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Parallel reasoning and flaw and paradox

alberto
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Good morning again, its Alberto:

Need to stop panic on paradox and parallel questions and its flaws .
I am becoming more efficient slowly..... However what advice can you offer me plaese to improve more accurately? Thank you.
Problems with the questions' wording and what to do to overcome such? Thank you

Alberto
Malila Robinson
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Hi Alberto,
Can you describe in a bit more detail what is causing you to panic in paradox/parallel/parallel-flaw questions? Is it the length of the stimuli? Is it the confusing wording in the stimuli? Do you have difficulty applying the logical methods to these questions in order to answer them?
We may be able to help you in the forum, but it may be more efficient to meet a tutor for an hour or so in order to specifically target what is throwing you off with these question types.
In the meantime, try to remember that we all likely have certain question types that are our weak spots. What we do to overcome that weakness is stay positive, and attack the questions with practiced logical techniques.
You can do this!
-Malila
medialaw111516
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If I may jump in with my own level of panic about parallel reasoning questions (and hopefully my question will be helpful to you as well Alberto), what exactly are we looking for in parallel/parallel flaw questions. I know that they are testing if we can identify similar reasoning, but I feel like it's always so abstract.

Take question 15 on the LR II (or sec 4) section of the November 2018 LSAT for example. It's a #'s and %'s issue that makes the flaw but I don't see what makes B correct.

Any parallel flaw tips would be SOO appreciated!
Dave Killoran
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Hi Alberto and medialaw,

Just to address the Parallel question, the fact that they are abstract is actually really good for you! It means you don't have to worry so much about the topic details and can instead focus on the structural issues. If we were analyzing buildings, it's like we can ignore whether the building is blue or green, and whether it houses a bunch of small companies or one big corporation. Instead, we look at things like what material is it made from, how many floors it has, and so on. In arguments, these features are things like the nature of the premises and conclusion, and whether the argument is valid or not. These are things most people pick up naturally, but the discomfort comes from not feeling like there's a "starting point" to analyzing what you see. But that too is something that you can use to your advantage :-D

Using your November 2018 example, I'll briefly touch on how you can crush that question pretty quickly. First, I'm looking for something—anything—notable in the stimulus. Some wording, some structure, whatever jumps out at me, which I can then use to kill off answers. Maybe it's a flaw, maybe it's something absolute, maybe it's a quirky idea. In this case, there's a conclusion at the end of the stimulus, and it features wording that "the proportion...cannot have increased substantially." That's somewhat interesting, and one would figure the conclusion in the correct answer would be somewhat similar (not exact, but at least would deal with "proportion" or some synonym). So, with that thought in mind, go right now and look at the conclusions in all five answers. Do NOT go on with this explanation until you look at each answer and compare conclusions. Eliminate any that don't match somewhat.

Answers (A), (D), and (E) each deal with averages increasing, which doesn't seem all that similar (and it's not, since that's what the stimulus talks about in its base premise—they are trying to reverse things here and trip you up). Great, I'll sideline those for the moment and look more closely at (B) and (C), which have conclusions that are both about proportions. Stop again and examine just (B) and (C)—which is better to you?

(B)'s conclusion is about a proportion not increasing, so identical to the stimulus, and (C)'s is about a proportion increasing. If I was forced right now to choose an answer, it would be (B) based on the language similarity. But, I don't really want to operate that way, and LSAC likes to invert language (think things like: "some attending" = "some are not absent"), so I'm going to look more closely at each.

So, I turn to the premise in the stimulus that is underneath that conclusion at the end. In this case, it's about a small average increase in weight in the prior eight years. So, I want a premise that's about averages (and if it's about a small increase, that would be excellent). Answer choice (B) fits the bill perfectly, and looks really good. Answer choice (C) uses a premise about "a substantial number," and that's not what I want. So, it's out. That leaves me with (B), and as it turns out, that's the right answer.

Note: I never had to deeply dive into the exact meaning of the relationships in each answer. I could knock out certain answers based on things that don't match up. And then I could wait until the end to make sure the specifics of my answer (or whatever contenders I have) were correct.

In a way, there's a Sesame Street aspect to these questions, where you are looking to knock out the things that aren't like the other ones. In this case the stimulus is my model, and I compare any and all points I need to in order to knock out wrong answers.

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Test Preparation
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medialaw111516
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OMG thank you Dave that made a huge difference! :) I went back and did a couple I got wrong in addition to some new ones, keeping what you said in mind, and it makes more sense now. Still not my favorite, but not as baffling.

I think the only thing that will make these difficult for me now is some with conditional reasoning because I've noticed the set up is not as clear cut in the answers as it is in the questions for conditional questions.
Number 24 in section 3 of the Dec 2013 test is a good example of that where the "If" is switched around in answer A . D seems to match the structure more closely, but the conclusions for the premise and D are similar in that they give two answers for why a certain thing did not occur.
Dave Killoran
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Hi Media,

First, there is a full explanation of that question over here: December 2013, LR 2, #24. That explanation shows how the conclusion in (D) immediately kills it from consideration. Essentially, the conclusion here is just as unique as in the last question, with the key terms highlighter: "So if the concrete settles evenly, either it was poured while the ground was dry or it will crack." In other words, I want a conclusion that goes" if...either/or." Now look at every conclusion in this problem. Every one except (A) is gone immediately (note about (E): the either/or is in the sufficient condition, not the necessary, that's why it is wrong).

Second, and more importantly, this is another question where an understanding of how Parallel Reasoning works makes it easy to burn through this question and know you have the right answer even if the conclusion didn't make sense. why? Because it had a really clear structure that has to be matched.

The stimulus has two premises that join as follows:



..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... SU

..... ..... ..... PGW ..... :arrow: ..... SF ..... :arrow: ..... or

..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... C


Now, it's easy to think of that in specific terms, and wonder about concrete and wet ground and solid foundations, but really the argument is in a simple form, that looks like this:




..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... C

..... ..... ..... A ..... :arrow: ..... B ..... :arrow: ..... or

..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... D


And that's before we get to the conclusion. Any correct answer will need that basic structure, and from there you need a a conclusion that matches this:

..... ..... ..... If C, :arrow: A or D

That conclusion is the tricky part since it's not simple, but that complexity is actually what we can use to destroy wrong answers! So the difficulty is actually what makes the solution easier to find :-D

The majority of these Parallel/Parallel Flaw problems allow you to at least eliminate 2-3 answers by simple matching, and in some cases like this one, all can be eliminated. Study these—this is how to get better at this test!
Dave Killoran
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alberto
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Good evening it Alberto the respose helps a little.
I am over stressing. I have to step back and read the abstract and long winded answer choices(parallel and method of reasoning especially when its AP with flaws).

It makes my eyes roll back into my head but I am getting a little better. I have to understand that first family must be true and that weakness and paradox and watch how mthe question stem is worded and do my prephrasing. I be fine I pray but have to over come my fear and stressing because the right answer is there and the wrong answers are obvious once i know the indicators and get how the selection of choices are worded.

As far as the logic games: thank you, about making those major inferences and combined into variables as per rule states, and pay attention to how and when to use the contrapositive, like if S in 3 then T must be in 6 place.
I understand unless stated its not hard and fast rule because If T is not in 6 place then S does not have to be in 3 place its free to be in 4th 5th 2nd places... it still a struggle but this was the major issue i got locked in ruled be fixed even when questions have locaL questions,I have to be more flexible and draw base on the new information and hope I am correct.I will still continue to practice though and again thanks for the response and good night.

Alberto
Dave Killoran
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alberto wrote:Good evening it Alberto the respose helps a little.
I am over stressing. I have to step back and read the abstract and long winded answer choices(parallel and method of reasoning especially when its AP with flaws).

It makes my eyes roll back into my head but I am getting a little better. I have to understand that first family must be true and that weakness and paradox and watch how mthe question stem is worded and do my prephrasing. I be fine I pray but have to over come my fear and stressing because the right answer is there and the wrong answers are obvious once i know the indicators and get how the selection of choices are worded.

Think about it this way: these questions are really an exercise in pattern spotting, something that humans are actually supremely good at in general. You sound like you are getting focused on the details of every answer choice, which means you are trying to juggle six separate arguments and their details. That's very difficult and a recipe for failure!

Instead, as described above, pick out pieces of the argument that are notable to you. Then, look for that same pattern in the answers. This helps knock out weak answers very quickly, and, as witnessed above, can help identify the correct answer very quickly at times.

In other words: you need to change how you are thinking about solving these problems :-D

Thanks!
Dave Killoran
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alberto
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Mr. Dave, thank you for the reply.

This is Alberto.
With all due respect I am thinking in the way that I read and understood what powerscore has presented.
Indeed, I was just letting you know I am trying to spot the clues and trying to understand the way stimulus would be worded in logical reasoning questions,however,I do not believe I am juggling 6 different things in a wrong or negative way, I never did that even when I was a nurse and a biologist caring for patients now, that would have been a disaster. I always had to pay attention to details specifics and the nuances.
Anyway, I tried to be careful in reading the stimulus and perhaps I might have misinterpreted your intent your answer and maybe I was not clear in what questions I asked Mr. Dave, and I apologized, but if you could clarify, please expand upon what you meant respectfully? Thank you, sir, I know I am a smart person.

But it is possible at times I do miss the main points.Therefore, please explain your response I feel a little self conscious and this is a public forum. Thank you.

Alberto
Dave Killoran
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alberto wrote:Mr. Dave, thank you for the reply.

This is Alberto.
With all due respect I am thinking in the way that I read and understood what powerscore has presented.
Indeed, I was just letting you know I am trying to spot the clues and trying to understand the way stimulus would be worded in logical reasoning questions,however,I do not believe I am juggling 6 different things in a wrong or negative way, I never did that even when I was a nurse and a biologist caring for patients now, that would have been a disaster. I always had to pay attention to details specifics and the nuances.
Anyway, I tried to be careful in reading the stimulus and perhaps I might have misinterpreted your intent your answer and maybe I was not clear in what questions I asked Mr. Dave, and I apologized, but if you could clarify, please expand upon what you meant respectfully? Thank you, sir, I know I am a smart person.

But it is possible at times I do miss the main points.Therefore, please explain your response I feel a little self conscious and this is a public forum. Thank you.

Alberto


Hi Alberto,

Hmm, I'm not sure I'm following you to be honest :-D My advice was designed to help you re-focus how you are attacking these questions. Your current strategy—based on what you described above—concerns me as an approach since it is so detail-oriented (which for Parallel can be an issue). I was hoping to give you some guidance on how to shift your approach and hopefully become better at these questions! This isn't about being smart; I know these questions are hard, and my goal is to help you solve them by using the best possible approach. If you read through all my replies here, you can see that my focus is always on the best pathway to solving each question. So to struggle on these questions is not a reflection of who you are or how you do your job or your intelligence, it's instead just about these questions only. My advice was to focus on the biggest, most obvious pieces of the stimulus, and attempt to Parallel those, in the fashion we describe in our books and courses. That will be the most successful approach in my opinion. Does that help?

Also, you might find it useful to attend our upcoming free online Parallel Reasoning seminar on Tuesday. There will be lots of good analysis and discussion of these questions there, and you can register at: http://www.powerscore.com/freeseminars/

Cheers and have a great weekend!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Test Preparation
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DaveKilloran
My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/dave-killoran