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LR Skipping Strategy: What am I missing?

cabsmithcabsmith Alum Member

I'm signed up for the July test, and my primary goals are drilling logic games and taking practice tests. After watching a 7Sage webinar on skipping, I've been inspired to think of the test differently and try something new as a secondary goal. Up to this point, I've been averaging one skip in LR with -5 or -4 in each section. I would like to shave that down to an average of -3 by using a few more skips in exchange for time at the end to go over any other tricky questions. (Essentially, I would like to choose which questions to get incorrect.)

So far, my issue has been trying to rush through the questions to shore up more time by the time I reach the last question. When I do, my accuracy suffers. This is only my first week of trying this new strategy but it does pain me a bit to see my score go down in my drills as a result.

People who have used this method successfully, what am I missing here? Do I simply need more time practicing it? Is five weeks before test day enough time to make it work? Would I be better off doing more blind review to sharpen my conceptual understanding? If more/better BR is the trick, what should I be asking myself to go faster without losing accuracy?

Comments

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    edited June 2020 8066 karma

    my issue has been trying to rush through the questions to shore up more time by the time I reach the last question. When I do, my accuracy suffers.

    Sounds like you're trying to move faster than your ability allows. Don't sacrifice accuracy for speed. You can't miss fast enough.

    Speed has to come as a result of practice, understanding and efficiency. Forcing your way through a question you don't understand kind of defeats the purpose of a skipping strategy. It shouldn't feel like you're rushing for the sake of speed. Your speed has already developed, and when you see experience a break down (edit: clarified below), that is your trigger to skip. In other words, you go fast because you can get the question right reliably and efficiently, in order to free up time for the ones you can't.

    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

  • cabsmithcabsmith Alum Member
    39 karma

    Seeing a breakdown means seeing a cookie-cutter or generic question/stimulus model, right? So what you’re saying is improvement in speed is largely dependent on drilling certain question types in order to recognize latent patterns.

  • DefenderDefender Alum Member
    edited June 2020 348 karma

    lol 'slow is smooth and smooth is fast' @canihazJD ! Yes!! 100%. This test is DESIGNED to measure your ability to slow things down in order to process the material. And, believe it or not, the slower you go, the faster you'll go (based on your current accuracy/grasp of the material, -4/5).

    You can read the sentence at whatever pace is comfortable--but take the time to translate/ process. AND, work through the problems with an attitude of 'I'll move forward when I want to'. This allows you to stop the test from pushing you around (as Mike Ross and Cantgetright like to put it).

    I bet you will find that a "slow pace" will get you through easy questions in sub-50 seconds. You put a few of those together, and you have a nice time-frame to go through the tougher ones. If you read a stim and just aren't getting it--no problem, cut bait and move on.

  • mhf.andrewmhf.andrew Alum Member
    207 karma

    Just a question about the tactic of skipping on LR: when you skip a question on LR, is it skipped entirely? Or do you spend the time, if possible, to eliminate some of the more seemingly wrong answers, narrow the plausible choices to two or three, and then move on?

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    edited June 2020 8066 karma

    @cabsmith said:
    Seeing a breakdown means seeing a cookie-cutter or generic question/stimulus model, right?

    No, a break down as in a failure in your process/strategy. Something that stalls you. Where you encounter a problem... not understanding a stimulus, eliminating every AC, etc..

  • Chris NguyenChris Nguyen Member Administrator Sage 7Sage Tutor
    4323 karma

    Seeing a breakdown doesn't necessarily mean seeing a cookie cutter argument or generic question model. In fact, I would argue since you're scoring -4/-5 your understanding of formal logic and the logical reasoning section as a whole means that you don't need to focus too much on cookie cutters anymore.

    I say this because cookie cutters can be a trap for high scorers. You read an LR stimulus and immediately assume "Oh! It's an analogy!", and take it easy on the rest of the stimulus, not truly understanding what's actually going on. I think what @canihazJD is trying to say is you need to your analysis FURTHER than that. What exactly is being analogized, and what characteristics could be different in the analogy vs the argument? Or, parsing out an extremely difficult sentence with tons of verbiage and complicated grammar. To do things like this, it's not enough to simply reading what's on the page. You have to actively engage with the meaning of the words in context with the sentence you're reading.

  • Kris4444Kris4444 Alum Member
    266 karma

    @"mhf.andrew" said:
    Just a question about the tactic of skipping on LR: when you skip a question on LR, is it skipped entirely? Or do you spend the time, if possible, to eliminate some of the more seemingly wrong answers, narrow the plausible choices to two or three, and then move on?

    It depends on the question, but the more ACs you can eliminate confidently, the better your chances of guessing correctly. Eliminating 1 AC takes you from a 20% chance of guessing right to 25%. If you can get down to 2 ACs you've got a 50% chance and if the question is giving you that much trouble, sometimes it's better to cut your losses and not waste any more time on it.

    Personally, for my skipping strategy I'm trying to get in the habit of skipping if I get through all the ACs and haven't made up my mind. If I'm confident I understood the stim well, I might look back over at A and B to see if I wasn't too quick to eliminate them, but generally it's a good sign I need to skip the question and come back on round 2. This also helps stop me from panic-picking E.

    I would maybe skip a parallel question entirely depending on how I've managed my time, but even then, I'd probably read the stimulus just so I'm somewhat familiar with it when I come back to it, and I might read AC (A) just to see if fits well enough and I'll pick it and move on. Hope this helps!

  • mhf.andrewmhf.andrew Alum Member
    207 karma

    Yup, thanks for the detailed response Christina.Parchem. What you describe in your second paragraph more or less matches how I handle LR questions of which I am uncertain, with the exception that I probably will reread the ACs that I think are more likely to be correct, rather than sequentially reading AC's A and B to see if I too hastily overlooked them. Other than that, the process is still similar. The stimulus is read; the ACs are read; some answers may be eliminated. Is that what skipping refers to?

  • cabsmithcabsmith Alum Member
    39 karma

    Wow. Thanks for sharing your techniques and feedback, everyone. I had been deciding to skip based on question type (not a fan of parallel flaw or parallel reasoning questions, personally). I thought I had potential to be more confident/efficient in deciding answer choices but this may not be the case as much as focusing on "going slow to go fast" might offer alongside more in-depth review and analysis during blind reviews.

    All of you just saved me more time instead of looking for "magic hacks" to shore up my LR score. Thankfully, going slowly through the stimulus was already one change I made a few weeks ago to my LR strategy so I'm going to continue to rely on that and blind review until it yields better results in terms of efficiency and timing. Thanks!

    Bonus question if anyone is still paying attention to this thread: How do you deal with under-confidence errors on blind review? Like, when you spend too much time on a question, how do you know which one you spent too much time on?

  • MarkmarkMarkmark Alum Member
    976 karma

    Hm I never thought about spending too much time in BR. If you find yourself taking forever, why is it taking you forever to answer a question? Maybe it's parsing logic or verbiage / grammar or eliminating answer choices. If so you have a few things you can drill to improve your skills. I'm at about -4/5 in LR as well and I know where I'm going to go slowly - it's hard grammar / wording, NA and other curvebreakers and formal logic.

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