« on: August 25, 2010, 06:17:43 PM »
Retaking the LSAT in october. I bought the Cambridge difficult questions packet, and I've taken 10 preptests so far (7-19, mixed) averaging around a 162. I know the more difficult LR questions are my problem, so I'm wondering if anyone has any hints/tips to rip through it? The smaller simpler arguments are obviously easier but once the wording gets a bit more complex I'm not sure if I get sidetracked and misled or just confused. Are there certain words I should be aware of to indicate what I need to know? I know the typical indicator words for most premises and conclusions, but should I focus on memorizing them? Also are there any additional words that are used more often on the more difficult questions?
I've gone through 60 questions in the difficult questions packet, and have scored 29/60. I feel like if I can fix this, I can easily make 170+.
I also picked up the Copi - Introduction to Logic book today to help shed extra light.
Thanks in advance.
Given that you are scoring in a very respectable range (assuming your ~162 scores are from taking fresh PT's honestly, hence timed, no breaks, no scratch paper etc.), increasing your accuracy on the more difficult problems is clearly what you need to focus on, especially since you are losing many points on those LR problems and probably getting most of the easier ones correct.
However, at your ability level it is not as simple as memorizing lists of keywords (that you probably already know), it's about fine tuning your critical reasoning and analysis skills, identifying your specific weak areas and commonly repeated mistakes, etc. so you can focus on and improve upon them.
Learning and getting good at making use of familiarity with common argument structure indicator words, quantifiers, sufficient and necessary condition indicators, etc. is typically a prerequisite to be able to get into the 160's range. Past that it is about reading more carefully and critically (careless reading/skimming errors will rob your score blind!), being fluent with the commonly repeated patterns of reasoning and flawed methods of reasoning, being able to spot assumptions, making sure you understand and are properly applying sound techniques and strategies, etc.
Are there particular LR question types that you are missing more than others? Is it suff/necc based ones? Cause and effect ones? etc.
If you haven't been doing this already, do a thorough slow motion review of each timed preptest you take right after doing it and make sure to identify why you got each problem wrong that you missed. Make a list of your mistakes/reasons practice test after practice test, condense the lists to see where and why you are making most of your errors and address them from there. It is never as simple as 'it was just a hard question', there are always more specific reasons.
It could partially come down to a timing/time management thing. With the long wordy stimulus questions if you tend to rush through them or don't double check details when debating two tempting answer choices you could be throwing points away that way.
Various other things regarding some of the simple mechanics of your approach/strategy that can easily be fixed could also be costing you points. Figure out your specific mistakes and hopefully I and others can help you fix them.