Breaking the 170 Plateau

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jnwa

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby jnwa » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:41 pm

If you read argument first, wont you have to reread the argument again after reading the stem because you didnt know what the hell you were looking for the first time?

As far as breaking 170 while struggling on LR. I would say the Cambridge drill packets were the biggest thing for me. I found i struggled for a bit with the harder LR's so i would drill the highest difficulty questions in the drill packets. I would go for 10 in a row (timed) then check my answers. If i got any wrong id review then and figure out why then start drilling again until i was got 10 highest difficulty flaw questions in a row. Then id try to get 10 in a row on the next question type. By the time i got through all the LR question types i was going -0 or -1 combined on LR. If you can get the hardest difficulty ones down, everything is much easier. But as flip said earlier you need to have a question type specific LR strategy.

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RamTitan

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby RamTitan » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:59 pm

Okay, dope advice from everyone! How does this course of action sound: try reading the stem (II on the diagram) first on an LR section tomorrow, and just go over that section, and devise strategies on how to tackle each type of problem?

Edit - Should I expect an initial dip in correct answer choices, or will the results speak for themselves?

Also, a major reason why I've been hesitant to make the switch is that the tutor I saw for a few hours this past winter said reading stim or stem first did not really make much of a difference, so he said to do what feels more comfortable. I'm going to assume that those posting in this thread think it does make a big difference; but does my tutor have a basis for saying that?

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ayylmao

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby ayylmao » Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:14 pm

RamTitan wrote:Okay, dope advice from everyone! How does this course of action sound: try reading the stem (II on the diagram) first on an LR section tomorrow, and just go over that section, and devise strategies on how to tackle each type of problem?

Edit - Should I expect an initial dip in correct answer choices, or will the results speak for themselves?

Also, a major reason why I've been hesitant to make the switch is that the tutor I saw for a few hours this past winter said reading stim or stem first did not really make much of a difference, so he said to do what feels more comfortable. I'm going to assume that those posting in this thread think it does make a big difference; but does my tutor have a basis for saying that?


Powerscore strongly advises you to read the stimulus first, but I think 7sage is strongly in the stem first camp. Given that I respect both companies, I think it's a matter of personal preference. If you get distracted by trying to keep the stem in your head while reading the stim and cannot read objectively, then take one approach. If you find that you like knowing what you're looking for ahead of time, take the opposite.

Personally, I read the stimulus first. I've done so many LR questions that I can often figure out what they're going to ask me by what the reasoning in the stimulus (weaknesses and necessary assumptions generally stick out). On all questions, though, I read with the critical eye of a pedantic teenager, feeling around for weak spots and thinking about why the argument's reasoning might be specious.

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fliptrip

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby fliptrip » Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:37 pm

ayylmao wrote:
RamTitan wrote:Okay, dope advice from everyone! How does this course of action sound: try reading the stem (II on the diagram) first on an LR section tomorrow, and just go over that section, and devise strategies on how to tackle each type of problem?

Edit - Should I expect an initial dip in correct answer choices, or will the results speak for themselves?

Also, a major reason why I've been hesitant to make the switch is that the tutor I saw for a few hours this past winter said reading stim or stem first did not really make much of a difference, so he said to do what feels more comfortable. I'm going to assume that those posting in this thread think it does make a big difference; but does my tutor have a basis for saying that?


Powerscore strongly advises you to read the stimulus first, but I think 7sage is strongly in the stem first camp. Given that I respect both companies, I think it's a matter of personal preference. If you get distracted by trying to keep the stem in your head while reading the stim and cannot read objectively, then take one approach. If you find that you like knowing what you're looking for ahead of time, take the opposite.

Personally, I read the stimulus first. I've done so many LR questions that I can often figure out what they're going to ask me by what the reasoning in the stimulus (weaknesses and necessary assumptions generally stick out). On all questions, though, I read with the critical eye of a pedantic teenager, feeling around for weak spots and thinking about why the argument's reasoning might be specious.


This. There's no right answer, it's just whatever affords you the highest accuracy. Stem/Stimulus first is a far secondary concern to you nailing a comprehensive strategy to each question type. If you asked jnwa, who I know is a high scoring and successful fellow tutor, myself, and others ITT to outline our argument strategies you'd see variation in the number of types we identify and most likely the way we describe our strategies. Each work. Your key is to identify something that is comprehensive and works for you.

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RamTitan

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby RamTitan » Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:32 pm

I think the takeaway is that to enhance and strengthen my strategies, I need to articulate them; today I found that I do have distinct approaches for specific question types, but I have never tried to explain them to myself or anyone else. So, I'm going to write them out for myself and see how that goes.

With that said, I tried stem first today, and it seemed more natural; that's kind of crazy, considering I've been doing stim first for 7-8 months. Maybe switching back to reading the stem first will give me the little jump that I need.

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RamTitan

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby RamTitan » Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:49 pm

Update - read stem (II on the diagram) first on today's practice test; missed 4 total in LR, scored a 175.
Last edited by RamTitan on Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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somethingElse

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby somethingElse » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:12 pm

NICE!

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RamTitan

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby RamTitan » Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:38 pm

somethingelse55 wrote:NICE!

Thank you!!

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby moorelsat » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:45 pm

I'm going to break rank with a few of the opinions here and say that reading the question prompt first in LR confers a HUGE (YUGE!) advantage. A couple reasons:

1) It helps to know whether we're dealing with an argument or a set of claims. About 85% of LR questions deal with arguments, the rest (must be true, most strongly supported, must be false, most paradoxes, certain principle questions) just give you a set of claims that require you to make an inference (or in the case of paradoxes, provide some context/resolution). Those are pretty different universes to work in.

2) In the 85% of LR questions that DO have arguments, it helps to know whether we should be "friendly" or hostile towards the argument. For example, in a main point, method of argument, role or parallel question, we know we won't have to worry that much about the validity of the argument; we simply need to figure out something the author is doing ("What's the conclusion?" "What is this claim doing?" "How does the author get from evidence to conclusion?") In other types of questions (Flaw, Strengthen/Weaken, Suff/Nec Assumption), we actually do want to be pretty hostile towards the argument. We want to nitpick and identify flaws/gaps/questionable evidence so that we can identify the author's underpinning assumptions (flaw/necessary), or exploit them (weaken), or fix them (strengthen/sufficient). Having the right mindset of accepting vs. hostile, argument vs. set of claims will allow you to read the stimulus more intelligently and pick up on more of the LSAT's clues (and baited traps).

It may not matter to most people whether you read the stimulus or question first, but if you're trying to break 170, you're not most people. You can probably assemble a piece of Ikea furniture without reading the instructions first, but you can probably do so more efficiently (and with fewer mistakes) if you read the damn instructions. LSAT's the same way!

Edit: Way to go with the 175! I think if you continue to practice with prompt first it will pay dividends.
Last edited by moorelsat on Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

moorelsat

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby moorelsat » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:58 pm

A lot of great advice in this thread. IMO, two other things you want to master if you really want to own the 170s (not just break 170, but be permanently stuck above 169):

1) Conditional logic (sufficient, necessary, conjunctions, disjunctions, negations, contrapositives, diagramming, conditional fallacies)
2) Logical Fallacies in general
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

I'm not saying you have to commit that list to memory, but it's helpful to pick up on faulty reasoning patterns. The LSAT's a bit like a broken record, making (and trying to bait you into) the same fallacies in LR over and over and over again. If you can recognize these patterns, you will own the test.

CPAlawHopefu

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Re: Breaking the 170 Plateau

Postby CPAlawHopefu » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:05 pm

Question 1-13 (Easy)
Question 21-26 (Medium)
Question 14-20 (Hard)

To save time, go through the past exams (which you have already done) and focus on Q14-20. I am sure the majority of the Q's that you got wrong are from these parts of the section.

Also, during the exam, one thing I started doing is skipping the hard ones that I struggle with (well, not really skip but quickly mark what I think is the right answer without a detailed analysis - spend no more than 2 minutes) and go through all the questions first. When you do this, you will almost always have spare time left (3-5 minutes) to revisit the hard ones that you "skipped".

There are always at least a couple questions which at first seemed very hard under time pressure but when you come back to those during blind review, you may realize that the answer is actually very obvious and get that "duh~" moment. When you skip the hard ones, "finish" the section, then come back to the hard ones, you may experience something similar. Plus, when you look at the same question twice, there's a chance that you will "see" something that you missed the first time, and that could be all that is needed to get to the right answer.



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