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

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

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:17 pm

Clyde Frog wrote:
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.



First- you really have to read the whole approach. Reading the first point and extrapolating is like deciding we won't be sketching the game because the first step says to read the background ;)

When you get to law school, they're going to run through a test case or two with you and then sit you down with MOUNTAINS of cases full of insane facts about each. Your job will be to find the fact pattern- to get through it all and figure out which pieces are actually relevant and which ones don't influence the case outcome. You'll also be asked to follow the different arguments of both sides of the case as well as the reasoning of the Judge's final verdict.

Sound familiar?

"Reading Comprehension" is the most poorly named test section out there. It's not a reading comprehension test- it's a hybrid Issue Spotting/LR test. You are actually being tested on your ability to predict which parts of a passage matter and which ones are junk. Most test takers don't realize this and read everything in the passage as though it stands an equal chance of mattering- which leads them to read each piece very carefully. That, in turn, eats up their time- which often results in them cutting corners *while answering the questions* to compensate. And yet, our scores come from the questions, NOT the passage.

In terms of figuring out what we should be reading carefully, why not just let the questions be our guide? You know that you're going to be asked a few questions on the Big Picture. Those questions will focus on the Main Idea, the Purpose of the passage, and the overall structure of the argument sometimes in obviously worded questions and sometimes a little more subtle. That's a given. Which means- when we read a passage we should be reading primarily for the Big Picture. So read the intro carefully, then read the first sentence of every paragraph afterwards. Take a second to look to see if the Main Idea was stated in one of those sentences (or at least, which paragraph it's likely to be in). Use the stuff you find in those sentences to give you a heads up on what this passage is *really* about and how it's going to progress. (Think in terms of what each paragraph seems to be doing) That should equip you to answer the Big Picture questions quickly. [If you want to see this in more visual terms- check out https://cloud.box.com/s/3soiom502uj8176r9ssq)

Then, go back up and skim through the paragraphs with two goals in mind: 1) FIND THE MAIN IDEA 2) Look for question-worthy points.

Did you know that the average LSAT passage tests between 3-5 sentences of that passage? Go back over your most recent RC sections, go mark where in the passage the right answers to each of the questions came from. Not only will you find that most of the stuff in that passage was garbage, but you'll realize that they're testing the same things every time. Someone expresses an opinion? Question. Two people argue? Question. Author cites a detail set off by "For Example" for the express purpose of supporting their main idea? Question. And how much time did you spend carefully reading things that were so obviously not going to be tested?

Take PT 61 Sec 1 Passage 2:
It's a four paragraph passage. Here is the question breakdown:

Q7: Main Idea (Big Picture- Paragraph 4)
Q8: Lessing's view (Paragraph 3)
Q9: Critic's View- literally starts with the phrase "In the first paragraph" (Paragraph 1)
Q10 Same exact critic as above, same exact spot (Paragraph 1)
Q11: Lessing's View (Paragraph 3)
Q12: Author's Main Idea (Paragraph 4)
Q13: Lessing's View (Paragraph 3)

Interesting setup, right? The only two questions from Paragraph 1 come from the same sentence. Three questions from paragraph three about the same exact person's argument. And then two questions in paragraph 4 centered around the main idea sentence (Author's response to Lessing). Now, I could read every single sentence carefully up front. OR I could set myself up to quickly answer Q7 (which ends up answering 12) by focusing on the big picture in my initial read and along the way only slow down to catch the gist of things that are clearly about to be tested. Then, when I get to the questions, I can go back and read those opinions more carefully in the way the question demands. And I didn't have to get myself bogged down in all of the inane garbage throughout the passage that were never going to turn into a point. And I won't be tempted to try to answer the questions on memory because I'm so stressed for time.

And, even though I can predict what I'll be tested on, I can't predict HOW they'll test it. Reading something that isn't the Big Picture really carefully up front is silly. You don't know if they're going to ask you to just rephrase what was stated in the passage, spot a parallel situation, determine the function of that sentence, or ask you about someone's opinion on that sentence. But the question will tell you, and you can go back and read that part of the passage carefully- and correctly- when you get to it.

What I'm ultimately saying here is this: Figure out the Big Picture of a passage FIRST, then you'll find it a hell of a lot easier to figure out what matters and what doesn't as you read through the rest of the passage. Your initial read should be the same reading you'd do for Main Point and Method of Argument questions.

Try it out. Humor me. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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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 9:12 pm

KDLMaj wrote:
Clyde Frog wrote:
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.



First- you really have to read the whole approach. Reading the first point and extrapolating is like deciding we won't be sketching the game because the first step says to read the background ;)

When you get to law school, they're going to run through a test case or two with you and then sit you down with MOUNTAINS of cases full of insane facts about each. Your job will be to find the fact pattern- to get through it all and figure out which pieces are actually relevant and which ones don't influence the case outcome. You'll also be asked to follow the different arguments of both sides of the case as well as the reasoning of the Judge's final verdict.

Sound familiar?

"Reading Comprehension" is the most poorly named test section out there. It's not a reading comprehension test- it's a hybrid Issue Spotting/LR test. You are actually being tested on your ability to predict which parts of a passage matter and which ones are junk. Most test takers don't realize this and read everything in the passage as though it stands an equal chance of mattering- which leads them to read each piece very carefully. That, in turn, eats up their time- which often results in them cutting corners *while answering the questions* to compensate. And yet, our scores come from the questions, NOT the passage.

In terms of figuring out what we should be reading carefully, why not just let the questions be our guide? You know that you're going to be asked a few questions on the Big Picture. Those questions will focus on the Main Idea, the Purpose of the passage, and the overall structure of the argument sometimes in obviously worded questions and sometimes a little more subtle. That's a given. Which means- when we read a passage we should be reading primarily for the Big Picture. So read the intro carefully, then read the first sentence of every paragraph afterwards. Take a second to look to see if the Main Idea was stated in one of those sentences (or at least, which paragraph it's likely to be in). Use the stuff you find in those sentences to give you a heads up on what this passage is *really* about and how it's going to progress. (Think in terms of what each paragraph seems to be doing) That should equip you to answer the Big Picture questions quickly. [If you want to see this in more visual terms- check out https://cloud.box.com/s/3soiom502uj8176r9ssq)

Then, go back up and skim through the paragraphs with two goals in mind: 1) FIND THE MAIN IDEA 2) Look for question-worthy points.

Did you know that the average LSAT passage tests between 3-5 sentences of that passage? Go back over your most recent RC sections, go mark where in the passage the right answers to each of the questions came from. Not only will you find that most of the stuff in that passage was garbage, but you'll realize that they're testing the same things every time. Someone expresses an opinion? Question. Two people argue? Question. Author cites a detail set off by "For Example" for the express purpose of supporting their main idea? Question. And how much time did you spend carefully reading things that were so obviously not going to be tested?

Take PT 61 Sec 1 Passage 2:
It's a four paragraph passage. Here is the question breakdown:

Q7: Main Idea (Big Picture- Paragraph 4)
Q8: Lessing's view (Paragraph 3)
Q9: Critic's View- literally starts with the phrase "In the first paragraph" (Paragraph 1)
Q10 Same exact critic as above, same exact spot (Paragraph 1)
Q11: Lessing's View (Paragraph 3)
Q12: Author's Main Idea (Paragraph 4)
Q13: Lessing's View (Paragraph 3)

Interesting setup, right? The only two questions from Paragraph 1 come from the same sentence. Three questions from paragraph three about the same exact person's argument. And then two questions in paragraph 4 centered around the main idea sentence (Author's response to Lessing). Now, I could read every single sentence carefully up front. OR I could set myself up to quickly answer Q7 (which ends up answering 12) by focusing on the big picture in my initial read and along the way only slow down to catch the gist of things that are clearly about to be tested. Then, when I get to the questions, I can go back and read those opinions more carefully in the way the question demands. And I didn't have to get myself bogged down in all of the inane garbage throughout the passage that were never going to turn into a point. And I won't be tempted to try to answer the questions on memory because I'm so stressed for time.

And, even though I can predict what I'll be tested on, I can't predict HOW they'll test it. Reading something that isn't the Big Picture really carefully up front is silly. You don't know if they're going to ask you to just rephrase what was stated in the passage, spot a parallel situation, determine the function of that sentence, or ask you about someone's opinion on that sentence. But the question will tell you, and you can go back and read that part of the passage carefully- and correctly- when you get to it.

What I'm ultimately saying here is this: Figure out the Big Picture of a passage FIRST, then you'll find it a hell of a lot easier to figure out what matters and what doesn't as you read through the rest of the passage. Your initial read should be the same reading you'd do for Main Point and Method of Argument questions.

Try it out. Humor me. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Just so that your aware, when I read the goal is to find the big picture (MP, structure, author's point) which generally are the easiest questions you'll come across in RC and should be your time savers, but I don't neglect everything else. The questions that you have to infer something based on multiple pieces of information in the passage are the ones that separate the 170s from the 160. I agree that every piece of information isn't equally important in a passage, but you have no way of knowing which ones you'll need beforehand. The problem with the skimming method is that some questions will have an answer choice based on a few pieces of information that aren't really important but allow you to draw an inference based off of them. You cannot just simply go back to one paragraph and search around when the correct answer isn't listed only in that paragraph. The LSAT forces you to synthesize information not just search and find like other standard test RCs.

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

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:17 pm

But that's the rub, my friend. You CAN predict most of what will be tested.

And, more importantly, if you are reading these properly (doing your issue spotting), you aren't going to be caught off guard.

No one is arguing you shouldn't read parts of the passage carefully. But I'm saying skim it the first time and read the parts the question demands carefully when you get to the question (not several minutes before).

Would you ever read all of the LR stims on one page and THEN go back and answer each of the questions? Hopefully not.

So why're you doing it for RC?

Read for Big Picture first. Learn to spot what's likely to be tested so you can mark it (you just need to be able to find it again later, if it's not related to the Big Picture). Go back and read the relevant parts of the passage as needed to answer the questions.

Again, try it. If you're too afraid to make changes in your approach- how's your score ever going to make big changes?

Try this exercise- it'll get you through the steps. Do this on 2 passages. Come back and report on what you found. https://cloud.box.com/s/hrdruzathbd3ot5m4fax

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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 9:21 pm

I scored a 179 with my approach. Like Jeffort, I'd like to help people on here out by teaching them the right way to do things.

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

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:41 pm

Clyde Frog wrote:I scored a 179 with my approach. Like Jeffort, I'd like to help people on here out by teaching them the right way to do things.


You have good intentions. But you've made the biggest error you can make: you've assumed that your way is the only way and the best way because it worked for you.

LSAT Instructors don't have that luxury- they have to worry about LOTS of students. If you haven't tried any of what I suggested to test it out- you have absolutely no basis for judging its veracity.

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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 9:51 pm

KDLMaj wrote:
Clyde Frog wrote:I scored a 179 with my approach. Like Jeffort, I'd like to help people on here out by teaching them the right way to do things.


You have good intentions. But you've made the biggest error you can make: you've assumed that your way is the only way and the best way because it worked for you.

LSAT Instructors don't have that luxury- they have to worry about LOTS of students. If you haven't tried any of what I suggested to test it out- you have absolutely no basis for judging its veracity.


I have tested methods just like yours out and failed horribly. Your method may work for a few here and there, although I've never seen a top scorer who does it, but sticking to the basics and reading for structure and overall understanding seems to work the most often. Take a look at the variety of guides on here from top scorers, the manhattan rc approach, the lsat trainer rc approach and you'll find that they're all very similar. Skimming is just not effective and leads to a poor understanding of the passage, and you end up wasting more time, and have less accuracy than if you had spent the time upfront understanding things from the get-go.
Last edited by Clyde Frog on Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Clearly » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:56 pm

Seconded. I've taught a substantial amount of LSAT students (and only LSAT students), and I wouldn't advise any of them to skim a passage. The closest I would come is telling them to relax and read it like they were interested instead of over-analytically.

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

Postby KDLMaj » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:19 pm

Clearly wrote:Seconded. I've taught a substantial amount of LSAT students (and only LSAT students), and I wouldn't advise any of them to skim a passage. The closest I would come is telling them to relax and read it like they were interested instead of over-analytically.


Strategic skimming will always be better than reading the passages without trying to figure out what matters and what doesn't. Most of our students don't have the reading speed or working memory to read every single word in a passage AND still synthesize. And given how little of it actually matters for the questions- that's hitting them twice.

I would never tell a student to straight up skim a passage- that's insane. But if you've read the intro paragraph and the first sentence of every other paragraph and have an idea of the Big Picture, you will be able to effectively skim when you go back up to P2 and work your way back down. Of course, you have to teach them the rubric: opinions, contrast, important details. After they've got the Big Picture, their job is really just to predict where they think the questions will come from.

Teach your students to do this, and they're going to understand the passages a hell of a lot better than they did before. As I've said- go try this out with an RC section yourself and see. This is particularly effective if you also teach them about passage types on the LSAT. https://cloud.box.com/s/bi80az2gpy5ht0b8ompg

I did this for years, and my students routinely saw massive improvements in RC early on. And as an LSAT instructor, you know that's not common.

Take the Tangible Object Theory, PT58 Sec 2 Passage 3. Tougher passage for a lot of folks. Read it once from beginning to end. Then, read it like this:

Read the intro
Read the first sentence of every paragraph
Ask yourself what each paragraph is doing/going to cover
Ask yourself if you know the main idea already (if not, where is it probably going to be?)

Intro:
Intro Tangible Object Theory

1st Sentence of 2nd Paragraph:
In creating a new and original object from materials that one owns, one becomes the owner of that object and thereby acquires all of the rights that ownership entails.
<Student should read that and say "This is just more information on what this theory is. Probably not going to have the Main Idea>

1st sentence of 3rd Paragraph:
According to proponents of the tangible-object theory, its chief advantage is that it justifies intellectual property rights without recourse to the widely accepted but problematic supposition that one can own abstract, intangible things such as ideas. BUT....
<Student should read that and say- this is an important tenant of the theory that will be tested, and the author disagrees. The author is against the theory>

I'd expect a student at that point to say- Okay, final paragraph is where the main idea is, and so most of the questions will be from there. I need to go through P2 quickly to see if there's anything worth testing (contrast, other opinions, etc), and I need to read P3 carefully because THAT'S the one that matters. Given this theory is the scope of the passage, I'd expect them to know that they will need to answer at least one question that describes that theory (and won't really understand the MI without it).

Lo and behold- the questions are virtually all about either what TO Theory says and/or how the author feels about it.

Reading for Big Picture first is exactly what lets a student read through strategically- with actual purpose. If you're just turning them loose and saying "Hey, you never know what you'll be asked about!", you're not helping them. This is explicitly testing them on issue spotting- teach that skill.

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

Postby Jeffort » Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:50 am

KDLMaj, if you actually care about students prepping for the test and the potentially negative impact following your advice can have on students that are trying to get a high LSAT score and into a highly ranked quality law school, you should be responsible and include a disclaimer that your strategies are only meant for students that are not shooting for a score above high 150's/low 160s at best.

All this skimming and skipping around nonsense and many of your other strategies are pretty much mainly just elaborate ways to try to game the test to compensate for/work around skill/ability weaknesses and/or ways to be mentally lazy to avoid doing all the required reading and analysis work.

Effective LSAT prep is supposed to be about teaching people how to improve their actual skills and abilities with the things the test is designed to measure so that their ability level, and correspondingly their score range increases. Quality prep is not focused on teaching people tricks and tactics to try to work around their weaknesses and/or about how to avoid having to do all the annoying mental 'heavy lifting' called reading and analysis with the hope of gaming the test to squeeze out a score that's higher than the persons actual skill/ability level.

Just like your illogical claim about the negation test being reliable for strengthen questions, your strategy of just reading the first sentence of each paragraph during first pass skim to try to figure out the main point and main ideas is something that might work sometimes (on some of the easiest passages) and will fail frequently (almost always on the harder passages and always with the highest difficulty passage in any RC section) because the test writers do not always nor almost always state the main conclusion or topic sentence in the first sentence of each RC passage paragraph. The test writers do not write paragraphs and passages in the basic easy to follow conventional way that texts for grade school and high school level audiences are written.

Skimming to 'find' the main points and ideas is again illogical. In order to accurately figure out which parts are the main ideas vs supporting details vs background or whatever else, you have to read all the text and COMPARE the relationships of the various ideas presented to figure out which is which. Again, this is another very basic and important logical concept for the LSAT that you don't seem to understand. Just like with the LR arguments for many high difficulty questions, properly determining the main conclusion frequently requires analyzing and comparing how the several ideas presented relate to each other in order to figure out which idea the others support (the main conclusion) vs. which ideas are the supporting evidence/premises.

Your belief that the overall main point and purpose as well as the main ideas in the passage that are important for the questions are easy to find and identify just by reading the first sentence of each paragraph and quickly skimming other haphazardly selected parts at will depends on many incorrect assumptions about LSAT RC and the high levels of reading skills and abilities the high difficulty passages and questions are specifically designed to test.

Like I said yesterday, your RC 'strategies' are well suited for the SAT that is testing much lower level reading comprehension skills and abilities since it's testing high school age people, not college educated adults trying to get into law school to become lawyers.

You're too stubborn to consider any of our reasons why your strategies are bad and counterproductive to LSAT test takers shooting for a respectable score that can get them into a quality well ranked law school so I really don't know what else to say since you totally ignored all of my explanations about the logic involved with negating, logical opposites vs. extreme opposites, etc. to explain why negating is not a logically valid method for strengthen questions.

Since you won't listen to any of us and are entrenched in your ways that contradict tried and true logically solid advice and methods taught by pretty much ALL of the HIGH QUALITY LSAT prep companies and experienced knowledgeable teachers/tutors, I hope you'll open your mind and listen to what LSAC says about what's being tested in RC and how the skills are tested. Please do that and then reconsider your RC strategy advice in order to hopefully realize that your methods are guaranteed to prevent students from getting anywhere close to scoring roughly -10 or less in the RC section on test day under the strict time limits.

Read this article and analyze it carefully, then reflect about your ridiculous claim that most of the contents of RC passages is irrelevant garbage that you don't need to read and process to get any of the questions correct.

http://www.testpublishers.org/assets/do ... l%2013.pdf

Seriously, read and really analyze and think about everything discussed in the article. Your stubborn belief that your tactics and advice is good, helpful and reliable to achieve a good LSAT score combined with your determination to spread said crappy advice to unsuspecting students who's potential future legal careers depend on their LSAT scores is disturbing given how potentially destructive to other peoples lives/legal career aspirations it can be.

I don't think you really have any conception about how much damage to other peoples lives preaching and spreading bad LSAT advice to masses of people prepping for the test under the color of claiming to be an expert authority can cause.

Your opinion about the intelligence and cognitive capabilities of people that enroll in Kaplan LSAT prep classes is an intriguing statement for many disturbing reasons, many of them being things it says about you for believing it and also posting it. Way to sell your students short with your presumptuous assessments of their cognitive abilities! Oh Bejebuz... :(

KDLMaj wrote:Most of our students don't have the reading speed or working memory to read every single word in a passage AND still synthesize.

jag9953
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Re: Best way to study NA, paradox, and strengthen questions?

Postby jag9953 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:25 pm

What a pissing contest between you all. I was curious, and wasted precious study time, but it was good to see all angles. Thank you to all who contributed.




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