Stage III: PT

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LR Perfection Free Preview: Chapter 22 Part IV

Two things to note when we are taking an entire Practice Test: 

In the first place, make sure to mentally focus when you start a LR section. There were countless times when I came to a LR section after a LG or RC section, and my mind was still thinking about the game board or RC passage that I had struggled with. This is distracting and the worst thing you can possibly do. Before starting a LR section, mentally prepare yourself. Remind yourself that it’s LR time now, remind yourself of the five key habits, and remind yourself to look at each question stem before anything else. 

From there on it’s no different from doing an LR section. 

Secondly, because the whole test is four sections. We will be mentally drained by the end of it. When I did PTs, I focused on the endurance aspect of the test by doing 5 sections in a row. I would do an additional LR, LG, or RC section immediately after having completed the PT, depending on whichever section was my weakest link. 

Blind Review

Perhaps the single most helpful thing we can do to improve is to blind review our work. Flag or make a note of every question that we are not 100% certain. Once we have completed the section/test, come back and re-examine these flagged questions without looking at the answers. 

Blind review is helpful because it takes away the benefit of hindsight. Once we know the correct answer to a question, then we will subconsciously try to come up with ways to justify this answer, while simultaneously trying to find fault with every other answer. In other words, we cannot help but to apply a double standard to the question being reviewed. 

But on the actual test itself, we do not have such a luxury. So by forcing ourselves to consider each answer choice on equal footing, without knowing which one is the correct answer, we are literally forcing ourselves to depend only on our knowledge and understanding of the question, and nothing else. 

During blind review, we can spend a little more time to do a deep dive into the question itself. Slow down and conduct a thorough SLAKR analysis of the question, make a note of everything that you have missed or wasn’t sure about previously. 

If there are two answer choices you are stuck between. Write down the pros and cons of each answer, remind yourself of what this particular question type is asking for, and write down your rationale for picking one answer over the other. 

In terms of timing, we want to gradually shorten the time we use for blind review, until ideally, you can finish blind review within the 35 minutes allotted per section. 

 

Fighting Your Intuition

The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who developed the social intuition model in moral psychology, believes that people make moral judgments based on intuition and rationalize them afterwards. Whether or not you agree with his theory, it’s something that we must avoid on the LSAT.

Too often students will pick an answer choice based on intuition. During blind review, all they try to do is to selectively look for evidence to back up their choice and eliminate the alternatives. Instead of using blind review to reaffirm our decision and feel good about ourselves, we need to re-examine each answer choice rationally and on equal footing. Using the criteria and techniques you have learned in this book, strive to compare each answer choice from a rational and holistic perspective. 

Wrong Question Review

Finally, it’s time to review the questions we have gotten wrong. 

It is inevitable that we make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes and to build up our repertoire of knowledge and habits so we won’t make the same mistake again. Many students make the mistake of a localized approach to wrong question review. They will go online to look at discussions on the question, read the question again, and once they feel like they have understood this question, they move on and forget about it. 

This is not enough. 

Our goal, instead, should be to think about what this question can teach us. We need a takeaway from each wrong question that reveals a specific weakness in our understanding or habits. 

Why did you get this question wrong? Is it because you didn’t fully understand the complex conditional in the stimulus? Is it a specific flaw that you missed in a Flaw Question? Review the relevant theoretical knowledge that’s available in this book. 

Was the error committed due to a bad habit? Were you simply picking the first reasonable answer and then letting your guard down when examining the subsequent answer choices? Remind yourself to approach each answer choice with equal respect even if you already have a clear preference for one answer choice. Are you struggling with vague answer choices? Remind yourself to highlight or underline keywords in answer choices and really think about what they mean. Are you consistently picking probably true/could be true answers rather than must be true answers on MBT Questions? Remember to go back to the stimulus to find proof for the answer choice you had chosen. 

Make a table like this and record your mistakes. But more importantly, try to find the source of your errors, whether it’s an unclear understanding of the theoretical knowledge, or bad habits that need to be avoided. 

PT-S-Q

Question Type

Pattern/Difficult Trait

Knowledge Insights

Bad Habits to Break

     
     
     
     

As we gather more and more wrong questions, we will see a pattern emerging. I, for example, saw that a majority of my Weaken mistakes were made when there were two or more answer choices that both ‘weaken’ the author’s argument. I was regularly choosing Type III answer choices over Type II and Type I answer choices. This made me realize that I would need to consciously remind myself to truly compare multiple attractive answer choices, and I needed to show a clear preference for answer choices that target the gap in the author’s reasoning, answers that are more direct, or answers that are worded more strongly. 

Make a list of the habits that you need to develop. Print it out, keep it next to you as you practice more questions. Only when we have internalized these habits and practice them like second nature, are we truly on the path towards LR perfection. 

Good luck and see you on the other side.