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Difficulty with newer PSA/SA questions

beezmoofbeezmoof Alum Member
edited March 2018 in Logical Reasoning 555 karma

I used to never really struggle too hard with PSA/SA. Pretty easy to identify the P --> C gap in the ACs. As I've moved onto the newer exams, I'm finding myself missing points on the harder 4/5-level PSA/SA questions. JY has referenced in the videos that the newer exams do require more mental massaging with SA qs especially. I spent some time drilling SA q's from PT 36-58, but still ended up struggling with difficult PSA/SA qs on PT 60.

I'm going for the choices that somewhat match my predetermined P-->C gap. But the issue here, is under time pressure, I go for the AC that has some of the buzzwords aka is only partially right, and unfortunately end up inviting parts of the answer choice that make it completely wrong. In the process, I end up eliminating AC's that are subtle/don't match my prephase, aka are not the formulaic AC's I typically expect.

I'm wondering now if I need to adopt a new PSA/SA methodology... aka be less dependent on the typical identify the P-->C gap. Asking if anyone has noticed this trend as well and how they dealt with it? Did you change your approach to these questions? Do you still depend on the diagram? How do you prephase?



  • BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Alum Member 🍌🍌
    8684 karma

    Which PSA/SA on PT 60 gave you trouble?

  • beezmoofbeezmoof Alum Member
    edited March 2018 555 karma

    22 on section 1 especially. I chose C because it was the closest one that matched my prephase of artificial human invention --> occurred independently, without considering the "not invention" part, and I quickly disregarded A because it didn't look anything like my prephase.

    23 on the same section for the same exact reason... My prephase was roughly "if no one says anything bad" --> "impossible to have a good reputation." Picked A because it sounded most like this without understanding the ramifications of "absence of laws against libel," and didn't consider choice E.

    It sounds like I need to go slower and consider every word, which I will certainly do on the next exam but I'm wondering if I need a different approach too.

  • BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Alum Member 🍌🍌
    8684 karma

    Both are very difficult questions. We went over them on the BR call, I will post some tips in a bit.


  • beezmoofbeezmoof Alum Member
    555 karma

    Thanks always for your help David. Would you also mind commenting on your approach to PSA/SA qs/letting me know if my approach is wrong?

  • BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Alum Member 🍌🍌
    8684 karma

    So, I am on PT 64. There has been a slight switch in the subtly of SA questions, but nothing too drastic in my experience.

    7/10---8/10 times on SA questions we are going to have the regular run of the mill P---->C
    or C--->P
    The keys to these problems is to have our conditional skills down and pay real close attention to the conclusion: for instance, today I missed PT 64-1-23 because I did not take into account precisely what the conclusion was saying. Another thing I have been incorporating into my approach is to be open minded enough with answer choices: meaning I might not get a home run, search and select answer choice on one of these cookie cutter SAs: take for instance PT 62-4-16, when I did this problem I was looking for something very specific, but the answer choice I came across did the job.

    Now, for those roughly 2/10 times on SA questions where we might be looking at something slightly different:
    PT 60-1-22 for example, I have found the following helpful:
    In the moment of the PT, I can rely on POE pretty effectively. Take a look at the attractive wrong answer choice and the one you selected: answer choice (C). (C) doesn't get us to our conclusion, in fact the information in (C) gets us nowhere. Although it might not be readily apparently why (A) is correct, (C) is wrong for these reasons. Now, with non-cookie cutter (P)SA questions, we are looking at either:

    The SA stated in an unorthodox/almost necessary sounding way (PT 60-1-22)
    The (P)SA is stated in a way that deviates from our anticipation or is over-encompassing, therefore we have to have an open mind and not eliminate too quickly. (PT 64-1-17)

    Again, with non-cookie cutter SA questions, what I want you to be asking yourself on 60-1-22 is honestly: did you choose (C) because it contained some buzz words? Or did you choose (C) because you genuinely thought it did the job of a sufficient assumption? Either answer to these questions is going to yield helpful information for your approach moving forward. Learning from these mistakes is the process in which we get better. For SA questions our job is still the same: orthodox or not, the answer choice should still do the same job. How it descriptively does that job is the issue here.


  • beezmoofbeezmoof Alum Member
    edited March 2018 555 karma

    @BinghamtonDave I haven't yet done PT 64 but I hope to do so soon so I can't yet look at those questions. I will return to this post once I do that exam. But to answer your question I definitely did pick the incorrect choices bc it had some buzzwords. I'm still a little confused though by what you mean by paying close attention to the conclusion: "The keys to these problems is to have our conditional skills down and pay real close attention to the conclusion: for instance, today I missed PT 64-1-23 because I did not take into account precisely what the conclusion was saying." Would you mind clarifying what exactly you mean by that?

    Also good to know that I should continue my P-->C gap method. But it sounds like I need to be a little more rigorous in my reading of ACs (not get trapped my buzzwords) and be also a little more open-minded when it coms to the form of ACs.

    I'm going to look at past difficult SA/PSA questions to see the forms of the correct AC's.

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