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Questions relating to PowerScore's LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible
 EL16
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#37629
Hello,

I am currently just more than halfway through the PS live online class. I have been putting in an extensive amount of time into really understanding the LR sections, such as the different types of questions, what to look for, how to break down the stimulus, etc. However, my LR score has not increased at all. I continuously seem to get roughly the same score on every LR practice test section I complete--timed or untimed. It also seems that I am getting a variety of question types incorrect--it's a mix of all different types, rather than just failing at the same couple question types. Clearly, I seem to just not be grasping the concepts or something, and am really unsure of what to do at this point.

Since the PS LR Bible has received amazing reviews consistently online, I am wondering if it is worth purchasing at this point, or if the PS Live Online courses really cover the same material? Any suggestions would be much appreciated :)

Thank You!
Elana
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 Dave Killoran
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#37630
Hi Elana,

Thanks for the question! Since you are in the LO course, you don't need to purchase the LR Bible. you receive all of that material (and more) in your course books. However, in your course books the information is distributed in a different way, and mixed in with other content. This is because the ordering of the material in the course is different than in the books so we can take advantage of the fact that there are teachers there :-D In the past, some students have opted to buy the LRB, but only because they wanted to be able to access the LR content in one place, and carry it around more easily. But it's not necessary to buy it given what you have already.

Improving LR can be difficult, and what's most frustrating is that it's not a straight-line response, meaning that one hour of studying doesn't lead to an immediate score increase. Instead, it goes in a series of plateaus followed by an increase and then another plateau. My question to you is can you tell me how you go through the homework? Do you do the questions just once? do you review all of them, or only the ones you missed? Do you review them just once or multiple times? How much is timed, any?

Let me know about the above, and maybe we can help optimize your approach so you start seeing increases. Thanks!
 EL16
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#37670
Hi Dave,

Thanks so much for the detailed response! As for how I move through the LR homeworks, I tend to break up the questions into sets of 10. I will do 10 questions untimed, circle any question I had any amount of difficult in, and then review the answers. For any questions I got correct and was 100% confident in, I tend not to review (thought I probably should). For any questions I got wrong or got correct but was not 100% certain with, I go through the online student center or use additional online resources elsewhere on the internet to understand them. I try to understand why incorrect answers were incorrect and why the correct answer was correct to make sure that I didn't just get lucky with my answer (if it was correct). Admittedly, I sometimes have difficulty understanding exactly why each incorrect answer was incorrect and could do a better job with this. I then continue to do the next 10 questions with the same method, and depending on how I did on the first 10, sometimes I do them timed and sometimes I don't. I continue this strategy with all the LR questions in the homework (usually there's about 40 per section, so I usually split them up into 4 sections and I try to do at least one of those sections timed).

I have also been reviewin 1 LR section from an actual LSAT each day (although just started doing this about 2 weeks ago). Some days I do this timed, but in the past week I have not been doing them timed because I am trying to get a better understanding of them. I then review all the questions the same way I explained above, but do this after completing the entire section, rather than every 10 questions, and review these in a blind review format before looking at the correct answers on the ones I got wrong. I usually do this review later the same day or the next day after completing the questions. What's strange is that I'm finding that I'm getting all different question types incorrect--nothing consistent, and also that timed or untimed, I seem to be getting roughly the same number of questions incorrect on a section. When I do timed sections I usually don't get to the last 3-5 questions (and just fill in random bubbles on these). So I'm not sure what's going on here and am completely stuck! On the other hand, I have been reviewing LG in a similar manner (although I do 1-4 games at a time and then stop to review, rather than 10 questions at a time as I do with LR), and have seen my score improve a lot there. So LR is really frustrating me!

Thanks for your help!
Elana
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 Dave Killoran
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#37781
Hi Elana,

Thanks so much for the info! A few thoughts:

1. You mentioned, "For any questions I got wrong or got correct but was not 100% certain with, I go through the online student center or use additional online resources elsewhere on the internet to understand them." What I would do here first is simply note your answer is wrong, and then look at it again a few times until you feel like you are sure why you missed it and why the right answer is right, THEN go to explanation resources and confirm that's the case. It's all about the difference between seeing it yourself vs having someone else show you. Small but very important in terms of what you look for in questions. And, don't be concerned if it takes a few days before you feel comfortable with a problem. Setting aside a hard question and then returning to it later is not just ok, it's the right way to approach this.

2. You said, "Admittedly, I sometimes have difficulty understanding exactly why each incorrect answer was incorrect and could do a better job with this." That's ok, and it happens to everyone! The struggle is part of the process and actually helps you because it's a signal that something in the problem isn't making sense. Identify what that is and make note of it, whether it's an odd phrase in the stimulus or a weird form or reasoning, etc.

3. The blind review on each LR section. This is a good approach, just make sure you track what you are missing religiously. Knowing what you've been missing provides a map to getting better.

4. That inconsistency you are seeing relates to how the LSAT tests a wide variety of areas each time, which makes some tests better for you and some worse. I talk about that here: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/bid/310 ... sat-casino. For students who aren't 100% on the fundamentals or who aren't machine-like in their approach, these variations in exams often reveal themselves in varying performances. LR is great on one test, but then not so great on the next while LG seems to do the same thing, but on different tests. You fix it by doing the following:

  • A. Make sure you really know the concepts and techniques. For example, can identify premises and conclusions without thinking, do you know the basic argument flaws, or do you know all the ways to break down causality in LR, and so on. Instant execution with no delays is your goal.

    B. You look at questions repeatedly until they are second nature. Review, review, review. Stumble on a question? Look at it again a few days later. Get to know questions so well you could teach it to your friends without missing a beat, and without stumbling over any of the ideas.
5. Last, and perhaps most important, inconsistency can also relate to your analysis of the stimulus. How good do you feel coming out of each stimulus? Do you feel like you understand what is being said? Is your clarity on the argument as good as you'd like, or do you find yourself uncertain of exactly what has been said in many cases? If it's the latter, then the first place to start is with that—in those sections of untimed questions, stop after the stimulus and make an assessment of how strongly you feel about your stimulus understanding, and then compare that to how you perform when answering each question. If you see a connection between problems with the stimulus and missing questions, then you'll know that has to be part of your study focus.


Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
 EL16
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#37812
Hi Dave,

Thank you so much for the help! I really appreciate it. I am going to use your advice and try looking back at some problems a few days later. I think one of the biggest issues I'm having is definitely what you describe in #5 (analyzing the stimulus properly/understand what is being said). If I don't understand a stimulus (or a reading comp passage for that matter), I almost inevitably get the question wrong. Since each question is so different in what the stimulus is saying, do you have any advice on what to do when I truly don't understand what a stimulus is saying? I feel like this is something that's very difficult to teach myself and can be total luck of the draw on test day as to whether or not I have a bulk of stimuli I really understand or if there are a bunch of stimuli that I just don't get (even if I understand what kind of question it is, etc.).

Thank You,
Elana
 Jonathan Evans
PowerScore Staff
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#37979
Hi, Elana,

If you're on your first pass and encounter a stimulus that stumps you, stop, skip the question, and return to it later. It's not worth spinning your wheels on a frustrating problem when your time and effort could be better spent earning points on other problems.

If you're on your second or third pass and wish to attempt a difficult problem, try to interpret as you read. As you read each statement, describe to yourself what the statement says. In addition, describe what connection this idea has to the preceding ideas. In other words, try to construct a working paraphrase of what you're reading to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Read the question task; if it's a question that involves an argument, make sure you're clear on the conclusion. If it's a Must Be True-type scenario, make sure you've assessed what facts are available and any connections you note.

On Reading Comp, if you get about ten lines into a passage and it appears difficult, ask yourself, "Could I explain what I just read to a ten-year-old?" This is a quick acid test I sometimes use to judge my comprehension. If the passage seems dense or difficult, consider skipping it entirely and coming back to it later in the section.

If you're faced with a difficult passage you have to do, consider reading it expeditiously. Maybe you don't quite have the main point. That's okay. Find a local, narrow question to attempt, something along the lines of, "according to the passage, which of the following..."

Do detailed reading to find evidence for these narrow questions and work up to more global, challenging questions.

Remember to choose your battles. If something appears like a total killer, don't let it suck up time that could be better spent elsewhere, even if you just have to guess.

I hope this helps!
 EL16
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#37985
Hi Jonathan,

Thank you so much for your help! Your reminder to skip questions and come back to them is helpful--and is often something I forget to do during practice tests. My PT scores area all over the place, fluctuating in a 10-point range, and I am getting all different types of questions wrong each time. So I really think each test is just entirely dependent on whether I get lucky with a batch of questions/RC passages I understand, versus more difficult ones. Its a tough problem to have and a tough one to overcome!

Thanks for your help,
Elana

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