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Author Topic: Read Question Stem first or after Stimulus?  (Read 2042 times)

Jeffort

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Re: Read Question Stem first or after Stimulus?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2009, 02:04:39 AM »
I don't really see why there is such a controversy about this topic, especially when the debate largely revolves around time and possibly wasting time.

Once you have studied, practiced and reviewed a good amount of LR questions so that you are familiar with the question types and are no longer an LSAT 'virgin' in the early stages of prep, it shouldn't take much more than 1 second if that to properly read the question stem and determine the question type.  There aren't that many different types of LR questions.

With decent study and practice time under your belt, one that is capable of achieving a good score should be able to read and take in the stem with a glance to know what the task at hand is regardless of whether you read it before or after the stimulus or both.

If it takes 2-5 seconds or more to read and comprehend the question stem after having worked materials and prepped for and familiarized yourself with the test for at least several weeks, you've got much more significant problems that will hold down your score than whether you read the stimulus or the stem first.

EarlCat

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Re: Read Question Stem first or after Stimulus?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2009, 05:31:42 PM »
In the grand scheme of things, it's not an enormous benefit.  There are obviously more important things to worry about when prepping.  It's especially not a big issue for individuals without time difficulties.  If one finishes the section with time to spare, who cares what order he does things in?  For people who are not finishing the LR section, it's a slightly different story, and I think every bit of marginal time-saving is of benefit.

I don't even have time troubles, but I still find the stimuli easier to analyze when I know ahead of time what I'm supposed to determine.

j_chouu

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Re: Read Question Stem first or after Stimulus?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2009, 07:30:22 PM »
I second that method, if you look at the question stem, you'll be able to deduce the type of question they're asking for, so instead of having "the argument is most vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that..." or whatever else it may say, you just think, "i'm looking for a flaw." and if you see "which of the following provides more support for the conclusion if true" you just think, "what do i need to link the premises to the conclusion?"

legaleze

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Re: Read Question Stem first or after Stimulus?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2009, 12:42:34 PM »
I was simply stating what worked for me. I didnt feel that TPR was adequate in teaching me the skills necessary to tackle the question types. And with the limited timei had I had to get my hands on Powerscore which seems to be the consensus as far as top prep material goes.

Whatever works for people is fine. It's all personal preference. For me it wasnt a matter of dodging questions because I did try my best to tackle as many of the problems that I can. I did realize when discussing the test with other that when executing the method of reading the stimulus first and question second alot of times people would have to go back to the stimulus to reread certain portions in order to answer the question.

In my opinion, re-reading the stimulus is much more of an issue than re-reading the stem.

All i did was glance at the stem. you don't need to read most of the questions. theyre all essentially the same.
 -If I saw the word assumption I focused on finding the gap in logic and trying to  prephrase a possiblilty before heading to the question.
 -If I saw strengthen or weaken I focused on the conclusion being made and what would help or hurt it.
 - When a specific line or statement was being referenced I paid attention to it and how it affected the framework of the argument
- When the method of reasoning was asked for I focused on how the argument was being framed and the stimulus structure

and so on...


For me this was the best way to get questions answered quicker and read the stimulus only 1 time actively for it's intended purpose. It helped me to target the questions I was best at to get through them quickly so that i had more time at the end to spend on questions that gave me greater problems.


If timing or focus is an issue I would recommend trying this method. If you don't like it. At least you tried. Again everyone does things differently. As long as you get the answers right that's all that really matters...Right??

Jeffort

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Re: Read Question Stem first or after Stimulus?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2009, 06:44:08 AM »

Whatever works for people is fine. It's all personal preference. For me it wasnt a matter of dodging questions because I did try my best to tackle as many of the problems that I can.

I did realize when discussing the test with other that when executing the method of reading the stimulus first and question second alot of times people would have to go back to the stimulus to reread certain portions in order to answer the question.

In my opinion, re-reading the stimulus is much more of an issue than re-reading the stem.


Re-reading/reviewing the stimulus is certainly a much bigger and more important issue for performance than whether to read the stem before or after the stimulus when initially approaching each question.

With many questions, (typically the higher difficulty/frequently missed ones), it is typical for students to get their selection narrowed down to two of the five answer choices after having fairly easily eliminated the three clearly incorrect others.

It's at this point getting stuck debating between the two contenders to make a final decision where most time is usually wasted and point costing mistakes are made, regardless of whether you initially read the stem or stimulus first.

When in that situation stuck debating which of the two contenders to select, instead of just sitting there stressing out letting time run by and possibly considering flipping a coin, there us nothing wrong with quickly reviewing parts of the stimulus to help make the final decision. 

Since you've already read all parts of the question and it is fresh in your mind, it doesn't take long to quickly spot check the stimulus for numerous reasons:

  -  You may have forgotten a seemingly unimportant detail/thing in the stimulus that is pivotal with how it relates in conjunction with the stem and to the credited answer choice.
  -  You may have misread/misinterpreted a crucial part of the stimulus that is buried in the included distracter 'fluff'
  -  You may have overlooked an important logically operative word and interpreted something in the reverse.  One of the most common occurrences of this is missing a 'no' or 'not' or something similar.  Remember LSAT LR questions frequently speak in double negatives and if you miss one of the "no's" or "not's" or whatever (typically due to speed reading/careless reading/being in a stressed out 'gotta hurry' mindset), there will typically be a sucker choice begging you to select it.
 
Since you have already read the stimulus once and are familiar with what it is about if you read it carefully the first time, it shouldn't take more than several seconds to spot check it quickly to make the 'get the point or don't get the point' decision if need be. 

After all, each stimulus is just two to at most 5 or 6 short sentences.