For LR ( not lg, sorry) , do you ALWAYS read the question stem first, then read paragraph?

psbrathwaitepsbrathwaite Legacy Member
edited September 2014 in General 207 karma
Just wondering if everyone does it this way and if it is superior to reading the passage then the question


  • chrijani7chrijani7 Alum Member
    827 karma
    I think you mean LR? I think most people will likely tell you that reading the question stem before reading the stimulus (paragraph) for LR, is the superior way to approach any of the questions. Reading the question stem first tells you what to look for in the stimulus. Take 2 examples: (1) a flaw question and (2) a method of reasoning question

    (1) by realizing it is a flaw question before going into the stimulus you are already at a huge advantage. They just told you THERE IS A FLAW. So while your reading, your brain should be in "flaw mode" searching for the flaw while identifying the premise and conclusion.

    (2) Two things for the MOR question. First, they ask you which role a certain statement played in the argument. If you didn't read the stem first, you would have to go back and try and locate that in the passage then try and figure its role. Second, by understanding it is an MOR question, you need to shift gears from finding the flaw. Regardless of whether the premise does not support the conclusion or if it is a air tight argument, it doesn't matter. All you need to worry about it locating that statement they asked you about, marking it, marking the premise and conclusion (assuming it is not one of those) and determining what role it played. You don't need to waste a single second thinking critically about the argument and finding errors.

    This is very important, especially if you start to time yourself. For instance if I see its a main conclusion question, 99% of the time it is fairly easy to spot the conclusion. I have had 1 question where they gave me the conclusion that wasn't exactly the neatest paraphrasing. So, when I see these questions I typically run through them REALLY fast to save time. If I didn't know it was a main conclusion before entering I would waste so much time trying to get a grip on the argument. Whereas on the flip side, weakening questions, I tend to take a little more time on trying to grasp the argument to fully (Or at least try to fully) understand what is going.

    TLDR; yes read the question stem before reading the stimulus
  • Allison MAllison M Alum Member Inactive Sage
    810 karma
    There was some discussion about when to read the stem in this thread:
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