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Red herrings in difficult SA Qs

TheoryandPracticeTheoryandPractice Alum Member

I was just drilling SA questions and noticed that a lot of difficult SA Qs have red herrings (distractions) in the stimulus. How do you identify them quickly? Are there (or do you have) any effective strategies? Litmus tests?

For ex) pt 33.3.21, pt 35.1.20 have red herrings.

Comments

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    edited June 2017 23929 karma

    @TheoryandPractice said:
    I was just drilling SA questions and noticed that a lot of difficult SA Qs have red herrings (distractions) in the stimulus. How do you identify them quickly? Are there (or do you have) any effective strategies? Litmus tests?

    For ex) pt 33.3.21, pt 35.1.20 have red herrings.

    I've just trained myself to read past the excess verbiage in the stimulus. It can be quite easy to get caught up in stuff that doesn't matter or red herrings. I think for me it was a matter of doing a bunch of SA questions so I am able to quickly zero in on what the actual stimulus is trying to argue.

    I also really like to pre-phrase for SA questions so I go into the answer choices with a good idea of what type of answer I'm looking for to answer it.

    Maybe someone else has a more concrete strategy or litmus test they use.

  • TheoryandPracticeTheoryandPractice Alum Member
    edited June 2017 1008 karma

    I mean red herrings are ones irrelevant to the argument core by definition. How do u quickly determine what's relevant or irrelevant? That might be a better question...

    I know that oftentimes you just "know" intuitively, but I was wondering if anyone can articulate a logical standard of some sort.

    Under timed conditions, I just eliminate what seems irrelevant. But during BR, I sometimes find it hard to articulate exactly what made that part irrelevant.

  • Freddy_DFreddy_D Monthly Member
    2978 karma

    SA questions tend to be so formulaic that over time it just becomes easier to decipher what is important and what is irrelevant to the specific question. As with most things related to the LSAT, I think exposure to more and more questions tends to be the best remedy. The gaps in logic that you must fill will become more apparent and the superfluous information will fade away.

  • TheoryandPracticeTheoryandPractice Alum Member
    edited June 2017 1008 karma

    I think I've trained my intuition enough that a prephrase just pops up after reading an SA stimulus. But I am still interested in understanding the logical mechanism of what makes some parts irrelevant.

    The idea of eliminating something solely based on intuition makes me want to cringe. I need some sort of a standard lol , at least for BR purposes.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    edited June 2017 23929 karma

    @sequitur said:
    I think I've trained my intuition enough that a prephrase just pops up after reading an SA stimulus. But I am still interested in understanding the logical mechanism of what makes some parts irrelevant.

    The idea of eliminating something solely based on intuition makes me want to cringe. I need some sort of a standard lol , at least for BR purposes.

    Hard to write a general rule for, but if it isn't the conclusion or a premise that supports it, it's context and/or irrelevant. That's at least my mindset when I'm attacking a SA question.

    I also think @Freddy_D is correct, and that SA questions are so formulaic that after enough exposure you'll be able to decipher more easily what is relevant/irrelevant.

    For example, in 33.3.21 the part about physicists is sort of a non-sequitur to the main argument about nation's economies. So while reading that part I have a feeling that it isn't really important to the argument core (premises + conclusion)

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    5320 karma

    Haven't touched LR in a while but I remember seeing the "gap" in reasoning which we are trying to plug up. Diversionary AC will either be totally unrelated to that gap or, trickier, misrepresent that gap as when confusing sufficiency for necessity.

  • Zachary_PZachary_P Legacy Member
    659 karma

    @"Alex Divine" said:

    @sequitur said:
    I think I've trained my intuition enough that a prephrase just pops up after reading an SA stimulus. But I am still interested in understanding the logical mechanism of what makes some parts irrelevant.

    The idea of eliminating something solely based on intuition makes me want to cringe. I need some sort of a standard lol , at least for BR purposes.

    Hard to write a general rule for, but if it isn't the conclusion or a premise that supports it, it's context and/or irrelevant. That's at least my mindset when I'm attacking a SA question.

    I agree with this. I will say, the most important step to take in weeding out excessive verbiage is to identify the conclusion. Once you know what the conclusion is, it'll be a lot easier to identify which parts of the stimulus support it (although it'll be incomplete support if it's an SA question) and which parts are superfluous.

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