Need Advice/Wisdom/Help on Necessary & Flaw Question Types

markushageylikmanmarkushageylikman Alum Member
in General 48 karma
So basically I have been studying for close to a year now and I am preparing to take the exam one last time. My February LSAT score was a 164 and I am really hoping to go up a few points. I am taking the LSAT in June and pretty much all I am doing at this point is taking fresh PTs, Blind Reviewing, and then reviewing those question types I get wrong. I have exhausted all possible drills, lessons, theoretical discussions, etc. I have taken Blueprint and 7sage all the way through. To put it short, I am looking for some insight/guidance that can go beyond what these courses teach and can provide some personal advice that has worked for people struggling with similar scenarios. From my last 5 PTs alone, there is a consistent trend. I cannot get to the 4th passage of RC, LG is flawless, and LR is usually in the -3 to -5 range. From those LR questions, it is Necessary and Flaw questions that continue to trip me up. I have drained every possible lesson/theory on Necessary questions. I understand their function, their role within a stimulus, and how to confirm whether the necessary assumption I choose is the right one or not (aka negating and seeing if validity still holds up). With Flaws, I have learned the 13 prevalent fallacies and how to spot them. Does anyone have suggestions or advice for how to destroy these questions? If I'm getting the question right, I still often times end up spending extra time on it to confirm my correctness (a nasty habit, I know, but something I just can't seem to shake). Finally, skipping is out of the question since my skipping is reserved for absurdly long parallel/parallel flaw questions that I do not want to bother wasting my time on. Any help at all would be so awesome! Thank you!


  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    I would say for both these questions, you need to be a more active test taker. It's not just about being able to spot the fallacy -- you should be able to articulate it and write a note to yourself on the paper. Flaw questions are tricky because, for every one fallacy, there's 5-10 ways they can phrase it. Having a passive understanding of the flaw and some idea of what it's doing isn't going to be enough.

    Necessary assumption questions are the same way. You can't intimate at the assumption, you have to be able to articulate what the assumption is. The harder of a time you have in doing so, the more important it is to physically write down the assumption on the paper. You can knock off 2 answer choices very easily because they won't have the component parts you're looking for. The other 2 require looking at the language of the answer choice and seeing if it matches what you wrote down on paper.
  • markushageylikmanmarkushageylikman Alum Member
    48 karma
    @blah170blah thank you for the input! I am actually quite aware of this and strive to do it as often as possible. Sometimes I am able to anticipate what the answer choice is and that helps me answer it rather quickly, other times I anticipate the possible correct answer choice(s) and yet the right answer is none of them for it is totally something different that I did not assume (this is with regards to necessary question types). I am doing the same for a flaw question. If there is one thing I am not, it is a passive test taker. The biggest transition I had was going from one to an active one. What I am seeking is those tiny strokes of genius that people had in their studies that can maybe be applied to the question types mentioned above.

    Also, in terms of writing anything down on LR i do not bother wasting my time unless there is some serious LAWGIC that my brain can't process. I know everyone works differently but each minute for me is like the holy grail so wasting time writing stuff down is just out of the question, unfortunately. If I had more time I would most definitely be writing everything possible down and I am sure my score would improve on these question types.
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    7468 karma
    Have you thought about a tutor. Maybe Jonathan or Graeme Blake. At this point, it might be worth the expense.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    edited May 2015 3545 karma
    @markushageylikman I think Graeme or Mike Kim made a post about timing that I think might apply to you. I know you don't like writing things down but if you're consistently missing flaw and necessary assumption questions, I would recommend trying. They say that we typically underestimate the amount of time it takes to write things down and overestimate the amount of time we re-read.

    Here's what I would recommend and have done for myself and see if it works for you. I think there are two aspects to the point you make about "strokes of genius." The first comes with exposure, the second comes from methodology. I'm advocating for methodology (spending time on the trickier flaw and NA question and potentially trying to speed up parallel and parallel flaw questions).

    However, another way to get better is to go through Cambridge packets, do them timed, and make a pile of the flaw questions you got wrong and see if there's some underlying principle that makes you get it wrong. Hopefully, by drilling and exposing the argument types that trip you up for these two types of questions, it'll limit the amount of "omg I don't really recognize this, hmmm I'll try to paraphrase but then I'll just go to the AC's." The only weakness to this method is that you're relying on exposure of patterns previously to attack ones you've never seen before, and truth be told, we have no idea what's going to be on the June test. So if you have a test where you're given 5 flaw questions and none of them seem familiar, then what do you do? That's what I'm really emphasizing the up-front work. That being said, I think if you don't want to spend that extra time on parsing through the argument on a PT, you should definitely do it for the flaw/NA questions you miss when you drill to just get quicker in general.
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