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# Diagramming vs Not diagramming LR Q's

Alum Member
edited December 2017 128 karma

Diagramming the more complex questions can take quite a bit of time. Sometimes the correct answers are more intuitive and thus it would be a waste of time to diagram. But reading the question stem and all the answer choices also takes time and when the correct answer choice is not intuitive, you have to go back and read the stimulus again to begin diagramming.

So my question is, how do you guys know when to diagram and when to not? Do you diagram from the first reading of any conditional/existential statement markers? Or do you do so as a last resort? Or do I just lack the intuition to know when diagramming is appropriate vs when it is not?

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• Alum Member
1617 karma

I think the intuition has to be built upon. If doing untimed drills/sections, I would diagram everything. This way you're keeping yourself on your toes.

On the real exam, I would only diagram for ~2 questions. For one of those, I would diagram the stimulus and then prephrase the question.
e.g. Stem: Necessary Assumption
Stimulus: A-->B; A-->C
Prephrase: B--->C
Okay, so I know I'm looking for the AC that says B-->C

For the other question, I probably had to write out the logic for all of the ACs. But its these questions that you save up 4-5 minutes for at the end of the section

• Free Trial Member
328 karma

@kimmy_m66 said:

+1 on the intuition point. The more sections you will do, the more natural it will feel.

On PT's and the real test I would go to diagraming when there is an abundance of conditional logic paired with tough to grasp language. I found that for questions like this I made up the time spent diagraming by understanding the argument much better and therefore being able to move through AC's much faster than I would have without diagramming. It would usually mean 2ish questions per section for me too. I almost never write prephrases after diagramming the stimulus though.

• Alum Member
23929 karma

@kimmy_m66 said:
I think the intuition has to be built upon. If doing untimed drills/sections, I would diagram everything. This way you're keeping yourself on your toes.

On the real exam, I would only diagram for ~2 questions. For one of those, I would diagram the stimulus and then prephrase the question.
e.g. Stem: Necessary Assumption
Stimulus: A-->B; A-->C
Prephrase: B--->C
Okay, so I know I'm looking for the AC that says B-->C

For the other question, I probably had to write out the logic for all of the ACs. But its these questions that you save up 4-5 minutes for at the end of the section

This.

As you get better, you'll develop the intuition to know when you need to diagram to figure something out. Like @kimmy_m66 , I tend to only diagram for a couple LR questions per test, but I got fairly good at doing so by diagramming everything on practice drill sets/untimed sections.

• Alum Member
edited December 2017 128 karma

Cool thanks for the responses guys

• Alum Member
4423 karma

@nmmizokami said:
Diagramming the more complex questions can take quite a bit of time. Sometimes the correct answers are more intuitive and thus it would be a waste of time to diagram. But reading the question stem and all the answer choices also takes time and when the correct answer choice is not intuitive, you have to go back and read the stimulus again to begin diagramming.

So my question is, how do you guys know when to diagram and when to not? Do you diagram from the first reading of any conditional/existential statement markers? Or do you do so as a last resort? Or do I just lack the intuition to know when diagramming is appropriate vs when it is not?

I'm a little late to the party, but definitely only as a last resort for me. Maybe once every two to three tests. It could help me break through on the odd question if for some reason I wasn't thinking it through well and got stumped.

Usually, intuition is essentially just diagramming in your head. You should be thinking something alomg the lines of if a-->b and b-->¬c then it follows that a-¬c or whatever that problem calls for. You don't usually need to write it though.

• Yearly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
27720 karma

This is a really important question and I just want to reinforce the very good answers above. Diagramming is an excellent learning tool, but a terrible test taking strategy. Under timed conditions it should only be used as a last resort for when intuition has failed. Even then, I often opt to go with shaky intuition rather than burning the time if I can make some headway through POE. At the end of my third round, then I’ll diagram to confirm.

• Alum Member Sage
1861 karma

I diagram ~2-3 questions per LR section. I agree that intuition is built-upon and if you can catch the gap in the logic without explicitly translating (whether on paper or in your head), then great! But when I clearly need to diagram a question, I circle it and come back at the end of the section with plenty of time and don't stress out as I write things down. I also prephrase when I can.

Your question on when diagramming is appropriate is difficult to answer, because I think it's different for each person. There have been so many BR calls where I've found it easy to intuitively answer a question while other had to diagram, and vice versa. I usually read the question, and skim through the ACs to see if anything stands out as definitely wrong. Then, if I decide I need to diagram, I circle it and come back.

That said, I don't consider intuition equal to diagramming in my head. If you're making diagrams in your head, you're still taking time, and you might be better off writing things down. When I just see that gap/flaw without splitting apart the sufficient and necessary conditions, that's intuition for me. Having started out having no concept of conditional logic/diagramming, I made sure to write out diagrams during the CC and during BR on every question that I knew used conditional logic (even the ones I was 100% sure about), and that help build my intuition.

In the end it depends on your own pace and how much time you can sacrifice to diagram while still efficiently answering other questions.