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 desiboy96
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#88852
Hey powerscore, I was hoping you could give me some advice regarding logical reasoning. What I have to say is a bit long so bear with me.

So I have been practicing for a few months now and I have gotten to the point where on LR, I'm scoring approximately -2 to -4 on average untimed. However I've only recently started to time myself (I'm a perfectionist which I now realize is not good for this test and because of this, I have not been doing timed sections since I wanted a firm grasp on how to tackle LR). Instead, I have been using a timer to see how long it takes me to answer questions and have just been trying to reduce the time it takes me as much as possible to answer questions quickly and correctly. In other words, I have not been operating under the 35 minute time constraint. (As a side note: I also want to point out that in doing my stop watch method of practice, I have been following the tips for efficiency mentioned in the LR bible such as knowing the various ways to strengthen or weaken a causal argument or paying attention to things like the language strength to eliminate obviously wrong parallel reasoning answer choices)

Anyways, when I do the test timed, I'm averaging anywhere from -10 to - 8 where I at most, only complete about 18-19 questions and have to pick a random letter for the remainder. Of the ones that I do attempt, on average, I get about 14- 15 right which is really not good. It's also interesting to note that the kinds of mistakes I made under timed conditions would not be mistakes that I would make untimed. For instance, not taking the contrapositive of the author's reasoning or in an answer choice into account. Now the obvious thing I need to do is actually practice under the 35 minute time constraint. However, I noticed other problems while doing timed sections that I was hoping you could give me some tips on.

Firstly, I do feel anxious when I'm taking a practice test or timed section and I've been trying out some of tips mentioned in the resources you linked to me in a previous post.

Secondly, when I do timed sections, I feel like I have difficulty retaining what the stimulus says even if it is not that complicated and subsequently, I have to read it several times. Is there anything I can do to practice improving my retention of the stimulus?

Third, because of the time pressure, I feel like I end up reading the passage too quickly and by the end of reading it, I'm thinking to myself what did I just read?

Also, keep in mind that I do have ADHD and while I am applying for accommodations, I want to be prepared as best as I can incase for whatever reason LSAC denies my request.

I really want to get my score for each LR section down to at least -5 and hope to get an overall score of 160+ and I hope your tips can help me achieve that :-D

Thanks for reading my writing extravaganza.
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 Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff
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#88879
Hey Desi,

Thanks for the message!I want to ask about this section before having the other portions addressed because it could easily make the rest of the concerns moot. So, you mentioned that:

desiboy96 wrote: Sat Jul 17, 2021 7:41 pm Also, keep in mind that I do have ADHD and while I am applying for accommodations, I want to be prepared as best as I can incase for whatever reason LSAC denies my request.

Is there any reason to believe you will be denied? The way accommodations works these days (not like in the past) is that if you have the correct medical documentation and filled out the forms properly, you will get accommodation. The only reasons we see them denied is from paperwork errors or lack of medical backing. So, I think it would be a waste to study or prepare in a way that doesn't reflect your actual testing circumstances, and it would sure seem that you are likely to get accommodations here. If so, then change your approach to add that extra time and then I imagine you'd see a more expected result.

Please let me know your thoughts, thanks!
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 desiboy96
  • Posts: 42
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#88918
Hey Dave, thank you for your response. Here's the situation and please bear with me because it's a bit complicated. The short story is that I'm worried LSAC may think that the test my licensed psychiatrist preformed was inadequate for an ADHD diagnosis and that given my lack of formal accommodation history, LSAC may be hesitant to give me accommodations.

So the thing is I live in Canada and here there are three ways to get an ADHD diagnosis in my province. The first is to see an educational psychiatrist or psychologist who only provide private services that are quite expensive ($1000 - more than $2000). This is covered by private insurance which I unfortunately do not have and I can't afford to pay that right now. The second is if you are in grade school, the province's school system covers such tests if they suspect you have it.

Unfortunately, despite showing the signs of ADHD, none of my educators brought the idea that I might have ADHD to my attention, probably because I was preforming well in school from middle school to the present (though there were times where I could not finish tests because I was unable to focus). Also, since I grew up in an immigrant household, my parents did not think about investigating my ADHD since they had no idea that such a condition existed and just merely saw my behavior as an odd quirk which I also believed as I got older. As such, by the time I got to university, I had to adjust my learning in a way to combat what I was going through including taking lighter course loads, sometimes asking for extensions on assignments from professors (which they were pretty laxed about since the department I was in really cared about student's mental health). Btw at this point I still didn't know I had ADHD and went through my entire time at university without receiving any formal accommodations. Also, I promise this info is relevant.

Anyway the third way is to use free psychiatric services that are covered by my province's free healthcare system which is what I used AFTER I graduated from university, only because my sister took some psychology classes and recommended that I get tested. The problem with this is that unlike the other two methods discussed above, the psychiatrists who do these assessments only conduct twenty minute interviews to determine if a patient has ADHD where as the private practices take longer (sometimes hours or weeks) and run a series of other tests. Now while there is no industry standard for determining ADHD, all of them do involve interviews and leaving it to a psychiatrist's judgement to make a diagnosis. That said, even though my psychiatrist has been practicing for more than two decades and he has worked with schools to craft accommodations for other patients, I'm concerned that due to the way he assessed me and my lack of prior accommodations that LSAC won't give me the 50% extra time I requested.

If you made it to the end of this, thank you :)
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 rocketman16
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#89126
Hey Desi, regarding your issues in switching from untimed to timed LR sections, I have a couple of thoughts on that because I am in a similar boat.
Like you, I am a bit of a perfectionist. I spent pretty much the first 8 of 12 weeks of prep focusing solely on untimed sections/tests in an attempt to cement my understanding as much as possible before adding in time pressure. I first tried doing a test under full timed conditions a couple of weeks ago and it admittedly went terribly. Granted, I was not expecting it to be amazing; I just wanted to see where I was at. One of the most discouraging things initially though was how big of a hit my accuracy in LR took in that time (as I was easily able to score -2 to -4 max untimed, as you said). What I have been doing to bring my timed accuracy up to where I know it can be is this:
Time yourself on a full section with a stopwatch and pause it at certain increments in the section to see where you are at. Once you know where you are at, you can start working to trim off valuable time, and then just keep working on bringing that time down a little more each session. Personally, I aim to complete the first 10 questions within 10-11 minutes, complete question 20 within 25 minutes, and that leaves me 10 minutes for the last few (usually hard) questions. I found when I first timed myself without worrying about meeting the time constraints, I was able to accurately finish the first 10 questions without issue, but it was taking me like 14-15 minutes to do it. I know that those questions are easier and I figured I could afford to speed through them a little faster without compromising accuracy, and guess what? I was right, it just took a little effort and patience. I have been doing this progressive trimming on all of my sections for a couple of weeks now, and can now consistently complete the LR sections in my preptests in less than 35 minutes. The accuracy is a little inconsistent at the moment, but yesterday I hit a personal best of 24/26 in 33:02 total on a LR section. Now that I know I can do it, I just need to keep practicing to make it consistent. I'll say that your accuracy will likely drop off at first when you're trying to push the pace, but once you hit the pace you need and get comfortable there, your accuracy will start to catch up as well.
It sounds like the biggest problem you are having is that the time pressure is freaking you out and pushing you off of your game. This progressive trimming has helped me to ignore the pressure of the clock and focus on developing habits that allow me to confidently work through the section on time. Something that I love about LR compared to other sections is that you can very easily develop an internal rhythm to guide your timing. Once you hit the pace you need and get comfortable with it, you'll develop a rhythm for it. You'll be able to feel when a long/hard question is throwing you off that rhythm, and as long as you're paying attention, you can get it back. If your rhythm/pace is good, those long/hard questions should not throw you off hard enough to cause you stress. We, as humans, don't think well under stress, and this test is all about thinking our best!

I hope some of this helps you out. TL;DR: Wade in, don't dive.
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 desiboy96
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#89136
Hey rocketman, I really like your advice. Thank you so much! Its funny how you said it takes about 14-15 minutes to complete the first ten questions with perfect accuracy because that is where I am at right now. I think maybe if I trust myself a bit more and build more confidence under the timed conditions I can maybe go through them a bit faster.

Another issue I have been having, one that is partly caused by my ADHD but also just working under the time pressure is trying to retain what the passage says especially for really long passages in most supported/ inference questions, and strengthen weaken questions just because for those I feel that you have to take almost everything into account in the passage when picking the best answer.

That said, did you have this same issue when switching from timed to untimed practice and do you have any general advice for retaining the stuff written in the stimulus?
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 rocketman16
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: Jul 26, 2021
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#89177
I think that trust in yourself is paramount for this test, and it's one of the main reasons we spend so much time preparing/practicing. It will require getting out of your comfort zone a bit, but we can't improve without pushing our boundaries.
Regarding questions with long stimuli/answer choices, here are my thoughts:
The most important part of any question like that is to get to the bottom of what the stimulus is saying precisely. Parallel Reasoning is one of the hardest LR question types for me, personally, and one of the reasons for that is because both the stimuli and answer choices are generally long, and you need to firmly understand the stimulus to get to the correct answer. However, the actual information contained in the stimulus to such a question is irrelevant; the only thing that matters is the structure. If you can diagram out the argument structure briefly, the only thing you really need to retain is that diagram. For strengthen/weaken questions, the argument presented is usually flawed or at least lacking. So rather than trying to retain all of the information given to you, zero in on the conclusion and the support for that conclusion. The answer choices will support/attack either the conclusion or the premises, so again, if you condense the argument into its essential parts, you only need to find how each answer choice approaches the information relevant to that particular answer choice (Example: If, in a Weaken question, you find an answer choice that provides support for any part of the stimulus, you can immediately discard it).
I feel it is also worth noting that a lot of answer choices in long questions like that which ask for a lot of information synthesis are deliberately confusing. Have you ever had a scenario where you read a long answer choice, tried to connect it to the stimulus, drew complete blanks, and then scratched your head wondering "Huh?" Did you then come back to the other answer choices and find you've forgotten the essential info/structure you were basing your correct answer on and then have to read the stimulus again? Yeah, I have too, and know that is exactly what the test makers were hoping you would do. A big thing that helps me get through long questions is that whenever I find an answer choice that has me thinking "Huh?" I immediately discard it. Your brain works in millionths of a second and you retain a lot more information than you actually think you do. I feel like those "Huh?" options are meant to make you second guess your understanding of the passage. Knowing when to confidently eliminate wrong answers is a key to managing the information you need to on long questions. I'll work to decisively eliminate 3/5 answers on my first pass through the options, so that way if I'm a little unsure about the correct answer, I'm at least only trying to relate 2 options back to the stimulus rather than 4 or 5.

I also had a thought while writing this that may help with your ADHD and retaining info: Try tracking the words with a pencil/pen or whatever. Anything thin with a point that your eyes can follow would work. The idea behind this method comes from Speed Reading. One of the things that slows us down when we read in general is that our eyes will jump around the text, we'll inadvertently start re-reading a sentence we just read, we'll skip over a section of text by accident that forces us to backtrack and find what we missed, etc. If you keep your pencil under the words and track the pencil with your eyes, it will stop your eyes from darting around like I just described and help keep you focused on the word at hand. I use this technique when doing RC passages to help me get through the reading portion faster, yet I still retain most what I read. I obviously cannot say from experience, but I would guess that the "eye movement" problem when it comes to reading text is more likely to be prominent in someone with ADHD, so perhaps that will help you out as well. Try it out!

Hope you find some of this useful!
User avatar
 desiboy96
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  • Joined: Jan 20, 2021
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#89179
Hey Rocketman, thank you so much for the tips :-D

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