Just took a Preptest. What is my next step?

calmike
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Just took a Preptest. What is my next step?

Postby calmike » Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:49 pm

I just took the October 2008 LSAT with 5 sections. How do I review my exam in order to effectively learn from my mistakes? Thank you!

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swampman
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Re: Just took a Preptest. What is my next step?

Postby swampman » Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:55 pm

Grade it. Review any questions that you got wrong. As I was taking prep tests I would also mark any questions that I guessed on (even if it was just guessing between two answers) or wasn't 100% sure on and review those questions too.

Then make an excel sheet keeping track of what type of questions you missed (use the classifications from whatever prep book you're using). This is important so you can spot weak spots and know where to focus your studying.

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Just took a Preptest. What is my next step?

Postby Clyde Frog » Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:03 pm

Here's a good post by Jeffort about review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

calmike
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Re: Just took a Preptest. What is my next step?

Postby calmike » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:03 pm

Thank you so much for the information and tips.

So I scored my October 2008 Preptest.

LR: -7
LG: -1
RC: -2

I haven't reviewed my wrong answers yet.

For LR, 4/7 wrong answers were type 2/2N questions. I consistently struggle with type 2 questions. What is the best way to approach these questions.

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Just took a Preptest. What is my next step?

Postby Clyde Frog » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:20 pm

calmike wrote:Thank you so much for the information and tips.

So I scored my October 2008 Preptest.

LR: -7
LG: -1
RC: -2

I haven't reviewed my wrong answers yet.

For LR, 4/7 wrong answers were type 2/2N questions. I consistently struggle with type 2 questions. What is the best way to approach these questions.


First off, nice score on a very tough test, especially the RC. What do you mean by type 2/2n questions? I'm not familiar with that classification. Could you list the LR you missed?

calmike
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Re: Just took a Preptest. What is my next step?

Postby calmike » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:43 pm

Im taking a testmasters course so it names strengthen questions type 2 and type 2N are necessary assumption questions.

1.14, 21, 22
3.17, 19, 23, 24

Thanks!

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Just took a Preptest. What is my next step?

Postby Clyde Frog » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:52 pm

Looks like all your misses come from the assumption (strengthen, weaken, nec + suff assumption, principle justify, flaw) family.

First step with these types of question is to isolate the conclusion, then identify the support for it. Next, we're going to identify the gap in the argument and prephrase an answer from that point. Our goal is to become efficient enough at prephrasing answers that we can quickly mark off incorrect answer choices so that on every assumption type question we will only have 1-2 possible answers remaining. Honestly, with any question type you should not move forward without some kind of idea of what the correct answer will be. It also helps to personalize the argument (read from the view that someone is actually saying it to you face-to-face) on assumption family questions.

I'll use this method of attack in a few problems to give you a better understanding.

S1 Q14- Flaw

Isolate the conclusion- You should never make an effort to acquire expensive new tastes.

Identify the support- Drain on your purse....+ effort that must be expended....


So it's our understanding you should never acquire expensive new tastes because of two reasons in support of it. There's a big gap here between the premises and the conclusion that you should NEVER acquire expensive new tastes. It's like saying you should NEVER drive a car because cars pollute the environment and they are dangerous. Obviously there are advantages to driving a car that would warrant sometimes driving them.

Prephrase- will have something to do with the advantages of acquiring expensive new tastes.

Right away we see that answer (E) matches up.


S3 Q19- Nec Assumption

Isolate the conclusion- An ideal bureaucracy will have an ever-expanding system of regulations

Identify the support - If a complaint reveals an unanticipated problem....then....

So the conclusion is saying an ideal bureaucracy will have an ever-expanding (IT NEVER STOPS EXPANDING) system of regulations and supports this with a conditional statement about what will expand regulations. Right away we should be questioning why that conditional statement is supposed to keep occurring, since its absence would really kill the argument.

Prephrase- Will address the conditional statement that brings about the ever-expanding regulations. Basically to ensure that something will happen forever this conditional statement will have to occur forever.

(C) Matches up pretty well with our prephrase

You can also negate answer (C) to see if it weakens the conclusion, which it does.

As far as negating nec assumptions questions, don't use it as your primary method of attack for these questions, it's only to double check your answer. Your main objective should always be to isolate the conclusion, identify the support, find the gap and prephrase an answer before moving on to the answer choices.




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