, what I'm getting from you is "I haven't heard people talk about it this way, so it must be wrong" Not the strongest argument in the world. If you've got something in there you disagree with- let's see your point of disagreement. (Though move it to the RC thread- we've hijacked enough of this).

And if you want to see the people who have posted publicly that they appreciate the approach, you're welcome to search. Private messages to my inbox are, obviously, private. You are not welcome to those names. If you are actually an LSAT instructor, you'll get that.

And though I miss my LSAT teacher days, I have moved on. I now run a training program at a major tech company. But I still help out where I can because I spent 6 years doing it, co-wrote a text book, and my experience with thousands of students has convinced me of how vital it is that we democratize access to LSAT expertise.

What's your excuse?


No one is claiming you're wrong, but you basically just said that Jeffort's approach is shit when it has helped a large amount of people on here get into top law schools. Btw if you're going to try to get your point across by posting a RC guide, when you don't have any type of reputation on here, don't spell words that commonly appear on 3rd grade spelling lists wrong.

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Clyde Frog » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:22 pm

Can someone send out a signal for Brut? I'm sure he'd love to get in on this.

KDLMaj
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:07 pm

Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:30 pm

Clyde Frog wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:There's a fair chance I've seen more 176+ folks out there than you have. But, more importantly, it's not about how many you've seen. It's about how many you've helped dramatically improve their scores to get to that point. I've got a LOT of the latter. So far, what I'm getting from you is "I haven't heard people talk about it this way, so it must be wrong" Not the strongest argument in the world. If you've got something in there you disagree with- let's see your point of disagreement. (Though move it to the RC thread- we've hijacked enough of this).

And if you want to see the people who have posted publicly that they appreciate the approach, you're welcome to search. Private messages to my inbox are, obviously, private. You are not welcome to those names. If you are actually an LSAT instructor, you'll get that.

And though I miss my LSAT teacher days, I have moved on. I now run a training program at a major tech company. But I still help out where I can because I spent 6 years doing it, co-wrote a text book, and my experience with thousands of students has convinced me of how vital it is that we democratize access to LSAT expertise.

What's your excuse?


No one is claiming you're wrong, but you basically just said that Jeffort's approach is shit when it has helped a large amount of people on here get into top law schools. Btw if you're going to try to get your point across by posting a RC guide, when you don't have any type of reputation on here, don't spell words that commonly appear on 3rd grade spelling lists wrong.


I...think you may have been reading a different thread. Jeffort actually did claim I was wrong. And I didn't insult his approach- he insulted mine. I will give him credit though- his posts were relatively on topic. Why don't we follow his lead and focus on helping the OP instead of an LSAT Prep pissing contest?

179orBust
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby 179orBust » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:52 pm

Clyde Frog wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:
Jeffort wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:Definitely need to know the questions to tell what's going on. I don't often see people who struggle with strengthening specifically (normally it's weakening questions if one of them is going to stand out), and normally when someone says they are struggle with NA questions my first instinct is to see how they're doing on Overlooked Possibilities arguments. But if that's a weak point, you'd expect them to struggle on weakening questions.

But, for what it's worth, the Denial Test will work on both of those question types. The Denial Test turns both NA and Str questions into weakening questions. That may be more in your wheel house.


The bolded above is straight up incorrect and is bad LSAT prep advice that if used can hurt ones score.

The negation/denial technique IS NOT an effective or appropriate strategy for testing strengthen question answer choices like it is with necessary assumption questions.

While it may appear to work with some strengthen questions, it will fail on most since the negation technique is only a logically valid way for testing whether or not the premise an answer choice states is NECESSARY/something that MUST BE TRUE for the reasoning of the argument to be able to logically work.

You can strengthen flawed arguments in various ways with a premise/information that IS NOT something that is necessary/must be true for the premises offered in the argument to be able to logically work to support the conclusion in order to have a logically viable argument.

The negation/denial technique (when done properly) is a 100% logically reliable way to test answer choices on necessary assumption questions because that question type is specifically asking you to determine which answer choice states a premise that MUST BE TRUE (hence is necessary) for the argument to work. When you negate a necessary premise/assumption you're making the stated premise false, and the negated version of the correct answer choice destroys the reasoning of the argument because you're taking away a necessary premise/assumption.

The logical criteria for the correct answer for standard LSAT strengthen questions does not include that the AC must be something necessary for the reasoning of the argument to work. The CR only has to give you information that makes the conclusion more likely to be true when combined with the premises already offered in the argument.

The negation test is specific to necessary assumption questions specifically because the logical criteria for that question type is DIFFERENT than the criteria for standard strengthen the argument questions, hence why they are two DIFFERENT logical reasoning question types.

KDLMaj, like I've said in several of my replies to some of your past posts over the last several years, please stop posting invalid/bad LSAT prep advice that you teach (or used to teach) to people in Kaplan LSAT classes since it can hurt peoples scores rather than help them improve and score higher on the LSAT. It's clear from your current and past posts that you are a cross trained Kaplan instructor that does not specialize in teaching the LSAT and that you are far from being very knowledgeable about the LSAT given your demonstrated lack of understanding of basic LSAT fundamentals and basic logical concepts the test revolves around/is designed to test peoples knowledge, skills and abilities with.

That semi-new 'Kaplan Method' term 'Overlooked Possibilities arguments' that's part of the current Kaplan LSAT prep courses curriculum is more nonsense that illustrates another illogical aspect of the 'Kaplan Method' for teaching LSAT prep. Using that term as a label to distinguish certain LR arguments from others for categorization as a basis for deciding which strategies/approach/etc. to take with particular arguments/questions belies basic logic itself!

By logical definition, every flawed LR argument overlooks some possibilities no matter which particular flawed method of reasoning the argument uses, and nearly all arguments in the LR sections are flawed. There are only a few non-flawed LR arguments per test and they are the ones for parallel reasoning questions (not parallel the flawed reasoning questions). Some of the arguments for main point, method of reasoning and role questions are not flawed, but even with those questions types the argument is usually flawed.

By logical definition almost all LSAT LR arguments have to be flawed and have overlooked some possibilities due to the different LR question types. You cannot strengthen or weaken an argument if it's not flawed to begin with!

Every flawed argument makes one or more unwarranted/unsupported assumptions and fails to consider other possibilities that if true could/would show that the assumption(s) might be false. That's what makes them flawed! Whenever an argument makes an unwarranted assumption/assumes that something is true without logical support/proof, by logical definition the argument is also overlooking possibilities about things that could undermine or contradict what its assuming is true. Make sense?

Do you mainly teach SAT classes for Kaplan? I ask because your horrid RC advice you've posted here several times over the past years is actually decent advice for the SAT reading comprehension section, but not for LSAT RC since LSAT RC is designed to test much higher level reading skills than the SAT is.

Seriously bro, please stop posting bad LSAT advice while portraying yourself as an expert, it can really hurt test takers that don't realize that much of your LSAT advice can actually hurt rather than help peoples scores/performance.

OP, like KDLMaj and the others said, we need more information to be able to give you any specific useful advice about your situation.


We are going to have to agree to disagree here on several points (obvs).

Negating a strengthening choice that is correct *will* make the conclusion less likely to be true. It will not necessarily disprove the conclusion (Nor should you expect it to), but it *cannot* have no impact on the conclusion. If it does- it is 100% incorrect. Likewise, if you negate the wrong answer, it will *never* make the conclusion less likely to be true.
You literally have to treat it like a weakening question- look for something that makes the conclusion less likely to be true. I'll grant you that I should have been more specific- I wrote that post as I was walking to a meeting. But you missed the forest for the trees on that one.

You will find this far more useful if the answer choice is already in the negative, but if weakening is a strong point of yours- you may be just fine.

If you have an example of a Str question where this approach either misses the correct answer or results in a false positive- by all means, let's see it. I am always open to being wrong.

<<That semi-new 'Kaplan Method' term 'Overlooked Possibilities arguments' that's part of the current Kaplan LSAT prep courses curriculum is more nonsense that illustrates another illogical aspect of the 'Kaplan Method' for teaching LSAT prep. Using that term as a label to distinguish certain LR arguments from others for categorization as a basis for deciding which strategies/approach/etc. to take with particular arguments/questions belies basic logic itself!

By logical definition, every flawed LR argument overlooks some possibilities no matter which particular flawed method of reasoning the argument uses, and nearly all arguments in the LR sections are flawed. There are only a few non-flawed LR arguments per test and they are the ones for parallel reasoning questions (not parallel the flawed reasoning questions). Some of the arguments for main point, method of reasoning and role questions are not flawed, but even with those questions types the argument is usually flawed. >>

For a person trying to position themselves as the better LSAT expert (and myself as clueless), the equivocation on "Overlooked Possibilities" is ironic. You are correct that all of the Assumption-based questions have stims that are flawed. But just because- on the street- you can *describe* anything as something overlooked doesn't mean that the argument type described the latest Kaplan books isn't a valid argument type. It seems pretty clear to me that you've missed the entire point of the SS/OP divide. It predicts the format of the answer choices when applied to the question type. Looking at a Necessary Assumption argument- you can objectively determine the format the answer is likely to take based entirely on the type of argument. You have clearly missed this fact, but I encourage you to go play around with it and see.

An "overlooked possibilities" argument is not any argument *you* could describe as "overlooking something". It is a pattern that the *LSAT* has (somewhat arbitrarily) created that runs on the same fundamental problem (and which will result in the same type of answer). It fundamentally comes down to this: argument are (generally) either too strong or using irrelevant evidence. Figure out which one you're on, and you'll be able to predict what the answer choice needs to do. Again, if you've missed this, I'm concerned about your advice.

<<Do you mainly teach SAT classes for Kaplan? I ask because your horrid RC advice you've posted here several times over the past years is actually decent advice for the SAT reading comprehension section, but not for LSAT RC since LSAT RC is designed to test much higher level reading skills than the SAT is. >>

Funny, if you look at the threads I've posted in and my inbox you'll see a lot of "This REALLY helped, thank you so much!" You won't see a lot of "This reminds me of the SAT". Co-Authoring an LSAT prep book doesn't necessarily mean you know what you're talking about, but I'd say it's solid evidence that I'm not entirely clueless. Have you actually tried my advice? Or are you practicing armchair analysis here?

Again, if you've got some passages or questions that call into question something I've suggested- by all means, let's see it. Otherwise, let's leave it to the "students" to decide what's working for them and what isn't.



Why is it that basically everyone that scores 176+ uses an almost identical RC technique as Jeffort, myself included, yet you couldn't break 170 with yours and had to settle for a garbage job at Kaplan?

Also please post these members that you've "really helped"


What's Jeffort's RC technique? Would really appreciate if you can elaborate/ tell me where to find it.

theoretics
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby theoretics » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:42 am

KDLMaj wrote:Negating a strengthening choice that is correct *will* make the conclusion less likely to be true. It will not necessarily disprove the conclusion (Nor should you expect it to), but it *cannot* have no impact on the conclusion. If it does- it is 100% incorrect. Likewise, if you negate the wrong answer, it will *never* make the conclusion less likely to be true.
You literally have to treat it like a weakening question- look for something that makes the conclusion less likely to be true. I'll grant you that I should have been more specific- I wrote that post as I was walking to a meeting. But you missed the forest for the trees on that one.

You will find this far more useful if the answer choice is already in the negative, but if weakening is a strong point of yours- you may be just fine.

If you have an example of a Str question where this approach either misses the correct answer or results in a false positive- by all means, let's see it. I am always open to being wrong.


I want to consider a simple question, the Gem World question in PT 37, S 2, Q 6. The argument asserts that because of a written certification, the diamonds sold there will have a fair price. The correct answer strengthens the argument by providing new information that the certification is provided by an independent team of gem specialists. It strengthens the argument by increasing the reliability of the premises. If the certification is provided by an independent team of specialists, then it is more likely that the certification will be impartial (because they have no explicit reason to give an unfair price); and if that is true, then it is also more likely that the diamonds will have a fair price.

When negated, that answer choice reads roughly as 'the certifications are not made by an independent company of gem aficionados.' This negation does not weaken the argument. We can say that this proposition has substantive topical relevance to the argument at hand. However, it does not have probative relevance, i.e., it does not tend to prove or disprove the conclusion.

We might say that the negation of the strengthening evidence removes a potential way of strengthening that argument. That is a subtle difference that I feel is important and is thus more accurate than saying that it weakens the argument. In my eyes, this makes the negation test inappropriate for strengthen questions. And that's because the negation test applies for what must be true. A strengthen answer choice does not have to be true. In fact, many strengthen question stems assert the conditional truth of the answer choices ('which of the following, if true, would strengthen...).

tl;dr. Conflating strengthen and necessary assumption questions for the use of the negation test does not seem helpful.

KDLMaj
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:07 pm

Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:05 am

theoretics wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:Negating a strengthening choice that is correct *will* make the conclusion less likely to be true. It will not necessarily disprove the conclusion (Nor should you expect it to), but it *cannot* have no impact on the conclusion. If it does- it is 100% incorrect. Likewise, if you negate the wrong answer, it will *never* make the conclusion less likely to be true.
You literally have to treat it like a weakening question- look for something that makes the conclusion less likely to be true. I'll grant you that I should have been more specific- I wrote that post as I was walking to a meeting. But you missed the forest for the trees on that one.

You will find this far more useful if the answer choice is already in the negative, but if weakening is a strong point of yours- you may be just fine.

If you have an example of a Str question where this approach either misses the correct answer or results in a false positive- by all means, let's see it. I am always open to being wrong.


I want to consider a simple question, the Gem World question in PT 37, S 2, Q 6. The argument asserts that because of a written certification, the diamonds sold there will have a fair price. The correct answer strengthens the argument by providing new information that the certification is provided by an independent team of gem specialists. It strengthens the argument by increasing the reliability of the premises. If the certification is provided by an independent team of specialists, then it is more likely that the certification will be impartial (because they have no explicit reason to give an unfair price); and if that is true, then it is also more likely that the diamonds will have a fair price.


When negated, that answer choice reads roughly as 'the certifications are not made by an independent company of gem aficionados.' This negation does not weaken the argument. We can say that this proposition has substantive topical relevance to the argument at hand. However, it does not have probative relevance, i.e., it does not tend to prove or disprove the conclusion.

We might say that the negation of the strengthening evidence removes a potential way of strengthening that argument. That is a subtle difference that I feel is important and is thus more accurate than saying that it weakens the argument. In my eyes, this makes the negation test inappropriate for strengthen questions. And that's because the negation test applies for what must be true. A strengthen answer choice does not have to be true. In fact, many strengthen question stems assert the conditional truth of the answer choices ('which of the following, if true, would strengthen...).

tl;dr. Conflating strengthen and necessary assumption questions for the use of the negation test does not seem helpful.



Actually in that particular question, stating that the certifications were NOT made by an independent company of gem aficionados DOES weaken the argument. It makes it less likely that the price is, in fact, fair. Weakening answer choices can absolutely discount potential strengtheners (you see this particularly in more challenging weakening questions)

It's an interesting stim to pick though- you don't see a ton of scope shifts in Str/Wk (and the ones you do see are often representation arguments) But the author's assumption is that being written makes something fair (Scope Shift- Alike argument). Reversing the correct answer choice breaks that connection.

If an answer choice is relevant in its normal state, negating will not alter its relevance. Just its impact. I will say though that I normally wouldn't recommend the denial test unless the answer is already in the negative. Half the reason why the denial test helps some folks is it takes negative answers and makes them positive statements. Unless you're VERY good with weakening questions and bad at strengtheners.

Str and Nec Assumption questions are NOT the same thing. But you CAN use (a modified version of) the denial test on either. For NA the end result must destroy the conclusion, but for Str is only need weaken it. Your example doesn't disprove that I'm afraid.

theoretics
Posts: 14
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby theoretics » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:48 am

KDLMaj wrote:
theoretics wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:Negating a strengthening choice that is correct *will* make the conclusion less likely to be true. It will not necessarily disprove the conclusion (Nor should you expect it to), but it *cannot* have no impact on the conclusion. If it does- it is 100% incorrect. Likewise, if you negate the wrong answer, it will *never* make the conclusion less likely to be true.
You literally have to treat it like a weakening question- look for something that makes the conclusion less likely to be true. I'll grant you that I should have been more specific- I wrote that post as I was walking to a meeting. But you missed the forest for the trees on that one.

You will find this far more useful if the answer choice is already in the negative, but if weakening is a strong point of yours- you may be just fine.

If you have an example of a Str question where this approach either misses the correct answer or results in a false positive- by all means, let's see it. I am always open to being wrong.


I want to consider a simple question, the Gem World question in PT 37, S 2, Q 6. The argument asserts that because of a written certification, the diamonds sold there will have a fair price. The correct answer strengthens the argument by providing new information that the certification is provided by an independent team of gem specialists. It strengthens the argument by increasing the reliability of the premises. If the certification is provided by an independent team of specialists, then it is more likely that the certification will be impartial (because they have no explicit reason to give an unfair price); and if that is true, then it is also more likely that the diamonds will have a fair price.


When negated, that answer choice reads roughly as 'the certifications are not made by an independent company of gem aficionados.' This negation does not weaken the argument. We can say that this proposition has substantive topical relevance to the argument at hand. However, it does not have probative relevance, i.e., it does not tend to prove or disprove the conclusion.

We might say that the negation of the strengthening evidence removes a potential way of strengthening that argument. That is a subtle difference that I feel is important and is thus more accurate than saying that it weakens the argument. In my eyes, this makes the negation test inappropriate for strengthen questions. And that's because the negation test applies for what must be true. A strengthen answer choice does not have to be true. In fact, many strengthen question stems assert the conditional truth of the answer choices ('which of the following, if true, would strengthen...).

tl;dr. Conflating strengthen and necessary assumption questions for the use of the negation test does not seem helpful.



Actually in that particular question, stating that the certifications were NOT made by an independent company of gem aficionados DOES weaken the argument. It makes it less likely that the price is, in fact, fair. Weakening answer choices can absolutely discount potential strengtheners (you see this particularly in more challenging weakening questions)

It's an interesting stim to pick though- you don't see a ton of scope shifts in Str/Wk (and the ones you do see are often representation arguments) But the author's assumption is that being written makes something fair (Scope Shift- Alike argument). Reversing the correct answer choice breaks that connection.

If an answer choice is relevant in its normal state, negating will not alter its relevance. Just its impact. I will say though that I normally wouldn't recommend the denial test unless the answer is already in the negative. Half the reason why the denial test helps some folks is it takes negative answers and makes them positive statements. Unless you're VERY good with weakening questions and bad at strengtheners.

Str and Nec Assumption questions are NOT the same thing. But you CAN use (a modified version of) the denial test on either. For NA the end result must destroy the conclusion, but for Str is only need weaken it. Your example doesn't disprove that I'm afraid.


I am confused.

Is it then appropriate to say that strengtheners and weakeners are logical opposites/negations of each other? Because that's the vibe I'm getting from your posts, KDLMaj. That seems to make some sense, but I am hesitant because of the admonitions against the negation test for strengthen/weaken question types.

I can see that the negation test is supposed to work by wrecking the argument when given the negations of necessary assumptions. Is it then fair to say that negated strengtheners are weakeners? I'm trying to wrap my head around this concept with reference to the Gem World question... Other folks are welcome to introduce other questions/ comments/ complications/ headache-inducing aneurysms...

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Jeffort
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Jeffort » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:55 am

KDLMaj wrote:
Clyde Frog wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:There's a fair chance I've seen more 176+ folks out there than you have. But, more importantly, it's not about how many you've seen. It's about how many you've helped dramatically improve their scores to get to that point. I've got a LOT of the latter. So far, what I'm getting from you is "I haven't heard people talk about it this way, so it must be wrong" Not the strongest argument in the world. If you've got something in there you disagree with- let's see your point of disagreement. (Though move it to the RC thread- we've hijacked enough of this).

And if you want to see the people who have posted publicly that they appreciate the approach, you're welcome to search. Private messages to my inbox are, obviously, private. You are not welcome to those names. If you are actually an LSAT instructor, you'll get that.

And though I miss my LSAT teacher days, I have moved on. I now run a training program at a major tech company. But I still help out where I can because I spent 6 years doing it, co-wrote a text book, and my experience with thousands of students has convinced me of how vital it is that we democratize access to LSAT expertise.

What's your excuse?


No one is claiming you're wrong, but you basically just said that Jeffort's approach is shit when it has helped a large amount of people on here get into top law schools. Btw if you're going to try to get your point across by posting a RC guide, when you don't have any type of reputation on here, don't spell words that commonly appear on 3rd grade spelling lists wrong.


I...think you may have been reading a different thread. Jeffort actually did claim I was wrong. And I didn't insult his approach- he insulted mine. I will give him credit though- his posts were relatively on topic. Why don't we follow his lead and focus on helping the OP instead of an LSAT Prep pissing contest?


KDLMaj, I'm not criticizing your advice to have any sort of who's better/really an LSAT expert teacher/tutor ego based pissing contest. I'm posting to present valid useful information about valid logic, crucial concepts and logically valid techniques that are important to know and understand properly in order to achieve a high LSAT score above the high 150's/low 160s range. In order to achieve a high LSAT score (let's say 165+), one has to get almost all of the highest difficulty level questions correct, many of which are specifically designed by the test writers to test peoples high level understanding of and ability to apply high level logical concepts amongst other things.

You are wrong about the effectiveness and logical impact of using the negation/denial technique on standard strengthen question answer choices. As I said, it will appear to work to verify/determine the correct answer on some strengthen questions, but not on most of them.

My explanation that follows might very well be on point for OPs situation with what might be responsible for his/her issues that lead to getting those strengthen and NA questions incorrect so hopefully OP and others will benefit from this.

The few strengthen questions where the negation technique does effectively and logically work to verify the correct answer choice by producing a premise that weakens/destroys the reasoning of the argument are the ones where the test writers decided to offer a necessary assumption of the argument as the correct answer. On a small proportion of strengthen questions the test writers purposely write a necessary assumption of the argument for the correct answer. Stating a necessary assumption of an argument as a premise that is true does operate to strengthen the argument since you're converting the unwarranted/unsupported assumption of the argument into an explicit premise of the argument, thus eliminating the possibilities that would undermine or contradict the assumption.

For the negation technique to convert the correct answer choice of a strengthen question into a premise that seems to destroy/seriously weaken the reasoning of the argument like it does with NA questions when the correct answer choice for the strengthen question is not actually stating a necessary assumption of the argument, you'd have to improperly negate the answer choice to its extreme/polar opposite rather than negate it properly into it's logical opposite and/or make some additional reasoning errors. Even then, negating the CR of most strengthen questions to its extreme opposite instead of its logical opposite does not produce a premise that actually logically weakens the argument, it only produces a premise that actually logically weakens the argument on a small amount of strengthen questions with particular characteristics that make it work out that way for those specific question for reasons other than negated strengtheners being weakeners as you assert is universally logically true.

Perhaps you misunderstand how to properly negate answer choices to perform the negation/denial test properly. There's a really important distinction to know about using the negation test properly that's crucial for high difficulty level NA questions that include a tricky super attractive easy to get suckered by trap answer even when using the negation test. When negating/denying answers to test them out, the logically valid way is to negate the answer choice to its logical opposite, not to its extreme/polar opposite. Improperly negating answers to their polar opposite instead of logical opposite won't cause problems/lead you to an incorrect answer on most NA questions, but it will on some of them, namely the high difficulty ones the test writers construct specifically to test peoples understanding of the difference between logical opposites and extreme/polar opposites in order to nail test takers that don't understand the distinction and/or negate AC's improperly. On some high difficulty NA questions the test writers intentionally include an incorrect trap answer that if negated to its extreme/polar opposite will appear to weaken/destroy the argument, but when properly negated to its logical opposite doesn't actually weaken the argument. OP may have gotten burned by a few NA Qs with that type of tricky trap answer.

Logically, when you properly negate the truth of a strengthen question correct answer that isn't stating a necessary assumption of the argument, you end up with a premise that simply just doesn't strengthen the argument, not a premise that actually logically weakens the reasoning of the argument. Meaning that the proper logical negation of the correct answer choice produces a premise that's neutral/doesn't strengthen nor weaken the argument. However, with some (not all!) strengthen question correct answer choices, if you improperly negate it into its extreme/polar opposite rather than it's logical opposite, that negated form sometimes will appear to weaken the argument.

A much simpler way to show that your claim about the negation test being effective to determine the correct answer for strengthen questions by converting it into a premise that weakens is the simple fact that the main attractive trap answer for many necessary assumption questions is an answer choice that does strengthen the argument but does so with a premise that is not essential/required for the reasoning of the argument to hold water. If negating something that strengthens the argument gives you a premise that weakens the argument, how would you then distinguish between a NA trap answer that strengthens but isn't necessary from the CR once you've applied the negation test and have two answers that both seem to weaken the argument once negated?

So I'll turn your theory around on you, please explain how when using the negation/denial test you're supposed to be able to distinguish between two answers on a NA question when an incorrect trap AC does strengthen the argument but isn't stating something that is necessary to the reasoning of the argument? In your post you simply declare that the negated form of answers that strengthen the argument *will* weaken the argument. Please explain how you think it would logically do so, and please provide an example and some reasoning for your theory if you can.

For a NA question with an incorrect trap answer that does strengthen the argument, feel free to use PT65 S1 Q#21 to try to explain the logic behind what you've declared is true about using the negation test to identify answers that strengthen an argument and about how you'd resolve the issue with NA Qs that contain an incorrect answer that strengthens, when according to you, using the negation/denial test would tell you that two answer choices are correct because they both weaken when negated.
Last edited by Jeffort on Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

KDLMaj
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:07 pm

Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:27 am

Jeffort wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:
Clyde Frog wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:There's a fair chance I've seen more 176+ folks out there than you have. But, more importantly, it's not about how many you've seen. It's about how many you've helped dramatically improve their scores to get to that point. I've got a LOT of the latter. So far, what I'm getting from you is "I haven't heard people talk about it this way, so it must be wrong" Not the strongest argument in the world. If you've got something in there you disagree with- let's see your point of disagreement. (Though move it to the RC thread- we've hijacked enough of this).

And if you want to see the people who have posted publicly that they appreciate the approach, you're welcome to search. Private messages to my inbox are, obviously, private. You are not welcome to those names. If you are actually an LSAT instructor, you'll get that.

And though I miss my LSAT teacher days, I have moved on. I now run a training program at a major tech company. But I still help out where I can because I spent 6 years doing it, co-wrote a text book, and my experience with thousands of students has convinced me of how vital it is that we democratize access to LSAT expertise.

What's your excuse?


No one is claiming you're wrong, but you basically just said that Jeffort's approach is shit when it has helped a large amount of people on here get into top law schools. Btw if you're going to try to get your point across by posting a RC guide, when you don't have any type of reputation on here, don't spell words that commonly appear on 3rd grade spelling lists wrong.


I...think you may have been reading a different thread. Jeffort actually did claim I was wrong. And I didn't insult his approach- he insulted mine. I will give him credit though- his posts were relatively on topic. Why don't we follow his lead and focus on helping the OP instead of an LSAT Prep pissing contest?


KDLMaj, I'm not criticizing your advice to have any sort of who's better/really an LSAT expert teacher/tutor ego based pissing contest. I'm posting to present valid useful information about valid logic, crucial concepts and logically valid techniques that are important to know and understand properly in order to achieve a high LSAT score above the high 150's/low 160s range. In order to achieve a high LSAT score (let's say 165+), one has to get almost all of the highest difficulty level questions correct, many of which are specifically designed by the test writers to test peoples high level understanding of and ability to apply high level logical concepts amongst other things.

You are wrong about the effectiveness and logical impact of using the negation/denial technique on standard strengthen question answer choices. As I said, it will appear to work to verify/determine the correct answer on some strengthen questions, but not on most of them.

My explanation that follows might very well be on point for OPs situation with what might be responsible for his/her issues that lead to getting those strengthen and NA questions incorrect so hopefully OP and others will benefit from this.

The few strengthen questions where the negation technique does effectively and logically work to verify the correct answer choice by producing a premise that weakens/destroys the reasoning of the argument are the ones where the test writers decided to offer a necessary assumption of the argument as the correct answer. On a small proportion of strengthen questions the test writers purposely write a necessary assumption of the argument for the correct answer. Stating a necessary assumption of an argument as a premise that is true does operate to strengthen the argument since you're converting the unwarranted/unsupported assumption of the argument into an explicit premise of the argument, thus eliminating the possibilities that would undermine or contradict the assumption.

For the negation technique to convert the correct answer choice of a strengthen question into a premise that seems to destroy/seriously weaken the reasoning of the argument like it does with NA questions when the correct answer choice for the strengthen question is not actually stating a necessary assumption of the argument, you'd have to improperly negate the answer choice to its extreme/polar opposite rather than negate it properly into it's logical opposite and/or make some additional reasoning errors. Even then, negating the CR of most strengthen questions to it's extreme opposite instead of it's logical opposite does not produce a premise that actually logically weakens the argument, it only produces a premise that actually weakens the argument on a small amount of strengthen questions with particular characteristics.

Perhaps you misunderstand how to properly negate answer choices to perform the negation/denial test properly. There's a really important distinction to know about using the negation test properly that's crucial for high difficulty level NA questions that include a tricky super attractive easy to get suckered by trap answer even when using the negation test. When negating/denying answers to test them out, the logically valid way is to negate the answer choice to its logical opposite, not to its extreme/polar opposite. Improperly negating answers to their polar opposite instead of logical opposite won't cause problems/lead you to an incorrect answer on most NA questions, but it will on some of them, namely the high difficulty ones the test writers construct specifically to test peoples understanding of the difference between logical opposites and extreme/polar opposites in order to nail test takers that don't understand the distinction and/or negate AC's improperly. On some high difficulty NA questions the test writers intentionally include an incorrect trap answer that if negated to its extreme/polar opposite will appear to weaken/destroy the argument, but when properly negated to its logical opposite doesn't actually weaken the argument. OP may have gotten burned by a few NA Qs with that type of tricky trap answer.

Logically, when you properly negate the truth of a strengthen question correct answer that isn't stating a necessary assumption of the argument, you end up with a premise that simply just doesn't strengthen the argument, not a premise that actually logically weakens the reasoning of the argument. Meaning that the proper logical negation of the correct answer choice produces a premise that's neutral/doesn't strengthen nor weaken the argument. However, with some (not all!) strengthen question correct answer choices, if you improperly negate it into its extreme/polar opposite rather than it's logical opposite, that negated form sometimes will appear to weaken the argument.

A much simpler way to show that your claim about the negation test being effective to determine the correct answer for strengthen questions is the simple fact that the main attractive trap answer for many necessary assumption questions is an answer choice that does strengthen the argument but does so with a premise that is not essential/required for the reasoning of the argument to hold water.

So I'll turn your theory around on you, please explain how when using the negation/denial test you're supposed to be able to distinguish between two answers on a NA question when an incorrect trap AC does strengthen the argument but isn't stating something that is necessary to the reasoning of the argument? In your post you simply declare that the negated form of the correct answer for strengthen questions *will* weaken the argument. Please explain how you think it would logically do so, and please provide an example if you can.

For a NA question with an incorrect trap answer that does strengthen the argument, feel free to use PT65 S1 Q#21 to try to explain the logic behind what you've declared is true about using the negation test to identify answers that strengthen an argument.


Jeffort, while I can appreciate your passion- you are getting caught in a trap of your own making here by not paying attention to the specifics of my advice. As I noted before, I should've added more clarity to my original post- I was posting and running as it were. But I've clarified my advice twice now.

If applying the denial test to a strengthening question, your burden of proof for that question has not changed. It is *still* a Str question at base. Consequently, the negated answer need only make the conclusion *less* likely to be true. The reason why this lower burden of proof works on a strengthening question is based in the nature of the wrong answers- they either have no impact on the argument or do the opposite of what's intended. Negating will not make an irrelevant answer relevant (or vice versa), and all 180s will continue to be 180s.

If you are applying the denial test to a necessary assumption question, again, the burden of proof remains higher- in that case, the correct answer MUST destroy the argument.

If you see an exception to that- please provide an actual Str question to demonstrate the issue. Looking at some answer choices in a Nec Assumption question to make a judgement call about whether this works with strengtheners shows an odd lack of understanding of how these questions are put together. Str and Nec Assumption questions can be EXTREMELY similar/indistinguishable in their correct answer choices (largely in the case of overlooked possibilities arguments), but their wrong answers are not patterned the same way. The lower burden of proof would never work in a necessary assumption question, as you pedantically and condescendingly noted.

But the mechanics of the situation- taking a statement and testing it against a conclusion to see if it weakens it remains. When I said it turns the questions into weakening questions- that's what I was referring to. It is a way to help someone who is struggling with these two question types but *not* weakening questions to potentially turn the odds in their favor. I wouldn't recommend it for most people except on an as-needed basis (i.e. high level str questions with answer choices in the negative), but this is (as I noted initially) a somewhat uncommon situation. And the strategy is completely effective.

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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Clearly » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:45 am

Oh good, we're doing this again...

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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:02 am

theoretics wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:
theoretics wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:Negating a strengthening choice that is correct *will* make the conclusion less likely to be true. It will not necessarily disprove the conclusion (Nor should you expect it to), but it *cannot* have no impact on the conclusion. If it does- it is 100% incorrect. Likewise, if you negate the wrong answer, it will *never* make the conclusion less likely to be true.
You literally have to treat it like a weakening question- look for something that makes the conclusion less likely to be true. I'll grant you that I should have been more specific- I wrote that post as I was walking to a meeting. But you missed the forest for the trees on that one.

You will find this far more useful if the answer choice is already in the negative, but if weakening is a strong point of yours- you may be just fine.

If you have an example of a Str question where this approach either misses the correct answer or results in a false positive- by all means, let's see it. I am always open to being wrong.


I want to consider a simple question, the Gem World question in PT 37, S 2, Q 6. The argument asserts that because of a written certification, the diamonds sold there will have a fair price. The correct answer strengthens the argument by providing new information that the certification is provided by an independent team of gem specialists. It strengthens the argument by increasing the reliability of the premises. If the certification is provided by an independent team of specialists, then it is more likely that the certification will be impartial (because they have no explicit reason to give an unfair price); and if that is true, then it is also more likely that the diamonds will have a fair price.


When negated, that answer choice reads roughly as 'the certifications are not made by an independent company of gem aficionados.' This negation does not weaken the argument. We can say that this proposition has substantive topical relevance to the argument at hand. However, it does not have probative relevance, i.e., it does not tend to prove or disprove the conclusion.

We might say that the negation of the strengthening evidence removes a potential way of strengthening that argument. That is a subtle difference that I feel is important and is thus more accurate than saying that it weakens the argument. In my eyes, this makes the negation test inappropriate for strengthen questions. And that's because the negation test applies for what must be true. A strengthen answer choice does not have to be true. In fact, many strengthen question stems assert the conditional truth of the answer choices ('which of the following, if true, would strengthen...).

tl;dr. Conflating strengthen and necessary assumption questions for the use of the negation test does not seem helpful.



Actually in that particular question, stating that the certifications were NOT made by an independent company of gem aficionados DOES weaken the argument. It makes it less likely that the price is, in fact, fair. Weakening answer choices can absolutely discount potential strengtheners (you see this particularly in more challenging weakening questions)

It's an interesting stim to pick though- you don't see a ton of scope shifts in Str/Wk (and the ones you do see are often representation arguments) But the author's assumption is that being written makes something fair (Scope Shift- Alike argument). Reversing the correct answer choice breaks that connection.

If an answer choice is relevant in its normal state, negating will not alter its relevance. Just its impact. I will say though that I normally wouldn't recommend the denial test unless the answer is already in the negative. Half the reason why the denial test helps some folks is it takes negative answers and makes them positive statements. Unless you're VERY good with weakening questions and bad at strengtheners.

Str and Nec Assumption questions are NOT the same thing. But you CAN use (a modified version of) the denial test on either. For NA the end result must destroy the conclusion, but for Str is only need weaken it. Your example doesn't disprove that I'm afraid.


I am confused.

Is it then appropriate to say that strengtheners and weakeners are logical opposites/negations of each other? Because that's the vibe I'm getting from your posts, KDLMaj. That seems to make some sense, but I am hesitant because of the admonitions against the negation test for strengthen/weaken question types.

I can see that the negation test is supposed to work by wrecking the argument when given the negations of necessary assumptions. Is it then fair to say that negated strengtheners are weakeners? I'm trying to wrap my head around this concept with reference to the Gem World question... Other folks are welcome to introduce other questions/ comments/ complications/ headache-inducing aneurysms...


I missed this- I'm so sorry.

In the context of a Str/Wk question, yes, the answer choices are logical negations of each other. If making an overlooked possibility less likely strengthens an argument, then making it more likely will weaken it, for example. Now one thing I will say is that I haven't tried this on enough Weakening questions to give a recommendation for it. There's no logical reason why it wouldn't work that comes to mind, but I haven't tested it on enough questions to be sure. It very much works for Str questions though- as long as you remember that since the correct answer to a strengthener isn't necessarily required for the argument to be true, the negation doesn't need to destroy it- only make it less likely. Str/Wk run off of a different burden of proof than Nec Assumption questions. You don't need to worry about false positives or negatives if you approach the question this way.

This trick is actually very handy for studying Str/Wk questions. It effectively lets you get two questions for the price of one. By making your mind negate each answer choice and then evaluate the impact, you're honing both sides of the coin, as it were. On the ground though, unless you're very lopsided in your Str/Wk performance (i.e. you rock at weakeners and suck at strengtheners), then I'd only use this when dealing with a tough strengthener whose answer choices are in the negative.

There's a reason why the denial test really shines in Overlooked Possibilities arguments in Nec Assumption questions but tends to get a more tepid response in Scope Shift arguments in the same type of question. The answer choices for the former are generally in the negative while the answer choices for the latter are less likely to be so. (Turning a positive statement into a negative one often actually makes it harder for people to assess)

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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Jeffort » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:07 am

KDLMaj wrote:
Jeffort, while I can appreciate your passion- you are getting caught in a trap of your own making here by not paying attention to the specifics of my advice. As I noted before, I should've added more clarity to my original post- I was posting and running as it were. But I've clarified my advice twice now.

If applying the denial test to a strengthening question, your burden of proof for that question has not changed. It is *still* a Str question at base. Consequently, the negated answer need only make the conclusion *less* likely to be true. The reason why this lower burden of proof works on a strengthening question is based in the nature of the wrong answers- they either have no impact on the argument or do the opposite of what's intended. Negating will not make an irrelevant answer relevant (or vice versa), and all 180s will continue to be 180s.

If you are applying the denial test to a necessary assumption question, again, the burden of proof remains higher- in that case, the correct answer MUST destroy the argument.

If you see an exception to that- please provide an actual Str question to demonstrate the issue. Looking at some answer choices in a Nec Assumption question to make a judgement call about whether this works with strengtheners shows an odd lack of understanding of how these questions are put together. Str and Nec Assumption questions can be EXTREMELY similar/indistinguishable in their correct answer choices (largely in the case of overlooked possibilities arguments), but their wrong answers are not patterned the same way. The lower burden of proof would never work in a necessary assumption question, as you pedantically and condescendingly noted.

But the mechanics of the situation- taking a statement and testing it against a conclusion to see if it weakens it remains. When I said it turns the questions into weakening questions- that's what I was referring to. It is a way to help someone who is struggling with these two question types but *not* weakening questions to potentially turn the odds in their favor. I wouldn't recommend it for most people except on an as-needed basis (i.e. high level str questions with answer choices in the negative), but this is (as I noted initially) a somewhat uncommon situation. And the strategy is completely effective.


With all due respect, parts of your logic behind your theory are, well, logically wrong. You're ignoring the fact of logical opposites vs. extreme opposites and misunderstanding how to logically negate a statement properly and several other factors.

I understand the perspective you're coming from and how you're trying to come up with some 'tricks' for certain questions to try to game some of the common patterns of answer choice options that hold true with most questions of each type, but it's not based on sound reliable logic. Answer choice types patterns hold true for roughly up to 85-90+% of questions of each type, but not with all of them. Like many tactics taught as part of the 'Kaplan Method' to try to help lower and middle of the road score range students try to gain some extra points through tactics to help make a better educated guess at the correct answer when they can't clearly see/understand the logic that makes an answer correct upfront through logical analysis w/o some trend/tendency based gimmicky trick that isn't logically guaranteed to work 100% of the time, you're advocating something that is risky and unreliable, hence a bad idea for people trying to score above ~160ish.

What you've noticed that seems to be the basis for your position that the negation test works on strengthen questions is illustrated in the gems world question theoretics mentioned. It, like some but not all strengthen questions, has a correct answer that directly states the necessary assumption of the argument rather than just giving you something that just makes that assumption more likely to be true or strengthens some way other than giving you a necessary assumption.

The CR on that question is the necessary assumption of the argument and that's why the negation test works on it and produces a premise that weakens the argument. However, as I said already, most strengthen question correct answers do not state the main necessary assumption of the argument, which is why your strategy is not something that logically holds up to be 100% reliable with all strengthen questions.

Since the argument contrasts Gem World from what most jewelry stores that have possible bias in their assessments do and uses 'certified in writing' as the main core premise to shift to the conclusion from, the main necessary assumption of the argument is that the certifications are written by unbiased people not involved in sales at Gem World, which is exactly what the CR says.

Again, this only happens on some but not all strengthen questions and is the main reason why your advice is logically invalid and bad. It won't work on many questions and will waste students time if they try it on all strengthen questions instead of learning the actual underlying logic and flawed methods of reasoning that repeat over and over and over and over and over and over on the LSAT and valid reliable logic based techniques so that come test day you can easily see/recognize the underlying logic of questions like Neo sees the matrix and quickly see/know how to logically attack the answer choices.

This statement is just plain not logically valid:

If applying the denial test to a strengthening question, your burden of proof for that question has not changed. It is *still* a Str question at base. Consequently, the negated answer need only make the conclusion *less* likely to be true.


The logical opposite of strengthens is does not strengthen. Weakens is the extreme/polar opposite strengthen. As I already described, when using the negation test, if you always negate answers to their extreme rather than logical opposite, you risk get suckered by trap answers on tricky high difficulty level NA questions, the ones you need to get correct if you want to score ~165+ instead of getting stuck at the low 160s doldrums plateau that is very common amongst students that put solid effort into prepping.

If you want to see a strengthen question with a correct answer that does not weaken when logically negated, see PT65, S1 Q13.

Negating the correct answer choice does not weaken the argument since the proper negation would just mean that it's not one of the largest (a superlative!) costs, leaving open the possibility that it could still be a significant part of the cost of growing, just not at the very top of the list.

I'm not going to try to break down and address all the other specific things you said, it's late and I'm tired right now. Again, I understand your perspective having come from Kaplan you were conditioned to teach their 'Method' that's filled with many feel good educated guessing/gimmicky tips and tactics not basic in solid logic many of which don't entail brain intensive logical analysis that may sometimes help low and mid range performers possibly squeak out a few more points, but all such tactics and tricks will prevent people that use them religiously instead of logical understanding and solid analysis from scoring any higher than ~160/low 160s. It's just an LSAT reality. I teach the straight up solid logic and important concepts of the test and especially the high end tricky logic and important information that is necessary to know/master in order to confidently score 170+ on test day.

Not trying to demean you since you sound like you mean well, I'm just telling the facts as I see them to be true. Following many of the Kaplan methods and/or similar not 100% logically reliable and sound tactics/tricks pretty much insures that you won't get into or close to the 170's even if you have 170 range raw talent with the skills the LSAT tests.

Waayyy oversimplifying LR arguments by classifying them as either Scope Shift or Overlooks Possibilities takes what is a rainbow with a large spectrum and converts it into binary black and white. That's bad since it's important to learn and get familiar with the many commonly repeated yet different flawed methods of reasoning that repeat, sometimes in tricky ways. Crunching them into two categories is a disservice IMO, especially since it's also confusing because many arguments fit into both categories, causing some students to get flustered and confused about what to do.

To excel at the LSAT one has to learn and get really familiar with the rainbow of the various methods and flawed methods of reasoning that recur LSAT after LSAT. All the assumption family questions revolve around the same thing pretty much, the flawed reasoning/unwarranted assumption(s) in the argument, the different question types just ask for various different relationships to the flaw(s)/assumption(s). LR is a lot easier and simpler once you realize that success largely revolves around learning and mastering all the repeated flawed methods of reasoning and how they work (how to str, wkn, etc. each type of flaw) and mainly focus on learning that stuff. Then just apply it instead of looking at and approaching different assumption family questions in dramatically different ways based on question type and a binary argument classification system and a bunch of conditional rules and tricks and tips for each Q type based on answer patterns to help make educated guesses/make hasty decisions with less analysis, etc.

A lot of your RC advice puts many points at risk due to supposed short cutting the reading and analysis of the passage as a whole process and by employing some semi guessing based tactics that engage in taking logical and analytical risks and shortcuts with the material. For LSAT RC, that will prevent rising to ~165 or higher if that. There's no way to get high 160's/170+ without fully reading, analyzing and understanding almost everything thoroughly and properly. The test is designed to make sure it stays that way with enough devious questions on every test where 'trying to game it' tactics and/or hasty analysis tactics will guarantee getting it wrong.

Since you wanted examples. I tutored a girl late summer/into fall starting shortly after she took the June LSAT last year after having taken a Kaplan class. Her PT scores after the class leading up to test day randomly fluctuated all over the place in the high 150's/low-mid 160's. She cancelled her June test score and started tutoring with me. Right now in her cycle she's been accepted by UChicago, Berkley/Boalt, Duke, USC, UCLA, a few other T14's and is currently wait listed at Stanford and Harvard. The majority of our tutoring time was spent unwinding and getting all the counterproductive 'Kaplan Method' non logical nonsense semi-guessing strategies based on probabilities or whatever tactics out of her head and habits and her mind focused just straight into and on the logic. She's not URM or anything to give her a special boost so her results are based standard merit. Obviously from her admissions results, getting all that nonsense out of her head got her to a high score, into several high T14's and hopefully into either H or S LS! She's just one of countless 'I took a Kaplan class and now I'm stuck' 'refugees' I've helped improve to achieve a high score on test day over the many years I've been helping people prep for the LSAT.

Again, nothing personal. Like you mentioned, democratize LSAT prep! It's kind of a way to describe one of the reasons why I frequently post detailed advice here and also call out bad advice. I really truly post here in my spare time to 'share the wealth' of my LSAT knowledge with as many people as I can to help people for free that cannot afford professional help or figure things out on their own. I know very well through years of experience working with students how much harm bad advice can do to students ultimate test day scores that don't know otherwise. Hence why I'm writing these long posts in response to yours.
Your advice isn't horrible for people that are only shooting to improve to a mid/high 150's/low 160's score. It can be helpful for some people to get them up to high 150s/low 160's range, but it will also trap them with a ~165 max/likely lower test day score range cap.
~Low 160s is not the target score range for the main audience on this forum.

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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby theoretics » Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:37 am

Jeffort wrote:
The logical opposite of strengthens is does not strengthen. Weakens is the extreme/polar opposite strengthen. As I already described, when using the negation test, if you always negate answers to their extreme rather than logical opposite, you risk get suckered by trap answers on tricky high difficulty level NA questions, the ones you need to get correct if you want to score ~165+ instead of getting stuck at the low 160s doldrums plateau that is very common amongst students that put solid effort into prepping.



Thrilling discussions all around these virtual halls! Jeffort, you captured a thing that I had been thinking about, but that I had failed to consider/ articulate more thoroughly. The Halophyte example is helping to clarify some ideas. Although I can see the intuitive appeal of KDLMaj's approach, I think it is too distracting, if not wrong given Jeffort's comments. I would rather reserve use of the negation test for circumstances that allow for 100% accuracy and without the added caveats that they merely weaken, not wreck argument cogency and that they only apply to a subset of strengthen question stems.

Going back to the spirit of the original thread, here's my thought process for the Halophyte example. The argument basically says that some part of a process is relatively cheap so the whole process should be cheap as well. (E), the credited response says that this part of the process constitutes a significant fraction of the total costs. So, if part of the process, which is itself already cheap, constitutes a significant fraction of the total costs, this increases the reliability of the premise to draw the conclusion that the overall process is cheap as well.

Looking at (A) and (B), neither the nutritional value of forage crops nor the requirement for salt water impact the reliability of the premise. Looking at (C), by introducing large cost factors, this evidence decreases the reliability of the premise; that is, the cost-efficacy of irrigation is no longer sufficiently reliable to draw the conclusion thus weakening the argument. Eliminate. And with (D), despite talk of possible differences in non-irrigation costs between halophyte and non-halophytes, there is no positive or negative effect on the reliability of the premise. Thus, (D) is eliminated.

I am trying to frame my thinking in terms of reliability. Strengtheners strengthen by increasing the reliability of the premises to draw a conclusion while weakeners weaken by decreasing the reliability of the premises to draw a conclusion. In other words, instead of saying things like strengthen or weaken an argument, I feel it more helpful to say: to increase or decrease the reliability of the premises to draw a given conclusion. Do you think this language is useful to help frame new evidence in relation to arguments? I ask because I have not been quite as successful at pre-phrasing flaws or with framing questions in the assumption-centric approach that seems popular with the Manhattan LR guide.

KDLMaj
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:36 am

theoretics wrote:
Jeffort wrote:
The logical opposite of strengthens is does not strengthen. Weakens is the extreme/polar opposite strengthen. As I already described, when using the negation test, if you always negate answers to their extreme rather than logical opposite, you risk get suckered by trap answers on tricky high difficulty level NA questions, the ones you need to get correct if you want to score ~165+ instead of getting stuck at the low 160s doldrums plateau that is very common amongst students that put solid effort into prepping.



Thrilling discussions all around these virtual halls! Jeffort, you captured a thing that I had been thinking about, but that I had failed to consider/ articulate more thoroughly. The Halophyte example is helping to clarify some ideas. Although I can see the intuitive appeal of KDLMaj's approach, I think it is too distracting, if not wrong given Jeffort's comments. I would rather reserve use of the negation test for circumstances that allow for 100% accuracy and without the added caveats that they merely weaken, not wreck argument cogency and that they only apply to a subset of strengthen question stems.

Going back to the spirit of the original thread, here's my thought process for the Halophyte example. The argument basically says that some part of a process is relatively cheap so the whole process should be cheap as well. (E), the credited response says that this part of the process constitutes a significant fraction of the total costs. So, if part of the process, which is itself already cheap, constitutes a significant fraction of the total costs, this increases the reliability of the premise to draw the conclusion that the overall process is cheap as well.

Looking at (A) and (B), neither the nutritional value of forage crops nor the requirement for salt water impact the reliability of the premise. Looking at (C), by introducing large cost factors, this evidence decreases the reliability of the premise; that is, the cost-efficacy of irrigation is no longer sufficiently reliable to draw the conclusion thus weakening the argument. Eliminate. And with (D), despite talk of possible differences in non-irrigation costs between halophyte and non-halophytes, there is no positive or negative effect on the reliability of the premise. Thus, (D) is eliminated.

I am trying to frame my thinking in terms of reliability. Strengtheners strengthen by increasing the reliability of the premises to draw a conclusion while weakeners weaken by decreasing the reliability of the premises to draw a conclusion. In other words, instead of saying things like strengthen or weaken an argument, I feel it more helpful to say: to increase or decrease the reliability of the premises to draw a given conclusion. Do you think this language is useful to help frame new evidence in relation to arguments? I ask because I have not been quite as successful at pre-phrasing flaws or with framing questions in the assumption-centric approach that seems popular with the Manhattan LR guide.



Though some str/wk correct answers do bolster/attack the evidence (generally by giving us a reason to reinterpret them), the ultimate test is *always* the conclusion. A str answer must make the conclusion more likely to be true, and a weakening questions must make the conclusion less likely to be true. Negating the answer choice in a Str question turns it into a weakening question. If you are uncomfortable with the standard of proof being "less likely" instead of "destroyed"- that's, unfortunately, the very nature of these questions. We must always evaluate the answer choices for Str/Wk questions with that rubric in mind. My one concern with your framing is that it ignores the real litmus test.

And despite Jeffort's long-winded lecturing, the halophyte question is actually a perfect example of how we can use the denial test in Str questions. The argument is basically:

sea level agriculture is cost-effective overall because pumping seawater is cheaper than pumping fresh water

This is a classic OP argument. The evidence is related to the conclusion (we're talking about cost level and one of the cost factors), but the author is overlooking the multitude of other factors that go into the final cost of sea level agriculture. The assumption here is that there are no unconsidered costs that are higher on the sea water side that would make it a less cost-effective approach overall. They actually threw in a red herring in the conclusion here as well- that the yields are lower. This points to a potential higher cost in the process (depending on how low the yields are, we may need to pump so much MORE salt water that overall the cost ends up being higher). The LSAT ends up using this as a source of some tempting wrong answers, which is part of what makes this a higher level difficulty question.

Answer Choices:

A) You threw out A a little too flippantly for my tastes (though that could just have been you being efficient). The mention of nutritional value isn't automatically irrelevant- remember the part in the conclusion about lower yields. This *could* compound the problem, requiring people to eat more, which in turn requires we grow more, which would mean that this isn't cost-effective. But notice the answer choice here says the nutritional value is *different* but never tells us in what way? *That's* why this is wrong. The correct answer will never need your help. You shouldn't have to supply additional assumptions (different in what way, for example) to make it work. [Note: negating this answer choice tells us that there's no difference in nutritional value between the two, but without additional information about how nutritional value impacts cost, this continues to have no efffect]

B) You're correct that this does not impact the argument at all as it has no bearing on whether or not this process is cost-effective [Negating this answer choice has no impact on the argument- whether sea water is required or not is irrelevant given we are using sea water regardless]

C) Good work on C, this is a 180 for the reasons you pointed out. [Negating this answer choice rules out a potential additional cost, which strengthens the argument. This continues to be a 180]

D) Good work on D. It fails for the same reason A does- it requires you to add additional assumptions about the ways in which these costs are different. [Negating this answer choice actually results in a contradiction to the evidence. Eliminate]

E) E is correct, of course. But to Jeffort's point- the reason why E is correct is that it helps to mitigate the risk of there being unconsidered additional costs that would make this less cost-effective overall.

If we negate the answer choice, we get that Water Pumping is NOT one of the biggest costs in agriculture. Given the entire argument that this is a MORE cost-effective process solely due to the fact that water pumping is cheaper- gallon per gallon- if we suddenly say that there are other costs that are much more significant in the overall cost of agriculture, then this conclusion is in bad shape. It's like saying "My new house has a smaller bedroom, which means less to paint. So painting the new house is going to be cheaper overall than painting the old house". If it turns out that one bedroom is only 10% of the home, then the conclusion is a huge stretch. But if it turns out it's a studio, and the bedroom is 95% of the house, then it's a better argument.

Make sense?

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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:05 am

Jeffort wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:
Jeffort, while I can appreciate your passion- you are getting caught in a trap of your own making here by not paying attention to the specifics of my advice. As I noted before, I should've added more clarity to my original post- I was posting and running as it were. But I've clarified my advice twice now.

If applying the denial test to a strengthening question, your burden of proof for that question has not changed. It is *still* a Str question at base. Consequently, the negated answer need only make the conclusion *less* likely to be true. The reason why this lower burden of proof works on a strengthening question is based in the nature of the wrong answers- they either have no impact on the argument or do the opposite of what's intended. Negating will not make an irrelevant answer relevant (or vice versa), and all 180s will continue to be 180s.

If you are applying the denial test to a necessary assumption question, again, the burden of proof remains higher- in that case, the correct answer MUST destroy the argument.

If you see an exception to that- please provide an actual Str question to demonstrate the issue. Looking at some answer choices in a Nec Assumption question to make a judgement call about whether this works with strengtheners shows an odd lack of understanding of how these questions are put together. Str and Nec Assumption questions can be EXTREMELY similar/indistinguishable in their correct answer choices (largely in the case of overlooked possibilities arguments), but their wrong answers are not patterned the same way. The lower burden of proof would never work in a necessary assumption question, as you pedantically and condescendingly noted.

But the mechanics of the situation- taking a statement and testing it against a conclusion to see if it weakens it remains. When I said it turns the questions into weakening questions- that's what I was referring to. It is a way to help someone who is struggling with these two question types but *not* weakening questions to potentially turn the odds in their favor. I wouldn't recommend it for most people except on an as-needed basis (i.e. high level str questions with answer choices in the negative), but this is (as I noted initially) a somewhat uncommon situation. And the strategy is completely effective.


With all due respect, parts of your logic behind your theory are, well, logically wrong. You're ignoring the fact of logical opposites vs. extreme opposites and misunderstanding how to logically negate a statement properly and several other factors.

I understand the perspective you're coming from and how you're trying to come up with some 'tricks' for certain questions to try to game some of the common patterns of answer choice options that hold true with most questions of each type, but it's not based on sound reliable logic. Answer choice types patterns hold true for roughly up to 85-90+% of questions of each type, but not with all of them. Like many tactics taught as part of the 'Kaplan Method' to try to help lower and middle of the road score range students try to gain some extra points through tactics to help make a better educated guess at the correct answer when they can't clearly see/understand the logic that makes an answer correct upfront through logical analysis w/o some trend/tendency based gimmicky trick that isn't logically guaranteed to work 100% of the time, you're advocating something that is risky and unreliable, hence a bad idea for people trying to score above ~160ish.

What you've noticed that seems to be the basis for your position that the negation test works on strengthen questions is illustrated in the gems world question theoretics mentioned. It, like some but not all strengthen questions, has a correct answer that directly states the necessary assumption of the argument rather than just giving you something that just makes that assumption more likely to be true or strengthens some way other than giving you a necessary assumption.

The CR on that question is the necessary assumption of the argument and that's why the negation test works on it and produces a premise that weakens the argument. However, as I said already, most strengthen question correct answers do not state the main necessary assumption of the argument, which is why your strategy is not something that logically holds up to be 100% reliable with all strengthen questions.

Since the argument contrasts Gem World from what most jewelry stores that have possible bias in their assessments do and uses 'certified in writing' as the main core premise to shift to the conclusion from, the main necessary assumption of the argument is that the certifications are written by unbiased people not involved in sales at Gem World, which is exactly what the CR says.

Again, this only happens on some but not all strengthen questions and is the main reason why your advice is logically invalid and bad. It won't work on many questions and will waste students time if they try it on all strengthen questions instead of learning the actual underlying logic and flawed methods of reasoning that repeat over and over and over and over and over and over on the LSAT and valid reliable logic based techniques so that come test day you can easily see/recognize the underlying logic of questions like Neo sees the matrix and quickly see/know how to logically attack the answer choices.

This statement is just plain not logically valid:

If applying the denial test to a strengthening question, your burden of proof for that question has not changed. It is *still* a Str question at base. Consequently, the negated answer need only make the conclusion *less* likely to be true.


The logical opposite of strengthens is does not strengthen. Weakens is the extreme/polar opposite strengthen. As I already described, when using the negation test, if you always negate answers to their extreme rather than logical opposite, you risk get suckered by trap answers on tricky high difficulty level NA questions, the ones you need to get correct if you want to score ~165+ instead of getting stuck at the low 160s doldrums plateau that is very common amongst students that put solid effort into prepping.

If you want to see a strengthen question with a correct answer that does not weaken when logically negated, see PT65, S1 Q13.

Negating the correct answer choice does not weaken the argument since the proper negation would just mean that it's not one of the largest (a superlative!) costs, leaving open the possibility that it could still be a significant part of the cost of growing, just not at the very top of the list.

I'm not going to try to break down and address all the other specific things you said, it's late and I'm tired right now. Again, I understand your perspective having come from Kaplan you were conditioned to teach their 'Method' that's filled with many feel good educated guessing/gimmicky tips and tactics not basic in solid logic many of which don't entail brain intensive logical analysis that may sometimes help low and mid range performers possibly squeak out a few more points, but all such tactics and tricks will prevent people that use them religiously instead of logical understanding and solid analysis from scoring any higher than ~160/low 160s. It's just an LSAT reality. I teach the straight up solid logic and important concepts of the test and especially the high end tricky logic and important information that is necessary to know/master in order to confidently score 170+ on test day.

Not trying to demean you since you sound like you mean well, I'm just telling the facts as I see them to be true. Following many of the Kaplan methods and/or similar not 100% logically reliable and sound tactics/tricks pretty much insures that you won't get into or close to the 170's even if you have 170 range raw talent with the skills the LSAT tests.

Waayyy oversimplifying LR arguments by classifying them as either Scope Shift or Overlooks Possibilities takes what is a rainbow with a large spectrum and converts it into binary black and white. That's bad since it's important to learn and get familiar with the many commonly repeated yet different flawed methods of reasoning that repeat, sometimes in tricky ways. Crunching them into two categories is a disservice IMO, especially since it's also confusing because many arguments fit into both categories, causing some students to get flustered and confused about what to do.

To excel at the LSAT one has to learn and get really familiar with the rainbow of the various methods and flawed methods of reasoning that recur LSAT after LSAT. All the assumption family questions revolve around the same thing pretty much, the flawed reasoning/unwarranted assumption(s) in the argument, the different question types just ask for various different relationships to the flaw(s)/assumption(s). LR is a lot easier and simpler once you realize that success largely revolves around learning and mastering all the repeated flawed methods of reasoning and how they work (how to str, wkn, etc. each type of flaw) and mainly focus on learning that stuff. Then just apply it instead of looking at and approaching different assumption family questions in dramatically different ways based on question type and a binary argument classification system and a bunch of conditional rules and tricks and tips for each Q type based on answer patterns to help make educated guesses/make hasty decisions with less analysis, etc.

A lot of your RC advice puts many points at risk due to supposed short cutting the reading and analysis of the passage as a whole process and by employing some semi guessing based tactics that engage in taking logical and analytical risks and shortcuts with the material. For LSAT RC, that will prevent rising to ~165 or higher if that. There's no way to get high 160's/170+ without fully reading, analyzing and understanding almost everything thoroughly and properly. The test is designed to make sure it stays that way with enough devious questions on every test where 'trying to game it' tactics and/or hasty analysis tactics will guarantee getting it wrong.

Since you wanted examples. I tutored a girl late summer/into fall starting shortly after she took the June LSAT last year after having taken a Kaplan class. Her PT scores after the class leading up to test day randomly fluctuated all over the place in the high 150's/low-mid 160's. She cancelled her June test score and started tutoring with me. Right now in her cycle she's been accepted by UChicago, Berkley/Boalt, Duke, USC, UCLA, a few other T14's and is currently wait listed at Stanford and Harvard. The majority of our tutoring time was spent unwinding and getting all the counterproductive 'Kaplan Method' non logical nonsense semi-guessing strategies based on probabilities or whatever tactics out of her head and habits and her mind focused just straight into and on the logic. She's not URM or anything to give her a special boost so her results are based standard merit. Obviously from her admissions results, getting all that nonsense out of her head got her to a high score, into several high T14's and hopefully into either H or S LS! She's just one of countless 'I took a Kaplan class and now I'm stuck' 'refugees' I've helped improve to achieve a high score on test day over the many years I've been helping people prep for the LSAT.

Again, nothing personal. Like you mentioned, democratize LSAT prep! It's kind of a way to describe one of the reasons why I frequently post detailed advice here and also call out bad advice. I really truly post here in my spare time to 'share the wealth' of my LSAT knowledge with as many people as I can to help people for free that cannot afford professional help or figure things out on their own. I know very well through years of experience working with students how much harm bad advice can do to students ultimate test day scores that don't know otherwise. Hence why I'm writing these long posts in response to yours.
Your advice isn't horrible for people that are only shooting to improve to a mid/high 150's/low 160's score. It can be helpful for some people to get them up to high 150s/low 160's range, but it will also trap them with a ~165 max/likely lower test day score range cap.
~Low 160s is not the target score range for the main audience on this forum.


Your arrogance is breathtaking. I was not conditioned to these methods- I helped develop them. I was one of three people who spent years researching Assumption family questions and realized that the vast majority of them could be dumped into one of two buckets- which gave our students a framework for approaching these where previously nothing substantial existed (anywhere, I might add). My RC method is also something I pushed to develop. I promise you, you are not smarter and more knowledgeable than every single Kaplan LSAT instructor, curriculum developer, and trainer in the world. Though, I gather you believe yourself to be.

I also gather you believe that you can't put most of the assumption family into one of two primary buckets of analysis. Excellent- let's see the evidence. There are a hand full of unique arguments that don't neatly fall into one of those camps, to be sure, but the vast majority of them are just variations on one of two themes. But if you don't believe me, please send some questions my way so I can be proven wrong. But if all you really have is, "I've never looked at it that way"- that's not a ringing endorsement of your approach.

I've encountered LSAT instructors like you before- I've trained countless. You are more focused on "the real world" than the test. The LSAT's rules are sometimes grounded in logical best practice and sometimes arbitrary- but always consistent. You can argue that the opposite of strengthen is NOT strengthen (you're incorrect- the negation of strengthen is not strengthen), but the reality is that the way the LSAT has chosen to construct its arguments and answer choices makes the practice here work. Because the correct answer must always impact the argument, negating it will likewise yield a statement that continues to impact the argument. There's a reason why this approach doesn't work for a flaw question, for example, while it works for necessary assumption and strengthen questions. It's about the LSAT's consistent- yet arbitrary- approach to building these different question types. But getting to the point here, you have yet to show me a strengthening question where it doesn't work. You certainly owe readers more than that.

Your assessment of my RC method actually shows a surprising lack of understanding of how the section works (and, frankly, of neurology). If you've been training students to read every single word of an RC passage carefully- you're hurting them. Students who naturally have a fast reading speed and above average working memory will be just fine. But everyone else is going to suffer. You're telling people to spend time reading and understanding parts of a passage that will *never* turn into a point. Not only that, but you're pushing them into working memory overload- which negatively impacts their ability to comprehend later parts of the passage. It's flat out irresponsible. What do you tell them? "Read faster"? "Keep practicing, you'll eventually get the hang of it"? "Not everyone is cut out for this, sorry"? Or, my favorite, "Read slowly then answer the questions on memory to speed up"?

Did you actually *try* any of my RC method? Or did you read something that was antithetical to your approach and immediately decide that fact alone made it wrong? Don't put your ego in front of your students' scores.

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Clyde Frog » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:12 pm

KDLMaj wrote:
Jeffort wrote:
KDLMaj wrote:
Jeffort, while I can appreciate your passion- you are getting caught in a trap of your own making here by not paying attention to the specifics of my advice. As I noted before, I should've added more clarity to my original post- I was posting and running as it were. But I've clarified my advice twice now.

If applying the denial test to a strengthening question, your burden of proof for that question has not changed. It is *still* a Str question at base. Consequently, the negated answer need only make the conclusion *less* likely to be true. The reason why this lower burden of proof works on a strengthening question is based in the nature of the wrong answers- they either have no impact on the argument or do the opposite of what's intended. Negating will not make an irrelevant answer relevant (or vice versa), and all 180s will continue to be 180s.

If you are applying the denial test to a necessary assumption question, again, the burden of proof remains higher- in that case, the correct answer MUST destroy the argument.

If you see an exception to that- please provide an actual Str question to demonstrate the issue. Looking at some answer choices in a Nec Assumption question to make a judgement call about whether this works with strengtheners shows an odd lack of understanding of how these questions are put together. Str and Nec Assumption questions can be EXTREMELY similar/indistinguishable in their correct answer choices (largely in the case of overlooked possibilities arguments), but their wrong answers are not patterned the same way. The lower burden of proof would never work in a necessary assumption question, as you pedantically and condescendingly noted.

But the mechanics of the situation- taking a statement and testing it against a conclusion to see if it weakens it remains. When I said it turns the questions into weakening questions- that's what I was referring to. It is a way to help someone who is struggling with these two question types but *not* weakening questions to potentially turn the odds in their favor. I wouldn't recommend it for most people except on an as-needed basis (i.e. high level str questions with answer choices in the negative), but this is (as I noted initially) a somewhat uncommon situation. And the strategy is completely effective.


With all due respect, parts of your logic behind your theory are, well, logically wrong. You're ignoring the fact of logical opposites vs. extreme opposites and misunderstanding how to logically negate a statement properly and several other factors.

I understand the perspective you're coming from and how you're trying to come up with some 'tricks' for certain questions to try to game some of the common patterns of answer choice options that hold true with most questions of each type, but it's not based on sound reliable logic. Answer choice types patterns hold true for roughly up to 85-90+% of questions of each type, but not with all of them. Like many tactics taught as part of the 'Kaplan Method' to try to help lower and middle of the road score range students try to gain some extra points through tactics to help make a better educated guess at the correct answer when they can't clearly see/understand the logic that makes an answer correct upfront through logical analysis w/o some trend/tendency based gimmicky trick that isn't logically guaranteed to work 100% of the time, you're advocating something that is risky and unreliable, hence a bad idea for people trying to score above ~160ish.

What you've noticed that seems to be the basis for your position that the negation test works on strengthen questions is illustrated in the gems world question theoretics mentioned. It, like some but not all strengthen questions, has a correct answer that directly states the necessary assumption of the argument rather than just giving you something that just makes that assumption more likely to be true or strengthens some way other than giving you a necessary assumption.

The CR on that question is the necessary assumption of the argument and that's why the negation test works on it and produces a premise that weakens the argument. However, as I said already, most strengthen question correct answers do not state the main necessary assumption of the argument, which is why your strategy is not something that logically holds up to be 100% reliable with all strengthen questions.

Since the argument contrasts Gem World from what most jewelry stores that have possible bias in their assessments do and uses 'certified in writing' as the main core premise to shift to the conclusion from, the main necessary assumption of the argument is that the certifications are written by unbiased people not involved in sales at Gem World, which is exactly what the CR says.

Again, this only happens on some but not all strengthen questions and is the main reason why your advice is logically invalid and bad. It won't work on many questions and will waste students time if they try it on all strengthen questions instead of learning the actual underlying logic and flawed methods of reasoning that repeat over and over and over and over and over and over on the LSAT and valid reliable logic based techniques so that come test day you can easily see/recognize the underlying logic of questions like Neo sees the matrix and quickly see/know how to logically attack the answer choices.

This statement is just plain not logically valid:

If applying the denial test to a strengthening question, your burden of proof for that question has not changed. It is *still* a Str question at base. Consequently, the negated answer need only make the conclusion *less* likely to be true.


The logical opposite of strengthens is does not strengthen. Weakens is the extreme/polar opposite strengthen. As I already described, when using the negation test, if you always negate answers to their extreme rather than logical opposite, you risk get suckered by trap answers on tricky high difficulty level NA questions, the ones you need to get correct if you want to score ~165+ instead of getting stuck at the low 160s doldrums plateau that is very common amongst students that put solid effort into prepping.

If you want to see a strengthen question with a correct answer that does not weaken when logically negated, see PT65, S1 Q13.

Negating the correct answer choice does not weaken the argument since the proper negation would just mean that it's not one of the largest (a superlative!) costs, leaving open the possibility that it could still be a significant part of the cost of growing, just not at the very top of the list.

I'm not going to try to break down and address all the other specific things you said, it's late and I'm tired right now. Again, I understand your perspective having come from Kaplan you were conditioned to teach their 'Method' that's filled with many feel good educated guessing/gimmicky tips and tactics not basic in solid logic many of which don't entail brain intensive logical analysis that may sometimes help low and mid range performers possibly squeak out a few more points, but all such tactics and tricks will prevent people that use them religiously instead of logical understanding and solid analysis from scoring any higher than ~160/low 160s. It's just an LSAT reality. I teach the straight up solid logic and important concepts of the test and especially the high end tricky logic and important information that is necessary to know/master in order to confidently score 170+ on test day.

Not trying to demean you since you sound like you mean well, I'm just telling the facts as I see them to be true. Following many of the Kaplan methods and/or similar not 100% logically reliable and sound tactics/tricks pretty much insures that you won't get into or close to the 170's even if you have 170 range raw talent with the skills the LSAT tests.

Waayyy oversimplifying LR arguments by classifying them as either Scope Shift or Overlooks Possibilities takes what is a rainbow with a large spectrum and converts it into binary black and white. That's bad since it's important to learn and get familiar with the many commonly repeated yet different flawed methods of reasoning that repeat, sometimes in tricky ways. Crunching them into two categories is a disservice IMO, especially since it's also confusing because many arguments fit into both categories, causing some students to get flustered and confused about what to do.

To excel at the LSAT one has to learn and get really familiar with the rainbow of the various methods and flawed methods of reasoning that recur LSAT after LSAT. All the assumption family questions revolve around the same thing pretty much, the flawed reasoning/unwarranted assumption(s) in the argument, the different question types just ask for various different relationships to the flaw(s)/assumption(s). LR is a lot easier and simpler once you realize that success largely revolves around learning and mastering all the repeated flawed methods of reasoning and how they work (how to str, wkn, etc. each type of flaw) and mainly focus on learning that stuff. Then just apply it instead of looking at and approaching different assumption family questions in dramatically different ways based on question type and a binary argument classification system and a bunch of conditional rules and tricks and tips for each Q type based on answer patterns to help make educated guesses/make hasty decisions with less analysis, etc.

A lot of your RC advice puts many points at risk due to supposed short cutting the reading and analysis of the passage as a whole process and by employing some semi guessing based tactics that engage in taking logical and analytical risks and shortcuts with the material. For LSAT RC, that will prevent rising to ~165 or higher if that. There's no way to get high 160's/170+ without fully reading, analyzing and understanding almost everything thoroughly and properly. The test is designed to make sure it stays that way with enough devious questions on every test where 'trying to game it' tactics and/or hasty analysis tactics will guarantee getting it wrong.

Since you wanted examples. I tutored a girl late summer/into fall starting shortly after she took the June LSAT last year after having taken a Kaplan class. Her PT scores after the class leading up to test day randomly fluctuated all over the place in the high 150's/low-mid 160's. She cancelled her June test score and started tutoring with me. Right now in her cycle she's been accepted by UChicago, Berkley/Boalt, Duke, USC, UCLA, a few other T14's and is currently wait listed at Stanford and Harvard. The majority of our tutoring time was spent unwinding and getting all the counterproductive 'Kaplan Method' non logical nonsense semi-guessing strategies based on probabilities or whatever tactics out of her head and habits and her mind focused just straight into and on the logic. She's not URM or anything to give her a special boost so her results are based standard merit. Obviously from her admissions results, getting all that nonsense out of her head got her to a high score, into several high T14's and hopefully into either H or S LS! She's just one of countless 'I took a Kaplan class and now I'm stuck' 'refugees' I've helped improve to achieve a high score on test day over the many years I've been helping people prep for the LSAT.

Again, nothing personal. Like you mentioned, democratize LSAT prep! It's kind of a way to describe one of the reasons why I frequently post detailed advice here and also call out bad advice. I really truly post here in my spare time to 'share the wealth' of my LSAT knowledge with as many people as I can to help people for free that cannot afford professional help or figure things out on their own. I know very well through years of experience working with students how much harm bad advice can do to students ultimate test day scores that don't know otherwise. Hence why I'm writing these long posts in response to yours.
Your advice isn't horrible for people that are only shooting to improve to a mid/high 150's/low 160's score. It can be helpful for some people to get them up to high 150s/low 160's range, but it will also trap them with a ~165 max/likely lower test day score range cap.
~Low 160s is not the target score range for the main audience on this forum.


Your arrogance is breathtaking. I was not conditioned to these methods- I helped develop them. I was one of three people who spent years researching Assumption family questions and realized that the vast majority of them could be dumped into one of two buckets- which gave our students a framework for approaching these where previously nothing substantial existed (anywhere, I might add). My RC method is also something I pushed to develop. I promise you, you are not smarter and more knowledgeable than every single Kaplan LSAT instructor, curriculum developer, and trainer in the world. Though, I gather you believe yourself to be.

I also gather you believe that you can't put most of the assumption family into one of two primary buckets of analysis. Excellent- let's see the evidence. There are a hand full of unique arguments that don't neatly fall into one of those camps, to be sure, but the vast majority of them are just variations on one of two themes. But if you don't believe me, please send some questions my way so I can be proven wrong. But if all you really have is, "I've never looked at it that way"- that's not a ringing endorsement of your approach.

I've encountered LSAT instructors like you before- I've trained countless. You are more focused on "the real world" than the test. The LSAT's rules are sometimes grounded in logical best practice and sometimes arbitrary- but always consistent. You can argue that the opposite of strengthen is NOT strengthen (you're incorrect- the negation of strengthen is not strengthen), but the reality is that the way the LSAT has chosen to construct its arguments and answer choices makes the practice here work. Because the correct answer must always impact the argument, negating it will likewise yield a statement that continues to impact the argument. There's a reason why this approach doesn't work for a flaw question, for example, while it works for necessary assumption and strengthen questions. It's about the LSAT's consistent- yet arbitrary- approach to building these different question types. But getting to the point here, you have yet to show me a strengthening question where it doesn't work. You certainly owe readers more than that.

Your assessment of my RC method actually shows a surprising lack of understanding of how the section works (and, frankly, of neurology). If you've been training students to read every single word of an RC passage carefully- you're hurting them. Students who naturally have a fast reading speed and above average working memory will be just fine. But everyone else is going to suffer. You're telling people to spend time reading and understanding parts of a passage that will *never* turn into a point. Not only that, but you're pushing them into working memory overload- which negatively impacts their ability to comprehend later parts of the passage. It's flat out irresponsible. What do you tell them? "Read faster"? "Keep practicing, you'll eventually get the hang of it"? "Not everyone is cut out for this, sorry"? Or, my favorite, "Read slowly then answer the questions on memory to speed up"?

Did you actually *try* any of my RC method? Or did you read something that was antithetical to your approach and immediately decide that fact alone made it wrong? Don't put your ego in front of your students' scores.



And endorsing a reading method where you skip paragraphs is a good method. Wow

Can mods ban this clown from posting

This guy is the Jim Jones of LSAT prep

KDLMaj
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:07 pm

Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:44 pm

I'm not sure where you got "skip whole paragraphs" from anything I've ever posted.

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Clyde Frog
Posts: 7117
Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 2:27 am

Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby Clyde Frog » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:28 pm

KDLMaj wrote:I'm not sure where you got "skip whole paragraphs" from anything I've ever posted.


It's the first point in your RC guide that you posted. Reading the first sentence and skimming the rest. Talking about just flying over some paragraphs because they're junk.

I assume this guide is so that readers can read the passage in like two minutes. The problem is that you usually can't absorb the main points and important details in two minutes (at least I can't). I take sometimes up to 4:45 to read a passage and note the main points of each paragraph, author's purpose, structure, have a good visual map of the passage ect., and have no problem finishing on time with pretty much 100% accuracy. The lsat isn't a speed reading test. Skimming and other shortcuts will only hurt your score. The goal on for most on TLS is to get into the 170 range and gimmicky methods aren't going to get it done.




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