Law School Discussion

Question stem first?

Saturn

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Question stem first?
« on: May 04, 2007, 09:27:39 AM »
I've been reading the PS books closely, and they advise you not to read the question stem first. But I feel a little more like I know more what I'm looking at if I read the stem first and then read the stimulus. It doesn't seem to alter my performance on the exam either way, though. 

So I was wondering what do other people do, do you bother with reading the question first? This should, in theory, knock off a few seconds per question, because I'm reading every question twice. What do you think?

boulevardier

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Re: Question stem first?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2007, 10:00:20 AM »
Read the question stem first.

Your method of attack depends on the stimulus type.  Sometimes you can read a question stem, go to the choices and knock off the obvious wrong choices without even having read the stimulus...

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Re: Question stem first?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2007, 11:32:04 AM »
I've been reading the PS books closely, and they advise you not to read the question stem first. But I feel a little more like I know more what I'm looking at if I read the stem first and then read the stimulus. It doesn't seem to alter my performance on the exam either way, though. 

So I was wondering what do other people do, do you bother with reading the question first? This should, in theory, knock off a few seconds per question, because I'm reading every question twice. What do you think?

If you can train yourself to read the both the question stem and stimulus once (most of the time), it's better to read the stimulus first.  The issue with reading the question stem first is that, in most cases, you end up reading the question stem twice (because you re-read it after reading the stimulus), which can be a time waster.  I used to read the question stem first to avoid reading the stimulus twice.  But once I learned to read the stimulus once (by following advice in PS on what to look for when reading the stimulus), it was pretty easy to not read either one twice.  Overall, I found it much more efficient to read the stimulus first, then the question, and then employ the PS techniques to eliminate answer choices.

EDIT: Also note that for multi-question stimuli, you end up re-reading the stimulus for each question if you read the stimulus with only one of the questions in mind.

Re: Question stem first?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2007, 10:16:11 PM »
I never read the question stem first.  I tried it once, but found it counter-productive.  The stimuli are always so short, I can quickly read them and remember the information long enough to simply answer the question.  Perhaps 10% of the time I have to re-read a stimulus to clarify something, but that's not often enough to make me change anything.