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Advice Please: When to Skip Qs

Burt ReynoldsBurt Reynolds Alum Member Sage
edited February 2021 in General 952 karma

I took a major dip from my last 5 PTs and overall PT average when I wrote in January (166). I've decided to retake. I feel like my fundamentals are solid (usually BR 178 or higher), but my strategy could definitely use some tweaking.

I'm a perfectionist. I've heard repeatedly that the best way to tackle LR and RC is by skipping questions and coming back to them. For whatever reason, I just can't seem to trust this strategy under timed conditions. I usually finish both sections with a minute or two left on PTs, but on test day I seem to second guess myself far more and my focus tends to break more easily (which is another issue altogether).

How do you know when to skip a question in LR and RC? How do you train yourself to feel confident in doing so?

Comments

  • brookegojazzbrookegojazz Monthly Member
    360 karma

    Something I've learned from a 7sage tutor is to trust the skipping process! I used to NEVER skip (in fact I took two LSAT's and had one year's worth of studying NEVER skipping. I've started using this strategy the last 6 months and have seen massive improvement, but I have had to learn how to do it and use it well, and it's not something that came super naturally to me.

    The thing I've learned most is to be intentional about what I'm doing and that there needs to be a rhyme and a reason to skipping and coming back (which is why I think I didn't skip before, it didn't make sense for me to randomly come back to questions I was struggling with). Some of the main reasons I skip are if my progress is starting to stall, I need some space away from the question to come back and see more clearly (these I'd come back to on a second round), or if I literally have no idea what to do on the question/it is going to be a long, muddy path forward (these I come back to on a third round). This has helped me catch the low hanging fruit under time, and banked time to get questions I can find the answer to and need some extra time with, and not waste time on questions I am highly unlikely to get right, even under BR.

    As for RC I usually only skip questions WITHIN the passage unless it's an absolute crazy question and I bank time to come take a third glance at the very end. So this would be a similar decision like on LR but instead of coming back to question #4 after going through all the passages, I'll stay within the passage, skip #4 and then when I finish that section's questions come back for another glance.

    Does that make sense? Feel free to message me with any questions! I'm happy to chat/set up a Google meet or do a BR on a section if you think that'd be helpful.

  • emmorensemmorens Monthly Member
    1470 karma

    Following!

  • nataliebnatalieb Monthly Member
    32 karma

    I don't skip very often, maybe 2-3 per LR section. I tend to skip questions that I think will take a long time, especially if all the answers are long. For example, Parallel Flaw (pick the choice that most closely resembles the flawed logic of the stimulus), or if the stimulus is very long/uses specialized science language.
    I try to decide within the first couple seconds if I'm going to skip or not, and then I commit.
    If I'm skipping, I skim the stimulus and answer choices, pick something that seems reasonable enough, and move on within maybe 15 seconds, knowing I'll give the question the time it needs once I've gone through the whole section once.
    If it's a tough one but I'm not skipping, that means I (probably) won't come back to it later, so I put in the time it takes to pick an answer I feel pretty good about and then move on. (I still flag it in case I have extra time.)

    I very rarely skip during RC, but if I do it's when the question asks you to identify the analogous answer choice. I always skip these (skim and pick something that seems fine), and I usually don't have time to come back, so the random guess is worth it, since I know if I'd taken time with that question I wouldn't have finished at all.

  • yang9999yang9999 Alum Member
    413 karma

    definitely; on LR I've found skipping on the first pass to be a time-saver. It's mostly a personal judgement call on what types of questions give you the most grief in terms of time sucked (for me so far it's almost always the MBT/MBF questions; I'm getting faster at it but diagramming takes a little more time). I've found the analytics to be really helpful in telling me which questions I sucked the most time into -- if I spent more than 2 minutes on the question, it informs my time-management strategy going into the next PT for questions that are similar to it in perceived difficulty. The time bank is also critical; since these sections are generally harder in the back end and easier in the front end (not always, but there is a general trend -- and it seems to be the case for almost every standardized test lol), it's critical to snap up the easy q's and leave enough time remaining in the bank for the hard questions (it's usually also a good thing to make a note of where you are in the section, as that can inform you roughly on the difficulty of the questions you are about to encounter).

  • Burt ReynoldsBurt Reynolds Alum Member Sage
    952 karma

    @brookegojazz said:
    Does that make sense? Feel free to message me with any questions! I'm happy to chat/set up a Google meet or do a BR on a section if you think that'd be helpful.

    That definitely makes sense and I appreciate the input! I'm definitely willing to set up a BR call, maybe we could look at a notoriously difficult LR or RC section.

  • Burt ReynoldsBurt Reynolds Alum Member Sage
    952 karma

    @natalieb said:
    If it's a tough one but I'm not skipping, that means I (probably) won't come back to it later, so I put in the time it takes to pick an answer I feel pretty good about and then move on. (I still flag it in case I have extra time.)

    Interesting - how much time do you tend to have for returning to the 2 or 3 questions skipped?

  • Burt ReynoldsBurt Reynolds Alum Member Sage
    952 karma

    @lsat_gunner said:
    definitely; on LR I've found skipping on the first pass to be a time-saver. It's mostly a personal judgement call on what types of questions give you the most grief in terms of time sucked (for me so far it's almost always the MBT/MBF questions; I'm getting faster at it but diagramming takes a little more time).

    So will you skip based on question stem alone? or after one read through of the stimulus? for me, i know late-section MBT and PSA can be a nightmare of a time sink.

  • yang9999yang9999 Alum Member
    edited February 2021 413 karma

    mostly after one read-through of the stimulus -- it also depends if i'm at q2 or q24 on the section. If I hit q24 and there's a MBT or a weird parallel/parallel flaw type, then that's one I'm saving for later. but if it's q2 and the stimulus isn't too long-winded, I can usually finish it within the target time. The thing that I realized fairly late into my prep is that generally the question difficulty goes from easy to hard on every single test within a section (with some random difficulty jumps in the middle that might necessitate skipping) but a question 1 is generally much easier than a question 20 in difficulty.

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Alum Member Sage 🍌
    26286 karma

    I recently wrote a small manifesto on this if you'd be interested in a tedious, extremely over-complicated answer to this: https://7sage.com/discussion/#/discussion/comment/171032

  • Burt ReynoldsBurt Reynolds Alum Member Sage
    952 karma

    @"Cant Get Right" said:
    I recently wrote a small manifesto on this if you'd be interested in a tedious, extremely over-complicated answer to this: https://7sage.com/discussion/#/discussion/comment/171032

    You had me at manifesto -- thanks @"Cant Get Right" !

  • nataliebnatalieb Monthly Member
    32 karma

    @"Burt Reynolds" said:
    Interesting - how much time do you tend to have for returning to the 2 or 3 questions skipped?

    Usually about 4-6 minutes, depending on how many I skipped, and if there was a 26th q in the section. So that tends to give me ~2 min per skipped q. That's about how long I would've given them each up front, but I feel way less stressed spending that long if the rest of the questions are behind me.

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