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Advice for parallel reasoning speed

BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
edited January 2019 in Logical Reasoning 1694 karma

These questions consistently take me three minutes to do when they're in the 4 or 5 stars difficulty. Takes me a minute to read and diagram the stimulus and then another two to read or diagram the answer choices, and I still get them wrong sometimes because of rushing. Do you guys have any advice on how you tackle these questions quickly? Thanks =)


  • zacharytsmith26-1zacharytsmith26-1 Alum Member
    849 karma


  • LouislepauvreLouislepauvre Alum Member
    750 karma

    I'm not sure there's a perfect answer to this (and I'm far from a perfect LSAT student), but if I see a really long parallel and it's like number 18 or 22, I'm going to assume it's a hard parallel, and maybe skip. But, if I start reading it, and I feel like it's pretty cookie cutter, I'll proceed. My thing with questions like this is I try to do more work up front and be very confident in my understanding, so when I go to the answers I don't plan on reading all of them. Once I find what I find what I'm looking for, I circle and move on.

    Actually, come to think of it, I do have a strategy. I don't diagram with the words of the stimulus. Instead, I want to make a formula, like, A--->B---->C, /C---->/A, or something like that, so all I'm looking for in the answers is something matches the formula. Does that make sense?

    Overall, I do think this can be a question to consider skipping, even though parallel questions can be very formulaic and easy.

  • BumblebeeBumblebee Member
    edited January 2019 640 karma

    I would like some advice from others too!!

    I've been struggling with PR and PF recently as well. I plan on drilling them untimed.

    What I've been trying work on for PF is to make sure I detect the flaw in the stimulus before rushing into the answer choices. A big mistaken approach I had previously taken was to get lost in the answer choices without even knowing the flaw.

    Here is my new approach for two different scenarios

    When I can find the flaw in the stimulus:

    1. Remember the flaw and the reasoning structure (how many premises, strength of the conclusion)

    2. Hunt for the match in the ACs. Eliminate obviously wrong ones first if possible (e.g. the stimulus argument concludes "must" but the wrong ACs conclude "probably")

    When I cannot find the flaw

    1. Prepare to skip this question.

    2. Before skipping, scan through ACs quickly to mechanically eliminate obviously wrong ACs (e.g. the stimulus argument concludes "must" but the wrong ACs conclude "probably"). If I get lucky I may arrive at the correct AC without having understood the flaw. But in level 4~5 questions,this usually doesn't happen.

    In general, I believe spending time upfront figuring out the flaw or parallel structure is important.

  • tristan.locke1tristan.locke1 Alum Member
    100 karma

    This won’t work every time, but usually you can eliminate 1-2 answer choices by checking for “some” “most” or “all” in the answer choices. If the stimulus diagrams to “All As are Bs” and you see “some” in an answer choice, it’s likely that you can quickly eliminate that answer. Diagramming 2-3 potential answer choices is a lot faster than all 5!

  • paulmv.benthempaulmv.benthem Alum Member
    1032 karma

    @Bamboosprout , my strategy is slightly different for PR and PF there one in particular that's proving an issue?

  • PeaceofmindPeaceofmind Alum Member
    446 karma

    I check conclusion match first. If it doesn’t match I eliminate the AC right away so during the second pass you don’t have to check all 5. But it doesn’t work as well for PF

  • BlindReviewerBlindReviewer Alum Member
    855 karma

    One thing I've noticed recently in my prep is that if I can't articulate the flaw or the reasoning very well just from the stimulus, then it's better to skip it and come back later. Your chance of getting that question right is extremely low at that point because you have to just kind of make things match while semi-blind, if that makes sense. If you have extra time at the end, great, you can go back and do that, or maybe you'll see the reasoning or the flaw, but if not, it's just not worth it.

    Of course getting to the point where you can diagram in your head and recognize flaws takes a while, and it comes from practicing all of the other questions. So there's no easy way to say you should do this to improve parallel flaw/reasoning -- the mechanics are the same as they are for any other question. If you improve everything else then these will naturally improve. One thing that helps a lot in BR, though, is to try and correct the wrong parallel choices and make them right, as that'll give you a better sense of both what's right and what's wrong.

    As for some more advanced strategies which I am beginning to employ (though maybe not so successfully yet) is that if you see a good choice in C, for example, it might be worth your time to just circle it and move on, and, if you have time left at the end, eliminate D and E. On a recent test I took I did this and corrected it from say C to D, and I think just getting that distance from the question helped.

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    1694 karma

    @Bumblebee said:
    I would like some advice from others too!!

    I think you should be more decisive and just skip if you can’t find the flaw. It takes a lot of time to read the answer choices, so it’s probably better to just save it for the second time around and use the time elsewhere on the first time around.

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    1694 karma

    @"paulmv.benthem" said:

    @Bamboosprout , my strategy is slightly different for PR and PF there one in particular that's proving an issue?

    In pt 63, I got two PR questions wrong: section 1 number 21 and 24. I rushed through both of them and didn’t read the right answers before moving on. Any advice? I’m going to do a few questions untuned to practice my core competency. I got both of them immediately after BR, but just didn’t feel like it was worth reading all of them during timed.

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    1694 karma

    @KarateMaster said:
    I check conclusion match first. If it doesn’t match I eliminate the AC right away so during the second pass you don’t have to check all 5. But it doesn’t work as well for PF

    This is great! Yes, I can see this helping a lot! To break the answers up into conclusion and support and test them separately. This will save time and increase accuracy! I’m copying this into my note book

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    1694 karma

    Your advance strategy is what I typically do, but this time, it backfired on me because I’m PT 63, both hard parallel questions’ correct answer is E.

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